Adding beautiful plants to your landscape is satisfying and enhances your home. It’s then very frustrating when hungry deer decide to munch away at your carefully designed yard, leaving half-eaten plants in their wake.
While no plant is completely deer-resistant, there are lovely plants that thrive in Connecticut and deer typically avoid. View some of the best deer-resistant plants below to protect your landscape.
1. Virginia Bluebells
Pretty and blue, Virginia Bluebells bloom massive amounts of small bluebell flowers. These blooms appear in early-to-mid April. It’s one of the best early-blooming native plants for supporting native pollinators. Deer and rabbits normally steer clear of these fast-growing plants!
Landscape Tip: Plant as a ground cover in groups. It thrives in the shade, so consider planting under trees.
Brighten and enhance darker areas of your garden with the Foamflower. Flower spikes form in late April and open in early May, covered with foamy white, lightly fragrant flowers through the month and into June. Deer turn their noses up at the Foamflower!
Landscape Tip: This plant is a perfect shade ground cover.
3. Red Winterberry
Add pops of color to your yard! The Red Winterberry produces deep green foliage and a bumper crop of bright red berries in the fall and winter. Deer usually don’t like this plant. It’s also easy to care for and an excellent bird attracter.
Landscape Tip: This dense, multi-stem plant is an excellent choice for landscape borders. Its mature height and spread are 8-10 feet.
4. New England Aster
Deer aren’t fans of fuzzy flowers or leaves, which makes the New England Aster a wonderful addition to your landscape.
This plant grows button-like flower buds by early August. These buds open to reveal 1-2" diameter rose-colored petaled, yellow-centered daisies. Unlike deer, pollinators love the plant. Butterflies can't resist the allure of its bloom, and later in the fall, birds can't get enough of the seed left from the past bloom.
Landscape Tip: The New England Aster loves the full sun, tolerates some light shade, and is stunning when planted in groups in the landscape.
5. Red Twig Dogwood
This native, deer-resistant beauty is quick growing and spreading. It unfurls its medium green foliage and blooms small white flowers in late May and can persist even into early July.
These flowers are a butterfly magnet, while the whitish, blue-blushed fruit that forms later in the summer is considered a delicacy by birds. Even better, the Red Twig Dogwood is stunning with reddish-purple foliage in the fall and red twig color in winter.
Landscape Tip: Perfect for grouping to form an informal hedge or pollinator-friendly barrier planting.
6. Little Lanterns Wild Columbine
It might be small, but the Little Lanterns Wild Columbine is mighty! It produces an abundance of brilliant red-backed, yellow corolla flowers from April to June. Resistant to rabbits and deer, the flowers look like tiny lanterns and provide the earliest nectar source for hummingbirds in the spring.
Landscape Tip: Dense and compact, this plant thrives in partial to full shade. Plant in groups to produce a vibrant wave of color in darker garden areas. Little Lanterns Wild Columbine also works well in a mixed patio planter.
6. Ruby Spice Summersweet
Ruby Spice blooms incredibly scented reddish-pink flower spikes in July. These blossoms don't fade as they age. Deer aren’t fond of plants with strong fragrances, so this plant makes a wonderful garden addition. It does attract pollinators, such as butterflies and hummingbirds.
Landscape Tip: Ruby Spice Summersweet thrives in wet soil, so consider planting in lower areas of the garden.
Protect your landscape with deer-resistant plants
Again, no plant is 100% deer-resistant. Sometimes, hungry deer will still risk a nibble of deer-resistant plants. But they do lower your risk of a half-eaten landscape! Consider these other gardening tips for warding off deer:
- Plant close to your house. Deer are less likely to venture here.
- Stagger plant heights. This way, deer damage will be less noticeable.
- Sprinkle Irish Springs Soap shavings. Shave off a few slices around areas where deer come through. They tend to get spooked by the smell.
- Use deer-repellent granules. As nasty as it sounds, adding predatory scents, such as coyote urine-scented granules, around your landscape can scare off deer.
Are you looking for more deer-resistant plants? View our collection of favorites here.