14 Deer Resistant Shrubs

Deer are beautiful, but let’s face it—they can cause severe damage in the garden. Overnight, they can gobble down blooms, buds, and foliage of some of your favorite plants, leaving your garden looking a bit rough come morning. 

But don’t give up hope; there are ways you can keep those pesky deer at bay and continue to grow a gorgeous garden. One way is to make conscious plant choices, choosing plants that are more likely to be passed up by browsing deer than others. You can check out our full collection of deer-resistant shrubs or keep reading to see 14 of our favorites. All shrubs mentioned in this blog have been rated A  (“Rarely Damaged”) or B (“Seldom Severely Damaged”) by Rutgers University.  

14 Deer Resistant Shrubs

Beyond Midnight bluebeard blooming in a garden
  • Caryopteris x clandonensis
  • USDA zones: 5-9
  • Height: 2-2.5’
  • Width: 2-3’
Sprinter Boxwood planted next to a front porch
  • Buxus microphylla
  • USDA zones: 5-9
  • Height: 2-4’
  • Width: 2-4’
Montana Moss Juniper in the landscape
  • Juniperus chinensis
  • USDA zones: 4-9
  • Height: 2-4’
  • Width: 3-5’
Elegantly arching Jolene Jolene Kolkwitzia planted in a border.
  • Kolkwitzia amabalis
  • USDA zones: 4-8
  • Height: 3-6’
  • Width: 4-6’
Close up of the big pink berries on Proud Berry Coral berry
  • Symphoricarpos sp.
  • USDA zones: 3-7
  • Height: 3-4’
  • Width: 3-4’
Vibrant pink blooms and dark foliage of Center Stage Coral Crapemyrtle
  • Lagerstroemia indica
  • USDA zones: 6b-10
  • Height: 6-12’
  • Width: 8’
Yuki Cherry Blossom deutzia blooming in a landscape
  • Deutzia
  • USDA zones: 5-8
  • Height: 1-2’
  • Width: 1-2’
The bright yellow stems of Arctic Fire Yellow red-twig dogwood
  • Cornus sericea
  • USDA zones: 2-7
  • Height: 4-5’
  • Width: 6’
Lemony Lace elderberry with vibrant foliage in a shade garden
  • Sambucus racemosa
  • USDA zones: 4-7
  • Height: 3-5’
  • Width: 3-5’
Close up of the vibrant yellow flowers of Show Off Starlet forsythia
  • Forsythia x 
  • USDA zones: 5-8
  • Height: 2-3’
  • Width: 2-3’
Close up of the pink blooms of Happy Face Hearts Potentilla
  • Dasiphora fruticosa
  • USDA zones: 2-7
  • Height: 1-2’
  • Width: 1-2’
A close view of the intricate flowers on Sweet and Lo sweet box, set against its glossy evergreen foliage.
  • Sarcococca hookeriana
  • USDA zones: 5-9
  • Height: 1.5-2.5’
  • Width: 2-3’
Close up of the textured foliage of Celtic Pride siberian cypress
  • Microbiota decussata
  • USDA zones: 2-7
  • Height: 1-3’
  • Width: 4-6’
Clusters of dark blue berries are grouped upon the shiny foliage of Glitters & Glows viburnum.
  • Viburnum dentatum
  • USDA zones: 4-8
  • Height: 4-5’
  • Width: 4-5’

How do I make my garden more deer-resistant?

a deer walking down the sidewalk in a neighborhood

Aside from using deer-resistant plants, there are a few ways you can deter deer from browsing in your garden. 

Use Deer Repellent

There are a number of different kinds of repellent often used to keep deer away from plants. The most common are scent repellents and scare repellents. 

Scent repellents are probably the most common. They contain smells that deer dislike or fear to keep them away from certain areas.

Scare Repellents are an option that uses deer’s easily startled nature to their advantage. Motion-activated noise repellents or sprinklers are examples of scare repellents. 

Repellents may work for a while, but deer can acclimate to them, so it’s best to change things up every once in a while so your deer don’t become too comfortable. Keep in mind that a desperate and hungry deer is less likely to be deterred by repellents.

Build Barriers

Aside from only using deer-proof plants, the only way to ensure your yard is completely deer-proof is to build a fence tall enough (we’re talking 8-10’ tall) to keep the deer out. However, depending on your yard, that can be costly and impractical. Instead, you can try creating natural barriers like a deer-resistant hedge, fencing in only portions of your garden, or using wraps and netting to protect your more vulnerable plants.

Strategic Planting

Place your deer-resistant plants strategically to shield your less-resistant ones. Surround your vulnerable plants with deer-resistant ones, or plant your less deer-resistant plants closer to the house and the resistant ones farther away to create a barrier of plants that deer find less appealing.

Keep in mind that the mere presence of deer-resistant plants will not deter deer from your garden. If deer still have access to your vulnerable plants, the presence of deer-resistant plants won’t stop the deer from eating them.

Have you heard of the Proven Winners® ColorChoice® Deer Proof™ program? This program includes our most deer-resistant shrubs, including many featured in this blog! Just look for the Deer Proof™ logo on containers and tags in the garden center! 

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Picture of Samantha Huisman

Samantha Huisman

I’m still pretty new to gardening, but I’m eager to learn more as I grow my USDA Zone 6a garden. I share my space with two very energetic German Shepherd dogs, and I'm happy to share my experiences building a garden that is beautiful and safe for my pups. As I learn and grow in the gardening world, I’m excited to give you tips and inspiration that may just help you on your gardening journey.

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