If you have kids, you know how hard it can be to tempt them to eat their veggies. If only the same were true for your local neighborhood deer! It sometimes seems like they’ll munch on any plant in sight, whether it’s your prized kitchen garden or the ornamental plants in your landscape.
Fortunately, plant expert and host of HortTube Jim Putnam has cracked the code on planting a feast for the eyes – and not for the deer.
These deer-resistant plants provide major style for your landscape and minimal temptation for your local deer:
Every Loropetalum in the Southern Living Plant Collection is virtually deer-proof. With gorgeous evergreen foliage that glows in hues ranging from reddish purples to spring-like greens, a shower of flowers in spring adds to their aesthetic appeal. Jim’s favorite is Purple Daydream® Dwarf Loropetalum. A petite pick with dark purple mounding foliage year-round, Purple Daydream not only offers electric hot pink flowers in spring but superior drought tolerance and deer resistance in every season. Pair it with a chartreuse green like ‘Lemon-Lime’ Nandina for a deer-resistant eye-catching combo that pops.
Nandinas are another terrific choice for deer resistance; with their colorful evergreen foliage and easy care, they’re one of the most reliable and versatile plants in the landscape. “It’s hard to choose from the many great deer-proof Nandinas in the collection, but if I have to, I’d pick Obsession for its scarlet red new foliage.” Obsession™ Nandina perfectly suits a range of needs in the landscape – maxing out at 3-4’ high by 3-4’ wide, its brilliant red new foliage slowly matures to a blue-green as it ages, providing a gorgeous spectrum of color across every plant. Use it in a hedge or as a border plant to infuse texture and color into a functional planting.
It’s hard to believe that a delicate and fragrant bloom so intoxicating to humans holds so little appeal to deer, but that’s the magic of gardenias! Gardenias are all deer resistant, and with so much diversity among varieties, Jim shares that again, it’s hard to narrow down a favorite. One that continues to capture his attention is ScentAmazing® Gardenia. It has bloomed spectacularly in Jim’s North Carolina garden for two years, with profuse single white blossoms in spring through fall. Set amidst a stunning backdrop of dark evergreen foliage, ScentAmazing brings beautiful blooms without the worry of deer attraction!
“Cleyeras are enormously useful plants in the landscape,” says Jim. “The fact they are deer resistant is a giant bonus.” Cleyeras’ size and compact evergreen foliage truly make them landscape superstars – with many Southern Living Plant Collection varieties growing to heights of 10 feet or greater, they make spectacular foundation plantings, privacy screening plants, or woodland garden additions. Jim favors LeAnn™ Cleyera for its glossy green foliage and red-bronze new growth. For dazzling year-round variegation, he would pick Juliet® Cleyera with its green and creamy white variegated foliage.
With these super shrubs as the backbone of your landscape, you’ll set the stage for years of successful growth without the worry of encroaching deer. If you’re tired of feeling like your yard is an all-you-can-eat salad bar for these furry fiends, give one of these terrific varieties a shot this fall!