Vegetable Plants That Deer Do Not Eat
One way to protect your garden from deer is to plant vegetables that deer do not eat. Unfortunately, what a deer is willing to eat varies according to the availability of food sources, number of deer and weather conditions, according to Washington State University. While the deer are less likely to eat the vegetables listed below, it is impossible to say they will never eat them.
Deer seem to have mixed feelings about fruit vegetables. Deer tend to stay away from cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) and eggplant (Solanum melongena). Deer will usually stay away from okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), squash (Cucurbita pepo) and tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum), but not always. They also have mixed feelings about peppers. They almost always avoid sweet peppers (Capsicum frutescens) and hot peppers (Capsicum annuum), but only occasionally avoid green peppers (Capsicum annuum).
Perhaps because of their strong smell, deer tend to avoid bulb vegetables. They especially do not like chives (Allium schoenoprasum), garlic (Allium sativum and Allium scordoprasum) and onions (Allium cepa).
Herbs are a category of plants that deer do not seem to enjoy. Herbs that they almost always avoid include lavender, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme. They also dislike mint such as spearmint and peppermint.
Root and Tuber Vegetables
Deer seem to enjoy most root and tuber vegetables. However, they almost always avoid radishes (Raphanus sativus) and will usually avoid potatoes (Solanum species), especially Irish potatoes (Solanum tuberosum).
Other vegetables that deer tend to avoid include asparagus (Asparagus officinalis), rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum), cantaloupe (Cucumis melo cantalupensis) and watermelon (Citrulus lanatus).
Plants That Keep Deer Away
It may not warm your heart, as you stand gazing at the ripped foliage of garden favorites, to hear that deer roamed your neighborhood long before humans arrived, but it helps to understand the problem. Deer are a native species that had free run of most of the country for centuries. As urban centers grew, deer habitat diminished. A compact defensive hedge surrounding your property might be as close as you can get to the fantasy of deer-frightening plants, but, like other physical barriers, a hedge fence must be at least 6 feet tall to be effective. are a good bet in warmer climates. Century plant can be grown with smaller spiky plants like variegated Spanish dagger (Yucca gloriosa "Variegata,", hardy in USDA zones 7 though 11). Experts at the University of California Integrated Pest Management agree, noting that physical barriers are the best way to protect your garden from deer.
- Washington State University: Deer Resistant Plants
- Oklahoma State University: Ornamental and Garden Plants: Controlling Deer Damage
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Ask Mr. Smarty Plants: Keeping Deer Away from Non-Native Plants in Lansing MI
- University of California: IPM Online: Deer
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Deer
- San Marcos Growers: Gardening and Deer
- Fine Gardening: Designing With Spiky Plants
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Allium Giganteum