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21 Deer Resistant Plants for the Garden

Have you spent time and money creating your dream garden, only to discover that deer have eaten your gorgeous flowers overnight? I’ll show you 21 deer-resistant plants that will thrive in your garden and resist the temptation of deer.

From vibrant coneflowers to fragrant lavender, these deer-resistant flowers and plants will not only add color and texture to your garden but also provide peace and mind knowing your beautiful blooms will be spared.

deer resistant plants: cosmos

While no plants are completely deer resistant, deer will avoid certain plants that have:

  • strongly scented flowers or fragrant foliage
  • an unappetizing bitter taste
  • rough textures
  • thorny stems

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I’m a self-taught hobby gardener, not a Master Gardener. Everything I share with you on my blog is my opinion and things that have worked for me.

deer resistant plants: cosmos

Black-eyed Susan flowers are a great plant to grow in the garden because they are deer resistant.

Deer Resistant Plants and Flowers

The easiest way to keep deer out of your garden is to grow plants they don’t want to eat in the first place.

Here is a list of plants and flowers that have become favorites in my garden. They’re beautiful additions to my garden, and the deer leave them alone.

1. Black-Eyed Susans

Because black-eyed Susans are covered in coarse hair, deer and rabbits stay away from these perennials. Another positive note about this perennial is that butterflies and bees are attracted to this gorgeous flower!

This native perennial is the perfect plant to divide and transplant in the spring. You will have black-eyed Susans growing throughout your garden in no time.

2. Boxwood

If you’re hunting for a deer proof plant, boxwood is a great choice. This shrub has dense foliage and a strong scent that is unappealing to deer. They’ll often avoid it and move on to another type of plant.

Boxwood can be pruned into various shapes, from hedges to topiaries. It’s drought-tolerant and thrives in most soil types and lighting conditions.

Purple coneflower is a deer resistant perennial

3. Coneflower

Also known as Echinacea, coneflowers have a bitter taste, rough texture, and prickly stems, making this flower a perfect deer-resistant plant for your garden.

Coneflowers attract pollinators to the garden and bloom from mid-summer to the first frost. You can find echinacea in pink, purple, and white.

Deer resistant Cosmos Double Click Mix

4. Cosmos

These beautiful annuals have thick, leathery leaves and a bitter taste that deer don’t like. Cosmos flowers contain a sap called “Cosmosin,” an effective natural deterrent that makes them unappealing to deer.

Bees and butterflies love the cosmos. One of my favorite things about this whimsical flower is that the more you cut, the more blooms the plant will produce. There are several different varieties to choose from.

deer resistant plants: daffodil

5. Daffodils

If you’re looking for a charming, early spring pop of color in the garden, daffodils are a great plant option for your deer-resistant spring garden. Their strong scent is uninviting, and their tender leaves and stems can cause mild to severe stomach irritation.

Not only that, but daffodil’s bright colors can confuse deer’s vision when identifying potential food sources.

Even when the blooms are spent, the foliage of a daffodil will continue to grow and feed the bulb for the following year. As cut flowers, they are long-lasting and brighten up any space in your home.

6. Ferns

Hungry deer are sure to resist your garden ferns for several reasons. First, ferns don’t offer the same nutritional benefits as other plants in your yard. Their leathery texture makes ferns an undesirable food source for deer.

Lastly, their dense foliage makes it difficult for deer to access them and see the plant clearly.

If you want more texture and interest in your garden, consider planting these native plants. Their delicate fronds will add depth to your garden.


7. Foxglove

This colorful bell-shaped flower with freckles inside is an excellent choice for deer resistance in the garden. Deer do not favor foxgloves because they contain a high level of alkaloids, which cause a bitter taste and are toxic.

Foxgloves are poisonous plants, so keep children and pets away if you’re growing them in your garden.

Their height and uniquely beautiful blooms make these flowers an excellent choice for back-of-the-border gardens and even as a stunning backdrop for more traditional bedding plants.


8. Lenten Rose – Hellebores

These beautiful blooms are a real showstopper during the cold, gloomy winter and early spring months when there are so few flowers in the garden.

Hellebores, or lenten roses, are hardy plants that repel deer because of their strong odor. The prickly foliage makes it hard for deer to bite and eat it.

deer resistant plants: Larkspur Summer Skies Mix

9. Larkspur

This stunning summer flower is a beautiful choice for your deer-resistant garden. Its tall stems, sharp-pointed leaves, and pungent scent create an effective barrier to keep deer away.

Larkspur plants are also toxic to deer and other grazing animals.

These colorful flowers are fabulous additions to any floral arrangement because they add so much interest.

deer resistant plants: white lavender

10. Lavender

If you’re looking for a fragrant and colorful plant for your garden, lavender is a great addition. This flowering plant from the mint family has a sweet floral scent that deer care for.

Its woody stems and leaves also make this plant less appealing to deer.

Lavender, one of my favorite plants, is a hardy plant that can tolerate dry soil and full sun, making it versatile for any garden. It produces the most beautiful purple blooms and has a soothing scent to give you much-needed calmness.

deer resistant plants: lilacs

11. Lilacs

Are you looking for a plant that smells amazing and keeps the deer away? Lilacs are a perfect choice.

Their strong scent and bitter taste make lilacs an excellent option for gardeners struggling with deer damage.

Lilacs are known for their delicate blooms and unforgettable fragrance. These shrubs can for up to eight feet tall and produce lavender, pink, and white flowers.

Deer do not like the scent of marigolds.

12. Marigolds

These bright orange and yellow blooms will brighten up any summer garden and are the most deer resistant plant in the summer garden. Planting them next to other plants that deer love to eat is a good idea and one of the easiest ways to keep the deer from them.

Marigolds have a pungent aroma and bitter taste that deer despise. The oils and resins found in marigolds can also repel deer.

This plant has a carnation-like flowerhead that will thrive in the sunshine and is drought tolerant.

13. Mint

This popular herb is known for its fragrant leaves and culinary uses. It’s also an excellent addition to your garden if you’re looking for a plant that repels deer.

Mint has a strong scent that deer dislike, making it an effective deterrent.


14. Peonies

One of my favorite pink flowers in the cottage garden, peonies have fragrant blooms and are known to be pest-proof, including deer.

Peonies have thick, hardy stems and foliage and a strong scent that make them unpalatable to deer and other garden pests.

These blooms will bring beauty to your garden and make a fabulous cut flower addition to your floral arrangements.


15. Salvia

With its pungent scent and fuzzy texture, salvia is unappealing to deer. Not only will this plant give your garden a pop of color, but it will give the garden added pollinator benefits.

Salvia is drought-tolerant and can thrive in full sun or partial shade, making it versatile for any gardener.

deer resistant plants: sedum autumn joy

16. Sedum

Another low-maintenance and deer-resistant option for your garden is Sedum. The fact that this plant is relatively low in protein and other nutrients, along with Its bitter taste, keeps deer from wanting to eat sedum.

This hardy plant comes in various colors and shapes, from ground cover to tall spiky blooms.

My favorite variety is Sedum Autumn Joy which has flower clusters on tall stems that start as green and turn into a pretty dusty rose in late summer and early fall.

Deer resistant daisies are deer resistant perennials

17. Shasta Daisies

Deer don’t like this plant’s bitter taste and spiky texture. The daisy’s sharp leaves and stems make it tough for them to chew and swallow.

Shasta daisies are a perfect perennial for dividing and transplanting throughout your garden. These plants will grow up to three feet and are such a pretty early summer cutting flower here in Zone 8.

This Snapdragon Sherbet Toned Chantilly Mix is deer-resistant

18. Snapdragons

Deer stay away from snapdragons due to their bitter taste and prickly, fibrous texture.

Snapdragons are sun-loving annuals that are the perfect filler flower for floral arrangements. This particular variety has tall, strong stems with warm-colored butterfly-like blooms. They can reach from 36-48 inches tall.

Deer resistant Strawflower Apricot Mix

19. Strawflower

When it comes to deer resistant annuals, strawflowers are one of the best plants to grow in your flower beds. Their intense scent and prickly textures are the best deer deterrent and discourage deer from grazing.

Strawflowers are similar to daisies in form but with stiff and papery petals. They make the most beautiful dried flowers and add interest to any summer floral arrangement.

deer resistant plants: yarrow

20. Yarrow

Deer despise the bitter and aromatic taste of yarrow leaves. The leaves have a waxy coating that can be difficult for deer to digest.

Yarrow makes a great addition to any cut flower or cottage garden with its clusters of long-lasting, colorful blooms.

deer resistant plants: zinnias

21. Zinnias

This bright and beautiful summer annual has a strong odor that keeps the deer away. Zinnia’s thick leaf texture makes it challenging for deer to eat.

Zinnias are one of my favorite cut flowers and add so much color and beauty to summer arrangements. The more you cut, the more blooms this plant produces, so you never run out of blooms to harvest through the growing season.


Growing a beautiful garden is so rewarding. The last thing you want is deer eating the flowers you’ve worked so hard to grow.

I hope you consider planting some of these 21 deer-resistant plants and flowers to keep your garden beautiful and low-maintenance.

For those plants that deer love to eat, there’s some good news! Think about using a deer spray repellent like Liquid Fence. There are a lot of deer repellents out there to choose from, and I have had great success with them as long as I use them consistently.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Happy Gardening!


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deer resistant plant and flowers

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  1. Here in NW Montana deer eat the lilacs. Young deer just learning will much and try about anything. But when older mostly leave the flowers you mentioned alone. This is a good list! Thanks

  2. The deer did not eat my Black-Eyed Susan flowers. But, they did eat all of the green leaves at the bottom. And, the deer did eat all of my Coneflower…flowers. Almost all of the deer resistant flowers (and flowers in general) that I purchased, the deer feasted on like a buffet. Phlox, Coreopsis, Butterfly Bushes, Coral Belles. My 4 expensive Rose Bushes were annihilated! Not one rose left. My new flowerbed looks like a bunch of greenery. They must be really, really hungry. I need to find a non-toxic, safe and effective deer repellent.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear this Brenda. Although there are flowers that are deer resistant, there is no way of ever being 100% accurate because if the deer get hungry enough, they will eat pretty much anything. They ate my roses this year too. I use Liquid Fence every couple of weeks and when I keep it up, my plants are safe. Here is my affiliate link for you to check it out. https://urlgeni.us/amazon/liquidfence2 It does smell awful when you first spray but it’s worth it and pet safe.

    1. As long as I’m diligent about spraying I don’t have problems. But the minute I forget my flowers are gone.

  3. The deer around here are particularly brazen. They blithely chomp away on my flowers in the middle of the day and won’t run until I’m within 10 feet. Yesterday I watched as one calmly decimated my neighbor’s rose bush!

    1. I had snapdragons in an unprotected area and as soon as they budded, the deer ate them. Then I moved them to a “safe” area, and the deer got in and ate them again. The greens on snapdragon may be deer-safe, but the buds are definitely not.

      Woke up this morning and they’d eaten all the flower buds off my sulfur cosmos.

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