20 Best Deer Resistant Annuals And Perennials

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You may enjoy or even look forward to deer visiting your property. However, your enthusiasm can quickly wear off when these elegant, graceful mammals make a buffet out of your garden. Imagine working hard to create a carefully crafted garden of beautiful plants only for it to be a steady source of deer food.

This can be disheartening, but I have some good news. There are many deer-resistant annuals and perennials that deer will not want to eat and destroy. Although no plant is fully deer-proof, the taste or scent of some plants makes them less attractive to deer.

Let’s look at these worthy options, beginning with the annuals.

20 Deer Resistant Annuals And Perennials

 Best Deer Resistant Annuals And Perennials

Deer-Resistant Annuals

1. Marigold (Tagetes spp.)

Deer Resistant Annuals


The prolific, long-lasting marigold blooms are a sight to behold. This easy-to-grow annual emits a strong, pungent odor known to deter deer. Marigold’s musky or citrus-like can also mask the scent of more desirable plants in your garden.

Therefore, you can use it as a companion plant in your garden to help deter pests, including deer. It requires full sun and well-drained soil.

Hardiness zones: 2-11

2. Spider Flower (Cleome hassleriana)

Best deer resistant annuals & perennials


This attractive deer-resistant plant deserves a spot in your garden if you don’t mind its over-prolific, self-sowing nature. Its pungent odor prevents deer from feeding on it.

That’s not all; Spider Flowers’ spiky leaves and stems physically deter deer. Some varieties grow up to 6-8ft tall, but there are compact cultivars too.

Hardiness zones: 10-11

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3. Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)

Deer-resistant shade annuals


Look no further if you want a deer-resistant annual that you can grow anywhere, from vegetable gardens, containers, foundation plantings, and hanging baskets to borders. Sweet Alyssum’s small, delicate flowers are typically white, but there are purple and pink ones.

Sweet Alyssum isn’t desirable to deer because of its texture and color. The sweet fragrance it emits can also mask the scent of plants deer eat.

Hardiness zones: 5-9

4. Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus)

Deer-resistant annuals full sun


Snapdragons are unpalatable to deer because of their bitter taste due to compounds like bitter glycosides in the plant. This annual can also physically deter these mammals with its spiky texture.

Snapdragons will also add vibrancy to your garden as they produce colorful flowers. Use them to make your flower beds and garden borders more appealing.

Hardiness zones: 7-11

5. Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana spp.)

Deer resistant annuals for pots


Deer tend to avoid plants that contain toxins, and since Flowering Tobacco contains toxic compounds, particularly nicotine and other alkaloids, these mammals will stay away from it. Its powerful and somewhat pungent fragrance is also unappealing to deer.

Flowering Tobacco is a worthy option if you want a beautiful, deer-resistant plant with low maintenance requirements. It doesn’t have disease or pest problems.

Hardiness zones: 10-11

Read More : Invasive Perennials You Don’t Want In Your Garden

6. Dill (Anethum graveolens)

Deer Resistant Annuals


Dill is more than just a valuable and flavorful source of culinary herb; it also helps keep deer away from your garden. Its strong and distinct aroma is unappealing to deer and can mask the scents of other, more appealing plants.

It is also less palatable to deer because it has a pungent and slightly bitter taste. Moreover, Dill’s finely divided, lacy foliage is less attractive to deer.

Hardiness zones: 2-11

7. Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)


This cool-season annual is a convenient deer-resistant plant because it is relatively easy to grow. Its wildflowers reseed quickly, producing new Cornflower clusters every year. It produces beautiful, colorful blue flowers that also come in pink, white, and purple.

Its deer-resistant properties are its bitter taste and the spiky or prickly leaves and stems.

Hardiness zones: 2-11

8. Persian Shield (Strobilanthes atropurpurea)

deer-resistant flowers for pots


Is your garden or containers in need of an eye-catching addition that deer will also not want to nibble on? Look no further; the Persian Shield’s striking, iridescent purple-blue leaves with metallic-like shimmer are captivating. However, this unusual foliage appearance is less desirable to deer.

Furthermore, this plant’s slightly pungent odor deters deer, while the soft, somewhat hard leaf texture discourages browsing.

Hardiness zones: 8-11

9. Zinnia (Zinnia spp.)

Tall perennials that bloom all summer deer resistant


Regardless of the size and color you desire, there is a deer-resistant variety of Zinnia that will suit your garden. These easy-to-grow plants are resilient and able to thrive in various conditions.

You can enjoy their bright, long-lasting flowers without the worry of being eaten by deer because of their bitter taste. Pollinators will also frequent your garden as Zinnias attract them.

Hardiness zones: 2-11

10. Annual Lobelia (Lobelia erinus)

deer-resistant  annuals


Annual Lobelia’s low, trailing growth habit can make it less accessible and less appealing to deer, as does the fine, delicate foliage, stems, and bitter taste. As for appearance, consider this plant for your containers and garden because of its attractive, cascading growth habit and vibrant blooms.

Annual Lobelia produces small, colorful blue, purple, white, and pink flowers.

Hardiness zones: 2-11

Deer-Resistant Perennials

Let’s now turn our attention to perennials that deer typically avoid eating.

11. Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

deer-resistant perennials full sun

This perennial is a magnet for butterflies, but deer hate it. So, plant the Butterfly Weed in your garden for brilliant, fiery orange flowers and aid the ecosystem’s health by attracting beneficial insects without creating a deer problem.

This drought-tolerant plant has a milky sap that contains toxic compounds that deter deer from grazing on it.

Hardiness zones: 3-9

12. Ice Plant (Delosperma)

low maintenance deer-resistant plants


With deer preferring plants at their eye level, reaching Ice Plants requires effort as it is low-growing. Another reason these mammals stay from this drought-tolerant perennial is the hairs covering its leaves and its scent.

When Ice Plants bloom, your garden will be covered with strikingly spectacular bright and daisy-like vibrant purple, pink, or orange flowers. Ice Plants store water in their succulent, thick leaves.

Hardiness zones: 6-10

13. Boxwood (Buxus spp.)

low maintenance deer-resistant plants


This perennial shrub isn’t a deer go-to snack because all its parts are toxic to humans and a majority of animals. Boxwood is also among the most deer-tolerant plants. Deer dislike its highly fragranced leaves.

Despite more than 100 boxwoods existing, deer do not like any of them. Use boxwood as hedges, topiaries, or standalone specimens for timeless beauty and sophistication.

14. Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

deer resistant perennials that bloom all summer


So, what makes the Russian Sage deer-resistant? This small, lavender-blue flower-producing perennial emits a strong, aromatic fragrance that deer find unpleasant. Additionally, the scent masks the odor of deer-desirable plants growing in your garden.

Also, the finely divided leaves and spiky, woody stems and leaves contribute to their resistance to these mammals.

Hardiness zones: 4-9

15. Lavender (Lavandula spp.)

low maintenance deer-resistant plants


The strong and pleasant fragrance, woody stems, and somewhat spiky leaves are the reasons Lavender is unpleasant and unpalatable to deer. Moreover, deer favor plants with more tender and succulent leaves, which makes Lavender’s silvery or grayish foliage less attractive.

Consider this flowering plant for your deer-free garden for its ornamental beauty and medicinal value.

Hardiness zones: 5-8

16. Columbine (Aquilegia spp.)

deer-resistant plants and shrubs

Do not worry about deer eating this plant because of its toxic leaves and the alkaloids, contributing to a slightly bitter taste. However, with Columbine growing in your garden, this space will be a hub for pollinators.

Apart from contributing to the ecosystem, the Columbine’s attractive, spurred flowers are delightful. Furthermore, the green, deeply lobed foliage adds to this plant’s unique appearance. It prefers neutral to relatively acidic soil.

Hardiness zones: 3-8

17. Yarrow (Achillea spp.)

Low maintenance deer resistant plants and shrubs

Yarrow is generally deemed a deer-resistant perennial due to its aromatic foliage, which deer tend to avoid and is slightly bitter. Add this plant to your garden for its ornamental qualities and extended blooming period. It also attracts pollinators and is suitable for flower arrangements.

It works for formal and informal garden settings, such as borders, cottage gardens, and naturalized meadows. Common Yarrow species include Achillea millefolium and Achillea filipendulina.

Hardiness zones: 3-9

18. Hellebore (Helleborus spp.)

deer resistant perennials that bloom all summer


Dazzle your borders, woodland gardens, and naturalized areas with this plant’s early and colorful blooms and help early pollinators get nectar. The long-lasting blooms feature unique, cup-like white, pink, purple, green, and even dark maroon or near-black flowers.

Deer avoid eating Hellebores because they contain toxic compounds, such as cardiac glycosides and alkaloids, a slightly bitter taste, and leathery, tough leaves.

Hardiness zones: 3-9

19. Shrub Roses

Long-blooming deer-resistant perennials


Keep deer out of your property by creating a shrub-rose fence. The thorns on the stems will physically deter deer and other browsing animals. Shrub roses are also ideal standalone specimens, ground covers, and landscape focal points.

Just Pick a variety that fits your garden’s design and space requirements. Shrub roses are appreciated for their attractive foliage and showy blooms.

Hardiness zones: 3-11

20. Leopard Plant (Ligularia)

Deer resistant perennials for shade

Do you love Hostas but live in a deer-prone location? The leopard plant is an excellent alternative to Hostas that deer love. The Leopard Plant comprises textured, leathery, massive leaves that deer avoid. Also, its tall, colorful flowers do not appeal to them but add to this perennial unique appearance.

This shade-loving perennial blooms in late summer.

Hardiness zones: 7-11


The above-mentioned deer-resistant annuals and perennials should help you develop a thriving garden while living among these adorable but destructive animals. However, as you choose your ideal plants, remember that no plant is entirely deer-proof, so young or hungry deer may still nibble on deer-resistant plants. In addition, deer preferences can vary by region and food availability.

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