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Deer Resistant Perennials

Bud Asked

I have a real deer problem in my neighborhood. With more and more development, I guess they’re finding it hard to find food so they come through my yard at night and eat all my perennials down to the ground. What can I plant that will be colorful yet deer resistant?

The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Bud: It is frustrating to have landscape plants eaten by wildlife but as you mentioned, when we take their food sources away, they must look elsewhere. The good news is that even though the foliage has been nibbled on, the roots are still healthy, and the plants will recover. There are plants that are not their first option but if they are hungry enough, they will eat just about anything. They tend to avoid plants with strong scents such as herbs and those with waxy, or fuzzy textures that are less palatable. Rosemary, lavender, bee balm, thyme, oregano, mint, echinacea, daffodil, black-eyed Susan and Russian sage are all sun-loving options that deer tend to avoid. Coral bell, tiarella, bleeding heart, hellebores and ferns are good options for a shade garden. Deer love hydrangea, hostas, daylilies, azaleas and roses. There are repellents on the market that can help in the short term, but as the scent of the product dissipates, it will need to be reapplied. The Campbell county Cooperative Extension Service is a reliable resource for you. They work in collaboration with The University of Kentucky and other land-grant universities to provide research-based information for home gardeners. Contact them for a complete list of deer resistant plants for your garden.
Angie Oakley
Kentucky Living-Ask the Gardener

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