Living in Harmony With Deer

Deer fill an important role as brush-cutters in the environment. They help clear the woodland floor of choking cover so new trees can grow. They also reduce undergrowth that provides tinder for wildfires.

The positives for your residential garden are numerous. Deer do a good job of nibbling off sucker growth which shoot up from tree bases and stumps. Their dropping enrich the soil and their browsing can dead head your flowers causing them to produce more flowers. They periodically mow down the volunteer grasses which lessen your need for weed-whacking.

Is there anything more peaceful than observing a deer resting peacefully under a large oak tree? Take some time from your busy schedule and enjoy such a special moment with nature!

Below are listings of sensible plants, fencing for defenseless plants and repellents that can assist your gardening efforts in deer country.

Homemade Deer Brew

  • 2 old eggs mixed with ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp. Tabasco or chili pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • Blend egg and water mixture for 2-3 minutes on high speed. Blend in remaining ingredients and apply with a sprayer. Refrigerate unused portion.

Hanging bars of soap

All soaps work equally well, even unscented. Leave the wrappers on so the soap doesn’t melt and attract rodents. Make this an art project and create your own wrappers! Drill holes through the bars and hang them on a tree spaced no more than 3 feet apart, up to a height of six feet.



    • Put on or two fistfuls of human hair in a length of nylon stocking or mesh. (Freshly washed hair won’t work as well) Space the bags no more than 3 feet apart and replace hair a few times each season.
    • Other deterrents such as hanging tinfoil, can and scarecrows can be effective for a short term use, but deer learn quickly and my return after the initial shock wears off. There is also a product sold at nurseries that comes in a spray bottle which contains mountain lion urine. This works well in areas that have drip systems versus Rain bird systems


All these remedies will have varying degrees of success depending on your yard and geographical area.

Deer-resistant plants

  • Alyssum
  • Astilbe
  • Ceanothus
  • Phelps
  • Common Lilac
  • Cotoneaster Lacteus
  • Darwin barberry
  • Flowering crab tree
  • Forsythia
  • French lavender
  • Huckleberry
  • Forget-me-nots
  • Foxglove
  • Impatiens oliveri
  • Monkshood
  • Oriental poppy
  • Penstemon
  • Peony
  • Ferns
  • Salvia
  • Scented geranium
  • Thyme
  • Toadflax
  • Zinnia
  • Blue hibiscus
  • Buddleia
  • Rhododendron
  • Rockrose
  • Rosemary
  • Solanum
  • Spruce
  • Tagetes lemmonil
  • Toyon berry
  • Wilson Holly
  • Dutch iris
  • Juniper
  • Lantana
  • montevidensis
  • Lavender
  • Leucothoe
  • Mexican bush sage
  • Epimedium
  • Rose campion
  • Olive
  • Rosemary
  • Snapdragon
  • Tulip
  • Potentilla
  • Purple hop bush
  • Bearded Iris
  • Bleeding heart
  • Blue marguerite
  • California poppy
  • Coreopsis
  • Daffodils
  • Dame’s rocket
  • Delphinium
  • Italian stone pine
  • Aloe
  • Artichoke
  • Bamboo
  • Dead nettle
  • Dill
  • English Ivy
  • Rock cress
  • Lamb’s ears
  • Mint
  • Shasta daisy
  • Tansy
  • Yarrow


Favorite Deer Munchies

  • Anemone
  • Hydrangea
  • Periwinkle
  • Crucifers
  • Tomato
  • Violets
  • Hosta
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Crabapple
  • Stock
  • English Ivy
  • Geum
  • Candytuft
  • Coral bells
  • Roses
  • Daylily
  • Gardenia
  • Wallflower