We hear, “Point me to the deer-proof section”, almost everyday at Rainbow Gardens. When we point, we’ll be pointing you to the “deer-resistant” section instead because the truth is, there’s no such thing as a truly “deer-proof” plant. But Rainbow Gardens can help you choose your plants wisely with just one “don’t” and one “do” when it comes to buying plants while living in deer country. Following these two pieces of advice can give you a head start when trying to keep your garden “nibble-free”. Include some of our other deer-repelling advice and you could have your most successful gardening year yet!

“Don’t Plant What Deer Just Can’t Resist.”

(MMM. Camellia’s might just look like cotton candy to a deer!)

Don’t choose deer-attracting plants! Know the phrase, “like a kid in a candy store”? That’s a great analogy for what deer look and act like when they encounter favorite plants. Plants that are delicious to deer can meet their demise overnight. While this is not a full comprehensive list, it’s a good idea not to plant these varieties within deer reach (especially if they are new and tender).

Plants Deer Love to Chomp on:

  • Camelias
  • Hybrid Tea Roses
  • Hydrangeas
  • Fruit (apple, peach, plum, pear, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries)
  • Impatiens
  • Pansies
  • Phlox (Annual)
  • Hosta
  • Fringe Tree
  • English Ivy
  • Euonymus
  • Veggies (beans, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, peas, sweet corn).

We’re not saying you can’t ever plant these varieties, but you better have a 10 foot fence surrounding them if deer live by. Now…on the other hand, if you WANT to bring in the deer and offer them sources of food, Texas A&M Agrilife can steer you in the right direction.

“Do” Look for Lists Containing Deer Resistant Plants.

(It might take a litte nibble, but a deer is most likely to move on past this beautiful, blue plumbago.)

Do choose plants from a deer-resistant list, especially if deer are known to inhabit the area where you live. While there is always a chance a deer will nibble on your deer-resistant plants, they’ll still be more likely to move on instead of demolishing the entire plant because it doesn’t taste good or feel good on their tongues. Check out our deer resistant recommendations here. Remember each herd has their own palate; and most likely each deer does too! You might have a deer or herd that decides the favorite plant of the season is something off the deer-resistant list. They like to keep us guessing sometimes. (We’re sliding in an extra “do” here….”Do” understand that gardening is of nature, and so are deer; an outlook of taking gardening with a grain of salt is sometimes all we can “do” to save our sanity.

*One more thing to keep in mind is that weather has an affect on every aspect of gardening here in San Antonio, and the deer know that too. If summer drought or winter frosts are prolonged, times get hard to forage naturally for food. Deer will look past the prickly leaves or strong scents they usually despise and muscle through it to get a meal. Good luck, Gardeners!

~The Happy Gardener