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Deer-Resistant Trees, Shrubs, and Groundcovers

Strawberry tree arbutus
Strawberry tree, Arbutus unedo with fruit

Deer-resistant trees, shrubs, and groundcovers are plants deer have shunned in many gardens. If deer are hungry enough, they will eat practically any kind of plant. But if deer are a problem in your garden, you may be able to discourage them–most of the time–with your plant choices.

This list includes trees, shrubs, and groundcovers that deer usually do not stop to eat. To this list, you can add plants native to your region. Deer tend to pass up native trees and shrubs.

Deer commonly do not show interest in strong-smelling plants. These plants often contain oils that are not appetizing to deer.

Check at a nearby garden center for a regional list of plants that are usually deer-resistant,

Bugleweed, Ajuga reptans, groundcover
Botanical Name/
Common Name
Zone
AegopodiumAegopodium podagraria
Bishop’s weed (groundcover)
3-9
Ajuga reptansAjuga reptans
Bugleweed (groundcover)
3-9
AmelanchierAmelanchier canadensis
Serviceberry (shrub)
4-9
Arbutus unedo Arbutus unedo
Strawberry tree (tree)
8-9
Berberis thunbergii Berberis spp.
Barberry (shrub)
4-8
BetulaBetula papyrifera
Paper birch (tree)
2-5
butterfly bushBuddleia davidii
Butterfly bush (shrub)
5-10
Buxus sempervirensBuxus spp.
Boxwood (shrub)
5-9
ChoisyaChoisya ternata
Mexican orange (shrub)
8-10
Cistus flowerCistus spp.
Rockrose (shrub)
8-10
Pink Cornus florida Cornus florida
Flowering dogwood (tree)
5-9
cornus kousa Cornus kousa
Kousa dogwood (tree)
5-8
CotinusCotinus coggygria
Smokebush (shrub)
5-8
Russian olive, Elaeagnus
Botanical Name/
Common Name
Zone
Elaeagnus umbellata. Elaeagnus angustifolia
Russian olive (shrub)
3-8
Fagus sylvaticaFagus spp.
Beech (tree)
3-9
Gleditsia Gleditsia tricanthos
Honeylocust (tree)
3-8
Hibiscus syriacus Hibiscus syriacus
Rose of Sharon (shrub)
5-9
  ilex verticillata.Ilex glabra
Inkberry, hollies (shrub)
5-9
Jasminum grandiflorumJasminum spp.
Jasmine (vine)
8-11
KalmiaKalmia latifolia
Mountain laurel (shrub)
4-9
Kerria japonica Kerria japonica
Japanese kerria (shrub)
5-9
Leucothoe fontanesiana Leucothoe spp.
Mockorange (shrub)
4-8
Pink and white blooming Nerium oleander
Botanical Name/
Common Name
Zone
MagnoliaMagnolia spp.
Magnolia (tree)
5-9
Myrica Myrica spp.
Bayberry (shrub)
2-6
NerNerium oleander in a gardenNerium oleander
Oleander (shrub)
8-10
PhiladelphusPhiladelphus spp.
Mockorange (shrub)
4-8
Picea glauca Picea spp.
Spruce (tree)
2-7
Potentilla Fruticosa Potentilla fruticoas
Shrubby potentilla (shrub)
2-11
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis
Rosemary (shrub)
7-11
SpiareaSpiraea spp.
Spirea (shrub)
2-9
Teucrium fruticansTeucrium spp.
Germander (groundcover)
4-9
Vinca minor in AprilVinca minor
Periwinkle (groundcover)
4-9

Also of interest;

Deer-Resistant Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs

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Deer-Resistant Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs