Usually, Ornamental Onions like this Globemaster are not appetizing to deer.


Winter King Hawthorne and Dwarf Winterberry Holly make an attractive winter scene.


Grasses, such as this Shenandoah Switch Grass (Panicum) are generally avoided by deer.


Summersweet Clethra enjoys both sun and partial shade.


Blazing star also attracts Butterflies.


Camas Lily is a spring blooming bulb.

« Back to Tips & Plant Lists

Got Deer? Is your garden Bambi's all-you-can-eat buffet?

If they are hungry, deer will eat almost anything. However, there are a number of lovely plants that they are less likely to chow down on. Remember that almost every plant listed on a ‘safe’ list also appears on a ‘don’t’ list, including many poisonous plants. About the only plants on which everyone agrees are that deer everywhere LOVE Hostas, Daylilies, Tulips, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Arborvitae, and Yews. In general, most ornamental grasses and ferns are safe to plant. Given that disclaimer, these tough and attractive plants may be less appealing to most deer in my area:



American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)

American Holly (Ilex opaca)

Black Gum/Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica)

Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens selections)

Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroema indica selections)

Dogwoods (Cornus florida, C. alternifolia, C. kousa & selections)

Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana Emerald Sentinel)

Fringetree (Chionanthus virginiana)

Japanese Maple (Acer palmateum selections)

Magnolias, including Sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana & other species & selections)

Oaks (Quercus species)

Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

Redbud (Cercis canadensis & selections)

Red Maple (Acer rubrum)

River Birch (Betula nigra)

Serviceberry/Shadblow (Amelanchier species & selections)

Winter King Hawthorne (Crataegus phaenopyrum Winter King)

Yoshino Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica Yoshino)



Bluemist Shrub (Caryopteris x clandonensis & selections)

Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)

Boxwood (Buxus selections)

Fothergill (Fothergilla gardenii or F. major)

Golddust Plant (Aucuba japonica)

GroLow Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica GroLow)


Japanese Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciousa)

Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)

Montgomery Blue Spruce (Picea pungens Montgomery)

Redtwig & Shrub Dogwoods (Cornus species & selections)

Saint Johnswort (Hypericum species & selections)

Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)


Summersweet Clethra (Clethra alnifolia & selections)


Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica species & selections)

Weigela (Weigela florida selections)

Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata selections)

Witchhazel (Hamamelis species & selections)

Yucca (Yucca filamentosa)



Anemone (Anemone species & selections)

Asters (Symphotrichum species & selections)

Barrenwort (Epimedium species & selections)

Beebalm (Monarda didyma & others)

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia species)

Blazing Star (Liatris species)

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra species & selections)

Bluestar (Amsonia species)

Butterflyweed & Milkweeds (Asclepias tuberosa & others)

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis & L. silphitica)

Columbine (Aqualegia species & selections)

Coreopsis (Coreopsis rosea, C. verticillata)

Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum)

False Indigo (Baptisia species & selections)

Flowering Sage (Salvia species & selections)

Foam Flower (Tiarella species & selections)

Garden Peony (Paonia selections)

Goldenrods (Solidago species & selections)

Hardy Ageratum (Conoclinium/Eupatorium coelestinum)

Indian Pink (Spigella marlandica)

Iris (Iris species & selections)

Joe Pye Weed & Bonesets (Eupatorium species & selections)

Lenten Rose (Helleborus species & selections)

Lily of the Valley (Convalaria majalis)

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum)

Pinks (Dianthus species & selections)

Plumbago/Leadwort (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides)

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)

Torch Lily (Kniphofia species & selections)

Turtlehead (Chelone species & selections)

Violets (Viola sororia & others)



Autumn Crocus (Colchicum selections)

Camas Lily (Camassia species)

Daffodil & Jonquil (Narcissus species & selections)

Glory of the Snow (Chinodoxia)

Grape Hyacinth (Muscari species & selections)


Ornamental onion (Allium species & selections)


Additional images

Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) has beautiful

horizontal branching, here in full bloom.

Bottlebrush Buckeye is a native woodland shrub.


Saint Johnswort is a relatively small (2 to 5 feet) shrub

with bright yellow flowers in summer.

Purple Coneflower and Hardy Ageratum are a beautiful

combination that attract butterflies but not deer.

Grolow Fragrant Sumac is a tough small shrub for difficult

spots, such as on a slope.

Autumn Crocus (Colchicum Waterlily) bulbs work well

planted with low groundcovers.