Knowing what plants repel deer will be a great addition to your garden if you live in an area where these shy animals are prevalent.

13 Plants That Repel Deer

Deer are attracted to flowers and trees that humans plant in their gardens and can destroy your prized landscape in no time.

Our gardening team will tell you about 13 deer resistant plants to add to your garden, so let’s dive in!

List of Plants That Repel Deer

1. Marigold

With yellow, orange, red, white, gold, and sometimes bicolored flowers, marigolds can be a lively addition to keep deer away from your garden. These flowers are almost maintenance-free once established and can deter various pests. As a matter of fact, people usually plant them to repel pests that attack other plants in their gardens. 


They thrive in USDA zones 2 to 11, growing as annuals. They bloom best in full sun and appreciate regular watering. But, once established, they can become drought-resistant, and they’re not picky about soil conditions. 

– Planting Ideas

People usually mass-plant them to display an attractive show of colors, so you can choose different varieties to create a colorful hedge that deters deer and keeps your landscape in top shape. You can strip the lower leaves and bury the stems deeper into the soil to make them stronger and reduce the need for stalking. The deer repellent plants and flowers have a pungent smell that animals find highly repulsive. 

2. Bleeding Heart

Lamprocapnos spectabilis are beautiful heart-shaped white or pink blooms that appear on fast-growing plants. They’re grown inside and outside the house and have the ability to keep curious deer away from your garden. These plants are sensitive to heat and are less likely to tolerate hot than cold temperatures. 

Bleeding Heart

Growing this vine on a trellis next to spider flowers will create a natural barrier that repels deer. In addition, the flowers are cold-season bloomers, so they will add vibrancy and color to your garden before other flowers make an appearance. 

– Special Features

The flowers dangle from arching stems and are shade-loving plants. As a matter of fact, too much sunlight can kill these gorgeous flowers. Keep in mind that all parts of the plant contain alkaloids, which are poisonous to humans and pets, so you need to grow them where your kids and pets won’t reach them. 

3. Astilbe

Deer love to munch on several plants, but astilbe flowers aren’t among them. These plants grow plume-like flowers that can be white, pink, purple, or red. From a distance they can be mistaken for foxglove flowers or digitalis purpurea, which are also deer repellents. They appear on tall stiff stalks and stay in bloom throughout spring and summer. 


The fluffy, airy look of the flowers matches the delicate foliage, adding vibrance and life to your landscape. However, deer won’t eat these plants, so they will be an excellent addition to your garden if deer usually attack them. 

– How To Grow Them

The astilbe is a slow-grower but is relatively easy to take care of. It grows in USDA zones 3 to 8, and unlike other flowers, it doesn’t lose its beautiful colors in the shade. It’s only one of the few plants that can tolerate full shade and prefers partial shade in warmer climates. 

There are different varieties that can start blooming from late spring to late summer, so you can grow them to have an almost permanent deer-resistant garden. The astilbe thrives in slightly acidic, fertile, moist soil and needs deep watering, especially in the summer. 

4. Daffodil

With their bright yellow, orange, or white blooms, daffodils can be an attractive addition to your landscape, but deer will think otherwise. There are actually more than 32,000 cultivars of daffodils that you can grow in your garden, depending on your preferences, but they all have a trumpet-like cup surrounded by petals. The cup’s shape and size differ according to variety. 


In general, daffodils are considered to be easy to maintain because once the flowers fade, you don’t really need to do anything. Just keep the leaves intact to absorb food until it’s time for blooming. 

– Why Deer Hate Them

All parts of daffodils contain alkaloids and calcium oxalate crystals that make them toxic to humans and animals, including deer. You won’t find any deer eating the leaves or flowers because they taste bitter and will make deer stay away from your garden. These chemicals can also lead to skin reactions when touched by hands, so you should be careful around them. 

5. Lavender

Lavender or Lavandula is a prized plant for its soothing odor and gorgeous color, and fortunately, the deer won’t feel the same about it. Lavender and other flowers, like the bearded iris, produce a smell that deer find stinky. The plant grows at a moderate pace and can tolerate different weather conditions. 


Yet, after a humid summer or a severely wet winter, your lavender might not survive. So in optimal conditions, your lavender will last for about ten years as long as you provide it with full sun and grow it in lean soil that doesn’t have much organic matter. 

– Using Them To Keep Deer Away

The upright purple flower spikes create a fragrant hedge that elevates the ambiance in your outdoor space. It also acts as a natural barrier that deters deer and keeps them away from your property.

The animals are repelled by the look of the gray foliage and the sweet smell, so you can plant lavender as a decoy to protect other plants in your garden. However, make sure that you keep it away from household pets because it can be toxic to cats and dogs. 

6. Lungwort

Lungworts are slow-growing perennial plants that deter deer with their fuzzy basal leaves and bell-shaped flowers. When they first appear, the flowers are pinkish-white, and then they mature to become purple or blue-violet. However, the exact shade of the flower varies by variety and cultivar. Deer enjoy several plants but stay away from this one and similar plants like the silver ragwort because of the fuzzy texture of the leaves. 


Most people grow the lungwort for its deer-repelling properties and attractive foliage since the flowers tend to have a short blooming season. It’s best to grow this plant in late summer or early fall because it doesn’t tolerate high temperatures. 

– What To Look Out For

The lungwort plant isn’t the easiest to grow because picking the right spot to support its growth can be a bit tricky. These plants appreciate the shade provided by taller plants and trees but wouldn’t be able to compete with them for moisture and nutrition. This is why it’s crucial to water them regularly. 

You can also grow the lungwort near a fence or a wall that provides shade. They don’t require much fertilizing, which might reduce flowering. Keep an eye out for powdery mildew that usually attacks this plant. 

7. Coreopsis

Coreopsis or tickseed plants are low-maintenance deer-resistant plants that you can grow as a natural hedge to eliminate deer damage, and they’re also drought-resistant. Some varieties can be as tall as four feet, but these need stalking to stay in shape. 


The daisy-like flowers of coreopsis come in different shades of yellow, red, orange, and pink, in addition to white varieties. You can grow this plant in a spot that gets a lot of sun and has good drainage, and it won’t require much care. 

– Special Features

The nickname of coreopsis plants relates to their delicious flowers that wildlife and birds like to feed on. The colorful blooms are also attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, so they make an excellent addition to your butterfly garden, especially when grown with other bright flowers like lantanas and vervain blooms. 

Coreopsis plants can be grown as annuals or perennials. Annuals can bloom twice in the same season, once in spring and another time in fall, while the deer resistant perennials that bloom all summer will start blooming in their second year. All varieties will become sparse by the end of the season and should be cut back to rejuvenate, and deadheading the spent flowers will boost blooming. 

8. Poppy

With almost 100 species of poppy, the common poppy is the most widely spread variant. Seeds of poppy can remain dormant in the soil for decades, germinating out of the blue once the soil is disturbed, adding to the magic of this plant. The plant grows scarlet red flowers that bloom in spring, but there are different colors according to varieties, so you can find white, orange, yellow, pink, and purple flowers, many of which can be bi-colored. 


Poppy plants are incredibly versatile, so you can plant them in butterfly gardens, cottage gardens, garden beds, and borders. Despite their beauty, poppy plants are toxic to pets, including dogs and cats. They contain alkaloids that poison deer, so these animals are unlikely to approach them. 

– Growing Conditions

Poppy plants thrive in USDA zones 1 to 10, so they’re effortless to maintain once you’ve kept them in the right spot. They self-seed and can tolerate different soil conditions. In favorable conditions, poppies can germinate within weeks. The flowers bloom for a couple of weeks, but the seed pods will add beauty to your garden after they fade. 

Choosing a sunny spot for your poppy plants will encourage their growth. They don’t require pruning or fertilizing, but deadheading the spent flowers will encourage more blooming throughout summer. 

9. Sage

Sage or salvia plants belong to the mint family and can come in almost 1,000 varieties that you can grow in your garden. They grow best when planted in May after the last frost has passed and thrive in a sunny spot with well-draining soil. 


These plants are known to be highly tolerant of unfavorable conditions, which don’t support the growth of other plants. They can survive in rocky and poor soil and don’t require much maintenance. However, deadheading the spent flowers will encourage more blooming. 

– Why Deer Hate Them

Sage emits a fragrance that deer and other mammals hate, so they’re mostly grown to deter deer and rabbits and protect other plants and flowers in a garden. People usually grow different varieties like salvia officinalis, or common sage, in addition to scarlet sage, mealycup sage, Russian sage, and woodland sage as edging plants that create brightly colored hedges.

10. Lamb’s Ear

The velvety gray-green foliage that people appreciate about the lamb’s ear plant is the very reason why deer stay away from it. Deer hate garden plants that have a fuzzy or prickly texture, so they will stay away from your lamb’s ear plant, although it’s not toxic. 

Lamb’s Ear

Lamb’s ear grows as a ground cover in rocky locations and occasionally has flowers. However, it’s one of the fast-growing plants when grown from spring cuttings. By fall, it will cover a large area of land that other plants wouldn’t be able to survive in. 

– Special Features

Lamb’s ear grows beautiful rosettes of leaves and might grow pinkish or white flowers on tall spikes. However, most gardeners cut these flowers and use them for cut flower arrangements to keep the foliage healthy. The leaves and flowers have a fruity smell that deer find repulsive. 

Unless put under control, the lamb’s ear plant can grow aggressively in fertile soil, obstructing the growth of other plants. It can also be grown in a pollinator garden if the soil is poor because bees can be attracted to its smell. 

11. Dianthus

Dianthus are beautiful whether they’re in bloom or not. They have gray-green foliage and grow white, pink, lilac, or red flowers, depending on the variety. These plants can be grown as annuals, perennials, and biennials, so you’ll definitely find a suitable one for your garden. 


These plants have grass-like foliage that can grow in an upright mount or in a trailing habit. Seedlings germinate within eight days of planting, and the flowers grow fast. Some species will bloom twice, in spring and fall. 

– What To Look Out For

Dianthus is one of the plants deer avoid because the leaves taste bitter. The animals are also repelled by the clove-like fragrance of the leaves and flowers, so you can grow them in borders or along hedges to protect other plants while keeping deer away. However, rabbits will approach them, although they’re toxic to pets like cats and dogs. 

The plants won’t tolerate the intense summer heat, so some shade is recommended. You can grow them in fast-draining soil, like in an alpine habitat or in rock gardens where other plants won’t survive. 

12. Shasta Daisy

Named after the snowy peaks of Mount Shasta, Shasta daisies come in single and double-petal varieties, but all have brilliant white flowers with yellow centers. Even when they’re not in bloom, the Shasta daisies have leathery deep-green foliage that people love and can remain all year round in warmer climates. 

Shasta Daisy

Shasta daisies are deer deterrents and toxic to pets because of their strong scent and the bitter taste of the leaves. They’re drought-resistant and can tolerate different light and soil conditions. 

– Planting Ideas

Shasta daisies can grow to be 3 feet tall, so you can grow them next to tall summer-blooming flowers like coneflowers, butterfly bush flowers, snapdragons, and bee balm flowers. You can plant taller varieties to create a beautiful border or choose a shorter variety to fill your garden with color and life. They’re short-lived perennials, but they will stay in bloom from spring to fall, depending on the variety. 

13. Coneflower

Echinacea or coneflowers belong to the daisy family and come in various varieties that grow red, white, pink, purple, orange, and green flowers. The blooms are made of sterile petals that attract pollinators to the center, which is made of nectar-rich flowers. 


The coneflower plant will be an excellent addition to your butterfly garden, attracting butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. Moreover, birds like finches love feeding on the seeds and spreading these plants in other areas in your garden. On the other hand, it’s considered a deer repellent plant because of the spiny center and the pungent aroma it has. 

– Growing Conditions

It’s best to grow coneflowers from seeds, as they’re less successful when grown from cuttings. They require six hours of sunlight for best blooming and thrive in different soil types. The plants become drought-resistant once established and need a little winter protection in their first year. 


Deer-resistant plants protect your precious landscape and keep all other plants and flowers in check. These curious animals are fond of eating suburban and exurban plants but will avoid specific varieties. 

  • Bleeding hearts, daffodils, and poppies are toxic plants that kill deer.
  • The smell of marigold, lavender, sage, and coneflower plants keeps deer away.
  • Deer don’t like the taste of astilbe, coreopsis, dianthus, and Shasta daisies, so they’re unlikely to feed on them.
  • The fuzzy and hairy texture of lungwort and lamb’s ear will scare deer and keep them away from your garden.

Knowing what plants repel deer and rabbits will keep your garden in great shape while adding a pop of color wherever needed. 

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