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Flowering Plants With Thorns

blooming bougainvillea image by Lucy Cherniak from

The never-ending battle between deer and gardeners often requires a little help from nature. The humane way to deal with deer damage lies in creating the most unappetizing yard possible to discourage wayward wildlife from snacking on your plant. Plants with thorns serve the purpose of limiting access to certain areas of the home landscape and preventing damage to foliage from wildlife.

These plants provide barriers, hedges and also function as focal points in the landscape. The rose occupies the top spot as one of the most common thorny plants used in landscaping. Other worthy plants produce beautiful flowers and thorny foliage for different landscape uses.

Flowering Quince

Springtime brings the unique blooms of the flowering quince to the forefront of the garden. This thorny shrub grows up to 10 feet tall and produces a rose-like bloom. Foliage appears as dark green shiny leaves. Flowering quince likes full sun and produces edible fruit resembling apples. Quince thorns appear along individual branches and make this plant a desirable barrier plant for hedges or to limit traffic flow in the landscape. Flowering quince is hardy in most soil types in U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones 4 to 8.

Crown of Thorns

Crown of thorns offers the trademark thick leaves of a succulent plant with medium greenish/gray leaves. Crown of thorns also has thorns protruding from plant stems and flowers in deep red, yellow and peach. The flowers lay flat in a unique, four-petal pinwheel that can be variegated slightly depending on the cultivar. Shrubs grow to a height of 5 feet and serve perfectly as a barrier plant in dry locations. Crown of thorns is drought tolerant and works well in gardens in zones 9 to 11. This beautiful plant makes a unique addition to the rock or xeriscape garden.


The lovely bougainvillea has beautifully flowering climbing vines. The lovely triangular-shaped flowers come in a variety of colors in purple, orange, pink and yellow. This plant loves the heat and full sun garden. Bougainvillea grows as a thick shrub that can be trained onto trellis, fence or pruned into a decorative shrub. This plant spreads readily and makes an excellent barrier plant with curved thorns protruding from its spreading vines. Gardeners in zones 9 to 11 enjoy the beauty and benefits of this stunning vine-like plant.

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