Plants That Deer Don't Like


Deer are beautiful to watch and they certainly have a right to live near us, but when they start destroying the gardens you have labored over it can be pretty annoying! They have a right to live near us, so the best course of action if you have a deer problem is to adjust your practices.

No plant is 100% deer proof. If deer are hungry, they will eat anything that looks slightly green. However, there are many Michigan native plants that are resistant to deer browsing because of texture, aroma and/or flavor.

If you have a high population of deer, in addition to planting deer resistant plants you can also use an organic natural deterrent around the perimeter of your garden. Products like "Plant Skydd" or "Liquid Fence" utilize predator urine, dried blood and other scents to repel deer, ground hogs, rabbits, etc. (Note: we are not endorsing the use of any specific product.)

The list below features deer resistant herbaceous plants, grasses and sedges, and trees and shrubs--all of them are Michigan natives.

Note: Plants marked with * are available in our Fall ‘23 Native Plant Sale, which can be accessed through the "Shop" drop-down menu at the top of this page.

Native Flowers (Herbacious)


Actea pachypoda, A. rubra

*Nodding Wild Onion

Allium cernuum


Anemone virginiana


Angelica atropurpurea


Aquilegia canadensis


Arisaema triphyllum

Wild ginger 

Asarum canadense

*Milkweed species 

*Asclepias tuberosa, A. syriaca,

A. verticillata, A. incarnata

*Wild Blue Indigo 

Baptisia australis

False boneset

Brickellia eupatorioides

Marsh marigold

Caltha palustris


Campanula rotundifolia, C. americana

Turtle head

Chelone glabra

Black snakeroot 

Cimicifuga racemosa

*Coreopsis spp

*Coreopsis lanceolata, C. palmata, *C. tripteris

Purple prairie clover

Dalea purpurea

Dutchman’s breeches

Dicentra cucullaria

*Purple coneflower 

Echinacea purpurea, E. pallida

Rattlesnake master 

Eryngium yuccifolium

*Joe-pye weed 

Eupatorium maculatum, *E. purpureum, E. fistulosus


Eupatorium perfoliatum

Flowering spurge 

Euphorbia corollata

*Big Leaf Aster Eurybia macrophylla

Wild geranium 

Geranium maculatum

*Prairie smoke 

Geum triflorum


Helenium autumnale

*False sunflower 

Heliopsis helianthoides

Alum Root 

Heuchera americana

Virginia waterleaf 

Hydrophyllum virginianum

Blue Flag Iris

*Iris virginica, I. versicolor

*Blazing Star 

*Liatris scariosa, L. aspera, L. spicata

*Cardinal flower

Lobelia cardinalis

*Blue lobelia 

Lobelia siphilitica

Virginia bluebells 

Mertensia virginica

*Bee balm 

Monarda fistulosa


Monarda punctata

*Beardtongue (Penstemon sp.) 

*Penstemon digitalis, *P. hirsuitis

Obedient plant

Physotegia virgiana

May Apple 

Podophyllum peltatum

Solomon’s Seal 

Polygonatum biflorum

Yellow Cone Flower Ratibida pinnata

Black-eyed Susan 

*Rudbeckia fulgida, R. hirta


Sanguinaria canadensis


Senecio aureus, S. obovatus

*Goldenrods (showy, Riddell’s)

*Solidago riddelli, *S. speciosa, *S. flexicaulis

Celandine (wood) poppy 

Stylophorum diphyllum

New England Aster Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

Meadow Rue (spp tall, early)

*Thalictrum dasycarpum, *T. dioicum


Tradescantia ohioensis

Vervain species 

Verbena hastate, V. stricta


Veronia missourica


Veronicastrum virginicum

Golden Alexanders 

Zizia aurea

Grasses & Sedges

Big bluestem

Andropogon gerardii

*Sedges (Carex spp)

Carex grayi, C. pennsylvania, C. plantaginea, C. platyphyllla,  C. vulpinoidia

Bottlebrush Grass  Elymus hystrix

*Purple love grass

*Eragrostis spectabilis

Switch grass

*Panicum virgatum

*Little Bluestem

*Schizachyrium scoparium

Blue-eyed grass 

Sisyrinchium angustifolium

*Prairie dropseed

*Sporobolus heterolepis

Trees & Shrubs

Eastern red-bud

Cercis canadensis


Cratageus spp


Larix laricina

Red pine

Pinus resinosa

Tag alder

Alnus incana 

Witch hazel

Hammamelis spp


Ilex verticillata

*Common Ninebark Physocarpus opulifolius

*Shrubby Cinquefoil

Potentilla fruticosa


Fagus grandifolia

Paper birch

Betula papyrifera

Balsam fir

Abies balsamea


Amelanchiere spp


Cephalanthus occidentalis

Eastern red cedar

Juniperus virginiana

Common juniper

Juniperus communis


Lindera benzoin

Choke Cherry Prunus virginiana

*Elderberry (American and Red-Berried)

*Sambucus candadensis, S. racemosa


Viburnum lentago

Sources: ,,,