Deer Resistant Shrubs — Deer ‘Shrubing’ Greenery
Landscape shrubs aren’t the preferred food for white-tailed deer, but they will eat them in a pinch. During tough times your landscape can be devastated by deer feeding on shrubs and small trees. Sometimes the damage is merely cosmetic and the plant will recover. If the bark is completely stripped from a shrub or tree, the plant can be killed.
Here’s some popular deer resistant evergreen and flowering shrubs:
Junipers have many different uses in the garden, from ground-covers and accent plantings to topiaries and privacy screens. Not only do they repel deer because of the volatile oils in their needles, they also are drought tolerant and have few pest problems.
Junipers are members of the cypress family and have a very heavy, fragrant odor. Because deer have such a sensitive sense of smell, they dislike any plants with a heavy odor. Blue Star juniper (Juniperus squamata Blue Star) is a small, slow-growing, rounded bush that’s a good choice in beds where a bluish accent is needed. Meanwhile, Blue Rug juniper (Juniperus horizontalis Blue Rug) serves as a ground cover; you’ll often see it growing on hillsides.
Juniper growing tip: Try growing taller junipers in a tight hedgerow to create a deer-proof botanical barrier in lieu of fencing.
Japanese Boxwood (Buxus microphylla japonica)
Boxwoods (Buxus) are plants known as broad-leaf evergreens, meaning that they have broad leaves like deciduous pants, but keep their leaves in the winter. This makes it a very popular plant for hedges. Boxwoods contain alkaloids that are distasteful to deer.
Boxwoods are among the most versatile broad-leaf evergreens for a deer-resistant garden. They come in numerous shapes and sizes and take well to pruning, making them ideal for formal hedges, borders, and topiaries. Deer seem to shun the attractive glossy, green foliage because of its strong scent.
Boxwoods growing tip: Until established, after about two years, boxwoods will need at least weekly watering.
Other deer resistant shrubs
Have a shrub you’ve found deer aren’t a fan of? Comment below to help others with their deer headaches. Looking for beautiful deer resistant annuals? Keep reading.