Deer Proof Shade Flowers: Choosing Deer Resistant Flowers For Shade

Deer Eating Plants
(Image credit: arlutz73)

Watching deer move through your property can be a peaceful way to enjoy nature until they start eating your flowers. Deer are notoriously destructive, and in many areas, they are overpopulated. For your shady beds, look for shade flowers deer won’t eat and destroy.

Choosing Deer Resistant Flowers for Shade

There are many strategies to employ in the war between deer and gardeners. For instance, you can fence in vulnerable plants or use a deterrent chemical. These are labor-intensive, expensive, potentially harmful to other species, and create eyesores in the garden. 

A more organic way to live harmoniously with the big herbivores in your garden is to simply put in plants that hold no interest for them. Some plants are delicious to deer, while others they will outright avoid.

Ideas for Deer Proof Shade Flowers

Any part of your garden can be a challenge with deer, but deer resistant shade flowers may be especially important. Deer tend to congregate in areas where they have coverage, like your shade beds.

Here are some great options for shade-loving, flowering plants the deer will simply admire but not eat (unless other more palatable options are scarce):

  • Barrenwort – This perennial is strongly deer proof. Creeping rhizomes allow barrenwort to spread in clumps and they produce delicate white, yellow, and pink spring flowers.
  • Bleeding heart – Another flowering perennial to use with deer, bleeding heart is a shade plant that likes moist, rich soil .
  • LungwortLungwort is a flowering perennial and groundcover that does well in shade.
  • Hellebore – The striking perennial flower of hellebore comes in a variety of colors, even green and nearly black.
  • Butterfly bush – Attract pollinators and deter deer with the small flowering shrub of butterfly bush. Produces bottle brush like clusters of delicate flowers.
  • Forget-me-not – The pretty, little, blue flowers of forget-me-not tolerate some shade and are deer resistant.
  • Pulmonaria – This is an easy perennial to grow that deer have no taste for. Pulmonaria produces small clusters of flowers in blue and pink.
  • AstilbeAstilbe is a great shade perennial that requires little maintenance. Numerous varieties have flower spikes in a range of colors. These are mostly deer resistant, unless they have nothing else to eat.
  • LigulariaLigularia provides both striking, dark green foliage and impressive spikes of bright yellow flowers.
  • Begonia – For a deer resistant annual you can hardly go wrong with begonias. They do well in the shade and come in a number of varieties with different colors and foliage.
  • Wishbone flower – This is another shady annual. Wishbone flower produces small, pretty flowers all summer.
Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.