Monday, May 4, 2009

Deer-Resistant Plants

I find it to be absurd that books written for a national market has any practical guidlines for local gardens - at least my garden. Even local recommendations have many suggestions that didn't work in my garden. The summary of the total plants eaten by deer and those not listed in other lists that did/do work in my garden is located at the very bottom gf this list.

Plants Deer Seem to Avoid ,
according to the University of California Cooperative Extension

Yes = not eaten.
No Yes = means eaten in my garden.

Acanthus mollis, Bear’s Breech– Yes
Agave, Century Plant - Yes
Allium (some), Onion/Garlic – The deer always eat the blossoms and sometimes the foliage (not garlic).

Amaryllis belladonna, Naked Lady - Yes
Artemisia, Wormwood – Exception was
A. ‘Powis Castle” until 2006, then eaten.
Asarum caudatum, Wild Ginger – Eaten each fall

Baccharis pilularis, Dwarf Coyote Bush – Yes

Brodiaea, Brodiaea -Yes
Carex, Sedge - Yes
Ceanothus gloriousus, Summer Lilac, Tick Brush –Most ceanothus eaten. Shrub varieties torn apart when used to rub the velvet off their horns.

Cerastium tomentosum, Snow-in-the-Summer

Corylus cornuta californica, Filbert - Yes
Cotoneaster buxifolius, Cotoneaster
Cyclamen, Cyclamen
Dicentra formosa, Bleeding Heart
D. spectabilis
Digitalis, Foxglove - Yes
Echium fastuosum, Pride of Madeira - Yes
Eriogonum, Wild Buckwheat, all species.
Euphorbia – Yes, all species.
Euryops pectinatus, Euryops - Not the foilage, but many of the flowers are eaten.

Ferns, except Pellaea - Yes
Festuca ovina glauca, Common Blue Fescue – Yes

Fragaria chiloensis, Sand Strawberry
Grevillea, Grevillea - Yes
Helichrysum italicum, Curry Plant
Hypericum, St. Johnswort
Ilex, Holly, except thornless - Yes
Iris, Iris - Yes
Jasminum, Jasmine
Juniperus, Juniper - Yes
Kniphofia uvaria, Red-hot Poker – After 20 years.

Lamium, Dead Nettle
Lavandula, Lavender - Yes
Leonotis leonurus, Lion’s Tail - Yes
Leptospermum, Tea Tree - Yes
Liriope, Lily Turf
Lychnis coronaria, Mullein Pink No, most years flowers are eaten.

Mentha, Mint - Yes
Myosotis, Forget-Me-Not - Yes
Narcissus, Daffodil - Yes
Nerium oleander, Oleander - Yes
Nepeta, Catnip - Yes
Papaver rhoeas, Flander’s Fild Poppy
Phlomis fruticosa, Jerusalem Sage - Yes
Phormium tenbaxi, Flax Yes
Rhododendron, Rhododendron - Yes
Ribes, Current - Yes
Romneya coulteri, Matilija Poppy
Rosmarinus officinalis, Rosemary - Yes
Salvia, Sage Some
Santolina chamaecyparissus, Lavender Cotton, S. virens, Yes, not S. angustifolia
Senecio, Dusty Miller
Teucrium fruticans, Germander - Yes
Trillium, Wake robin - Yes
Zauschneria, California Fushia
Zinnia, Zinnia

Reasonably Safe Bets,
According to the Cooperative Extension.
Achillea, Yarrow
Armeria maritima, Sea Pink
Calendula officinalis, Calendula
Ceanothus griseus horizontalis, Summer
Ceanothus ‘Blue Jean’, Summer Lilac
Chaenomeles japonica, Flowering Quince
Cheiranthus cheiri, Wallflower
Cistus, Rockrose – No (after 15 years)
Citrus Citrus
Clarkia, Godetia - Yes
Coreopsis, except C. gigantea
C. grandiflora, Coreopsis
Dietes vegeta, Fortnight Lilly a – Yes
Erigeron karvinskianus, Fleabane - Yes
Eschschoizia californica. California Poppy
Gazania, Gazania
Geranium, Geranium
Hedera helix, Ivy - Yes
Helianthemum nummyiarium, Sunrose
Helianthus, Sunflower
Lupinus, Lupine
Mimulus, Monkey Flower
Myrica californica,
Pacific Wax Myrtle – Yes

Oxalis, Wood Sorrel – Yes

Scaevola ‘Mauve Clusters’, Scaevola ‘Mauve Clusters’ After 15 years.
Tropaeolum, Nasturtium
Tulipa, Tulip – Yes (But gophers will eat the bulbs if they’re not protected.)

Vaccinium ovatum, Huckelberry - Yes
Viola odorata, Violet
Wisteria, Wisteria

Plants that have worked for me that are not on the list.

Echium pininana – Viper’s Buglos
Echium wildpretii - Tower of Jewels
Brugmansia x insinis - Angel’s Trumpet
Icortaderia selloana - ‘Sun Strip’ pampas grass. NOT the invasive species,
makes no fertile seed.
Ozothamnus rosemarinifolius, Ozothamnus
Rhue, Rhue
Salvia apianna - Silver Sage
Salvia clevanddii - California Blue Sage
Stipa gigantia - Giant Feather Grass
Symphytum officinale - Comfery (Spreads easily from roots and very difficult to eradicate or control.)
Thymus – Thyme, every species I’ve tried.

The summary?

I’ve tried 83 of the 244 plants listed on the University of California Coperative Extension deer resistance list. I found that 40 of the plants I’ve tried were not eaten and 43 were eaten in my small garden and my low budget. This list shows 11 plants which worked for me that are not on the list.

Please post a comment - I want to know what you think.

Visit my web site to learn about my new book on drip irrigation and other gardening books.

NOTE: The comments section at the bottom of the post has disappeared. Click on the "___ Comments" button or the title under the "Blog Archives". Thanks, Robert


Michael said...

I like venison.

ryan said...

Deer are tough to deal with. It's useful to see your list. We've had myrica californica eaten somehwat when it was planted right next to a deer path. cal poppies eaten unless they are sprayed with liquid fence, zauschneria the deer always eat the blooms so what's the point of having it, among other comparisons with the list. Thanks for posting this.