Deer Resistant Plants?

April 19, 2006
Deer in GardenQ: We enjoy having deer come into our backyard from the woods. If I planted a lilac bush, would it deter the deer from coming? Or do deer just not feed on lilac bushes?

Hardiness Zone: 6a

Sandy from Alton, IL

A: Sandy,

Lilacs will not deter the deer from coming into your backyard. No plants will. Lilacs are considered deer-resistant, however, meaning that unless the deer in your area are feeling pressure from a lack of available food, chances are they will pass lilacs up in favor of other, more appealing plants. Supposedly, plants like catmint, lavender, thyme, sage and rosemary are also repulsive to deer. In fact, many plants with a strong smell, like marigolds for example, are likely to act as a grazing deterrent when planted near more tasty plants like your veggies, tulips or hosta. The only sure-fire way to deter deer from exploring your garden buffet is to have your dog stand watch in the yard or erect an 8-ft high fence. So go ahead and plant a lilac bush, just understand that you could eventually find yourself enjoying watching the deer while they nibble on its branches.




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April 20, 20060 found this helpful

No, a lilac bush will not deter the deer. In fact, they will eat it. You will probably never see it bloom and it will remain about the same height it was when you purchased it. I know. Deer are the biggest pests I know of. If you enjoy the deer coming into your yard then you must not have any annuals, perennials or young trees in your yard. I have had to do a lot of protecting here in my yard in order to see my 'stuff' bloom.

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By Guest (Guest Post)
May 3, 20080 found this helpful

Wow! That's extreme! I have had no problem with deer when it comes to herbs (except parsley) or, as stated, strong-smelling plants. I'm the woman sniffing leaves at the garden center. They have mowed down hostas and lillies, among other things, I spray particular favorites with a mixture of egg and water in a Windex bottle and this has worked very well for me.


Don't give up hope!

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By Paul (Guest Post)
October 28, 20080 found this helpful

LOL! I found this thread while looking for info on how to deter deer from eating mylilacs during the winter.

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April 28, 20190 found this helpful

leave them deer corn and they will leave the bushes and plants alone. I feed my deer corn and they have never eaten anything in my yard.

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3 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

June 19, 2014

What plants can we plant in a cemetery plot that deer will not eat, we have been so unsuccessful so far?

By Yvonne


March 12, 20181 found this helpful

Depends on your location. If it was myself buried there, I would recommend my loved ones try a single dwarf (Lo and Behold or Blue chip) Butterfly Bush so I could be surround with butterflies, a few Shasta Daisies (3) and a few more Early Sunrise Coreopsis (5) or marigolds (annuals, would need to be planted each spring but would bloom all summer).

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March 12, 20180 found this helpful

Deer do not like daffodils and poppies.

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October 1, 2010

Will deer feed on a burning bush? Thank you. Have a great day.



October 3, 20100 found this helpful

I have a lot of deer that pass through my yard especially in winter. However, they never touch the burning bushes or the rhododendrons. But that is in my area.

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May 28, 2014

Is lavender deer resistant? What about heather? Any suggestions for plants, vines, or flowers that can be grown at high altitude (over 9,000 feet) and are deer resistant? I know it is a lot to ask of a plant.

Thank you.

By Tracy G.

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