Portland tree expert in the forest

Deer resistant plants and trees

If you need to plant trees and shrubs that can resist deer, here is a list of garden / landscape plants that increase the deer resistance in your yard. No garden is 100% deer resistant because different deer have different preferences.

deer resistant plant

The idea of "deer proof" is more of a figure of speech than reality. Sometimes a plant or tree will be unpalatable when it's older, but may be palatable to deer when that plant is young. Deer eat foliage as well as berries or fruit. If you want a small garden of susceptible plants in a deer-rich environment, consider using a hedge or fence to enclose a landscape area, maybe a 5' high barrier that can't be seen through. Apparently, deer don't like to jump over a barrier that prevents them from seeing the other side. The plants listed below are considered a good choice for "deer country". The genus or species names are listed first; the common name second. A partial or severe shortage of forage food can cause deer to devour almost any plants including the ones generally known to be deer resistant.

Trees

Abies - Fir (Balsam fir may not be a good choice)
Acer circinatum - Vine maple
Acer palmatum - Japanese maple
Acer rubrum
Albizia
Betula - Paper Birch, European white birch, Heritage Birch
Cedrus
Celtis
Cercis occidentalis - Western redbud
Chamaecyparis
Cornus florida
Cornus kousa
Crataegus - Hawthorn
Cupressus - Cypress
Fagus sylvatica - European beech ('Tricolor' shown)
Fagus grandifolia
Fig - Edible fig
Fraxinus - Ash
Ginko Gleditsia triacanthos - Honey locust
Magnolia
Palms
Picea - Spruce
Pinus - Pine
Podocarpus
Pseudotsuga menziesii - Douglas fir
Quercus - Oak
Rhamnus - Buckthorn
Rhus - Sumac
Salix matsudana T. - Corkscrew willow
Sequoia sempervirens - Coast redwood
Tamarix

Shrubs

Abelia grandiflora
Arctostaphylos - Manzanita / Kinnickinnick (the latter is ground cover)
Bamboo
Berberis - Barberry
Buddleia - Butterfly bush
Buxus - Boxwood
Calluna vulgaris - Scotch heather
Ceanothus
Chaenomeles - Quince
Choisya ternata - Mexican orange
Cistus - Rockrose
Cotinus - Smoke tree / bush
Cotoneaster
Daphne
Eleagnus
Erica - Heather
Escallonia
Gaultheria - Salal
Genista - Broom
Hybiscus syriacus - Rose of Sharon
Ilex - Holly
Juniperus - Juniper (Moonglow juniper shown)
Kerria
Lantana
Lavatera
Lavendula - Lavender
Leucothoe
Mahonia - Oregon Grape / Cascade Mahonia
Myrica californica - Pacific wax myrtle
Nandina
Nerium - Oleander (toxic to horses & domestic birds)
Perovskia - Russian sage
Pieris
Plumbago
Potentilla
Pyracantha
Rhododendron
Rhus - Sumac
Ribes - Currant
Rosmarinus - Rosemary
Salvia - Sage
Sarcococca
Spiraea (Including Anthony Waterer Spiraea too)Syringa - Lilac
Vaccinium ovatum - Evergreen huckleberry
Viburnum

 

Low plants / ground cover / vines

Ajuga
Bergenia crassifolia
Caryopterus - Bluebeard
Frageria - Wild strawberry
Hedera - Ivy
Hypericum - St. John's wort
Jasminum - jasmine
Lantana
Pachysandra
Solanum
Vinca

Perennials, bulbs

Acanthus mollis - Bear's breach
Achillea
Amaryllis belladonna - Naked lady
Aquilegia - Columbine
Armeria - Thrift / Sea pink
Artemisia
Aster
Astilbe
Begonia
Campanula
Canna
Carex - Sedge
Cephalanthus - Honey balls
Coreopsus
Crocosmia
Crocus
Dahlia
Dicentra - Bleeding heart
Digitalis - Foxglove (can reseed itself substantially)
Echinacea
Erodium - Cranesbill
Erysimum cheiri - Wallflower
Eschscholzia californica - California poppy (image)
Euphorbia
Ekuryops
Ferns
Festuca ovina (an ornamental grass) - Blue fescue including variety 'Elijah Blue' and others
Freesia
Geranium
Helleborus
Hemerocalis - Daylily
HERBS (most, but excluding Basil)
Heuchera
Iberis - Candy tuft
Iris
Kniphofia
Liriope
Lithodora
Lupinus
Mentha - Mint
Mimulus
Miscanthus sinensis (image)
Narcissus
Paeonia - Peony
Papaver - Poppy
Pennisetum alopecuroides (an ornamental grass)
Phlox
Phormium - New Zealand flax
Rheum - Rhubarb
Rudbeckia
Salvia
Santolina
Saxifraga
Scabiosa
Stachys bysantina - Lamb's ear
Tagetes - MarigoldThymus
Verbena
Viola
Zantedeschia