It's nice to incorporate ornamental plants into casually designed perennial beds, shrub borders and natural areas of the yard, but what types of ornamental plants can one use to keep the deer from nibbling as if the yard were a buffet table?
First off, there are very few plants that are totally deer resistant. When deer populations are high and food is hard to find, they will usually find their way into your yard, likely to feed on your ornamentals. Deer prefer tender young foliage and, during dry spells, they are attracted to irrigated plants.
Plants with a high degree of deer tolerance
- Crape myrtle
- River birch
- Leyland cypress
- Ornamental grasses
- Christmas fern
- Wax begonia
- Carolina jessamine
There are many other plants that I could list. If you want a more complete list, you can call the extension office and we can supply you with more options.
If you have a lot of deer in your area, avoid camellia, crocus, daylilies, hydrangea, hosta and roses. If you already have them, protect them. There is nothing more aggravating than finding your plants damaged by deer's voracious appetite.
There are some commercial repellents on the market, but they tend to wash off with rain and must be applied continually.
There are also "home remedies" such as soap, human hair and garlic or onion powder that have had unreliable results. Fencing or caging your plants is another option.
Wanda Cannon is a Master Gardener trained through the Hall County program and also serves as Master Gardener coordinator and horticulture assistant for the Hall County Extension office. Phone: 770-535-8293.