Deer Resistant Plants For The West

Deer Resistant Plants For The West

Deer eating shrubs

We know how frustrating it can be-- you plant a few new trees paired with fresh shrubs, walk outside the next morning with a hot cup of soothing coffee just to see bark peeled off, broken branches and even devoured flowers on your nearby shrubs. 

Welcome to a gardener’s worst nightmare, deer. 

But, Nature Hills to the rescue! *cue hero music* If you live in the Western growing zones and seem to be in a constant battle with your backyard deer, we have the top deer resistant plants for you to add to your landscape.

Even though there are plants that deer don’t bother, Nature Hills would like to state that there are no 100% deer proof plants-- only plants that deer seldomly bother compared to others. 

Remember that 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. 

Also, if you are adding a new plant into the area, deer are more inclined to sample it. This is to simply see if they like it or not. Therefore, we suggest spraying a deer repellent on all newly established plants, just to remind the local deer that they 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. White trunk protectors, hardware cloth or even chicken wire wrapped around the trunks will now be your best friend. 

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


Potentilla Shrubs

yellow flowers on potentilla shrub

Potentilla Shrubs are mainly grown for their ornamental features and they have positioned themselves to be an absolute staple in the West. They can thrive in full sun conditions where the going gets hot. But, plant them even where the temperatures are cool and they’ll grow!

Because of their minimal pruning demand, you’ll see them proudly being used as shrub borders around an area or as a low hedge that replaces a dull fence line. 

However, other landscapes prefer to use Potentilla Shrubs as edging plants for a sweet garden display or even in mass plantings because of their extended bloom period! As your garden lights up each year from June till frost, bet on neighbors turning their heads to catch a glimpse of your flowering shrubs. 

With the various bright colors, one would assume that deer just can’t keep themselves away. But instead, butterflies are fans and deer find others to pick on!

Our Most Popular Selections:


Lavender lavender plant growing wild

We may enjoy the scent of lavender refreshing an area, but deer sure do not appreciate the strong scent that Lavender Plants bring to the outdoors. These flowers are insanely perfumed, which is why they are often pruned and dried for a little indoor potpourri throughout the year. 

But you won’t find deer near them!

These purplish-blue flowers are easily spotted in various landscapes across the United States. From being grown strictly in a herb garden to being used as a landscape border, Lavender has a variety of uses that gardeners can’t get enough of. 

These perennials opt for basking in the heat and they thrive in areas that are dry, making them drought tolerant. However, make sure you place them in soil that is well-draining for best results. 

There is no going wrong with a few tough Lavender Plants in the garden!

Our Most Popular Selections:



Struggling to find a plant that can keep up with the heat and low precipitation of the West? Look no further, Yucca Plants are excellent broadleaved evergreens that do just that. 

Find that these natural specimens are wonderfully carefree and very hardy, which makes them easy to grow! Not to mention, you’ll have them for years to come as they are long lived too. 

Pick and choose which Yucca is for you. Looking for a plant that stays green year round for an added background texture? Grow a Yucca! Or would you rather a few blossoms sprout upon the evergreen color? Grow a Yucca! These plants are highly diverse and love to work hard in landscapes. 

Deer hate Yucca Plants and we think it’s because of their pointy architectural ends. They simply get scared away. So Yuccas make for the ideal border plant or focal point that won’t get bothered by deer. 

Our Most Popular Selections:


Barberry Bushes red barberry bush

Never go wrong with Barberry Bushes added to a remodeled garden! This hardy shrub offers a variety of choices-- petite and rounded with an array of rich colored hues. Whether it be red, yellow or purple, find your preferred aesthetic with Barberry Bushes. 

Of courses these shrubs are known for the thorny and wiry branches, which makes them an effective barrier! Especially for deer and other unwanted wildlife that may roam the backyard. But make sure you wear a good pair of gloves when working with them. 

You could be wondering how would anyone use these gracefully in a garden setting? Easy! Serving as living fences is their specialty, but use them as foundation plants or even in mass plantings. Barberry Bushes give a sense of ruggedness that sticks out among other peaceful plants. 

These are an excellent choice for deer resistant plants and will even do the honor of protecting your other plants too. 

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Bluebeard Shrubs blue and purple bluebeard shrub

From late summer to early fall, marvel at the beautiful blossoms that grace over Bluebeard Shrubs. These low maintenance bushes are drought tolerant and will elect to be placed in full sun, making them the ideal plant for the West. 

Here at Nature Hills, we like to use our Bluebeard Shrubs for mixed borders. And pick a few airy blue flowers to add in floral arrangements!

The best part about this ground cover is its foliage is not the pick of the crop in deer’s eyes. They don’t prefer the smell or the taste, so your Bluebeard Shrub is in the clear. 

Our Most Popular Selections:


Not in the Western USDA hardiness zones? Take a look at our blogs covering Deer Resistant Plants For the North or Deer Resistant Plants For The East. 

Add the above 5 deer resistant garden plants to your landscape and never worry about deer damage again!

Happy gardening!

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