Deer will eat anything in the perennial garden if they are hungry enough. However, a garden composed of deer proof flowers, ferns, and ornamental grass plants will have greatly reduced or insignificant damage.
More Information About Deer Resistant Plants
Our list of deer proof plants (mainly perennials) is based on our own experiences and compiled from print and online garden plant sources around the country, but we cannot guarantee that your deer will comply with these rules...keep in mind deer are like people at a buffet, each has a different palette. And of course, deer don't read online lists of deer resistant flowers so bucks and does do not know which plants deer won't eat.
Deer will eat, or at least nibble on anything in the perennial garden (including the normally deer-resistant ferns and ornamental grasses) if they are hungry enough. However, a garden composed of deer proof flowers, ferns, and ornamental grass plants will have greatly reduced or insignificant damage.
Deer browse is worse if you use chemical fertilizers and force lush new plant growth, so stick to organic fertilizers. We recommend black deer netting as the only sure deer repellent for your plants (www.bennersgardens.com). Whether you are looking for deer proof perennials for shade or sun, we have a nice selection for you to choose from. Our deer tolerant plants can save you from lots of headaches in the garden.
Top 5 Deer Resistant Plants for Shade
Here are 5 of our favorite deer resistant perennials for shade. See our fern list below for deer resistant options for your woodland garden.
Top 5 Deer Resistant Plants for Sun
If you have a sunny spot that deer love, here a some of the most popular deer resistant perennials for sun.
Deer Resistant Ferns
We are often asked "Do deer eat ferns?" and the answer in short is, yes... if they are hungry enough. The deer resistant ferns below offer the best chances on discouraging deer from foraging in your perennial garden.
Adiantum (Maidenhair Fern)
Arachniodes (Spider Fern)
Athyrium (Japanese Painted Fern)
Cyrtomium (Holly Fern)
Cystopteris (Bladder Fern)
Dryopteris (Autumn Fern)
Matteuccia (Ostrich Fern)
Onoclea (Sensitive Fern)
Onychium (Cat's Claw Fern)
Polystichum (Christmas Fern)
Pteris (Table Fern)
Thelypteris (Maiden Fern)
Be sure to read our article Deer Deer - We're Closed for Dinner which goes into more detail on plants that deer will typically not eat.