Midwestern Deer Resistant Perennials

Plant it and they will comeAND eat it!!


This was the first year that the deer took a buffet walk through my shade garden. My yard is fenced (abet it only is 3′ feet high), I have vicious clueless dogs and I generally have nothing they want. The only time I have seen them in my yard is in February, when they are desperate and willing to eat the osage oranges in the far back yard.

Although I generally don’t have problems, my clients are plagued by these furry eating machines constantly. For them, I stick with using plants that have been generally proven to be deer resistant, however, when hungry enough, they will eat anything resembling food. Even if it is to just taste it to be SURE it isn’t food.

IF you are looking for other deer resistant plants, Here is a list of SHRUBS and TREES that deer tend to leave alone.

Here is a list of perennials that I have found don’t get munched on by Bambi:

Common Name: Scientific Name:




Bee Balm


Black-eyed Susan

Butterfly Weed




Fleabane Daisy

Foam Flower





Hens & Chicks



Jacob’s Ladder

Rose campion

Marsh Marigold

Meadow Rue





Purple Coneflower

Rock Cress

Russian Sage



Shasta Daisy









Aconitum spp.

Anemone spp

Artemisia spp.

Astilbe spp.

Monarda spp.

Bergenia spp.

Rudbeckia hirta

Asclepias tuberosa

Aquilegia spp.

Coreopsis spp.

Geranium spp.

Erigeron x hybridus

Tiarella cordifolia

Gentiana spp.

Geum spp.

Solidago spp.

Helleborus nigra

Sempervivum spp.

Hibiscus spp.

Iris spp.

Polemonium caeruleum

Lychnis coronaria

Caltha pulustris

Thalictrum spp.

Flipendula spp.

Paeonia spp.

Phlox divaricate

Dianthus spp.

Echinacea purpurea

Arabis caucasica

Perovskia atriplicifolia

Salvia spp.

Sedum spp.


Eupatorium rugosum

Helenium autumnale

Cerastium tomentosum

Veronica spp.

Linaria spp.

Valeriana officinalis

Viola spp.

Achillea spp.

11 thoughts on “Midwestern Deer Resistant Perennials

  1. Interesting, and rather long list, which is good! Luckily The deer don’t wander into my yard what with my fence & dog but I have had the unpleasant experience of them eating my plants in other places. They especially like to eat new buds off bushes, just like rabbits do.

    I’ve noticed that the big box stores like Lowes and Home Depot often put it on the plant tags if they’re deer resistant. Some nurseries I’ve been to do this also.

    Gosh, it can be frustrating nevertheless. Got any chipmunk recipes? πŸ˜‰


    • Chipmunks are a whole other issue. They have extensive tunnels and if you get rid of one family, another will move in. If they are under your house or somewhere you don’t want them you’ll need to seal those locations.
      What plants they like, I will have to look into. They don’t tend to bother mine, however anything is possible! !


      • They’re pretty funny at the end of the day, screaming at me in their little high-pitched voices when I come outside. But they tend to feed on the bulbs of my lilies and got to one of my orchids this summer (:(). They don’t do too much damage to the Lilies though so at the moment they’re not on my hit list… for now… πŸ˜‰


  2. Love this post. Now picture living next door to a woman who believes in feeding the deer because she feels she took their living area. OMG she kills me. I’ve seen as many as a dozen at a time in the next yard. So besides utilizing many of the plants you noted above, I had to go the extra mile. A fellow MG told me about using Milorganite fertilizer on her grass to keep the deer away (only grass not anywhere you plant edibles.) So I bought one bag and hand spread some around the border of the property next to hers and it worked. They didn’t eat my arborvitae last year for the first time. I’m going to do it again this year, and when there is a couple feet of snow on the ground I go out and sprinkle some right on top of the snow.


    • Ouch!
      That is a toughy when you’re neighbor is creating a deer sanctuary. Maybe she should sell her property.. she obviously doesn’t feel THAT bad! πŸ˜‰
      I checked out the product you’ve been using, Milorganite. Seems is from my area, Milwaukee. . I wondered how a basic fertilizer (which you can use on any plant btw, just at different rates) can wart off deer. A bit more reading got me my answer. . It’s made from waste water. .. human waste water! This is just fine! No issues in using this. However, it probably explains why deer don’t like THIS fertilizer, as normally I’d tell you you just got lucky last year. .. I’m sure in an animals heightened nose power, it can still smell the human element in it.
      There are many ways to solve problems sometimes. . Glad you found one that works!


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