Deer Resistant Groundcovers — Deer-Disappearing ‘Groundcovers’
Lamb’s Ears (Stachys byzantina)
This easy-care perennial has velvety soft, wooly evergreen leaves that are silver to gray-green in color. It foliage is also similar in shape to that of a real lamb’s ears, hence its name. If left to bloom in summer, lamb’s ear will produce spikes of pink to purple colored flowers too.
Notable for its irresistible soft and fuzzy leaves, lamb’s ears are an evergreen groundcover for sun to part-sun that is avoided by most munchers because the texture irritates mouths. In addition to enjoying its attractive, fuzzy foliage, the leaves can be used as a “band-aid” of sorts for healing wounds and in helping painful bee stings.
Lamb’s Ear growing tip: Trim the plant back in the spring and prune out brown leaves as needed. To keep the plant from spreading, deadheading spent blooms is often a good idea.
Other deer resistant groundcover
- Prostrate Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis Prostratus)
- Germander (Teucrium chamaedrys)
- Thyme (Thymus spp)
Deer will eat anything in the perennial garden if they are hungry enough. With the possible exception of spiny Barberries (Berberis) there are no absolutely deer-proof plants. If the herd is large enough, and food is scarce enough, deer have been known to eat almost anything. However, a garden composed of deer proof flowers, ferns, and ornamental grass plants will have greatly reduced or insignificant damage.
Some key things to remember:
- Deer will be more apt to browse in your garden in early spring and late summer/fall, when their natural food sources are not as abundant.
- New growth and flower buds are the most vulnerable to deer browsing, and can be damaged on otherwise deer-resistant plants.
- Unlike horses, cows, and sheep, deer eat by browsing instead of grazing, so they will often skip from plant to plant, nibbling here and there as opposed to munching in one area. Also, they prefer broadleaf plants, not grasses and grass-like plants.
- Plants that are deer-resistant are often rabbit-resistant as well.