Deer Resistant Gardening


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If you live in an area with foraging deer, you've likely watched some of your plants be eaten by deer​. Before you give up on gardening, try making your yard less appealing to deer by choosing plants that deer do not like as much.​ 

It's important to note that unless you build a tall fence, there is no such thing as a deer-proof garden. Deer will eat anything if they are hungry enough, and they can adapt and eat plants that are considered 'resistant'. That being said, deer do have their favorites, and they're more attracted to places where their preferred food is easy to get to.

In general, deer prefer:

  • Plants with lush foliage and high water content, such as hostas
  • Early spring plants like tulips, crocuses, and forsythia
  • Fruiting and berry-producing plants, including vegetable gardens

Deer are less likely to be attracted to:

  • Herbs and strongly flavored plants
  • Heavily scented foliage
  • Plants with fuzzy or hairy leaves
  • Prickly plants
  • Ferns
  • Grasses

In this guide you will find a list of deer resistant plants and their requirements. Native plants to the area are highlighted in purple and are best suited to Ann Arbor's soils and climate. This makes it more likely that plants can thrive​ in your garden. Keep in mind that when planting native plants it is always best practice to use seeds or plants that are from the local gene pool. This is not a full list, but please use it as a starting point. 

For plants that are not deer resistant, ​there are still​ ways to have them into your garden. Placing plants closer to doors or in more busy a​reas will decrease the chance deer will eat the plants. Another option is to plant in containers that can be placed in a secure area such as inside a fence.​​

Container Gardens.jpg 

If you have any questions about deer resistant gardening ​please refer to the non-lethal deer management resource city staff have created for more tips and tricks to deter deer from your yard.​