Top 10 Deer-Resistant Perennial Plants

Top 10 Deer-Resistant Perennial Plants

Jun 17, 2021

Your ornamental plants, flowers, and shrubs in your garden should be eye candy, not the candy store for the local deer population. Although it is important to note, it is impossible to completely deer-proof a garden; you can do your best to fill it with plants known for being the least desirable to these furry forest creatures. Not only are deer-resistant perennials resistant to deer, but because they are, you increase your chances of escaping pest damage.

Your garden will flourish with beautiful colors, unquiet shapes, and fragrant smells with perennials like Peonies, Salvia, Lavender, Lamb's Ear, Nepeta Junior Walker, and more. All of their colors, shapes, sizes and growing requirements will help keep your garden vivacious all year long. Below are our top 10 favorite deer-resistant perennials we think you need in your garden.

Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra Spectabilis)

bleeding hearts flower

Bleeding Hearts is a herbaceous perennial that gardeners love for their charming heart-shaped leaves that dance above green foliage on arching stems. This perennial is an early spring bloomer and goes beautifully in shady borders and woodland gardens. The flowers also make for great additions to fresh bouquets because of their unique shapes and vibrant colors. This plant can become quite large when grown in the proper conditions such as most, well-draining, loamy soil conditions, and full to partial sunlight.

Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina 'Big Ears')

lambs ear foliage

Out of most deer-resistant Perennials, it is easy to see why deer would not want to eat spiky foliage plants like Lamb's Ear. This plant produces large, fuzzy, silver-leafed foliage. The edges of the leaves are pokey, making it hard for deer to get anywhere near these plants. We recommend that you plant your Stachys Big Ears as an attractive groundcover, edging, in tubs or containers. Lamb's Ear's soft, silver leaves also make it perfect for a monotone backdrop for companion plants in any garden. This perennial is easy to grow on average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sunlight.


purple salvia with green foliage

The main reason deer are resistant to Salvia plants is that they stink; well, deer think they stink. Generally, deer stay away from aromatic herbs and other plants like Salvia, rosemary, Lavender, etc. However, if they ever go for the plant, it's typically their flowers and not the foliage. Salvia is most known for its long spires of fragrant purple flowers and adds a unique touch to any garden it's in. Typically, Salvia perennials prefer to be in average soil, sunny locations, and given an annual application of slow-release fertilizer to promote growth. Drought and heat-tolerant, this perennial does not require much maintenance and attracts beautiful pollinators during its growing season.


lavender flowers

If you're looking for fragrance, beauty, and deer resistance, then Lavender is the plant for you. These fragrant perennials, most commonly known as herbs, are a lovely addition to any garden. Whether you want them for aesthetic purposes or their utility in the home, Lavender's potent fragrance is the exact reason why deer avoid this plant altogether. Plant your Lavender in with your vegetable and herb garden, or plant them along driveways and walkways or for edging patios or gazebos. Not only are they deer-resistant, but they are mosquito and fly repellant as well. Try to plant your perennial in full sun and well-draining soil conditions. Once established, Lavender is a very low-maintenance plant.

Veronica Royal Candles (Veronica spicata 'Royal Candles')

royal candles purple

Blooming from late spring to early fall, Veronica Royal Candles produce vibrant, violet-blue flowers in an upright compact habit. From a distance, this plant resembles small blue Salvia. The best area of your garden to plant Veronica Royal Candles is where your plant will receive plenty of full sunlight, in well-draining, average soil conditions, and water until your plant has become well-established. This perennial is extremely attractive when used at the front of a mixed border of plants or mass planting.

Columbine (Aquilegia Canadensis)

columbine red flower with yellow center

Columbine perennials blossom colorful flowers against beautiful green, clover-like foliage. They come in various colors, including bi-colored variations and their flowers are a unique, bell-like shape with five colorful spurs. Columbine flowers are native to Maryland and attract pollinators such as bees, hummingbirds, birds, etc. The best location to plant your Columbine perennials is along slopes, ledges, and wide-open areas.

Brunnera Jack Frost (Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost')

jack frost foliage and small blue flowers

Prized for its highly frosted and veined heart-shaped leaves, Jack Frost Brunnera will not disappoint in your garden or landscape. When in bloom, Jack Frost will produce bright blue Forget-me-not flowers in the spring. This clump-forming perennial thrives in shaded areas, so if you have an area of your garden that is too shaded for your plants, Jack Frost will gladly thrive in that location.

Nepeta Junior Walker (Nepeta x faassenii 'Novanepjun')

junior walker purple flower

This perennial is the sterile, dwarf form of the well-known Walker's Low Catmint perennial. Nepeta Junior Walker is a compact growing, finely textured, aromatic, and herbaceous plant that blooms gray-green foliage and soft lavender flowers. You can plant your Nepeta as a semi drought-tolerant groundcover, along a wall to cascade down as it matures, or in a container as a focal flowering perennial. Nepeta Junior Walker and all other Nepeta plants are deer-resistant because deer hate the smell, so they avoid them. However, cats love the leaves of this perennial and can play with them as long as you prepare them correctly. All you have to do is harvest their leafy stems, hang them to dry, and crush them for your cat to sniff and play.

Verbena Homestead Plants (Glandularia canadensis)

verbena purple flower

With a spreading habit, Verbena plants produce clusters of rich, vibrant-colored flowers throughout the entire summer. Verbenas come in white, blue, pink, lavender, purple, dark red, yellow, and bicolor. These flowering perennials look beautiful in containers or rock gardens but especially great in window boxes. These perennials are easily grown in average, well-draining soils and full sunlight. It is crucial to avoid wet, poorly draining soil conditions because your plant will not survive.


light pink peony flowers

Peony plants have been popular perennial flowers in American gardens since the 1800s. The sweet scent and large, double flowers come in a rainbow of colors from pure white to rich red and any pastel color in between. You may know Peonies mostly from beautiful cut flower bouquets at your local grocery store, but they are also suited for planting along sidewalks, walkways; anywhere where people may walk by is where you should plant your Peonies. As long as your perennials are in well-drained, fertile, slightly acidic soil conditions and kept in full sun, they will last a very long time; they may even outlive you!