What plants do deer never eat?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

There are several plants that deer tend to avoid due to their toxicity or strong scents. These plants can be a great addition to your garden if you’re looking to deter deer from feasting on your precious plants. Here are some plants that deer typically never eat:

1. Daffodils: These bright and cheery flowers are toxic to deer. The bulbs contain a substance called lycorine, which is bitter and unpalatable to deer. Daffodils are a great choice for deer-resistant gardens.

2. Foxgloves: Foxgloves are known for their tall spikes of tubular flowers. These plants contain toxic compounds called cardiac glycosides, which can cause heart problems if ingested. Deer tend to avoid them, making them a good option for deer-resistant gardens.

3. Poppies: Another plant that deer tend to steer clear of is the poppy. Poppies contain alkaloids that are toxic to many animals, including deer. Their bright and delicate flowers can add a pop of color to your garden while deterring deer.

4. Sages: Deer are not fond of the strong scent of herbs like sage. Varieties such as common sage (Salvia officinalis) and Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) are both deer-resistant options. These plants have aromatic leaves that can be used for culinary purposes as well.

5. Ornamental Salvias: Similar to sages, ornamental salvias have a strong scent that deer tend to avoid. These plants come in a variety of colors and flower shapes, adding beauty and fragrance to your garden while keeping deer at bay.

6. Lavender: Known for its calming fragrance, lavender is another plant that deer usually stay away from. The strong scent of lavender can be overpowering for deer, making it a great choice for a deer-resistant garden. Plus, you can harvest the flowers and use them for various purposes like making potpourri or essential oils.

7. Peonies: These beautiful and lush flowers are a favorite among gardeners, and luckily, deer don’t share the same enthusiasm. Peonies have a bitter taste, which makes them unappealing to deer. They come in a variety of colors and can be a stunning addition to any garden.

8. Bearded Irises: With their vibrant blooms and unique textures, bearded irises are a popular choice for gardens. Fortunately, deer tend to avoid them due to their bitter taste. Bearded irises come in a wide range of colors, making them a versatile option for any garden.

It’s important to note that while these plants are typically avoided by deer, there is no guarantee that deer will never eat them. Deer behavior can vary, and hungry deer may still nibble on these plants if other food sources are scarce. However, incorporating these deer-resistant plants into your garden can help minimize the damage caused by deer.

In my personal experience, I have planted a variety of these deer-resistant plants in my garden and have successfully deterred deer from causing extensive damage. The pops of color from daffodils and poppies, the calming scent of lavender, and the vibrant blooms of peonies and bearded irises have not only added beauty to my garden but also kept the deer at bay.