15 Beautiful Deer Resistant Shade Plants To Grow In Your Garden

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Find out how to keep your garden looking beautiful with these deer resistant shade plants that will help to prevent the animals from dining on your flowers.

Deer resistant shade plants

As many of you know, both my mother and I have fairly large shade gardens. So we’ve written quite a bit about plants that thrive in the shade.

One of the questions that I always get asked is if those plants are deer resistant.

So I thought I would do a little research and find out.

I actually live in an area where deer are plentiful. It wasn’t that many years ago that most of the land around here was wooded. Recent construction in the area has replaced a lot of those forests with subdivisions which means lots of deer looking for alternate food sources.

My house happens to back onto a ravine, so I see deer on a fairly regular basis…and occasionally hear a misguided deer hunter back there trying to take home a prize (I do live in city limits, so hunting back there is illegal, not to mention dangerous!)

Despite all of that, I have never had a problem with deer eating my plants, even though lots of my neighbors have. I always thought that the deer just weren’t hungry enough to jump the 6 foot fence I have surrounding the back yard.

But after looking into deer resistant shade plants, I think part of it may be that I (unintentionally) chose the right plants! (the ones that deer don’t like very much).

One thing to keep in mind, though…no plants are totally deer proof. And different herds of deer have different tastes in food…kind of like we do 🙂 So these are some of the plants that are least likely to be eaten by deer…but there are no guarantees!

Keep reading to find out my favorite deer resistant shade plants, or use the links below to skip directly to the list you want to see.

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8 Responses

    • Thanks for the suggestion, Annette! I’m sure they would be eaten if the deer liked them, so it sounds like daisies are another one to add to the list 🙂

  • My deer are city deer and can’t read deer resistant labels?. I gave up on flowers, instead plant colorful foliage, Blue Star juniper, Yellow, Orange Rocket, Sunjoy barberry, and different varieties of boxwood. I have partial morning sun, so the barberry adds an interesting color. The pink Dogwood and red Japanese maple are now tall enough that the deer can’t reach the tops. I like the rock garden idea and double fence?.

  • Thanks for the great suggestions! I have found they stay away from foxglove too. They used to eat my astilbe, but since I have started using Deer Out they stay away. I’ve tried all kinds of home mixes and store bought remedies, but Deer Out has worked…so far!!

  • Hi Jennifer, I’ve been reading all over the interne, including your piece, that deer love rhododendrons. I live along the wet west coast where black-tail deer (and some mule deer) are the only species present. Hundreds of rhododendron varieties grow in profusion with nary a nibble. Gardening friends here shake their heads in disbelief, and never use repellent. I knew I moved to paradise when I moved out here away from Virginia white-tails.

    • Thanks, Will! I didn’t know black-tail deer were not Rhododendron fans! Now if we can just get them to teach that to their white-tail cousins 🙂

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