Sure, they’re cute with those big eyes and expressive ears, but when it comes to your garden, deer can be total annoying. You can build a fence high enough that they can’t jump it—at least 8-feet tall—there are no permanent solutions to hungry deer.But deer have particular food dislikes, and planting things they find unappealing can help keep them at a distance as long as they can find enough to eat elsewhere. It turns out that deer especially hate plants that have fuzzy leaves and strong fragrances, and, unsurprisingly, those that are poisonous—if a deer eats something that makes it feel ill, it’s not likely to snack on that same plant again.
The soft, fuzzy leaf of this hardy perennial is a major turn-off for deer. They dislike the woolly texture, according to the University of Vermont Department of Plant and Soil Science.
These cheery blooms may make your neighbors flock to your garden, but smart deer will keep their distance from them. Poppies contain alkaloids that are toxic to deer (and other animals).
Yarrow is a hardy perennial wildflower that actually thrives in hot, dry soil. As an added bonus, deer dislike its bitter taste.
You may love sage’s distinct, comforting scent, but deer, with their delicate sense of smell, find it overpowering and stinky. The leaves’ soft texture is also a reason deer turn their noses up at sage. Definitely add this one to your container garden.
Deer hate these popular spring flowers, because they contain calcium oxalate, a poisonous compound that causes a burning sensation when ingested. Dr. Leonard Perry, a professor of horticulture at the University of Vermont, recommends protecting plants that are prime “deer candy,” like tulips, by interplanting them with narcissus.
Peonies’ fragrant perfume is one the the top reasons gardeners’ love them—and it turns out that it’s exactly the reason deer hate them. All the more reason to start growing more of these hardy perennials!
While the scent of lavender is calming to people, deer apparently think it stinks, so they won’t eat it unless they’re desperate.