Many plants have different species and each can have a unique appearance and different qualities. The plant spurge comes in 2,420 and some are more deer resistant than others. Knowing which species of spurge to plant to keep deer away will mean the difference between a pristine and ravaged garden.
With over 2,400 species, the perennial spurge is one of the largest flowering plant families. Many of these resemble cactus plants and are found in India and Africa. The Chameleon species is often severely damaged by deer, while the other types serve as deer repellents. The Allegheny spurge and Japanese spurge are particularly unattractive to deer.
This plant grows approximately two to three and a half feet tall, yields greenish-yellow flowers, and has a milky white sap. The flowers grow in clusters and bloom in mid-June, though the bracts that support them appear as early as late May. The leaves of the plant are small ovals that have a frosted coloring to them. Many species of this plant turn different colors in the fall, adding color to the garden during this season.
Spurge can spread quickly within a garden, taking up the water and nutrients needed by companion plants. It grows best in dry to moist soil and has average watering needs. Gardeners should note that handling spurge may result in an irritation to the skin or even an allergic reaction. The seeds and all parts of the plant are poisonous if they are ingested.
Spurge sometimes grows so quickly that it needs to be controlled and it is considered a weed in several areas of the U.S. However, other gardeners value this plant due to its drought resistant quality and the fact that it deters deer. The correct species of spurge will add nice color to the garden from the summer into the fall, while keeping deer away from the area.