Deer Resistant Shrubs: Garden Guide

If you are looking for tips on some deer-resistant shrubs to add to your garden, you have come to the right place. When you think of garden pests, one of the first things that spring to mind is insects that aren’t visible but nonetheless leave their mark on some of your favorite flowers, veggies, plants, and bushes.

However, there are deer in many parts of the US that eventually become worrisome for many people living there, including prominent areas in the Northeast. 

You have a lot of options when it comes to deer-resistant shrubs ranging from Japanese Pieris, Bayberry, Heavenly bamboo and many types more. Some of these deer-resistant shrubs are evergreen, which means they will keep their leaves all year long, while others are deciduous and will lose their leaves in the fall.

In this article, we will discuss some of the best plants to choose from if you want to keep deer away from your backyard or property. By following our guide, you can create a beautiful garden that is also deer-resistant:

food options

Table of Contents

Type Maximum Height
Andromeda 6-8 Feet
Arborvitae (Thuja Occidentalis) 10 to 15 feet
Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum Dentatum) 6–15 Feet
Barberry (Dwarf Berberis) 10 Feet
Bluebeard (Caryopteris X Clandonensis) 2-4 Feet
Blue Heaven 24-30 Inches
Blue Point 12 Feet
Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus Parviflora) 6.5 Feet
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia Davidii) 10-15 Feet
Chinese Juniper (Juniperus Chinensis) 5-10 Feet
Common Boxwood (Buxus Sempervirens) 10-15 Feet
Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus Virginiana) 40–50 Feet
Evergreen Azalea (Rhododendron Sp.) 4-5 Feet
Heavenly Bamboo 5 Feet
Hetz Columnar 15-18 feet
Inkberry (Ilex Glabra) 5-10 feet tall
Japanese Pieris (Pieris Japonica) 9-12 Feet
Lilac (Syringa Vulgaris) 12 to 15 feet
Moonglow Juniper (Juniperus Horizontalis ‘Moonglow’) 20 Feet
Mountain Laurel (Kalmia Latifolia) 10 Feet
Mountbatten 12 Feet
Russian Sage (Perovskia Atriplicifolia) 2-4 Feet
Shrub Roses (Rosa Sp.) 6 Feet
Skyrocket 20 Feet
Spireas (Spirea Species) 2-8 Feet
Swamp Rose (Rosa Palustris) 7 Feet
Wichita Blue 10-15 Feet
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis Spp.) 20-30 Feet
Wintercreeper (Euonymus Fortunei) 2-10 Feet
Yew Shrubs (Taxus Sp.) 4-60 Feet

1. Andromeda

Andromeda shrubs are deer resistant and make a great addition to any garden. These shrubs can grow up to 45cms tall and 80cms wide tall and have pink or deep rose-coloured flowers with white flowers in the spring. They prefer rich, slightly acidic, medium moisture, well-draining soil.

The Andromeda (Pieris japonica) is a dense, blooming deer-resistant shrub. It is an evergreen, but it looks its best in the early spring when its spectacular flowers bloom and release a strong fragrance. 

This odor drives deer away and keeps them from consuming the plant. Although this shrub is easy to maintain, trimming it to retain its form is sufficient, and it should be sheltered from harsh winter winds.

Andromeda shrub

2. Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)

Arborvitae deer resistance is due in part to the fact that the tree is so dense. The Thuja Green Giant can grow up to three feet per year, which means deer have a hard time getting through the branches to eat the leaves.

In addition, this type of arborvitae is less attractive to deer than other types of evergreens. If you are looking for an evergreen that is both deer resistant and easy to maintain, the Thuja Green Giant should be at the top of your list.

Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)

3. Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)

Vibrant Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) is a 3-for-1 deal. It has red fall foliage and bluish berries, as well as white spring blooms, making it deer resistant. It may reach up to 6 to 10 feet tall under the right circumstances, although it can grow even taller in some cases. 

To maintain the shrub’s height, prune it once a year after it has finished blooming. This shrub will also spread if not trimmed regularly, so remove any of its suckers if you want to keep it confined to one area.

Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)

4. Barberry (Dwarf Berberis)

Dwarf Berberis is a deer resistant plant that can grow up to three feet tall and wide, with spines that protect it from deer. It has yellow flowers in the spring and purple foliage in the fall. This shrub prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade.

It is drought-tolerant once established and does not require much fertilizer. Dwarf Berberis is an easy-to-care-for deer-resistant plant that provides year-round interest in the landscape. These low-lying shrubs, in addition to keeping deer away, make excellent shrub beds or hedges.

Barberry (Dwarf Berberis)

5. Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis)

Caryopteris x clandonensis, also known as bluebeard or blue mist shrub, is deer resistant and drought tolerant. It grows well in full sun to partial shade and blooms in late summer to early fall. The bluebeard’s flowers attract bees and butterflies, making it a great addition to any garden.

This deer resistant plant does not require much fertilizer or pruning. This delicate, deciduous shrub grows to a height of just 2-3 feet and has deep blue blooms that appear in late summer/early fall.

Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis)

6. Blue Heaven

Blue Heaven is deer resistant and drought tolerant. It grows well in full sun to partial shade and blooms in late summer to early fall. Heavenly bamboo has fine textured leaves that are deer resistant and its new growth is often tinted blue or purple, adding interest to the landscape. In the fall, the foliage turns a beautiful burgundy color before shedding for the winter.

Their foliage is striking, and they’re extremely long-lived. They have a medium height, are robust and beautiful, provide seclusion as well as shade, and are low-maintenance.

Blue Heaven

7. Blue Point

The classic evergreen Juniper with style and panache to your yard. When fully grown, the foliage is quite dense and makes a little pyramid. It can deter deer and has a moderate growth rate, so it won’t take over your yard.

It’s a good foundation plant or accent for any garden. Plant in full sun for best color. deer resistant and low-maintenance, this juniper is a great addition to any landscape.

8. Bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)

We may be pushing hardiness with this zone 5-9 tolerant shrub, which is native to the Southeast. However, if you’re searching for an attractive white bloom to try out, it could be worth a shot.

Grown in full sun, it can deer resistant and drought tolerant. It prefers moist, well-drained soil but will also tolerate clay soils. The white flowers appear in mid- to late summer and attract bees and butterflies.

Bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)

9. Butterfly Bush (buddleia davidii)

The butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii), despite being invasive in many areas, can provide a beautiful focal point for a garden. Some new cultivars, such as ‘Blue Chip,’ have few seeds or are seedless, making them less likely to spread.

Deer avoid these plants since they attract pollinators, which is why the name “atlas creeper” is used for them. They also require little maintenance. If you want to keep the bush compact with more frequent blooms, you may prune it.

Some gardeners like to trim the stems down to the ground in early winter to give their landscape a cleaner appearance. The showy blue-purple blooms will attract a variety of pollinators, but keep deer at bay.

Butterfly Bush (buddleia davidii)

10. Chinese juniper (Juniperus chinensis)

This is another juniper that may host Cedar apple rust, so keep it away from apples. It’s also deer-tolerant and thrives in dry soil (and even in drought). Some varieties reach huge trees (up to 20 feet tall), although smaller shrubby kinds are now available.

The deer-resistant Chinese juniper is an evergreen shrub that can be used as a foundation plant, hedge, or specimen plant in the landscape. It tolerates a wide range of soils and is drought tolerant once established.

Chinese juniper (Juniperus chinensis)

11. Common boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)

This shrub, like most others in the genus, is deer-resistant (it may also be poisonous to pets such as dogs and cats). It’s simple to keep alive, can be trimmed and sheared, and while it doesn’t have spectacular blooms, its lush green canopy makes up for it (and serves as a great screen).

Keep in mind that although full sun might be tolerated, harsh winter winds can cause leaves to yellow.

Boxwoods (Buxus) are evergreen broadleaf plants with large leaves that resemble deciduous ones but retain them throughout the winter.

This has made them a very popular option for hedge creation. They’re relatively low-maintenance, with the exception of an annual trim to maintain their form and remove unsightly portions. Boxwoods also contain alkaloids that are deer-repellent, in addition to being rather beautiful.

Common boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)

12. Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

Eastern red cedar is a shrub that deer will not consume if you prefer the look of arborvitae and wish to plant it in your yard. (However, they may still munch on the lower foliage.)

The Eastern red cedar will thrive in soil that is dry and exposed to direct sunlight, but it should not be planted near crabapple or apple trees, as it may support cedar apple rust.

The Eastern red cedar is the tallest deer-resistant shrub, with heights that may reach up to 50 feet.

Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

13. Evergreen azalea (Rhododendron sp.)

Deer adore every aspect of these trees, even their pollen and blooms, which make them toxic when consumed in excessive amounts. White-tailed deer particularly enjoy them.

The deer-resistant evergreen azalea is a beautiful shrub that produces lovely flowers in shades of pink, white, and purple.

They prefer acidic soil and full to partial sun but will tolerate some shade. Some varieties are deciduous, while others are evergreen. Evergreen azaleas can range in height from two to six feet.

Evergreen azalea (Rhododendron sp.)

14. Heavenly bamboo

Bamboo is an evergreen deer-resistant (or semi-evergreen) shrub that adds beauty to your garden all year.

You’ll adore putting this shrub around your patio or deck, but deer won’t be as impressed. It’s also crucial to note that while the leaves and stems keep deer at bay, they’re also harmful to pets.

Heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) is an deer-resistant shrub that is often used as a foundation plant, in hedges, or as a specimen plant. It has beautiful foliage that ranges in color from green to red, and it produces small white flowers in the spring. Heavenly bamboo can grow to 1.5 metres.

Heavenly bamboo

15. Hetz Columnar

Greenish-yellow, modest flowers trail a thin white stem that resembles a green pipe. Beautiful, conical form supported by bright green leaves on tightly packed branches.

A charming accent for a well-groomed yard that is less demanding than other plants in the genus. This plant will undoubtedly be ignored by Deer!

Hetz columnar junipers are deer-resistant flowering shrubs that are perfect for small spaces. They have a narrow, columnar shape and can grow up to 12 feet tall. Hetz columnar junipers are tolerant of a wide range of soils and prefer full sun.

16. Inkberry (Ilex glabra)

Here’s a native evergreen species that deer won’t like (but songbirds will). The holly plant has dark green and glossy leaves and produces a tiny black fruit. It prefers full sun with acidic soil that is constantly moist.

Because there are numerous types available, you may pick those that reach higher to match your landscaping demands, although the majority of them are rather small, reaching only 3-4 feet tall.

17. Japanese pieris (Pieris japonica)

The showy flowers of pieris make it a popular garden option. The dark green leaves are complemented by beautiful white flower clusters with drooping form and are highly pollinator-friendly.

Pieris does better in part shade—and can even endure deep shade. While you may have to deal with pesky lacebugs, deer will never bother this shrub.

Japanese pieris is a deer-resistant shrub that produces beautiful, white flowers in the spring. It prefers partial to full shade and moist, well-drained soil. Japanese pieris can grow to 9-12ft tall.

Japanese pieris (Pieris japonica)

18. Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)

The most fragrant shrubs are lilac bushes, which may grow up to 12 feet tall when fully grown and have beautiful purple flowers. It grows well in the Northeast and has beautiful purple blooms. If other food is accessible, it keeps deer away from other plants.

Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)

19. Moonglow juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Moonglow’)

A dense, protective succulent. With aromatic leaves and a beautiful blue-green hue, it makes for an excellent groundcover. If you’re looking for deer-resistant plants, this is a good option to consider. It also doesn’t require much maintenance and can tolerate different types of soil.

20. Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

This is one of the most popular choices for a shrub that will go unnoticed by deer. Plus, you’ll be treated to amazing pale pink flower clusters up to six inches in diameter in late spring!

The plant itself may grow to be quite large, with heights of up to 15 feet and widths of up to 15 feet. Mountain laurel thrives on slightly acidic soil and likes part shade.

Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

21. Mountbatten

This is a great multi-functional shrub for your landscape. A strong deer deterrent, it also provides fragrance, color, and can even be used as a cut flower.

The deep pink flowers have a lovely fragrance and appear in early summer. This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil.

Mountbatten Juniper is a versatile and hardy cultivar of Chinese Juniper. Gray-green needles have excellent color retention throughout the year. Mountbatten can endure a wide range of soil conditions after being planted, but avoid doing so in wet locations. Full sun is required to maintain its compact growth habit.

Mountbatten rosa

22. Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

This lavender-lookalike (technically a subshrub that is not, in fact, a sage) thrives in poor, dry soil and behaves like a shrub. It’s hardy and attracts a variety of pollinators as well as being deer resistant. It grows to be about two to 4 feet tall.

Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

23. Shrub Roses (Rosa sp.)

Shrub roses are generally deer-resistant due to the prickly stems that deer avoid. Candy Oh is a popular cultivar with its distinctive fragrance and bright color.

It produces gorgeous flowers throughout the majority of the summer, attracting a variety of pollinators to your garden. To improve ventilation and prevent pests and diseases, prune roses in the early spring before flowering begins by removing dead, damaged, and overgrown branches.

Shrub Roses (Rosa sp.)

24. Skyrocket

The Juniper bush, the Skyrocket, is a dense and camouflage-loving shrub that Deer will not eat and protects your yard and gardens from prying eyes.

Plant this deer-resistant shrub in full sun or partial shade, and you’ll have a happy, healthy plant that will reach its maximum height in about 20 years.

The Skyrocket is a deer damage proof Juniper bush that can grow up to 20 feet tall. It prefers full sun or partial shade, and well-drained soil. Skyrocket is a fast growing bush that is great for privacy hedges and windbreaks.

25. Spireas (Spirea species)

Smaller varieties, such as Compact and Dwarf Spireas (up to 8 feet tall), are available. There are several tiny and dwarf spirea shrubs that make lovely little deer-resistant bushes (as small as 1½ feet tall).

Many species have beautiful blooms, develop rapidly, don’t require much care, and make excellent accent plants. Although they aren’t generally attractive to deer, expect to notice a lot of butterflies around them.

Spireas (Spirea species)

26. Swamp rose (Rosa palustris)

The swamp rose, also known as the pink marsh rose or bog rose, can reach a height of up to 7 feet and is attractive not only because of its lovely light pink blooms but also because deer avoid it. It’s a good plant for naturalizing an area because it can tolerate wet soil.

Swamp rose (Rosa palustris)

27. Wichita Blue

These trees are a kind of Juniper with long, strong branches that may reach heights of up to 50 feet and are deer resistant.

They would also be excellent for shading the sun! The Wichita Blue has a beautiful blue hue color that will make it a standout in creating your deer proof garden.

The Wichita Blue is a deer resistant Juniper tree that can grow up to 50 feet tall. It prefers full sun or partial shade, and well-drained soil. Wichita Blue is a fast growing bush that is great for privacy hedges and windbreaks.

28. Witch hazel (Hamamelis spp.)

Witch hazel is a popular shrub with beautiful orange and yellow blooms and a pleasant fragrance. Your witch hazel may require additional protection as a young tree, but it will be resistant to many illnesses and pests after it grows up. Deer do not tend to eat witch hazel, making it a good deer-resistant plant.

Witch hazel (Hamamelis spp.)

29. Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei)

Wintercreeper is a fast-growing, deer-resistant evergreen that can quickly cover the ground and climb walls. It does best in partial shade but can tolerate full sun. Wintercreeper is an excellent plant for erosion control on slopes or other areas where you need to stabilize the soil.

Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei)

30. Yew shrubs (Taxus sp.)

Yew shrubs are deer-resistant, evergreen, and make great foundation plants or hedges. They prefer partial to full shade and moist, well-drained soil. Yews can live for a very long time (hundreds of years) and are deer resistant.

Yew shrubs (Taxus sp.)

People Also Ask

What plants do deer hate the most?

Deer avoid daffodils, foxgloves, and poppies because they are poisonous. Deer dislike fragrant plants with powerful aromas. Herbs like asphodels, ornamental salvias, and lavender are all “unbearably smelly” to deer.

Is Hydrangea deer resistant?

In general, deer don’t like hydrangeas. However, we wouldn’t claim that hydrangeas are deer resistant or deer proof. Taking additional precautions when gardening to keep deer from eating your lovely bushes is not difficult, and it shouldn’t prevent you from trying to grow hydrangeas in your garden.

What is the best deer repellent?

There are many deer repellents on the market, but the most effective ones contain putrescent egg solids or capsaicin (a compound found in chili peppers). You can also make your own deer repellent by mixing these ingredients with water and spraying it on your plants.

wonderful scent

Do deer eat roses?

Deer will eat just about anything if they’re hungry enough, but they prefer to eat tender young leaves and shoots. Roses are not a favorite food for deer, but if there’s nothing else around, they will nibble on the leaves and buds. To deter deer from eating your roses, try planting deer-resistant varieties or spraying the plants with a deer repellent.

What can I plant to keep deer away?

There are many deer-resistant plants that you can use to deter deer from entering your garden. Some of these include: asphodel, lavender, rosemary, sage, thyme, and yarrow. You can also try planting deer-resistant shrubs like barberry, boxwood, and holly. Finally, consider using fences or netting to physically keep deer out of your garden.

What smells do deer hate?

Deer dislike the smell of garlic, onions, and chili peppers. You can use these ingredients to make your own deer repellent by mixing them with water and spraying it on your plants. You can also try commercially available deer repellents that contain putrescent egg solids or capsaicin.

deer tend
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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright

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