Deer Resistant Plants For The East

Deer Resistant Plants For The East

Deer eating grass in yard

If you live in the Eastern growing zones and seem to be in a constant battle with your backyard deer, we have the perfect plants for you to add to your landscape-- specifically the perfect deer resistant plants. Gone are the days of peeled off tree bark, broken branches and devoured flowers.

But, before we dive in too deep, Nature Hills would like to state that there are no 100% deer proof plants-- only plants that deer seldomly bother compared to others. If deer populations are running high and their natural food sources are limited, deer are more likely to browse on any plant of their choice. 

When adding a new plant into an area, you may see that deer are inclined to sample it, merely to see if they like it or not. We suggest spraying a deer repellent on all newly established plants, just to remind the local deer that they in fact don’t like the taste of the new plant. 

If your trees have already fallen to a case of deer rubbing their antlers on the trunks creating a vulnerable tree, read How To Protect Trees From Deer Damage.

Now back to it, we have outlined below five plant varieties that are known to be specimens deer don't particularly enjoy eating and that strive in the Eastern growing zones:

Honeylocust Trees

Whether you are a tree enthusiast or an amateur, Honeylocust Trees are quite possibly one of the easiest trees to identify. It’s commonly planted as an ornamental specimen, but it can also double as a nice semi-shade tree in the backyard. 

You’ll notice that these trees have alternating leaves that allow for a little extra light to shine through. Making it the perfect canopy for other plants to flourish underneath-- or a comfy hammock! 

A true hidden gem of Honeylocust Trees is their adaptable stature. They will grow well in both urban conditions and in wide open meadows. They prefer moist, well-drained soil, but can also tolerate a drought. 

If you’re wanting a marvelous back or front yard tree, look no further. Honeylocust Trees are hardy, handsome and deer don’t prefer the taste of Honeylocust. That calls for endless summer barbeques spent with neighbors who envy your tree. 

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Evergreen Shrub Selections

Evergreen Shrubs bring the power of structure to every landscape. From rounded to vertical foundations, you can use these shrubs to the best of their abilities. 

Not to mention, you’ll be gaining a forever green shrub that is easy to care for and extremely hardy. Evergreen Shrubs can be seen in modern landscape designs, such as within a showy outdoor container that greets a patio. 

Or, use them as accent topiary in every foundation planting. Our favorite use is anchoring our patio plantings with a few evergreens here and there. 

A majority of our Evergreen Shrub selections are disease resistant and deer resistant. To further ensure this, apply a deer repellent spray upon planting and after!

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Once you have a Fern-- or a few, you’ll never go back. We assume that’s how it’s always been considering they are ancient plants dating clear back to prehistoric times. Who wants to grow a piece of history in their yard? We do!

Although most commonly known for being a house plant, Ferns are also used as landscape plants and cut foliage. Shadier gardens are ideal locations for these plants as they prefer to be protected from the sun and wind. 

The green foliage pairs well with other natural specimens that grow in their hardiness zones. Use Ferns for a balancing act to color gardens!

It’s relatively easy to care for Ferns, but be patient. They grow slowly, yet surely! You won’t find deer damage on your plants either as Ferns tend to be deer resistant. They really are the perfect plant. 

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Ornamental Grasses

Nothing gets better than plants that are: vibrant and colorful, extremely hardy, provide year round interest AND are easy to maintain. Not to mention, come with the additional feature of being deer resistant. But where would you ever find a perfect plant like that? 

Allow us to highlight Ornamental Grasses as one of the absolutely, positively “have to have” landscape additions. With so many options that each provide the above garden benefits, you can use Ornamental Grasses in every way you wish to! Whether that be for texture, form or color. 

They can be found as focal points among gardens that sit next to a small pond or as an eye-catching background that stands a few feet taller than the landscape ground covers and shrubs. 

Ornamental Grasses can handle the heat and humidity that comes with being placed in full sun. These natural specimens will tolerate harsh conditions, along with higher altitudes. 

However, they won’t tolerate a few deer picking at them. You will find that several grasses are plants that deer find not inviting. For all of your gardening projects, Ornamental Grasses should be heavily included!

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For an easy to care for perennial, Catmint is a shoe in winner being drought tolerant with lavender blossoms that last through multiple seasons. It tolerates various soil conditions and thrives in even the toughest weather conditions.

You may have seen hummingbirds, butterflies and even cats going a good type of crazy at the sight-- and scent-- of Catmint, but deer tend not to. 

Catmint carries an aromatic strong scent within its fine foliage that deer hate to be near. It’s spicy and minty-- not their usual cup of tea!

Many Xeriscapes will have Catmint planted because of its water-wise feature. Or, it will be spotted as a prime edging plant in a front yard focal garden. Here at Nature Hills we use it to gently spill over a rock wall that needs extra bright colors bringing it to life. 

Wherever you choose to place it, Catmint won’t be eaten by your visiting rabbits or deer! Instead, you’ll have long lasting blossoms that are gathered ‘round by soft floating butterflies and buzzing bees. 

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Not in the Eastern USDA hardiness zones? Take a look at our blog covering Deer Resistant Plants For the North

By adding the above 5 deer resistant plants that thrive in the East, your garden won’t be living in constant fear. Plus, it will look spick and span all year round!

Happy gardening!

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