Few things are as disappointing as putting new plants in the garden, having spent the money on them at the nursery, only to find that you were really putting out deer food. Yes, seeing a majestic deer family on a misty, early morning in your backyard is delightful, but do they really have to chow down on your perennial beds or new trees? You can have both a beautiful garden and wildlife in your yard if you try these 10 plants that are like kryptonite to deer: 1. Forget-me-not. Deer will eat a lot of things, including flowers, but if you use forget-me-nots as perennial borders or clumps, expect to get all the blooms and no bites. Deer rarely, if ever, eat these petite, pretty blue flowers. 2. Daffodils. Another flower your deer neighbors won't likely touch are daffodils. These popular bulbs are a favorite of many people and for a lot of gardeners the first real flowers of spring. So, go ahead and plant those bulbs with no fear. 3. Geranium. For your annual beds and pots, choose geraniums. You won't find them mowed down by deer, no matter how many traipse through your yard. 4. Lily of the valley. Deer often feed on ground cover and can ruin a shady patch of your favorite greenery in a matter of days. One flowering ground cover they won't touch is lily of the valley. 5. Barberry. Shrubs are often popular targets of deer. They love to munch on the leaves, which are right at mouth height. Barberry is one they won't touch, though, so plant this durable and hardy shrub for greenery, hedging, and pretty fall colors. 6. Boxwood. Boxwood is a classic hedge. You can trim and shape it to fit in any space or along any border. It lends a very clean-cut look to a garden or bed. Best of all is that boxwood is not appealing to deer at all. 7. Butterfly bush. For flowers and a shrub that deer will avoid, choose the butterfly bush. As a bonus, the delicate purple or pink flowers this bush produces will attract butterflies and other pollinators to your yard. 8. Honey locust. Maybe it's the long, sharp thorns or something else, but deer will avoid your honey locust, making this a great tree choice for deer-heavy yards. This tree is easy to grow, grows quickly, and has a pleasant appearance. Just watch out for the thorns if you have little ones. 9. Birch. Another tree that deer avoid like the plague is birch. There are several varieties of this pretty, white-barked tree. It provides a unique decorative element for gardens as well as pretty foliage and spectacular color in the fall. 10. Tomatoes. Growing vegetables can be a major pain when you have hungry wildlife in your yard. If deer are your worst offenders, rest assured that they generally won't nibble on your tomato plants. Note: It is important to keep in mind that even if certain plants are deemed resistant, hungry deer will eat just about anything if nothing else is readily available.
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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.
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