Deer Proof Gardening

With spring upon us,  the deer are making their way into our yards and gardens.  While browsing damage does not usually kill the plants it definitely stresses them and makes them unsightly.  To deal with the problem there are   ways to deter deer from browsing.

REPELLENTS:  Probably the easiest way to deter deer browsing is through the use of repellents.  There are a number of chemical and organic repellents available that work both by taste and smell.  It is important when using repellents to realize that they must be applied more than once during the winter.  It is also beneficial to change products since the deer can get used to one and as food becomes scarce they are less likely to be deterred.

NOISE AND ANIMALS:  Deer are very nervous creatures.  A dog which has the ability to run thru the yard or unusual sounds such as wind chimes may be enough to stop the deer.  While this is a temporary solution it may be enough to change their route in the future.

PHYSICAL BARRIERS:   Adding a fence in your yard or garden is the surest way of keeping deer from  dining on your plants.  If it is just a hedge or foundation planting putting up a temporary mesh barrier will probably suffice.  For more permanent protection or larger areas a heavy plastic barrier or electrified wire fence may be necessary. It is important to realize that deer are able to jump extremely high, up to 12 feet.  In the event there is one or two shrubs in the yard that need protection wrapping with burlap may suffice.

It is important to realize that deer have preferences in their food just as we do.  There are certain plants that are practically deer magnets.  Realizing what they are and protecting them many times cause the deer to change their feeding route.


Deer avoid plants with a strong fragrance, irritating texture or plants that upset their stomachs. The following is a list of perennials which we carry that deer tend to avoid:

Achillea ‘Anthea’

Achillea ‘Strawberry Seduction’

Achillea ‘Strawberry Seduction’

Achillea ‘Red Beauty’

Alchemilla erythropoda

Alchemilla mollis

Aquilegia ‘Calimero’

Aquilegia ‘Clementine Salmon_Rose’

Aquilegia ‘Georgia’

Aquilegia ‘Rose Barlow’

Aquilegia ‘Songbird Series Mix’

Campanula ‘Chettle Charm’

Campanula ‘La Belle’

Campanula ‘LaBelle’

Centaurea ‘Amethyst in Snow’

Cerastium biebersteinii

Coreopsis ‘Early Sunrise’

Coreopsis ‘Jethro Tull’

Coreopsis ‘Route 66’

Coreopsis ‘Star Cluster’

Coreopsis ‘Sterntaler’

Dianthus ‘Bath’s Pink’

Dianthus ‘Confetti Deep Red’

Dianthus ‘Confetti Deep Red’

Dianthus ‘Firewitch’

Dianthus ‘Laced Hero’

Dianthus ‘Tickled Pink’

Digitalis ‘Dwarf Vanilla’

Digitalis ‘Spice Island’

Digitalis ‘Virtuoso Red’

Echinacea ‘B’s Knees’

Echinacea ‘Elton Knight

Echinacea ‘Elton Knight’

Echinacea ‘Hot Summer’

Echinacea ‘Piccolino’

Echinacea ‘Pow Wow White’

Echinacea ‘Pow Wow Wild Berry’

Echinacea ‘Prairie Splendor’

Echinacea ‘Green Jewel’

Echinops ritro

Gaillardia ‘Arizona Sun’

Gaillardia ‘Mesa Yellow’

Gaillardia ‘Arizona Sun’

Gypsophila ‘Viette’s Dwarf’

Heuchera ‘Citronelle’

Heuchera ‘Dark Secret’

Heuchera ‘Kassandra’

Heuchera ‘Mocha’

Heuchera ‘Pinot Gris’

Heuchera ‘Rachel’

Lavandula ‘Fred Boutin’

Lavandula ‘Grosso’

Lupine ‘Gallery Blue’

Lavandula ‘Lavenite Petite’

Lavandula ‘Provence’

Lupine ‘Gallery Blue’

Lupine ‘Gallery Pink’

Lupine ‘Gallery Red’

Lupine ‘Gallery Yellow’

Lupine ‘Russell’s Hybrids’

Monarda ‘Blue Stockings’

Monarda ‘Blue Stockings’

Monarda ‘Jacob Cline’

Monarda ‘Pink Supreme’

Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’

Penstemon calycosus

Penstemon ‘Husker’s Red’

Potentilla verna ‘Nana’

Polemonium ‘Touch of Class’

Polemonium ‘Touch of Class’

Primula ‘Supernova Pink’

Primula ‘Supernova Yellow’

Rudbeckia ‘Little Gold Star’

Salvia ‘Blue Hill’

Salvia ‘Royal Crimson Distinction’

Salvia ‘Caradonna’

Veronica prostrata

Salvia ‘Caradonna’

Thymus ‘Coccineus’