Deer resistant plants are a great option for those of us who have to deal with these destructive pests. If you’re looking for plants that deer won’t eat, then this post is for you! Below you’ll find a list of the best deer resistant annual flowers, shrubs, perennials, vegetables, and herbs to grow in your garden.
If you’ve ever discovered deer eating the plants in your garden, you know first hand just how destructive they can be. This drives many gardeners to go on a mission to find plants that deer hate, so they can stop the damage once and for all!
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a deer proof plant. Deer will graze on anything if they’re hungry enough, especially during the winter.
But don’t get discouraged! There are lots of different deer resistant plants they eat less often. Many times they’ll skip over these plants for more appetizing options.
Below I will give you tons of ideas for deer resistant plants, plus some tips for keeping these furry pests out of your garden. But first, let’s talk about some plants deer like to eat, so you know which ones to avoid.
- Plants Deer Love To Eat
- Plants That Deer Do Not Like To Eat
- List Of Deer Resistant Plants
- Tips To Keep Deer Out Of Your Garden
- Deer Proof Gardening: What Vegetables Are Deer Resistant
- Deer Resistant Edibles
- Are There Fruits and Vegetables Deer Won’t Eat?
- Deer Resistant List
- Japanese Honeysuckle- Embrace it, Eradicate it, or Deal With it?
- There are mixed feelings about this non-native species
- Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’
- Bloom Color
- USDA Hardiness Zone 4-8
- trumpet honeysuckle, coral honeysuckle Interesting Notes
- Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’ Growing and Maintenance Tips
- Key Characteristics & Attributes
- Additional Information
- Ask Mr. Smarty Plants
- 5 Deer Resistant Vines
- Find the right plant for privacy without attracting deer
Plants Deer Love To Eat
The first question most people have when they spot deer grazing near their garden is, “what plants do deer eat?“. So I thought it would be a good idea to start with a list of plants that deer like to eat the most.
This is not an exhaustive list of course, but these are some of their favorites. So, if you have deer in your yard, then you’ll definitely want to avoid planting these, or take steps to protect them. Your list may be different depending on where you live.
- Brussel sprouts
- Collard greens
- Swiss chard
- Asiatic lilies
Asiatic lilies eaten by deer
Plants That Deer Do Not Like To Eat
Now that you know what deer like to eat, let’s talk about the plants they don’t favor. I hope you’re not feeling discouraged, because there are plenty of plants to choose from in the lists below.
There is no way I could even attempt to list every single deer resistant plant there is though. So, to make it easy to go shopping, you should understand all of the traits that make plants resistant to deer.
What Makes Plants Resistant To Deer?
In general, deer don’t like eating plants that have a strong odor or flavor. They also tend to avoid plants that are prickly or furry, ones that are toxic to them, and those they can’t get to.
So look for these traits when you’re shopping for the best deer resistant plants and flowers…
- Look for plants that repel deer – Since there are lots of smells deer don’t like, they tend to avoid plants that have a strong odor. Many times these types of plants can even work to repel deer from your garden. So look for highly fragrant plants like onions, garlic, fennel, peonies, tansy, yarrow, and Russian sage, for example.
- Buy plants deer don’t like to eat – In addition to odors, they also don’t like eating plants that have a strong flavor. Some good examples are herbs like cilantro, lavender, mint, rosemary, basil, and oregano. This wildflower mix contains several plants that deer don’t like the taste of.
- Select plants rarely eaten deer – Deer don’t like plants that have unappealing textures, like furry leaves or prickly stems. Squash, cacti, lambs ear, barberry, yucca, and artichoke are a few examples of plants deer dislike because of their texture.
- Choose plants that are poisonous to deer – Some plants are toxic to deer, so they will usually stay way from eating them. Anything in the nightshade family (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant…etc), and rhubarb are examples of plants deer avoid because of their toxicity.
- Grow plants deer can’t eat – Obviously if the deer can’t get to a plant, then they won’t be able to eat it. This is true of vegetables that grow underground, like beets, radishes, carrots, and other root crops. However deer sometimes do like to graze on the tops of these plants, so you may need to protect them.
A deer walking behind the gardens
List Of Deer Resistant Plants
Below I have organized my list of the top deer resistant plants into four groups: perennials and shrubs, annuals, vegetables, and herbs. This should make it easy for you to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Deer Resistant Shrubs & Perennials
- Bleeding hearts
- Silver mound
- Bee balm
- Shasta daisy
- Black eyed Susan
- Bearded iris
- Russian sage
- Lambs ear
- Prickly pear cactus
Astilbe are deer resistant perennial plants
Deer Resistant Annuals
- Dusty miller
- Sweet alyssum
- Straw flower
- Bachelor buttons
- Spider flower
- Flowering Tobacco
Deer don’t normally eat sunflower plants
Deer Resistant Vegetables
Deer won’t usually eat zucchini plants
Deer Resistant Herbs
- Garlic chives
- Lemon balm
If you’re looking for even more ideas, then I recommend the book “50 Beautiful Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs, and Shrubs that Deer Don’t Eat“. It’s a great reference, with tips for deer resistant garden design, and of course a list of plants.
Some herbs that can repel deer
Tips To Keep Deer Out Of Your Garden
Using deer resistant plants is the best first step to prevent major damage to your garden. But, that’s not necessarily going to be the end of your problem.
Deer are persistent, especially once they get comfortable in your yard. And the longer they’ve been around, the harder it’s going to be to keep them from coming back.
The good news is that there are lots of ways to prevent them from destroying your garden. Here are a few tips to keep deer away from plants…
- Use deer spray repellent – Using natural deer repellent spray works pretty well, as long as you’re diligent. Spray it directly on the plants to prevent deer from eating them, and reapply often. If you’re unsure of which kind is the best to use, Bobbex, Plantskydd, and Liquid Fence are all great organic brands.
- Create a protective perimeter – Line the perimeter of your garden with deer resistant plants to create a barrier around the ones they love to eat. This will make your garden less inviting to them, and it works for protecting both flowers and vegetables.
- Use plants to repel deer – Intermixing natural deer repellent plants strategically into your garden is another great way to keep them out. Not only does this make your garden less tempting, strong smelling plants can also mask the scent of the more appealing ones.
- Cover sensitive plants – Using a physical barrier will make it harder for the deer to eat your plants. You can encircle vulnerable plants with chicken wire or use metal fencing. You could also try using floating row covers, or use deer netting to protect plants.
- Grow vegetables deer love vertically – If you find that deer are taking bites out of the fruits of vegetables like squash and cucumbers, then try growing them vertically. An a-frame, arch, or a lean-to style trellis are all excellent choices. The vegetables will hang down on the inside of the trellis, keeping them more protected, or hiding them from the deer.
Related Post: How To Protect Grapes From Birds & Bugs
Two deer waiting to eat plants
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as deer proof plants, they will eat anything when they get really hungry! But there are many types of plants that they don’t eat as often. So fill your garden with deer resistant plants and shrubs to make your life a little easier.
More Posts About Garden Pest Control
- How To Use Beneficial Nematodes As Organic Pest Control
- Using Ladybugs For Natural Pest Control
- Avoiding The Dreaded Iris Borer
- Fighting The Good Fight Against Bad Bugs
Share your favorite deer resistant plants, or tips for keeping deer out of your garden.
Deer Proof Gardening: What Vegetables Are Deer Resistant
In combat and sports, the quote “the best defense is a good offense” is said a lot. This quote can apply to certain aspects of gardening too. In deer proof gardening, for instance, this can be quite literal since plants that smell offensive to deer can deter them from their favorite edibles. Planting a garden with edible plants deer don’t eat is also a defense. Continue reading for tips on deer proofing the garden and a list of fruits and vegetables deer won’t eat.
Deer Resistant Edibles
The sad fact is that there are actually no completely deer proof plants. When herd populations are large and food and water are scarce, deer will graze on whatever they can. Deer get about a third of the water they need from eating plants, so in times of drought they may eat unusual plants just to avoid dehydration.
The silver lining, is that usually a desperate deer will find wild plants or ornamentals before raiding your vegetable garden. However, if your garden contains fruits and vegetables favored by deer, they just may go the extra mile. Knowing which plants are irresistible to deer can help you properly use companion plants to deter deer from their favorites. Below is a list of plants that deer love to eat.
Edible plants deer love
- Carrot tops
- Sweet corn
- Sweet potato
Are There Fruits and Vegetables Deer Won’t Eat?
So what vegetables are deer resistant? As a general rule, deer don’t like plants with strong pungent scents. Planting these plants around the garden perimeter or around their favorite plants can sometimes be enough to make deer seek food elsewhere.
Deer also don’t tend to like plants with thick, hairy or prickly leaves or stems. Deer can be a little lazy about digging up root vegetables, but this doesn’t mean they won’t eat their aerial foliage. For example, they are very fond of carrot tops but rarely eat the carrots. Below are lists of edible plants that deer don’t eat (usually) and edible plants that deer sometimes eat, though they are not preferred.
Edible plants deer don’t eat
- Lemon Balm
Edible plants deer don’t like but may eat
- Brussels Sprouts
- Bok Choy
Deer Resistant List
King’s guide to deer resistant plants. Deer can be a frustrating nuisance, but there is some relief! The following is a sample of shrubs and flowers that deer generally avoid and do well in our area. We do like to recommend that a repellent such as Liquid Fence be used when plants are first planted to protect young foliage. The list is arranged by botanical name followed by common name.
Ageratum houstonianum – Floss Flower
Alcea species – Hollyhock
Celosia cristata – Cockscomb
Centaurea cyanus – Bachelor’s Button
Cleome spinosa – Spider Flower
Coreopsis species – Coreopsis
Cosmos species – Cosmos
Dyssodia tenuiloba – Dahlberg Daisy
Eschscholzia californica – California Poppy
Gaillardia species – Gaillardia
Gypsophila – Baby’s Breath
Helianthus species – Sunflower
Impatients balsamina – Balsam
Impatiens wallerana – Busy Lizzie
Ipomoea species – Morning Glory
Limonium sinuatum – Statice
Lobelia erinus – Lobelia
Lobularia maritima – Sweet Alyssum
Myostis sylvatica – Forget-Me-Not
Nigella damascena – Love-in-the-Mist
Papaver rhoeas – Shirley Poppy
Portulaca grandiflora – Rose Moss
Salvia species – Sage
Sanvitalia procumbens – Creeping Zinnia
Scabiosa atropurpurea – Pincushion Flower
Senecio cineraria – Dusty Miller
Tithonia rotundiflora – Mexican Sunflower
Achillea species – Yarrow
Alcea rosea – Hollyhock
Aloe species – Aloe
Alstromeria – Peruvian Lily
Aquilegia – Columbine
Armeria maritima – Common Thrift
Artemesia species – Wormwood
Aster species – Perennial Asters
Astilbe – Meadow Sweet
Aubrieta deltoidea – Common Aubrieta
Aurinia saxatilis – Perennial Alyssum
Bellis perennis – English Daisy
Beloperone guttata – Shrimp Plant
Bergenia – Saxifraga
Brachycome iberdifolia – Swan River Daisy
Centaurea cineraria – Dusty Miller
Centranthus ruber – Jupiter’s Beard
Chrysanthemum frutescens – Marguerite
Chrysanthemum partenuim – Feverfew
Dicentra species – Bleeding Heart
Digitalis species – Foxglove
Echium fastuosum – Pride of Madeira
Erigeron glaucus – Santa Barbara Daisy
Eriogonom species – Buckwheat
Erysimum linifolium – Bowle’s Mauve
Felicia amelloides – Blue Marguerite
Galium odoratum – Sweet Woodruff
Geranium – Cranesbill
Gerbera jamesonii – Transvaal Daisy
Gypsophila – Baby’s Breath
Helichrysum species – Strawflower
Helleborus niger – Christmas Rose
Hemerocallis – Daylily
Heuchera sanguinea – Coral Bells
Kniphofia uvaria – Red Hot Poker
Lantana montevidensis – Trailing Lantana
Lavandula species – Lavener
Leonotis leonurus – Lion’s Tail
Limonium – Sea Lavender
Liriope muscari – Lily Turf
Lobelia cardinalis – Cardinal Flower
Lupinus species – Lupine
Lychnis coronaria – Crown Pink
Mimulus – Monkey Flower
Mirabilis – Four O’Clock
Monarda species – Bee Balm
Nepeta faassenii – Catmint
Nierembergia species – Cupflower
Oenothera species – Evening Primrose
Origanum dictamnus – Crete Dittany
Papaver orientale – Oriental Poppy
Penstemon – Beard Tongue
Phlox subulata – Moss Pink
Rudbeckia hirta – Gloriosa Daisy
Ruta graveolens – Common Rue
Salvia species – Sage, Salvia
Santolina chamaecyparissus- Lavender Cotton
Scabiosa columbaria – Pincushion Flower
Silene acaulis – Cushion Pink
Stachys byzantina – Lamb’s Ear
Tagetes lemmonii – Bush Marigold
Tropaeolum – Nasturtium
Tulbaghia violacae – Society Garlic
Verbena peruviana – Peruvian Verbena
Viola odorata – Sweet Violet
Zantendeschia – Calla Lily
Alstromeria – Peruvian Lily
Amaryllis belladonna – Naked Lady
Begonia – Tuberous Begonia
Crocosmia – Montbretia
Cymbidium – Terrestrial orchids
Cypripedium californicum – Lady Slipper
Dahlia imperialis – Tree Dahlia
Fritillaria imperialis – Crown Imperial
Galanthus elwesii – Giant Snowdrop
Muscari – Grape Hyacinth
Narcissus – Daffodil
Scillia – Blue Bells
Watsonia – Bugle Lily
Zantedeschia – Calla Lily
Grasses (and grass-like plants):
Acorus variegatus – Japanese Sweet Flag
Alopecurus pretensis “Aureovariegatus” – Yellow Meadow Foxtail
Arundinaria viridistriata – Dwarf Running Bamboo
Arundo donax – Reed Grass
Briza maxima/media – Quacking Grass
Calamagrostis – Feather Reed Grass
Carex – Sedge Grass
Deschampsia caespitosa – Tufted Hair Grass
Dietes – Fortnight Lily
Festuca – Fescue
Hakonechloa – Golden
Imperata – Japanese Blood Grass
Juncus – Common Rush
Miscanthus – Feather Grass
Molinia – Purple Moor Grass
Pennisetum – Fountain Grass
Phalaris – Ribbon Grass
Phormium – New Zealand Flax
Stipa gigantea – Feather Grass
Vines and Groundcover:
Ajuga reptans – Carpet Bugle
Anthemis nobilis – Chamomile
Campsis species – Trumpet Creeper
Carpobrotus edulis – Ice Plant
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides – Dwarf Plumbago
Chamaemelum nobile – Chamomile
Clematis armandii – Evergreen Clematis
Coprosma kirkii – Creepingn Coprosma
Erodium chamaedryoides – Crane’s Bill
Ficus pumilla – Creeping Fig
Gelsemium sempervirens – Carolina Jasmine
Hedera helix – English Ivy
Herniaria glabra – Green Carpet
Isotoma – Blue Star Creeper
Jasminium species – Jasmine
Juniper species – Juniper
Lotus berthelotii – Parrot’s Beak
Myoporum parvifolium – Creeping Myoporum
Muehlenbeckia – Mattress Vine
Osteospermum fruticosum – Trailing African Daisy
Pachysandra terminalis – Japanese Spurge
Polygonum – Knotweed
Scaevola – Mauve Clusters
Solanum jasminoides – Potato Vine
Stachys byzantina – Lamb’s Ears
Thumbergia alata – Black-Eyed Susan Vine
Vinca species – Periwinkle
Viola odorata – Sweet Violet
Wisteria species – Wisteria
Zauschneria californica – California Fuschia
Acer palmatum – Japanese Maples
Aesculus calofirnica – California Buckeye
Albeisia – Silk Tree
Arbutus – Strawberry Tree
Cinnamomum camphora – Camphor Tree
Conifers: cedar, fir, pine, redwood, spruce
Cotinus coggyria – Smoke Tree
Crataegus species – Ash
Diospyros – Persimmon
Ficus carica – Fruiting Fig
Fraxinus species – Ash
Ginko biloba – Maidenhair Tree
Lagerstroma indica – Crepe Myrtle
Laurus nobilis – Grecian Laurel
Liquidamber styraciflua – Sweet Gum
Magnolia species – Magnolia
Maytenus boaria – Mayten Tree
Olea europaea – Olive
Pistachia chinensis – Chinese Pistache
Podocarpus granatum – Yew Pine
Punica granatum – Pomegranate
Quercus species – Oak
Quince – Fruiting Quince
Rhus species – Sumac
Scinus species – Pepper Tree
Sequoia sempervirens – Coast Redwood
Thuja plicata – Western Red Cedar
Umbellularia californica – California Bay
Bushes and shrubs:
Agapanthus species – Lily of the Nile
Alyogyne huegelii – Blue Hibiscus
Arctostaphylos – Manzanita
Berberis species – Barberry
Brugmansia – Angel’s Trumpet
Buddleia – Butterfly Bush
Buxus species – Boxwood
Callistemon species – Bottlebrush
Ceanothus – Wild Lilac
Chaenomeles species – Flowering Quince
Choisya ternata – Mexican Mock Orange
Cistus species – Rockrose
Clivia miniata – Kaffir Lily
Coleonema pulchrum – Pink Breath of Heaven
Convovulus cneorum – Bush Morning Glory
Coprosma kirkii – Dwarf Mirror Plant
Cordyline autralis – Dracena Palm
Corokia cotoneaster – Twisted Cotoneaster
Correa pulchella – Australian Fuchsia
Cotoneaster lacteus – Red Clusterberry
Crassula argentea – Jade Plant
Cyperus species – Papyrus
Daphne species – daphne
Dendromecon harfordii – Island Bush Poppy
Dodonaea viscosa – Hop Bush
Dracena species – Dragon Palm
Echium fastuosum – Pride of Madeira
Echium wildpretii – Tower of Jewels
Elaeagnus species – Silverberry
Erica – Heath
Eriogonum arboresscens – Wild Buckwheat
Euphorbia species – Spurge
Fatsia japonica – Japanese Aralia
Feijoa sellowiana – Pineapple Guava
Ferns – all types
Forsythia species – Forsythia
Fremontodendron – Flannel Bush
Garrya elliptica – coastal Silktassle
Gaultheria shallon – Salal
Geranium – Cranesbill
Geranium – scented varieties
Grevellia species – Grevellia
Hakea sauveolens – Sweet hakea
Halimium lasianthum – Sunrose
Hebe buxifolia – Boxleaf Hebe
Helianthemim nummularium – Sun Rose
Heteromeles arbutifolia – Toyon
Hypericum calycinum – St. John’s Wort
Ilex species – Holly
Impatiens oliveri – Snapweed, Poor Man’s Rhododendron
Iris species – Iris
Juniperus species – Juniper
Kniphofia uvaria – Red Hot Poker
Kolkwitzia amabilis – Beauty Bush
Lagerstoemia indica – Crepe Myrtle
Lavandula species – Lavender
Leptospermum species – Tea Tree
Loropetalum chinense – Chinesse Witch Hazel
Lupinus arboreus – Lupine
Mahonia species – Oregon Grape
Melaleuca species – Melaleuca
Melianthus major – Honey Bush
Metrosideros excelsus – New Zealand Christmas Tree
Moraea iridiodes – African Iris
Myoporum species – Myoporum
Myrica californica – Pacific Wax Myrtle
Myrtus communis – Common Myrtle
Nandina domestica – Heavenly Bamboo
Nerium oleander – Oleander
Philadelphus coronarius – Sweet Mock Orange
Philodendron selloum – Bigleaf Philodendron
Phlomis fruiticosa – Jerusalem Sage
Phormium tenax – New Zealand Flax
Pieris species – Pieris
Plumbago auriculata – Cpae Plumbago
Poinciana gilliesii – Bird of Paradise Bush
Potentilla fruiticosa – Bush Cinquefoil
Prostanthera rotundifolia – Mint Bush
Punica granatum – Pomegranate
Quercus – Oak
Rhamnus californica – California Coffeeberry
Rhododendron species – Rhododendron (not Azaleas)
Rhus species – Sumac
Ribes species – Currant, Gooseberry
Romneya coulteri – Matilija Poppy
Rosmarinus officinalis – Rosemary
Ruhus vitifolius – Blackberry
Salvia secies – Salvia, Sage
Sambucus caerulea – Blue Elderberry
Sarcococca species – Sarcococca, Sweet Box
Sollya heterophylla – Australian Bluebell
Strelitzia species – Bird of Paradise
Syringa species – Common Lilac
Syzygium paniculatum – Brush Cherry
Tamaarix species – Tamarisk
Tellima grandiflora – Fringe Cup
Tetrapanax papyruferus – Rice Paper Plant
Teucrium fruticans – Bush Germander
Thuya / Thuja scpecies – Arborvitae
Westringia rosmariniformis – Westringa
Yucca glauca – Small Soapweed
Japanese Honeysuckle- Embrace it, Eradicate it, or Deal With it?
There are mixed feelings about this non-native species
By Dudley Phelps
Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is an evergreen, or semi-evergreen, trailing or climbing vine that was human introduced from the orient to New York State in 1806. Since that time, it has been planted for wildlife, erosion control, and as a landscape specimen. It reproduces from seed, cuttings, or layering and the vines have been recorded at lengths of up to 80 feet long. It currently is known to exist to a varying degree in every state including Hawaii, except Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Dakotas and is considered invasive in 22 of those states, 30 national parks, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa.
The leaves and tender portions of the vines are an important source of browse for several species, but it’s most often noted as a highly preferred, practically year-round food source for deer, containing 9- 16% protein. The seeds are utilized by several birds including mockingbirds, wild turkey, and quail, but because of its variability in fruiting, the seeds normally only make up a minor component. Due to its vigorous growth when exposed to sunlight, and its clumping nature in the vicinity of fallen or logged tree tops, the “viney” clumps provide escape cover and food for rabbits. The nectar from the yellow to white, showy flowers is an important energy source for hummingbirds, moths, butterflies, and other pollinating insects. If you grew up in an area populated by this vine, you probably remember the trick to extract the sweet drop of nectar and may have taught your kids to do the same.
Most of the interest in Japanese honeysuckle (among our readers) revolves around the fact that deer are highly attracted to its tender foliage, and it’s already present just about everywhere so it doesn’t have to be planted. Add fertilizer, and something like a cut cedar, fencerow, or some welded wire for it to climb on and you have yourself a little “deer food factory.” I arrowed my first “bow buck” about twenty years ago over a patch of fertilized honeysuckle, and twenty years later I arrowed my first buck with traditional archery equipment on the same site, except this time the deer was feasting on other naturally occurring goodies I chose to encourage (with fire) instead of honeysuckle.
The debate over whether or not this plant should be embraced or discouraged will be forever ongoing because Japanese honeysuckle is here to stay regardless. I’m stuck somewhere in the middle on the debate over this species. I don’t plan on spending the rest of my weekend life trying to eradicate this plant from my property, but I don’t plan on encouraging it either. I’ve already mentioned the main “pro” associated with this plant, and considering the whitetail deer is the most popular game animal in the country, it’s a significant pro.
There are plenty of cons, but the main issue off the top of my head relating to forest and wildlife management has to do with the fact that it loves to devour seedling trees. If you chose to cutover 40 acres on your place last year because you had a good acorn crop the year prior, and you’d like to have a good stand of oaks come back, but you also want to fertilize tops in this area to increase honeysuckle tonnage, don’t count on a lot of oaks making it. Japanese honeysuckle loves to grab-hold of newly emerging seedlings to twine around and pull them to the ground. To get back a good stand of oaks you either need luck, plenty of advanced regeneration (sapling sized oaks) present before the site is logged, or you will need to plant trees yourself and employ herbicides, fire, more luck, or a combination of the three to get a great stand of oaks and other hardwoods to return.
If you’re still sold on encouraging honeysuckle for your deer, and the pros outweigh the cons on your property, all you need is sunlight, structure for the vines to climb on and a nitrogen source. The fertilizer isn’t necessary, but will provide more growth. Only use a nitrogen based fertilizer such as ammonium sulfate or urea. A complete fertilizer such as 13-13-13 will encourage flowering and a seed crop, which will increase the likelihood of birds spreading the growth to other areas. Any extra growth resulting from the fertilization will be quickly consumed by the deer, unless you have a low population. If you have a low population of deer on your property, save your money and don’t fertilize.
- Be respectful and don’t plant honeysuckle in areas where it doesn’t exist- period. In fact, honeysuckle is against the law to propagate in several states.
- Don’t encourage honeysuckle if your property is located on the edge of its distribution. The good news is that there are plenty of better alternatives that deer have used for millennia before. In this scenario you probably need to take measures to control or discourage it.
- Don’t encourage honeysuckle near property lines unless you have discussed the idea with your neighbor.
- Don’t fertilize with complete fertilizers which may encourage seed development that birds can scatter.
- Whether you like it or not, throughout most of our country Japanese honeysuckle is here to stay. If you have in the past encouraged honeysuckle, thinking it’s the silver bullet for wildlife management, think again…the cons outweigh the pros. If you are one of those “anti non-native plant racist types” who thinks honeysuckle is going to take over the planet, you’re too late it already has.
Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’
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All Plants :: All Vine :: All Lonicera
trumpet honeysuckle, coral honeysuckle
Finally a production and landscape friendly native honeysuckle! Major Wheeler is the best selection of Lonicera sempervirens we’ve grown and it stands out so far above the rest that we’ve dropped all other red cultivars. Clean foliage is the first benefit. Even in periods of drought or in overgrown production, we’ve never seen a speck of mildew on this one. But its real asset is FLOWER POWER! This selection is COVERED in red trumpet flowers in late spring and keeps churning them out all summer long, especially with a post-bloom trim. The hummingbirds will find it from miles around.
|Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’ – 50 per flat||Availability|
USDA Hardiness Zone 4-8
trumpet honeysuckle, coral honeysuckle Interesting Notes
Lonicera sempervirens can be found on fence rows, roadsides, open woodlands and the edges of clearings, from Connecticut to Nebraska, and south to Texas and Florida. North American Distribution Map
Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’ Growing and Maintenance Tips
‘Major Wheeler’ prefers average, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. More sun will give you more flowers. Tolerant of drought and dry soils once established, but either may reduce flower production and growth. Blooms on previous year’s growth and new growth, so you can trim it back or leave it be. Prune to best suit your site. Lonicera sempervirens is a twining vine and needs small to medium width support to climb. Ideal on a trellis or open fence. Can climb a wood fence with help getting started.
Key Characteristics & Attributes
Deer Resistant Butterflies Hummingbirds Full Sun Part Sun Summer Moist Average Salt Tolerance
| Season of Interest (Flowering)
| Soil Moisture Needs
| Propagation Type
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Friday – July 12, 2013
From: Columbia, SC
Topic: Deer Resistant, Vines
Title: Climbing vines that are deer resistant
Answered by: Guy Thompson
Please find plants that are climbing vines and are deer resistant
Deer resistance is a relative thing, depending upon the availability (or not) of other more desirable food. So there is no guarantee. But I have in mind several vine species, ranging from the very deer-resistant Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria) to Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper), which deer love to nibble on. The following species are probably in between in their palatability. Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine), Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper), Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine), Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle), Clematis crispa (Swamp leatherflower) andCelastrus scandens (American bittersweet).
In my experience, deer do not bother Carolina jessamine or Crossvine, but they love Trumpet creeper. Actually, that works out well, because Trumpet creeper tends to produce underground runners that send up shoots in areas where you don’t want them to be.
You did not tell me what sort of site you have for the vines. Some of the above species prefer full sun while others will grow in shade. Some are evergreen and others deciduous. Some grow to a greater height than others. Reading about them on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Native Plant Database will give you the information you need to choose a vine suited to your needs.
I have observed that here in Texas (where the deer are rather small), any foliage at least 4 feet above the ground is not eaten by deer. And they do not generally eat stems free of leaves. So if you protect your vines until they grow high enough, you can enjoy most of the ones I have listed.
Most of the species listed above should be available at one of your local plant nurseries. Some are shown in the images below.
From the Image Gallery
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Photo by Owen Yin
We all love to see wildlife and especially deer, but we don’t want them in our garden eating our plants. Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station has a list, which is accessible on their site, of hundreds of plant species that may deter deer from eating and damaging them. That list of deer resistant Vines is broken down into four categories.
- Rarely Damaged
- Seldom Severely Damaged
- Occasionally Severely Damaged
- Frequently Severely Damaged
That’s a lot of information to weed through to find exactly what you’re looking for, so here we’ve identified four deer-resistant vines for fall planting. It is, however, important to note that there aren’t really any plants deer won’t consume because if food is scarce and a herd is large enough they will eat whatever they can find.
For the most part, vines are too high off of the ground for deer to damage, but when vines are young they may get eaten before they have a chance to sprout. If you want flowering vines whose leaves will remain intact try these four vines.
5 Deer Resistant Vines
This vine does not have the aroma of typical jasmine. It’s a cheerful plant that doesn’t need much attention and flowers from mid to late winter. You can grow it as a vertical vine or scrambling shrub. It can withstand full sun, moderate watering and will grow in -10°F or -23°C. In the end, you’ll be happy you nurtured the Winter Jasmine because at its maturity it grows up to 15 feet.
This is a beautiful flowering vine, but be sure you purchase the American Wisteria because the Japanese and Chinese species can easily get out of control growing up to 50 feet and engulfing large trees. With the American Wisteria that isn’t a worry; although the flowers and vines are smaller than those of its Asian cousins it’s still an absolutely gorgeous choice. Wisteria flourishes in full or partial sun and with low water.
Another nice option for deer resistant vines is the American Bittersweet. Be sure to get the species that are native to eastern and central North America or you’ll have the invasive Oriental Bittersweet on your hands. The American Bittersweet treats us with whitest-yellowish flowers in the summer and later brightly colored fruit that lasts into early winter. Be forewarned: If eaten by humans it is toxic. It will grow in 40°F or 40°C temperatures.
If you want a more delicate flower then this is the right choice. Most often seen in purple and white these plants come in about five different species, which determines where the will grow the best. Place them in full or partial sun and water moderately, and you’ll eventually have a vine up to 25 feet.
Even though you’re using the vines to deter deer, the great thing about them is they’re gorgeous and will bring life and beauty to your yard or garden. And, as they’re a fairly low-maintenance choice you’ll be pleased with nurturing them for years to come. Now you can watch deer graze nearby and, hopefully, leave your garden alone.
Soil: Clematis prefer rich, organic soil (no heavy clay) that is slightly alkaline. Additional limestone is not necessary unless a soil test reveals a pH less than 6.
Light: Full sun to part shade. Clematis like to keep their roots cool, so a 2-4 inch layer of mulch is advised once the soil warms up during the hot summer months. To prevent stem rot, be sure to keep the mulch well away from the base of the vine.
Spacing: 1.5 to 3 feet
Fertilizing: Fertilize your plant once a year in the spring, right after pruning or tidying up.
Winterizing: If you have mulched during the growing season, no special added care is needed.
Maintenance & pruning: Allow the plant to grow with no pruning through its first blooming season. Blooms on new growth, so once established, you can prune hard in fall after flowering or in early spring. Cut the vines back to 6 to 12 inches from the ground in February to ensure a strong flower production the next summer.: Clematis prefer rich, organic soil (no heavy clay) that is slightly alkaline. Additional limestone is not necessary unless a soil test reveals a pH less than 6.Light: Full sun to part shade. Clematis like to keep their roots cool, so a 2-4 inch layer of mulch is advised once the soil warms up during the hot summer months. To prevent stem rot, be sure to keep the mulch well away from the base of the vine.
Find the right plant for privacy without attracting deer
Meet Mike in Fredericksburg next weekend
Mike will appear next Saturday and Sunday, March 14-15 at the Fredericksburg Home and Garden Show at the Expo Center in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Mike’s lecture times are noon, 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday and 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. .
Privacy plants that deer won’t devour
Jenn in Catonsville, Maryland writes: “We have 100 linear feet of space along the street that we want to block for privacy, but we don’t like fences — and the area gets full sun. I know that arborvitae is the most popular evergreen for privacy planting, but we have a lot of deer. So I’ve been researching my options.”
Well, you’re wise to rule out the arborvitae, Jenn. Deer love them (arborvitae might be their single favorite food), and the plants don’t handle ice storms very well. So let’s take a look at some of the options you’ve come up with so far.
‘Would ‘Burning Bush’ be effective?’
Sorry Jenn — 100-foot-long row of the burners would look spectacular when they’re at their peak of fiery red, but Rutgers’ excellent “deer and landscape plants” website (see below) rates burning bush (scientific name: Euonymus) a poor choice, as all of the various forms and species of the plant fall under either their “frequently” or “severely damaged” categories.
‘What about a line of holly?’
Great idea. And my first thought was that any holly would be perfect, as it loves sun, and (I thought) have leaves that are too tough for deer to eat — but the Rutgers website says that my assumption is incorrect and the choice of type of holly is critical here.
They rate the “Morris” line of shrub hollies (specifically “Lydia Morris” and “John T. Morris”) as being very deer-resistant, but note that the incredibly popular “Nellie Stevens” holly is frequently eaten.
The American holly also gets an A rating, meaning deer don’t eat it, and it’s a tree form that grows tall. Just be aware that its naturally wide spacing between branch levels would require a well thought-out “staggered” planting design to be an effective screen.
Mike’s thinking grass here — big grass
My suggestion is to consider installing ornamental grasses. They grow quickly, flourish in full sun and the Rutgers website on landscape plantings confirms that deer won’t go near their sharp blades. And you have a huge number of options, many of which will grow tall enough to protect your privacy. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), for instance, reaches a height of 6 feet and then shoots up foot-and-a-half-tall flower stalks. And Giant Miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus) reaches 10 feet in height and spreads out up to 8 feet. Now that’s a screening plant.
But be warned that there are one or two frisky species of ornamental grasses with seeds can escape your yard and become invasive. So if you like this basic idea, read this article I wrote a few years back about using ornamental grasses as privacy plants. It has a lot more details and recommended plants — and warnings about which one to avoid.
Some things to consider before you start planting
In addition to checking Rutgers’ exhaustive list of plants most and least preferred by deer to make sure that you don’t accidentally plant anything edible (put that link in your “favorites” and consult it before you plant) and do not dig right next to a road without first making sure there are no electrical or water lines down there. Here’s the national resource for such information: 811 — Call Before You Dig. Again, put it in your favorites. “Oopsie” doesn’t cut it when you hit a live wire or sever your sewer line.
And do not plant screening trees or shrubs in a straight line. Number five always dies and leaves you with a gaping hole; and the line is never straight. Instead, stagger two lines of plants in a checkerboard kind of pattern for a much more aesthetic and effective planting scheme.
And remember to leave enough room for the plants to reach full size. That’s another advantage of the staggered effect: You can totally block the view while allowing for airflow between the plants.
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