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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Deer proof plants

In truth, there are no deer proof plants. Sorry to inform you of this painful bit of wisdom, but it's best you know this first and foremost. If deer are hungry enough, they'll eat anything, even plants they find distasteful. Their survival depends on them not being picky eaters.

That being said, there are some plants they try to stay away from, mostly because they don't feel they are that desperate yet. In the last Deer related post I told you why they like your garden plants. With that knowledge under your belt, you should figure out what they don't like.

The greens deer will love. The red, not so much.                         
Deer do like:
1. Bright green leaves
2. Tender shoots
3. Neutral scented greens
Deer don't like:
1. Pale green, gray, blue or white foliage
2. Prickly or fuzzy leaves
3. Strong scented plants

Plants in my garden which I have never seen deer eat:
1. Colorado Blue Spruce trees- this may be for two reasons. The needles are prickly and the color is not vibrant green. The grayish-blue hue signals to the deer that it may not be nutritious enough for them to bother with it.
2. Deodar Cedar- Very prickly needles and they also have a scent the deer may not like.
3. Artemesia Wormwood- this is a rather invasive ground cover with pale, silvery colored leaves. It also has a strong scent. Deer may sooner die before eating this.
4. Herbs- Oregano, chives, mint, garlic, thyme, basil and lemon balm never get touched.
5. Nasturtiums and watercress both have a peppery taste, so deer stay away from them.
6. Rosa Rugosa has a zillion thorns, so no way!
7. Coleus and fancy leaf Caladiums- mostly these come in reds, yellows and pinks which deer think not yummy enough to eat.
8. Tomato plants are just too smelly and potato plants are toxic for deer.
9. Pumpkins and zucchini plants. Must be the texture of the leaves that they don't like.
10. Daffodils- these lovely flowers are supposedly toxic for deer.
11. Juniper shrubs- too prickly and the scent of the berries must turn them off.
12. Mullien is a medicinal herb without a scent, but as the foliage is grayish-white in color and also cause heart palpitation, deer stay away from it.
13. Lily-of-the-Valley Although they have vibrant green foliage the berries they produce are toxic. Deer know to stay away from things which will make them sick.
14. African Marigolds- very smelly and deer don't like it.
Daffodils, one of the few plants which need little protection from deer.

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