Not Tonight, Deer! Garden Plants Bambi Won't Eat

Delicious, walking venison (also known as deer) plague legions of American gardens. Grumpy's previous post revealed those garden plants that sit atop their menu. Today, the ever-benevolent Grump lists dozens of plants deer do not like. Plant them and send herds of frustrated, ravenous walking venison over to savage your neighbor's garden.

Any such list comes with a caveat. Although many plants qualify as deer-resistant, there is no such thing as a deer-proof plant. A starving deer will chew the tires off of your car. But by building your garden around the following plants that Bambi finds barfy, you greatly reduce the chances of waking up to a barren yard containing little more than a swing set and your Caddy Eldorado up on blocks.


  • Ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum)
  • Angelonia (Angelonia angustifolia)
  • Bachelor's button (Centaurea cyanus)
  • Dusty Miller (Senecio cineraria)
  • Lantana (Lantana sp.)
  • Larkspur (Consolida ambigua)
  • Madagascar periwinkle aka annual vinca (Catharanthus roseus)
  • Marigold (Tagetes sp.)
  • Mealycup sage (Salvia farinacea)
  • Pentas aka Egyptian star clusters (Pentas lanceolata)
  • Petunia (Petunia sp.)
  • Poppy (Papaver sp.)
  • Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)
  • Spider flower (Cleome hasslerana)
  • Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
  • Zinnia (Zinnia sp.)


  • Daffodil (Narcissus sp.)
  • Dutch iris (Iris sp.)
  • Foxtail lily (Eremurus sp.)
  • Grape hyacinth (Muscari sp.)
  • Ornamental onion (Allium sp.)
  • Siberian squill (Scilla siberica)
  • Snowdrop (Galanthus sp.)
  • Snowflake (Leucojum sp.)
  • Spanish bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica)
  • Spring star flower (Ipheion uniflorum)


  • Agave (Agave sp.)
  • Angel's trumpet (Brugmansia sp.)
  • Artemisia (Artemisia sp.)
  • Bee balm (Monarda didyma)
  • Blanket flower (Gaillardia sp.)
  • Blue star (Amsonia sp.)
  • Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
  • Cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior)
  • Catmint (Nepeta sp.)
  • Columbine (Aquilegia sp.)
  • Coreopsis (Coreopsis sp.)
  • Dianthus (Dianthus sp.)
  • False indigo (Baptisia sp.)
  • Ferns
  • Goldenrod (Solidago sp.)
  • Herbs
  • Heuchera (Heuchera sp.)
  • Iris (Iris sp.)
  • Lamb's ear (Stachys byzantina)
  • Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis)
  • Ornamental grasses
  • Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Purple heart (Tradescantia purpurea)
  • Red-hot poker (Kniphofia sp.)
  • Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
  • Sage (Salvia sp.)
  • Society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea)
  • Yarrow (Achillea sp.)
  • Yucca (Yucca sp.)


  • Anise (Illicium sp.)
  • Barberry (Berberis sp.)
  • Bayberry (Myrica pennsylvanica)
  • Blue mist (Caryopteris clandonensis)
  • Bottlebrush (Callistemon rigidus)
  • Bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)
  • Boxwood (Buxus sp.)
  • Butterfly bush (Buddleia sp.)
  • Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)
  • Glossy abelia (Abelia x grandiflora)
  • Heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica)
  • Holly (Ilex sp.)
  • Japanese kerria (Kerria japonica)
  • Juniper (Juniperus sp.)
  • Loropetalum (Loropetalum chinense)
  • Mahonia (Mahonia sp.)
  • Oleander (Nerium oleander)
  • Plum yew (Cephalotaxus harringtonia)
  • Southern yew (Podocarpus macrophyllus)
  • Spirea (Spiraea sp.)
  • Tea olive (Osmanthus fragrans)
  • Wax myrtle (Morella cerifera)
  • Winter daphne (Daphne odora)


  • American holly (Ilex opaca)
  • Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum)
  • Birch (Betula sp.)
  • Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus)
  • Crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia sp.)
  • Deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara)
  • Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
  • Honeylocust (Gleditzia triacanthos)
  • Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica)
  • Live oak (Quercus virginiana)
  • Mimosa (Albizzia julibrissin)
  • Palms
  • Pines (Pinus sp.)
  • Red buckeye (Aesculus pavia)
  • Red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
  • Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

Vines & Ground Covers

  • Asian star jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum)
  • Carpet bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)
  • Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)
  • Creeping fig (Ficus pumila)
  • Confederate jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides)
  • Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata)
  • Juniper (Juniperus sp.)
  • Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis)
  • Mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus)
  • Pachysandra (Pachysandra sp.)
  • Periwinkle (Vinca sp.)
  • Spotted dead nettle (Lamium maculatum)
  • Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum)
  • Trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)

Did Grumpy Miss Something?

Could the impossible happen? Frankly, no, but sometimes walking venison do crazy things. Any plant on this list get devoured in your garden? Any plant not on this list that should be? Then turn off Hoda, put down that Coors Light, crawl out of your recliner for five minutes, and tell me about it.

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