The Best Deer Resistant Perennials To Plant - 6 Perennial Plants Deer Leave Alone! (2024)

One of the best ways to keep your landscape free from the damage deer can bring is to grow plants that deer simply leave alone – and today, we are featuring just that by covering 6 of the best deer resistant perennials around!

One thing is for sure, deer can cause serious damage to flowerbeds. And in quick fashion! Whether it’s chewing hostas to the ground or nibbling the blooms off tulips and roses, hungry deer will destroy gorgeous perennials, annual and even shrubs and trees in an instant.

When we moved to our new land and started to build our new farm a few years back, we found that out in a hurry! Our farm is home to not a few deer, but what at times can seem to be a small city of deer. And they are not scared of us in the least. In fact, many mornings, we open our blinds to see them sleeping right outside our window!

Planting With Deer In Mind – The Best Deer Resistant Perennials To Plant

Although they can be beautiful for sure, the deer here will still eat any plant they deem tasty. Deer have a wondrous knack for remembering where their favorite plants are – and for coming back time and time again to enjoy the plant’s latest re-growth as a snack.

Because of that, we learned very quickly that if we want to have flowers – we need to plant with the deer in mind. And that all starts by selecting and planting perennials that deer won’t find attractive in the least. And believe it or not, there are a few plants out there that deer don’t enjoy!

In fact, in some cases, there are plants that deer even find offensive. And by adding these plants into your landscape, it can also help protect some the plants the deer do find attractive. Now that is the ultimate form of companion planting for sure!

It has actually worked incredibly well here. We’ve even been able to slide some hostas and daylilies around other plants that deer despise, and for a few years now, they have left them alone.

So with planting with deer in mind, here are 6 great deer resistant perennials to add to your flowerbeds to help steer deer clear of your yard!

The Best Deer Resistant Perennials To Plant – 6 Perennial Plants Deer Leave Alone!

Blanketflower – The Best Deer Resistant Perennials To Plant

If you have deer problems but want long blooming plants, Blanketflower is the perfect choice. In fact, we love this deer resistant perennial so much, we have one plant growing in at least all of our 20+ flowerbeds around the farm!

Talk about a perennial with all season flower power. Blanketflower blooms so thick and dense, it often gets confused as an annual. It’s not only perfect for planting in flowerbeds, but it pots and containers as well.

Blanketflower stays in continual bloom all through the summer months and even into early fall. It thrives in full sun, and even better, requires very little water to survive. In fact, they actually prefer less water and are considered a highly drought-resistant plant.

Blanketflower grows in a mounding form, reaching about 14 to 16 inches in height. Their flowers closely resemble a cross between a daisy and a coneflower, and are simply stunning to behold. Affiliate Plant Link: Clovers Garden Blanket Flower (Gaillardia) Arizona Sun Plants

Bee Balm – The Best Deer Resistant Perennials To Plant

Bee balm has so many incredible qualities as a perennial, that it’s truly a must-have plant for any landscape. Not only is it highly drought and deer resistant, it also attracts bees, birds and butterflies in droves.

Its fragrant, spiky blooms are so good at bringing in pollinators, other varieties of plants planted in close proximity benefit increased pollination as well.

What really makes bee balm a great addition to your landscape is that it’s a relatively low maintenance, easy care perennial. Making it even more attractive, not only is it deer resistant, its scent actually repels deer. That means when planted near plants deer love, it can help protect them as well!

Full size varieties grow in clumps, with flowering tops that extend upwards of two to four feet tall. In addition to larger varieties, there are dwarf varieties available with smaller bloom heights of 10″ to 12″ tall. Affiliate Plant Link: Bonnie Plants Bee Balm, 19.3 oz, 4-Pack, Live Plants

Lupines – The Best Perennial Plants To Grow That Deer Leave Alone!

With colorful, long blooms that last from late spring through summer, lupines add serious interest to the landscape. As a blooming perennial, they are simply spectacular. But in spite of their beauty, deer simply don’t find them attractive in the least.

What makes this perennial so unique and special are it’s incredibly prolific and long lasting blooms. A member of the pea family, lupines will bloom profusely for weeks on end – and in a wide array of colors!

Lupines grow well and survive in growing zones 4 through 8. They are a full sun plant and require at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight to produce their flowers. The herbaceous perennial dies back completely each year, re-emerging with new foliage in the spring. Seed Link: Perennial Russells Lupine Flower Seed Mix for Planting

Although deer may not be attracted to lupines, pollinators are! In fact, lupines attract all types of butterflies, bees and birds to the landscape. Just one more reason to add them to your landscape this year!

Astilbe – The Best Deer Resistant Perennials To Plant

If you are looking for a perennial that can handle the shadier areas of your yard without worry of deer, Astilbe (pictured at the top of the article) is a great choice!

The shiny foliage of Astilbe fills bed spaces with interest all season long. But where it really shines through is with its blooms. Astilbe has beautiful clusters of blooms in red, white or pink that are perfect for bringing intense color to the shadier spots of your yard.

The Best Deer Resistant Perennials To Plant - 6 Perennial Plants Deer Leave Alone! (5)

Astilbe can be found in varieties ranging from 8 to 12 inches in height and up to nearly 6 feet tall and beyond. Their blooms form on woody stems that depending on the variety, can range from just a few inches long, to 24 inches or more. Plant Link: Astilbe Arendsii ‘Fanal Perennial – Deep Red Blooms

Just like many of the plants on today’s list, pollinators love them. Astilbe produces blooms that are highly attractive to a wide range of pollinators including bees and butterflies. They both will visit the plants repeatedly over the course of their long bloom cycles.

Black Eyed Susan – The Best Deer Resistant Perennials To Plant

Looking for drought resistant perennial plants that deer leave alone that have mid to late season blooming power? Black Eyed Susan is the perfect solution!

Not only will it add lasting mid to late summer beauty with its blooms, the plant is also extremely low-maintenance. In fact, Black-Eyed Susan is one the easiest perennials around to grow and maintain as it doesn’t require fertilizer – and can go long periods without water.

Even better, once you have this perennial, it’s easy to divide to create even more color and plants – and all for free!

Coneflower – The Best Deer Resistant Perennials To Plant

A member of the daisy family, Coneflowers produce flowers with colorful petals that surround a rounded center seed cone. And that seed cone attracts all kinds of pollinators – including birds, bees and butterflies. But deer simply don’t like them!

You can find them in a wide range of varieties, from white, red and pink, to purple, orange and gold. One thing is for sure, there is a color of coneflower for nearly every flowerbed theme.

Coneflowers are extremely low-maintenance, and do not require watering or fertilizer once established. They are heavy re-seeders as well, and often can produce additional plants that can be used all over the landscape.

Here is to filling your landscape with color and beauty – that deer won’t destroy! Happy Gardening, Jim & Mary.

Old World Garden

Jim and Mary Competti have been writing gardening, DIY and recipe articles and books for over 15 years from their 46 acre Ohio farm. The two are frequent speakers on all things gardening and love to travel in their spare time.

As always, feel free to email us at with comments, questions, or to simply say hello! You can sign up for our free email list in the subscribe now box in the middle of this article. Follow us on Facebook here : OWG Facebook. This article may contain affiliate links.

The Best Deer Resistant Perennials To Plant - 6 Perennial Plants Deer Leave Alone! (2024)


What plants do deer absolutely hate? ›

A few of the most common include: catmint (Nepeta), bee balm (Monarda), lavender (Lavandula), salvia/sage (Salvia), creeping thyme (Thymus), ornamental onion (Allium), Russian sage (Perovskia), ornamental oregano (Origanum), anise hyssop (Agastache) and yarrow (Achillea).

What smell do deer absolutely hate? ›

You could accidentally plant something that your deer find absolutely delicious! Some deer-repelling plants with strong aromas include lavender, catmint, garlic or chives. Because they are thorny, roses are sometimes a good choice as well, but some deer find roses to be a wonderful snack.

Why are the deer eating my deer resistant plants? ›

Deer do not like fragrant plants like lavender, sage and peonies. Boxwoods remain one of the top choices for deer-resistance. But when deer are hungry enough, they will eat almost anything. Resistance does not mean deer proof!

Do deer eat geraniums? ›


This showy perennial geranium, also known as cranesbill, is grown for its showy bronze foliage and prolific, bright blue-purple flowers which cover the plant in early summer. The scent and texture of the foliage make it less appealing to deer and rabbits, but bees will enjoy its blooms.

Do deer eat hydrangeas? ›

Unfortunately for your garden, yes. Deer love snacking on hydrangea blooms and leaves, as they are soft and filled with moisture. While deer might love them for noshing, gardeners love all varieties of hydrangeas as classic garden shrubs.

What is the best natural deer repellent? ›

Deer have an amazing sense of smell, which they use to find food. You can take advantage and repel deer by using smells that are disliked, such as marigolds or lavender; mint will do too! Don't forget about fox urine – it will be effective for you this winter when hunting season starts again in a few months.

What do deer fear most? ›

Humans are the most effective predator of deer on the study site, so it makes sense deer fear them most.

Do marigolds keep deer away? ›

Deer usually avoid marigolds because of their pungent scent, so marigolds planted with other ornamentals and shrubs may help protect them.

Do deer eat dahlias? ›

The good news for dahlias is that they are low on the deer's list of favorite foods. While dahlias are not “deer proof,” they are considered to be so in some parts of the country – probably those areas where deer find enough other plants they prefer to eat!

Do deer eat clematis? ›

If they're hungry enough, our 4-legged friends will eat just about anything in the landscape. When it comes to vines, they frequently enjoy munching on garden lovelies such as Clematis and Climbing Hydrangea. But, there are some vines which could be better bets if your landscape is plagued by deer.

What are deer most afraid of? ›

But guess what the real scare was to the deer, surpassing even the wolves? Conversational human voices were overwhelmingly the most fear-inducing of the sounds to which the deer were exposed. In fact, it was found that the deer were nearly twice as likely to run from human recordings than those of any other predator.

What scares deer away from gardens? ›

Some people plant strong-smelling herbs and other plants around trees and shrubs they want to keep pests away from. Lavender, rosemary, oregano, thyme, catmint, garlic, and chives are just a few of the aromatic plants that deer avoid because of their powerful smells.

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