How to Deer Proof You Garden using plants

By | March 15, 2012

Down here not a million miles away from the Ashdown Forest we have packs of wild deer roaming the countryside looking for things to munch. As part of the development of the Forest garden we have been protecting the fruit trees and Camellias with plastic mesh cages.

However at the Intelligent Garden we like to work with nature where possible so I was delighted to come across this piece  via Twitter. I’ve reproduced some of it because it’s so useful.

“There are many plants deer don’t like. Rhododendrons, daffodils, Mexican sage, Lithodora and hellebores to name just a few. .

PUNGENT SCENT — Deer have a sensitive sense of smell and dislike plants that have sharp, pungent odors. . Rosemary, thyme, scented geranium, lavender, salvia, tulbaghia and cat mint . These plants work well in most landscape situations. .

PRICKLY — Spiny, prickly plants tend to put deer off. .

POISONOUS PLANTS — Deer know what plants are poisonous. The will shun lobelias, plants in the nightshade family, euphorbias and papavers (poppies). Likewise rhododendrons, hellebores and daphne are poisonous. Dahlias contain a substance called inulin that deer shun (also found in Jerusalem Artichokes-) . Campanulas like C. poscharskyana and C. muralis exude a milky substance when crushed that deer do not like.”

This information was created by Terry Kramer. She is a trained horticulturist and journalist. She has been writing a garden column for the Times-Standard since 1982. To get in touch with Terry, send an e-mail to and put “For Terry Kramer” in the subject line, or write to Terry Kramer, c/o Times-Standard, P.O. Box 3580, Eureka, CA, 95502. You can read the full article here.


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