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There is nothing quite like the sight of a deer wandering through your garden in the twilight – these beautiful creatures move with mesmerizing grace and elegance that just makes you stop and stare.
But is your pleasure at glimpsing a deer dampened by the thought of the damage they might be doing to your plants? Creating a stunning display of deer repellent flowers may be the answer to your problems!
In This Guide:
14 Stunning Deer Repellent Flowers For Your Yard Or Garden
We need to start with a short disclaimer – there are very few truly deer repellent plants! Deer have a hugely varied appetite and eat plants that many other animals will not touch. Whatever they don’t eat may be damaged as they pass through your yard in search of tastier morsels.
However, carefully choosing what flowers we grow can make our gardens far less attractive to deer. Many plant varieties have a scent that can repel deer, while others are more resilient to being trodden on or eaten. Some plants can be grown as a physical barrier, while others have spiky or bristly leaves that repel deer.
By selecting from our range of stunning deer repellent flowers, you can create a garden that is not only beautiful but also far less attractive to deer! All of the plants on our list today have been listed as seldom or rarely damaged on the deer resistance list produced by Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.
1. Lavender (Lavandula spp.)
Growing lavender has so many benefits that it is hard to know where to start! Lavender is a low-maintenance plant that produces an abundance of tall blue or purple flowers that not only look fabulous but also attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to your yard.
The pungent smell of lavender may be very relaxing to humans, but deer detest it and will not venture near these beautiful plants.
2. Sage (Salvia officinalis)
The beauty of sage is often overlooked as part of an ornamental garden. Still, the lush silvery-green foliage and tall spikes of purple-blue flowers make it a valuable addition to a flowery border.
We might regard sage as a valuable culinary herb, but deer dislike the smell and taste of this pungent plant and will give it a wide berth.
3. Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)
Another beautiful evergreen herb, rosemary, will give you a stunning display of pale purple flowers right through the cold winter months.
It is excellent for repelling deer and seems to thrive on neglect! Different rosemary varieties include the tall bush-like form and trailing prostrate rosemary, which looks fabulous as it cascades down a retaining wall.
4. Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
Sweet alyssum is a low-growing plant that produces an abundance of highly-scented tiny white star-shaped flowers.
This low-maintenance plant will produce flowers year-round in mild climates, creating a cloud of fragrance that deer find highly off-putting. Sweet alyssum is an annual plant but self-seeds readily, providing you with a bank of blooms to enjoy year after year.
5. Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violacea)
Society garlic is an excellent drought-resistant perennial that can be used as ground cover in rock gardens and borders. It bears tall stems of pale pink star-shaped flowers that protrude high above the dense foliage.
As the name suggests, society garlic has a strong garlic-like aroma which is highly repellent to deer.
6. Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
Lily of the valley is the perfect plant to fill shady spots in your garden. And while we find the scent of the delicate bell-like white flowers irresistible, they have the opposite effect on deer!
Be aware that, in the right conditions, lily of the valley will spread quickly, so it may be a good idea to keep it contained to a pot or small border.
7. Honeybush (Melianthus major)
Honeybush is a delightful shrub generally grown for its textured foliage, and under the right conditions, it will also produce long stalks of red-brown flowers. Although honeybush is a shrub, most gardeners prune it back in early spring to encourage dense, bushy foliage.
Some gardening guides list this plant as ‘indestructible,’ making it an excellent choice for novice gardeners!
8. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Thyme is the perfect choice if you are looking for a deer-repellent ground cover to fill in gaps around the edges of your borders and paths. It will reward you with a delicate display of star-shaped flowers which attract many beneficial insects.
Thyme can withstand trampling from hooves and feet, and creeping variegated varieties are perfect for creating living paths.
9. Spirea (Spiraea spp.)
Spirea is a genus of beautiful flowering shrubs that produce large clusters of long-lasting blooms in colors ranging from white to deep purple. The size of this shrub varies widely depending on the variety, so choose carefully to ensure you get one that suits the space available.
One of the most popular is Japanese spirea, which produces flowers in various shades of pink.
10. Fragrant Sweet Box (Sarcococca ruscifolia)
Winter can be tough for a gardener, as many plants prefer to bloom in summer. This also tends to be the season when deer are at their hungriest, making any winter-hardy plants incredibly vulnerable!
An excellent solution to this problem is the deer-resistant evergreen sweet box, which will produce a prolific number of fragrant creamy-white flowers throughout the coldest months.
11. Trumpet Honeysuckle ( Lonicera sempervirens)
While most honeysuckles are moderately deer resistant, some are more resilient to these nocturnal garden visitors than others. Trumpet honeysuckle is a woody climber that will quickly cover a fence or trellis, making it less inviting for deer to jump into your garden.
The semi-evergreen foliage will be covered in bright scarlet flowers from early spring onwards, adding a beautiful splash of color to your garden.
12. Japanese Rose (Rosa rugosa)
Deer have very sensitive noses and avoid foraging for food in spiny or bristly plants. And although deer love eating most types of roses, the dense foliage and hidden spikes of the Japanese rose are an excellent deterrent!
This rose grows best as a bush and dislikes being pruned, so be prepared to let it ramble along your fence or border.
13. Peony (Paeonia lactiflora)
Peonies deserve a place in every flower garden, regardless of whether you have deer or not!
These perennials put on a fabulous show of huge colorful blooms year after year, producing a strong fragrance that deer find off-putting. They also dislike the leaves’ dense, leathery texture and will seek more tender options instead.
14. Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis)
One final category of plants that deer find unpleasant is those with fuzzy leaves. The foliage of lady’s mantle will irritate the sensitive noses of deer, so they tend to give them a wide berth.
These plants are adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions, and the dense clusters of greenish-yellow flowers are great for attracting butterflies.
Deer Repellent Flowers FAQ
What Smells Do Deer Avoid?
An excellent place to start when creating a deer-resistant flower garden is to opt for plants that do not smell attractive to deer. The unusual thing about flowers that deer will avoid is that they tend to be ones that we love, particularly as culinary or medicinal herbs! So, the same plants that make your pot roast taste delicious will also keep deer at bay.
What Keeps Deer Away From Flowers Naturally?
As well as plants that deter deer with their scent or unpleasant taste, we can also look at flowering plants that create a physical barrier to deer. Deer like an easy life and will not push through dense plant growth if a more accessible option is available. And although deer are famous for their jumping ability, they will not jump anywhere if they cannot see a clear landing spot, so tall, dense, bushy growth becomes our best friend here!
What Will Deter Deer From Eating My Flowers?
When planning a deer-resistant flower garden, it also helps to consider plants that deer find unpleasant to eat. These are not necessarily repellent or poisonous to deer but have other qualities that deer find highly off-putting. Let’s face it; if you were faced with a spiky plant that would give you a painful eating experience, you’d probably find something tastier too!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article and the beautiful photos of deer repellent flowers. These flowers can help you grow a gorgeous, deer resistant garden without sacrificing aesthetics!