When people think of plants that keep deer out of the yard, annuals and perennials usually come to mind. Many people do not realize that ferns are on the list of deer repellent plants. These are a great choice for any homeowner who wants to keep the garden pristine without incorporating anything too showy.
Christmas fern is rarely damaged by deer and has the attractive quality of remaining green throughout winter. The fact that the fronds were once used as Christmas decorations gave this fern its name. Attractively-shaped fronds reach two to three feet long and this fern grows in an asymmetric clump.
Another attractive evergreen fern is the holly fern, which grows about 18 to 24 inches tall. It does well in partial to full shade and can also be grown indoors. Known for its thickness, it is able to handle strong coastal breezes and also survives in a saline water supply or salt air. This fern requires regular watering, every few days during extremely hot temperatures.
Cinnamon fern is usually found along shores, stream banks, and in swamps. This deciduous fern grows two to five feet tall in symmetric clumps. Fertile fronds feature a cinnamon color and stand narrow and erect. Ruffled grouse feed on the fiddleheads and the fuzz growing on young fronds is sometimes used by hummingbirds in their nests. With its cinnamon fronds, this fern adds an element of color without being overbearing.
Japanese painted fern is considered one of the showiest ferns, with grey metallic colored fronds that feature hints of blue and red. This fern grows 12 to 18 inches tall and loves partial shade. Symmetric clumps feature fronds with a red center stem, providing an excellent contrast. Gardeners report that Japanese painted fern looks nice grown with hosta, which are not deer resistant plants.