20 Garden Plants Deer Will Utterly Destroy

Oh, man! Nothing like a fresh hosta! Photo: mirror.co.uk.

I'm gonna save you some money. I'm gonna save you some time. I'm gonna save you a LOT of heartache, anger, acid reflux, and embarrassing eye twitches. Because if you live where deer cruise the neighborhood at night, there are certain plants you should NEVER stick in the ground lest you find them the next morning on a pleasant little journey down Bambi's digestive tract.

01 of 20


August Moon Hostas
Nicola Stocken/Gap Photos

To a deer, these are fresh-caught Maine lobster served with melted Irish butter. They will scarf down every one they see, even when not offered a suitable wine pairing

02 of 20


Steve Bender

Don't even think of planting these three plants in deer country unless your garden is surrounded by an electric fence the size of the one in "Jurassic Park." Hope there's not a power outage.

03 of 20


Lovely pink rose
Getty Images

You might think thorny roses would be undesirable, but you don't know Bambi. To him, a little physical pain is more than worth the emotional trauma he's going to cause you.

04 of 20


Large Pink Rhododendron
Steve Bender

Another dinnertime favorite. Deer seek the plant out in the winter when the rhodies might be hanging on to more leaves than other plants.

05 of 20


Renate Frost / EyeEm / Getty Images

What's up with this? Are deer determined to remove all of America's favorite plants from the landscape? Yeah, pretty much.

06 of 20

Indian Hawthorn

Indian hawthorne
Carol VanHook

Around the Southern coast and in places with alkaline soil, this broadleaf evergreen is enjoyed as a substitute for acid-loving azaleas. Deer feel the same way. Yum.

07 of 20

Japanese Pittosporum

‘Mojo’ Japanese Pittosporum plant for front yard
Courtesy of PDSI

It grows in many of the same places in the South as Indian hawthorn does. Until deer find it, of course, and then your garden looks so much more open and uncrowded than before. Fist bump!

08 of 20

Pansies and Violas

Pansies and their relatives, violets and violas, are often treated as annuals; they're enlisted to provide beds, containers, and borders with plenty of fall (and winter!) garden color. Leonid Shkurikhin/EyeEm/Getty Images

This one is a no-brainer. If people can put pansy and viola flowers on salads and eat them, deer surely can. FYI, their favorite dressings are Ranch and Thousand Island.

09 of 20


Golden Euonymus
Christopher Fairweather/Getty Images

Grumpy ain't gonna shed any tears over this one. He hates most species of euonymus, particularly the gruesomely garish golden euonymus (E. japonica 'Aureomarginatus'). If the deer don't get them, scales and mildew will. Good riddance.

10 of 20

Japanese Aucuba

Japanese aucuba
Bernard Spragg

This is one of the better broadleaf evergreen shrubs for shade, especially the popular gold dust plant (A. japonica 'Variegata') with bright yellow spots on deep green leaves. Once a deer spots it, though, it's "sayonara."

11 of 20


Think blueberry bushes are just for summer picking? Think again. These shrubs are a blaze with color come cooler months. Leaves change to red, orange, or yellow combinations that offer a welcomed bonus to the plant's summer fruit. Learn more. . Andrei Berezovskii/Getty Images

Did you know that blueberries are among the most potent sources of health-giving antioxidants? Deer certainly do, which is why they will gobble down every one, along with the foliage too. How kind of you to plant them.

12 of 20

Japanese Yew

Japanese yew
Wilson Nursuries

Among the most common evergreen shrubs for foundation planting and hedges in cold-winter areas, Japanese yew bears soft, red fruits that people find quite toxic. Deer, of course, do not. They relish the leaves as well. Here's looking at yew, kid.

13 of 20


Cheekwood Estate & Gardens Tulips
Courtesy Cheekwood Estate and Gardens

OK, since I just told you to forget about planting pansies and violas for spring color, you think you'll plant sweeps of tulips instead? Wait until the herd sweeps through your yard! Plant daffodils instead. Deer won't touch them.

14 of 20

American Arborvitae

Aborvitae Thuja occidentalis
F. D. Richards

Rows of these pyramidal, needleleaf evergreens are often planted in the burbs to screen out ugly neighbors. Deer, however, think all humans should be friends and that can't happen with arborvitaes in the way. Good dining makes good neighbors!

15 of 20


Variety of Impatiens Colors
Coast-to-Coast / Getty

It's a bummer, because easy-to-grow impatiens are prolific flowerers, and they don't need deadheading or other fussy care. But deer don't want to admire your impatiens, they want to eat them.

16 of 20


Variegated Ivy
Glynlewis1/Getty Images

Beware—The Old Farmer's Almanac says ivy is one of the plants (along with hosta and daylilies) known as "deer candy."

17 of 20


Hydrangea flower
Getty Images

Deer may ignore the stems and leaves of hydrangea, but wouldn't you know they love the flowers and will eat them even when they're just small buds.

18 of 20


Jacky Parker Photography/Getty Images

Crabapples might not be our first choice for a snack, but deer love to munch on these tiny fruits.

19 of 20


picture alliance / Contributor / Getty Images

Deer look to sunflower for a protein source, and will certainly return once they've discovered a nutritious and tasty patch.

20 of 20

Sweet Potato Vine

Sweet potato vine
Daryl Mitchell

With a name like this, I suppose we can't be surprised that deer love this container-planting favorite.

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