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Landscape Plants That Deer Will Not Eat

Gardens and landscaping often suffer from foraging deer, who will try any plant at least once. To minimize damage, plan your landscape with plants that deer do not enjoy eating.

Boxwood Bush

Boxwood (Buxus) bushes are evergreens. Plant them to form a hedge, trimmed for individual bushes, or leave them to grow naturally. The boxwood bush goes with any style landscaping or architectural structure. This plant prefers minimal watering; water only when your location is in a drought situation, just before winter and when you first plant them. However, this heavy feeder requires an all-purpose fertilizer in the spring and then smaller doses several times throughout the growing season. There are quite a few boxwood varieties to choose from. Some of the more popular varieties are Japanese boxwood, English boxwood, American boxwood (common boxwood) and Korean boxwood.

Black-Eyed Susan

These daisy-shaped flowers have a deep brown center and golden petals. The deer have no interest in them, which is a plus for adding them to your rural landscaping. This flower is considered a perennial (comes back year after year), but only because it reseeds itself. Black-eyed Susans are also drought resistant and long blooming. They grow up to 24 inches at maturity.

Butterfly Weed

You get a double benefit when you plant Butterfly Weed in your landscaping. The deer won’t touch it, but the butterflies and hummingbirds love it. This perennial bush grows up to 2 feet in height, blooming large orange clusters of flowers. It blooms from May to September, depending on your location. It is not particular about the soil type its grown in. This is an easy plant to propagate through direct seeding, making it inexpensive to fill your landscaping. Place it in a full-sun or partial-shade location. The main problem for this plant are aphids. Ladybugs will eat aphids, or you can spray the plants with a soapy water mixture.


Lavender bushes are one of the most attractive landscaping plants. Deer have no use for them, though. This plant needs a well-drained soil. If you have a clay-based ground, dig it up and mix in compost before planting. It prefers a sunny location. After annual blooming is finished, cut back the leaves. It makes an excellent container plant, where temperatures are cold in the winter. You can move the potted lavender to a protected location (of about 50 degrees F), bringing it back out again in the spring.

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