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It’s frustrating when you find deer have turned your garden into their dinner plate. While building high fences or using repellents can help, a simpler solution is to plant perennials that deer don’t like to eat.

Deer, much like us, have their food preferences. And while there’s no such thing as a completely deer-proof plant, plenty of perennials are less appealing to them.

Here are 13 deer-resistant perennials, which, though not immune to deer, are generally less attractive to them.

Hybrid Astilbe

inflorescence of a Astilbe cultivar
Image Credit: Dinkum, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hybrid Astilbe lights up the shade with its feathery plumes of flowers in shades of pink, red, and white. Its fern-like foliage remains attractive throughout the season. Zones 4-9

Butterfly Weed

The Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) growing in the garden and flowering with wide umbels of orange flowers in summer
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Butterfly weed, a form of milkweed, is a brightly colored wildflower. It blooms in vibrant shades of yellow, orange, and red and is deer-resistant. This sun-loving plant thrives in light, sandy soil with good drainage. Zones 3-9

Peony

The flower is large and pink with many petals. The center of the flower is yellow with visible pollen.
Image credit: Fanghong, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Peonies are popular perennials with big, fragrant pink, red, white, and yellow flowers. They have glossy green leaves and bloom from late spring to early summer. Peonies are generally considered deer-resistant. Peonies require rich soil with good drainage. Zones 3-8

Foxglove

cluster of pink and purple flowers of Foxglove from the plant family of Digitalis
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Foxglove has tall spikes of bell-shaped flowers, perfect for adding height to shaded gardens. Blooms late spring to early summer. Zones 4-10

Coneflower

echinacea flowers
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Also known as Echinacea, Coneflower boasts nectar-rich blooms that attract bees. With its large, daisy-like flowers in shades of pink, purple, and white, deer tend to stay away from this plant. This resilient plant thrives in the sun and requires minimal care, making it perfect for low-maintenance gardens.

Columbine (Aquilegia Canadensis)

Blue Columbine wildflower blooms in mountain Aspen forest in early morning light
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Columbine is a perennial with bright flowers contrasting against dark, clover-shaped leaves. Available in various colors, including two-tone, its unique bell-shaped flowers with five spurs catch the eye. Ideal for slopes, ledges, or open garden spaces, Columbine adds beauty, attracts wildlife, and deters deer.

Bee Balm

Tall red flowers of Monard bee balm in the summer garden
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

True to its name, Bee Balm is a magnet for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Part of the mint family, it’s easy to grow and provides aromatic flowers that deers tend to avoid.

Catmint

Closeup of a catmint flower against a blue sky.
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Catmint produces lavender-blue flowers throughout the summer. It’s easy to grow, drought-tolerant and thrives in full sun to partial shade. Deers despise the smell and will keep away from this perennial.

Lavender (Lavandula)

lavender in field
Image credit: Deposit Photos

Known for its striking purple hue and soothing scent, lavender is a magnet for butterflies and an ideal choice for those seeking low-maintenance beauty. It has the most amazing scent and makes a garden smell wonderful. Thriving in sunlight and requiring minimal water, it’s perfect for easy-care gardens while keeping the deer away.

Salvia

purple salvia
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Salvia plants are known for their spikes of violet, blue, white, or pink flowers. They are drought-tolerant and prefer full sun.

Lungwort (Pulmonaria)

spot on lungwort with purple flowers
Image Credit: DHochmayr, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Lungwort is a deer-resistant, shade-loving perennial that blooms in early spring. Its flowers shift from pink to blue as they mature. The plant’s textured, hairy leaves deter deer, making it ideal for enhancing shady areas of the garden with minimal risk of deer damage.

Yarrow (Achillea)

Flowering yarrow, Achillea, close up
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Yarrow produces clusters of small, flat-topped flowers in colors including yellow, white, pink, and red. It’s drought-tolerant and thrives in full sun. Zones 3-9

Hellebore

hellebore
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Hellebores are early bloomers with flowers in shades of white, green, pink, purple, and red. They prefer partial to full shade and well-drained soil. Zones 3-9

Penstemon

Penstemon mexicali cultivar red rocks flowers, purple ornamental bell flowering small plant in the grass
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Penstemon is deer-resistant and known for its colorful, tubular flowers that attract bees and hummingbirds. Its unappealing taste and texture to deer make it an excellent choice for gardens seeking beauty and wildlife attraction without the deer problem. Zones 3-9

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oregano on a white plant pot
Image credit: Deposit photos

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oversized planters
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Tall red flowers of Monard bee balm in the summer garden
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

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cinnamon on houseplant
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