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Shade Plants That Are Deer Resistant

By Sonia Acone ; Updated September 21, 2017

If you live in an area where deer are apt to wander into your garden, you've probably noticed, especially in the early spring, that they will eat various plants and leave others. Unfortunately, if the winters are harsh and food is scarce, deer will invariably eat just about anything. However, all is not lost, as there are some plants that most deer don't like.


Bergenia is a clump-forming, glossy-leaved perennial with spires of tiny flower clusters in pink, white or pale purple. Hardy in zones 3 to 9, these plants like well-drained, moist soil. Their leaves will turn deep maroon in the fall in northern areas and add a little more color interest in the cooler months.

Dicentra (Bleeding-Heart)

Bleeding-heart is a perennial in zones 3 to 8 with heart-shaped white or deep pink flowers that dangle from their arching stems. They like moist soil are are a good cut flower as well. These plants may go dormant in hot, dry periods, so provide plenty of water during these times. They look especially lovely when paired with ferns.

Helleborus (Lenten Rose)

The Lenten rose received its name because it's one of the first perennials to bloom in late winter or early spring, just in time for Easter. It's hardy in zones 4 to 9 and has pale pink cup-shaped flowers. It prefers moist soil and light to full shade. Some morning sun is fine.

Primula (Primrose)

Primroses come in an array of colors and bloom in the spring to early summer. They prefer moist soil and light shade. Hardy in zones 5 to 8, they will self-sow and provide more cheerful plants the following year.

Pulmonaria (Lungwort)

This little evergreen perennial has spotted leaves and small, tubular pink flowers. It likes light to full shade in zones 3 to 8, and moist, fertile soil. This plant makes an excellent groundcover and will grow easily among ferns, hostas and shade-loving bulbs.


About the Author


Sonia Acone is a full-time freelance writer in northeast Pennsylvania. She has been published by The Wild Rose Press and is currently writing children's picture books, as well as online content. Acone writes articles for eHow and GardenGuides.com. She has been freelance writing since 2008. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and professional writing from Elizabethtown College.