I used to believe that some plants—like peonies, for example—were immune to deer. Not anymore. I have seen deer eat just about every plant, and a neighbor told me they even eat her rhubarb, the leaves of which are supposed to be really toxic. It may be that the fawns don’t know what is good and what isn’t and so try everything once.
A professional landscaper told me that he had found that deer in different parts of the same town, eat different plants. So, the “what do they leave alone” question is difficult to answer, and yet it is vitally important to gardeners.
I am now going to list some plants that deer are less likely to eat:
First the poisonous plants, which are foxglove, oriental poppy, delphinium, and the leaves of rhubarb.
Others they are less likely to favor are bleeding heart, Dutchman’s breeches, catnip, yellow alyssum, salvia, bearded iris, lamb’s ears, all herbs with strong smells such as lavender, hellebores, bulbs like daffodils, grape hyacinth and hyacinth, (but remember they love tulips), all alliums, fritillaria, and lily of the valley.
Resistant shrubs are boxwood, juniper, arrow wood viburnum, Pieris japonica, caryopteris, Russian sage, butterfly bush, spirea, and Daphne ‘Carol Mackie’. (I planted 5 “Carol Makies” before one grew for me, but now it is gorgeous!)
This is Moya Andrews and today we focused on less appetizing.