Low-Maintenance Deer-Resistant Plants

By Harry RamosLast update: 2024-04-20

Do wild deer often sneak out by your garden and ruin everything? If so, I'll let you in on a little secret: Deer prefer to avoid aromatic plants with strong aromas, as well as blooms with toxicity. See my list of low-maintenance deer-resistant plants for more information.


Low-Maintenance Deer-Resistant Plants

Hardiness zones: 4-9

Height: 1–5 feet

Spread: 2–6 feet

Soil type: Moist, well-draining soil

Daphne odora is an evergreen shrub with maybe the most intensely fragrant blooms of all daphnes, as the name implies.

Daphnes are toxic in all sections and are resistant to deer. It's high on many gardeners' "must have" lists. It's small, blooms profusely, and offers color to the garden throughout the winter months when flowers are scarce.

Daphne is picky about growing conditions and does not transfer well, so put it in a permanent location.


Low-Maintenance Deer-Resistant Plants

Hardiness zones: 3-9

Height: 25 feet

Spread: 5 - 6 Feet

Soil type: Dry to moist, well-drained soil

Bayberry is a dense-branching deciduous shrub with a rounded form that reaches 6-10 feet tall.

The scent of bayberry discourages deer from eating it.

Bayberry is a hardy and easy-to-grow plant that can survive a wide range of landscape conditions, including full sun to partial shade, wet swamplands, and high, dry, and alkaline environments.

The plant is also drought, erosion, and salt resilient, making it perfect for seashore applications.

Butterfly Bush

Low-Maintenance Deer-Resistant Plants

Hardiness zones: 5-10

Height: 15 feet

Spread: 4 to 10 feet

Soil type: acid to moderately alkaline soils

Deer seldom eat butterfly bush, and even if they do, the plant grows quickly within the same season. Butterfly bush is also resistant to a variety of diseases and pests.

It's no wonder that butterfly bushes are popular; they're stunning.

They produce gorgeous inflorescences from late summer to fall. The flower colors range from purple to lilac and typically have orange eyes in the center.

Russian Sage

Low-Maintenance Deer-Resistant Plants

Hardiness zones: 5-9

Height: 3 to 5 feet

Spread: 2 to 4 feet

Soil type: slightly alkaline lean soils

Russian sage is a tall shrub that grows to be 3-5 feet tall with a spread of 2-3 feet, making a hedge to deter deer from damaging your garden by fragrance and providing a barrier.

The plant is visually appealing, with square, silvery-gray stems and elongate, gray-green leaves that resemble lavender.

Late in the summer, Russian sage blossoms small purple-blue tubular flowers, lending an airy, textural effect.

Russian sage is a simple plant to cultivate.


Low-Maintenance Deer-Resistant Plants

Hardiness zones: 5-9

Height: 2–4 feet

Spread: 2–4 feet

Soil type: Medium moisture, well-drained soils

Bluebeard is a popular garden plant due to its drought tolerance and deer resistance. Another significant reason is the beauty of its rich, violet-blue blossoms from late summer to fall.

Bluebeard's foliage is grayish green with silver undersides. The fuzzy oval leaves do not turn a noticeable color in the fall.


Low-Maintenance Deer-Resistant Plants

Hardiness zones: 4-8

Height: 6–9 feet

Spread: 9–12 feet

Soil type: slightly alkaline to moderately acidic moist, well-drained soils

Weigela is dormant throughout the winter, therefore animals such as deer usually ignore it. It produces tubular five-lobed blooms in red, pink, white, and yellow throughout the spring and summer.

This is a low-maintenance shrub that thrives in most growing situations.


Low-Maintenance Deer-Resistant Plants

Hardiness zones: 3-9

Height: 3 feet

Spread: 3 feet

Soil type: Humus-rich, well-draining soils

The fragrance and texture of catmint leaves are repulsive to deer. In reality, this plant is rarely disturbed by pests or animals.

Catmint has gray-green loose leaves and violet-blue blossoms held above it. Flowers are produced over a lengthy period of time, but it's a good idea to cut them back after they've bloomed to keep the plant looking clean and to encourage more to grow.


Low-Maintenance Deer-Resistant Plants

Hardiness zones: 5-9

Height: 20 to 24 inches

Spread: 20 to 24 inches

Soil type: sandy, well-draining soils

The flowers and leaves of lavender have a strong aroma that repels deer. Linalool, a terpene component, contributes to the plant's powerful aroma, making it naturally pest-repellant and deer-deterrent (yet attractive to humans).

Lavender is commonly planted as an annual in humid settings, but as a perennial in drier climates.


Low-Maintenance Deer-Resistant Plants

Hardiness zones: 3 and 7-8

Height: 3 feet

Spread: 3 feet

Soil type: well-drained, slightly acidic soils

Peony blooms have a distinct aroma and flavor that deer dislike. Deer apparently think peonies stink, so they avoid them at meals.

This plant will happily thrive in the ground or in a large container for several years. They are highly resilient and easy to cultivate.

Ornamental Salvias

Low-Maintenance Deer-Resistant Plants

Hardiness zones: 5-9

Height: 2–4 feet

Spread: 1-4 feet

Soil type: well-drained soils

Deer avoid scented herbs and other vegetation. Salvia ornamenta is a nice example. Deer dislike Salvias and avoid eating the leaves.

Hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees, on the other hand, love Salvias.

Salvias are an excellent choice for an easy-care garden because of their little maintenance and drought resistance.


When making this list of 10 low-maintenance deer-resistant plants, I tried to vary options based on hardiness zones, soil type, and bush size so that you will find the right ones for your garden. I hope you like this article. Thanks for reading!

I’m Harry Ramos, who's crazy about all things green. I’m here to share some experience in my gardening adventure and how to choose the best products for your garden. Let's dig in, get our hands dirty, and celebrate the simple, earthy pleasures of the garden together!

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