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Q: I need some hints for colorful deer resistant plants for shade (perennial preferred). We have deer in our city neighborhood that love to sample every shade loving plant I've tried. At this point, I'll take anything!
Hardiness Zone: 9a
Charlene S. from San Antonio TX
Although no plant is absolutely deer proof, certain plants seem more resistant than others-or at least lower down on the preferred browsing list until the deer get really desperate for food. Here are a few hardy to your zone. The shade tolerant Turk's Cap has intense red blooms and evergreen leaves. It comes in two versions, one with small flowers and another with slightly larger flowers. It makes a nice ground cover and is shade tolerant. It's a favorite with hummingbirds and a not-so-favorite of deer. Shrimp plant is another sun or shade tolerant plant that is most known for its orange-red blooms, but it also comes in salmon, yellow and several shades of red. There is a large selection of gingers and many of them bloom in the shade. Coreopsis, Cortaderia (grass), Siberian Iris, Lobelia and Hydrangeas are other examples of shade-tolerant, deer "resistant" plant. Don't forget to consider plants that can add color with their foliage. Texas A & M also has some good information on coping with deer in the garden.
Just remember that when deer get desperate with hunger, there isn't a plant, tree, or shrub in the world they won't eat!
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We found that either human hair or dog hair put around the gardens back in Maine helped keep the deer away. We put the hair in onion bags, the ones that are like netting. Hope this helps. Then we hung the bags on posts every so many feet. (06/06/2006)
By Megan's mom
Deer do not like the odor of Irish Spring soap. Tie pieces of the soap, in various places near the plants. (06/06/2006)
Some deer resistant plants are as follows: iris, daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths, cyclamen, allium, and hostas. These are all bulb plants. Rodents will eat hyacinths bulbs so I wrap mine in a wire mesh (holes large enough for roots to grow through) before I plant them. Tulip bulbs are eaten by rodents as well, but are not deer resistant. I hope this helps and good luck. (06/11/2006)