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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 NameCommon NameZone
Aegopodium podagrariaBishop’s weed (groundcover)3-9
Ajuga reptansBugleweed (groundcover)3-9
Amelanchier canadensisServiceberry (shrub)4-9
Arbutus unedoStrawberry tree (tree)8-9
Berberis spp.Barberry (shrub)4-8
Betula papyriferaPaper birch (tree)2-5
Buddleia davidiiButterfly bush (shrub)5-10
Buxus spp.Boxwood (shrub)5-9
Choisya ternataMexican orange (shrub)8-10
Cistus spp.Rockrose (shrub)8-10
Cornus floridaFlowering dogwood (tree)5-9
Cornus kousaKousa dogwood (tree)5-8
Cotinus coggygriaSmokebush (shrub)5-8
Russian olive, Elaeagnus
Botanical NameCommon NameZone
Elaeagnus angustifoliaRussian olive (shrub)3-8
Fagus spp.Beech (tree)3-9
Gleditsia tricanthosHoneylocust (tree)3-8
Hibiscus syriacusRose of Sharon (shrub)5-9
Ilex glabraInkberry, hollies (shrub)5-9
Jasminum spp.Jasmine (vine)8-11
Kalmia latifoliaMountain laurel (shrub)4-9
Kerria japonicaJapanese kerria (shrub)5-9
Leucothoe spp.Mockorange (shrub)4-8
Pink and white blooming Nerium oleander
Botanical NameCommon NameZone
Magnolia spp.Magnolia (tree)5-9
Myrica spp.Bayberry (shrub)2-6
Nerium oleanderOleander (shrub)8-10
Philadelphus spp.Mockorange (shrub)4-8
Picea spp.Spruce (tree)2-7
Potentilla fruticoasShrubby potentilla (shrub)2-11
Rosmarinus officinalisRosemary (shrub)7-11
Spirea spp.Spirea (shrub)2-9
Teucrium spp.Germander (groundcover)4-9
Vinca minorPeriwinkle (groundcover)4-9

Also of interest;

Deer-Resistant Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs

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Deer-Resistant Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs