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Deer Resistant Plants for the Landscape

black - eyed susans image by Wendy Hampe from

If you live in a rural location with deer that frequent your yard, you already know that no plant is completely deer resistant. But there are some plants that, although deer will try a nibble, aren’t appetizing to them. In fact, they may leave one plant alone this year, but try it next year or the year after. This means for some plants, there is minimal to no damage done, while others can be eaten to ground level. Choose deer resistant plants to help keep your landscaping primarily intact.

Black-Eyed Susan

Although the black-eyed Susan is a common wildflower, it can be planted by seed in your landscaping. Deer are not usually interested in these golden summer blooms. They are shaped like daisies but with yellow-gold petals and a deep brown center. This easy-care flower will grow in most soils with little care. It is considered an annuals, but it does re-seed itself. That's a plus unless you like an orderly landscape; they're likely to pop up just about anywhere nearby the next year. The black-eyed Susan grows 2 to 3 feet high, blooming June through August depending on the location. It grows best in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 through 9.

Austrian Pine

Deer will not eat Austrian pine, but the males will rub their antlers against small trees. Make sure, if you have deer in your location, that you protect newly planted trees with wire guards. Eventually, when the tree has grown to about 5 or 6 feet, you can remove the guard. These evergreens will keep your landscaping from looking bare during the winter months. It is not particular about soil conditions, growing in both clay or alkaline soils. Austrian pine makes an excellent wind break when planted in a row. Mature height reaches up to 60 feet, with a spread of 20 to 40 feet. This tree grows best in planting zones 4 through 7.


You may think you can only plant basil in an herb or in a vegetable garden. But it makes a lovely landscaping plant that can also benefit your culinary efforts. Deer don’t care for it. The leaves are a bright green with blooms of purple or white, depending on the variety. You can plant basil from seeds or plants from the nursery or garden center. Make sure you locate it in full sun and give it plenty of water. There are many varieties of basil, such as lemon, cinnamon, Greek, purple ruffle, Thai, red rubin and sweet (the most popular). Basil will grow in most planting zones of the U.S., but if you live in a location with a short growing season, try starting seeds indoors or purchasing plants, to get a head start.

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