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Flowers Deer Won't Eat

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 1

Even though no plant is truly deer proof, there are flowers deer won’t eat unless they are desperate for food. Homeowners have tried everything from hanging dirty laundry throughout the landscape to sprinkling dried blood meal in flowerbeds. These tricks only work for a little while. According to the University of Montana Extension, deer get used to the smell and taste of anything used to deter them from eating plants. The Colorado State University Extension suggests growing plants native to your area because they require less watering and fertilization than other garden plants and may appear less appetizing to deer. Some commonly grown flowers are deer resistant and you can contact your local university extension office for a list of flowers deer won’t eat in your area.

 

Annuals

Ageratum

Ageratum (Ageratum Houstonianum), also called  flossflower,  quickly grows and form mounds up to 2-feet tall. Clusters of fuzzy pink, purple, blue and lavender cover this deer-resistant plant from summer until fall. Garden centers occasionally sell these flowers deer won’t eat that produce white flowers. It performs best in full sun except when grown in areas of extreme heat. Make sure to water ageratum during extended dry periods.

Ageratum(84435)
Ageratum

Sweet Alyssum 

Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima), also called alyssum, is technically a perennial but becomes lanky and half barren in its second year so most people use it as an annual. These flowers that deer won’t eat are widely available and inexpensive. It grows in thick mats that are up to 9-inches tall. White, pink and purple blooms cover the plant from late spring until fall. The blooms of these deer-resistant flowers are fragrant, they smell like warm honey. They perform best in full sun but tolerate some light shade. Sweet alyssum plants tend to rot when they receive too much water, but don’t forget to water them during extended dry periods.

Sweet Alyssum
Sweet Alyssum

Pot Marigold

Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis), also known as calendula and English marigold, are cool-weather flowers. However, these deer-resistant flowers are killed by frost. They are one of the most widely grown flowers deer won’t eat. They range in height from 12 to 30 inches and have a similar spread, depending on variety. The blooms range from pale cream to bright yellow to orange. For the most part, the center is dark brown but can vary depending on variety. Cut them back once hot weather arrives and they will re-bloom once it cools off. Pot marigold tolerate most soil conditions as long as the soil is well-draining. 

Pot Marigold
Pot Marigold

Salvia

Salvia (Salvia splendens), also known as scarlet sage, is a tender perennial so many gardeners grow it as an annual. Depending on variety, these deer-resistant flowers can grow anywhere from 8-inches to 3-feet tall. Varieties come in shades of red, purple, salmon and white. The blooms last for a long time but when they do start to drop, just cut the plant back and it will bloom again. This is one of the sturdiest, most reliable flowers deer won’t eat. In warm climates, plant in an area it receives light shade. In cooler areas, plant it in full sun. Salvia like well-draining soils that stay on the dry side.

Salvia-Purple
Salvia

Verbena

Verbena (Verbena X hybrida), also known as garden verbena, come in many bloom colors, sizes and shapes. These deer-resistant flowers are technically a tender perennial so most gardeners grow them as annuals. The small flowers come in clusters of blue, crimson, scarlet, pink, white, purple, yellow and vermilion. The eye of this fragrant flower is usually white. They produce flowers deer won’t eat from summer until fall. Pinch new growth to encourage the plant to bush out. They perform best in full sun with some afternoon shade in hot areas. Verbena stop blooming during extended periods of heat. They like fertile, well-draining soil.

Verbena(84444)
Verbena


Perennials

Daylilies

Daylilies (Hemerocallis) come in a wide variety of bloom colors, sizes and shapes. Over 60,000 hybrids exist today. They tolerate a range of soil and light conditions. These deer-resistant flowers are drought tolerant. Depending on variety, daylilies typically bloom from late spring until fall. The flowers only last a day but that is because a new flower is ready to push the old one out of the picture and bloom. Out of all the flowers deer won’t eat, this one will live in your landscape for years with minimal care.

Daylilies
Daylilies

Iris

Iris (Iris) are a staple in the home landscape. These deer-resistant flowers like full sun but need a little afternoon shade in hot climates. You can choose from a wide variety of bearded iris and beardless iris. You can choose from an assortment of different colored blooms with these flowers deer won’t eat. Japanese and Siberian iris are examples of popular beardless iris. They need fertile, well-draining soil. Bearded iris only require occasional watering once they are established but the beardless varieties require moist soil during warm weather.

Iris
Iris

Lupine

Lupine (Lupinas spp.) sport singular colors such as blue, pink white and purple. These deer-resistant flowers also come in varieties with bi-colored blooms. The bi-colored variety typically have white with other colors like yellow, pink, blue, purple and reddish-purple. There are over 200 species of these flowers deer won’t eat. They thrive in areas with cool summers. They need light, fertile well-draining soil. Lupine prefer full sun but need a little bit of afternoon shade if grown in an area where the afternoon sun is hot. Due to a long taproot, they do not like to be disturbed once they begin to grow.

Lupine-Purple
Lupine

Phlox

Phlox (Phlox paniculata), also known as summer phlox and garden phlox, can grow up to 4-feet tall. Several cultivars are available that do not grow beyond 2-feet tall. The fragrant blooms of these deer-resistant flowers come in shades of purple, lavender, white pink, salmon and scarlet depending on the cultivar you choose. For tall varieties of these flowers deer won’t eat, stake them when they are full grown. Grow them in full sun or semi-shaded areas. Phlox performs best in fertile, moist, well-draining soil.

Phlox
Phlox

Snapdragon

Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) is amongst the commonly grown flowers deer won’t eat. It comes in almost any shade of color you can think of except true blue. The hundreds of different types are listed under one of five groups: Tall (up to 3 feet), Intermediate (up to 2 feet), Short (up to 12 inches), Dwarf (up to 9 inches) and Trailing (length varies). Pinch back young plants to encourage them to bush. These deer-resistant flowers need well-draining soil that is rich with organic matter. They will tolerate some shade but perform best in full sun. Once they are established, only water them when the top inch of soil is dry. They like cool weather and some varieties can tolerate light frost.

Snapdragon(84449)
Snapdragon


Biennials

Black-Eyed Susan

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), also known as gloriosa daisy and yellow oxeye daisy, bloom during their second year. These deer-resistant flowers can grow up to a height of 3 feet. They have a conical, brownish-purple middle surrounded by gold or yellow petals. Grow these common flowers deer won’t eat in partial shade to full sun. They are drought tolerant once established but perform best in soils that do not completely dry out.  

Black-Eyed-Susan
Black-Eyed Susan

Foxglove

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) are also known as purple foxglove, finger flower or fairy glove. Technically, these deer-resistant flowers are a short-lived perennials that blooms during the second year. These self-sowing flowers deer won’t eat can grow up to 5-feet tall. The blooms begin in late spring or the beginning of summer and their bloom time is usually only for a month.  There are a large variety of types and colors to choose from. Foxglove perform best in acidic, moist, fertile, well-draining soil. Mulch them to keep soil moist.  They do best in partial shade in cool climates. Use caution when growing Foxglove, it is highly toxic if ingested and this can lead to death.

Foxglove-Pink
Foxglove

Garden Pinks

Garden Pinks (Dianthus) are either tender perennial or biennial deer-resistant flowers. The fringe-edged flowers can be single or double and come in an assortment of colors. Depending on variety, blooms can be solid, bi-colored or picotee (solid with a different colored edge). The blooms of these flowers deer won’t eat include varying shades of red, purple, yellow and white. Garden pinks do best in alkaline, well-draining soils that are not overly fertile. Grow them in a sunny area or they will produce fewer blooms and become lanky. Many of the garden pinks have a clove-like, spicy fragrance. Depending on variety, they will grow anywhere from 6-inches to 3-feet tall.

Garden-Pinks
Garden Pinks

Annual Honesty

Annual Honesty (Lunaria annua), also knows as money plant or silver dollars, grows up to 3-feet tall. They are one of the most interesting flowers deer won’t eat. They bloom anywhere from late spring to early summer. The purple blooms become silvery-colored seed pods during the plant’s second year, hence the nickname. These deer-resistant flowers perform best in full sun but tolerate a little shade. Annual honesty tolerates a range of well-draining soil types and do not like to dry out.

Annual Honesty
Annual Honesty
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Comments

Feb 11, 2012 8:29pm
anointedtoday
Thanks for the information.
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Bibliography

  1. Cheryl Moore-Gough, R.E. Gough "Deer-Resistant Ornamental Plants for Your Garden." Montana State University Extension. 10/2/2012 <Web >
  2. "Deer-resistant plants." PlantTalk Colorado. 02/11/2010. 10/02/2012 <Web >
  3. Pete Nitzsche, Pedro Perdomo, and David Drake "Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance." Rutgers: New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. 10/02/2012 <Web >

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