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Plants That Deer Won't Eat

Will deer eat ornamental kale? We have a lot of white tail deer, who really eat landscaping plants. They love anything flowering, but I'm not sure about the ornamental kale. Anyone have any experience with this?


Hardiness Zone: 8b

By beechiegirl1953 from San Antonio, TX area


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March 26, 2011 Flag

By Ellen Brown

Q: Deer won't eat everything and some of what they don't eat is pretty. I would be interested in hearing what yard plants (domestic or wild) others have successfully grown in areas where deer are frequent visitors. I am not looking for ways to keep deer out. I am interested in plants that deer will ignore.


A: Rene,

It's true that deer find some plants more appealing than others. However, when environmental stressors like population pressure start to limit the local food supply, deer will eat just about anything to survive. Another strategy is to plant vegetation deer love around the perimeter of your property, in order for them to leave the rest of your garden alone.

To find lists of plants that deer are more likely to ignore suitable to your specific zone, visit the website of your local extension agency. You can find a list of resources by state listed at the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) website.


About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at


Plants that Deer Won't Eat

You didn't say where you live, but where I live in central Texas, the best thing I have found that the deer won't eat, is rosemary. It can grow quite large, and looks beautiful. Check out your local extension office to see if they have a website, and if they have a listing for deer repellent plants. (08/19/2004)

By Jennifer B

Plants that Deer Won't Eat

Here's a big list of plants. (08/20/2004)

By ThriftyFun

Plants that Deer Won't Eat

Regarding the list of plants at the site Garden Gate magazine, some of these plants should not be on the list. Deer love daylily flowers and buds and absolutely love lily flowers and buds. I agree with all the other perennials listed (and I have hundreds of perennials in my yard). Small lilacs are a treat for the deer also. The deer by us use lilies and daylilies as "treats" for their night time snack. I have found that the deer will ignore more of my plants now that I have a Chow Chow to help me. (10/09/2004)


By valleyrimgirl

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