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Plants that deer do not eat

By Matthew Arnsberger
Posted Sunday, March 22, 2009

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Pittsboro, NC - As a landscape designer and landscape contractor I have been maintaining a list of plants that 'deer do not eat' for the last ten years. Over the years I deleted many, many plants from the list as the pressure from deer browse has increased. Three identified instances of significant browsing and the plant get knocked off of my list.

Deer are very adaptable creatures and will eat anything if they are hungry. What they eat or don't eat in your neighborhood may be different from mine. In some locations they will bypass Nandinas for some other plants and in other locations they will browse heavily on Nandinas. I have seen deer-eaten (and not just nibbled) hellebores, christmas ferns, yuccas, salvias, rhododendron, mountain laurel, yarrow, epimedium and other plants I thought they would never touch.

A few of the perennial plants that have remained on my list:

Sun - Agastaches, Artemisia, Calamintha, Coreopsis, Dianthus, Lavandula, Lysimachia, Narcissus, Oenothera, Pycnathemum, Rosmarinus, Verbena, etc.

Shade - Ajuga, Arum, Bergenia, Ceratostigma, Euphorbia, Helleborus, Lamiastrum, Podophyllum, Stachys, etc.

A few woody plants: Cephalotaxus, Sarcoccoca, Cotoneaster, Daphne, Pieris, Hamamelis, Aesculus, Spirea.

 
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