Agricultural experts sometimes rank landscape plants according to their resistance to damage by deer. Doing so helps consumers find exactly what they need for their yards. Some organizations allow the public to browse deer resistant plants by rating category. Though no plant is deer proof, a plant in the “rarely damaged” category stands the best chance of surviving a visit from a hungry deer.
In this category, consumers will find trees, groundcovers, annuals, perennials, shrubs, and bulbs. Some choose to combine several types of plants within their yard while others opt for an assortment of plants from the same type. The best approach is usually dictated by personal taste, with the goal of making the yard look attractive while at the same time deterring deer.
Someone who does not want to make a long-term commitment may opt for an annual like ageratum or annual vinca. Ageratum gets lovely purple flowers with a puff-like appearance, while annual vinca features pink, purple, or white flowers. These plants will last through one growing season and usually not reappear unless they are planted in areas that experience mild year-round temperatures.
If the desire is to have deer repellent plants return each year, perennials like basket of gold and may apple are great choices. True to its name, basket of gold sports tiny golden-yellow flowers that grow in clusters. May apple plants have white flowers with yellow centers that turn into edible fruits the size of crab apples.
Groundcover deer repellent plants are perfect for gardens with a large square footage. These spread over the area and usually require little to no maintenance. Pachysandra and spotted deadnettle are popular groundcovers that feature attractive leaves but no flowers. Red or dark purple berries grace bearberry groundcovers and lily of the valley gets tiny bell-shaped white flowers that grow on a stem.