Your Guide to Landscaping with Deer Resistant Plants

As gardeners, we all know what it’s like to feel protective of our plants. For that matter, we all share a desire for keeping animals out of the garden bed. In the Black Hills region of western South Dakota, there’s a handful of native wildlife to be found throughout the region, occasionally rummaging through the contents of your garden. Although coyotes, rabbits, mountain goats, and mountain lions all report regular sightings throughout the season, the biggest threat to your garden is mostly likely the whitetail and mule deer.

deer fawn

Deer resistant plants have become a hot topic in many communities. Just as the conditions of native habitat and Mother Nature are different from year to year, the resistance levels of plants have a propensity for change. Through trial and error, local garden experts have compiled the following list of plant materials for keeping animals out of the garden produce. These deer resistant plants are less browsed by wildlife, and they’re also hardy to survive in Zone 5.

Deer Resistant Plants

Deciduous Shade & Ornamental Trees
GreenAsh -"Mancana", "Fallgold", "Patmore", "Prairie Dome" Burr Oak
Honeylocust – "Imperial", "Shademaster", "Skyline" Russian Olive
Hackberry Princess Kay Plum
Hawthorn Nannyberry Tree
Canada Red Cherry Gray Dogwood
Ohio Buckeye or Horse Chestnut Serviceberry
Deciduous Shrubs – Common Name (Botanical Name)
Alpine Currant (Ribes alpunum) Gray Dogwood (Cornus racemosa)
Barberry (Berberis; red, green, yellow) Honeysuckle (‘Arnolds Red’)
Beautybush (Kokwitzia) Honeysuckle (Lonicera ‘Honeyrose’)
Bluebeard (perennial) (Caryopteris x clandonesis) Juneberry or Serviceberry (Amerilanchier a. ‘Regent’)
Buffaloberry (Sheperdia) Lilac, late bloomer (Syringa, Canadian cultivars*)
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) Lilac (Syringa ‘Dwf. Korean’, ‘Miss Kim’)
Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa ) Nanking Cherry (Prunus tomentosa)
Clove Currant (Ribes aureum, yellow-flowering) Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago)
Columnar Buckthorn (Hippophae) Ninebark (Physocarpus*)
Common Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)
Compact American Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum ‘Alfredo’*) Peashrub Caragana()
Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster-hedge ‘Peking’*) Privet (Ligustrum, green or gold)
Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster-rock or prostrate forms) Russian Olive (Elaeagnus-shrub form)
Cranberry (Viburnum dentatum ‘Chicago Lustre’) Smokebush (Cotinus coggygria*)
Cranberry (Virburnum lantana ‘Mohican’) Spirea (Spiraea ‘Goldmound’, ‘Norman’*, ‘Halward’s Silver’, ‘Fairy Queen’, ‘Anthony Waterer’, ‘Goldflame’, ‘Renaissance’)
Dogwood, variegated or yellow-twig (Cornus alba ‘Ivory Halo’,* ‘Bud’s Yellow’*) Std. Red-twigged Dogwood (Cornus baileyi ‘Bailey’*)
Elder, Elderberry (Sambucus, Red-berried, golden) Wayfarring Shrub (Virburnum lantana)
Forsythia (Forsythia) Western Sand Cherry ()
Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica ‘Gro-Low’) Winterberry (Ilex verticulata ‘SouthernGentleman’, ‘Winter Red’)
Blue or Gray Upright, Columnar Junipers – "Cologren", "Moonglow, "Wichita Blue" Ponderosa Pine, Limber Pine, Pinion Pine, Bristlecone Pine
Colorado Blue or Green Spruce* Western Red Cedar, Eastern Red Cedar
Dwarf Alberta Spruce  
Spreading Junipers Ornamental and Specialty Evergreens
‘Blue Chip’ ‘Blueberry Delight’ Spreading or Upright Yew (Taxus)
‘Blue Star’ ‘Mint Julep’ Dwarf Blue Spruce – all forms
‘Broadmoor’ ‘Moordense’ Nest Spruce
‘Buffalo’ ‘Prince of Wales’ Dwarf Norway Sruce
‘Gold Coast’ ‘Sea Green’ Paxistima
‘Hughes’ ‘Sierra Spreader’* Kinnikinnick
‘Icee Blue’ ‘Tam or Tamarix’  
The common native Juniper  
Climbing Vines – Common Name (Botanical Name)
American Bittersweet (Celastrus) Honeysuckle vine (Lonicera x b. ‘Dropmore Scarlet’, ‘Mandarin’, j. )
Arctic Beauty Hardy Kiwi (Actinidia k. ‘Arctic Beauty’) Hops (Humulus)
Boston Ivy (Parthenicissus tricuspidata) Issai Hardy Kiwi (Actinidia a. ‘Issai’)
Clematis (Clematis, large-flowered*) Porcelain Berry (Ampelopsis)
Clematis (Clematis, small-flowered) Silver Lace Vine (Polygonum aubertii)
Engleman Ivy (Parthenicissus q. engelmannii*) Trumpetvine (Campsis)
Grape (Vitis) Woodbine (Virginia Creeper) (Parthenicissus inserta*)
Hall’s Honeysuckle ("Halliana")  
Ajuga Coreopsis (needle-leaf) Hesperis Penstemon
Alchemilla Delphinium Heuchera-green leaves* Peony
Achillea Dianthus Iberis Persicaria
Allium Dicentra iris–bearded, dwarf, Siberian Scabiosa
Anemone Digitalis Lamiastrum Perovskia
Angelica Echinacea Lamium Potentilla
Artemisia Epimedium Liatris Pulmonaria
Asarum Euphorbia Liriope Ratibida
Bergenia Ferns Limonium Rudbeckia
Boltonia Filipendula Linum Salvia
Callirhoe Fragaria Malva* Sedum-small leaf
Campanula Galium Monarda Sempervivum
Celastrus Gaillardia Myosotis Solidago
Centaurea Geranuim* Nepeta Thermopsis
Cerastium Grasses-Ornamental Origanum Thyme
Clematis recta Helianthus Pachysandra Vinca
Convalaria Heliopsis Papaver Viola
Ageratum Gomphrena Rudbeckia
Bachelor Buttons Helichrysum Salvia
Bell’s of Ireland Larkspur Silene
Calendula Marigold-all but white Snapdragons
Celosia Nicotiana Statice
Cleome Pansy Thumbergia
Cosmos Papaver (poppy) Verbena
Dahlia Penstemon Vinca Vine
Dianthus Petunia* Zinnia
Dusty Miller Portulaca-moss rose  

*plants that are lightly browsed during times of stress for wildlife

As far as herbs go, most that are fragrant or fuzzy-leaved are very deer resistant, except for basil and valerian.

Hours of effort have gone into compiling this list and supplying well-marked deer resistant plants for home landscaping. Keeping animals out of the garden is much easier when you landscape your yard with deer resistant plants.