Deer Resistant Plants

Yantis Lakeside Gardens -

Living and Gardening in the Beautiful Texas Hill Country

Deer Resistant Plants for Central Texas Hill Country

We thank our friend, Master Gardener and Master Naturalist

Bill Luedecke for compiling this list

Deer Resistant Landscape Plants

A compilation provided by Bill Luedecke, Master Gardener/Master Naturalist

Deer are a major landscape menace, both rural and sometimes urban, in the Hill Country and other areas overpopulated by deer. Few plants are fully deer-proof, but a number of species are impalatable enough to be left alone as long as other food is available. Droughts and other situations that create a serious food shortage can cause deer to lose their inhabitions and eat otherwise impalatable plants. With this disclaimer in mind, the list that follows was prepared.

This list is a compilation from personal observations by this writer, Professor and Extension Horticulturist John Lipe, sugestions by Fredericksburg nurseryman-landscaper John Dobbs, Ken Schlinder, Chester Langerhans, and Ty Grubbs, Garden-Ville of Austin, and in a few cases, from other lists.

Tips for Deer Proofing: 1. Surround newly planted trees and schrubs with a cage of wire fencing until they become established. 2. "Hinder" deer repellent may be spread on plants to form a protective coating on the leaves. 3. Animals mark their territories by urinating around borders of their area. You can "mark" your own garden to help repel deer and rabbits. Urine is sterile, unless an infection is present, and is a good source of nitrogen. Vegetarians will not have the same results as carnivores with this method. A late night visit to "mark" the garden may do the trick for you too. 4. Human hair is also a deer repellent, gather cuts from your local salon/barber to mark your boundries.

Loss of habitat and other environmental stress can result in almost any plant being eaten by deer. Moreover, deer tastes vary wildly. This list ranks each plant for deer resistance through the numbers in parentheses at the end of the listing.

1 = Safe; Deer don't eat 4 = Observed heavily eaten under pressure

2 = Deer eat flowers only 5 = Texas Native

3 = Deer eat sometimes 6 = Shade tolerant


Bluebonnet, Lupinus (1,5)

Marigold, Tagetes spp. (3)

Periwinkle, Vinca Rosea (3)

Pot Marigold, Calendula (3)

Zennia (3)


Aloe (1)

Artemisia (3)

English Lavender (3)

Mexican Mint Marigold (3)

Mexican Oregano (1)

Rosemary (1)

Sage (1)

Yarrow (3,5)


Agave (1)

Ageratum, Ageratum spp.

Ajuga Reptans (3)

Artichoke (3)

Aster frikarti (3)

Bee Baum, Monarda (3)

Begonia, Begonia spp. (4)

Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia Hirta (3,5)

Blackfoot Daisy, Melampodium leucanthum (3)

Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa (3)

Cactus (1,5)

Cast-iron Plant (5)

Cedar Sage, Salvia roemeriana (5,6)

Chrysanthemum spp. (2)

Columbine, Aguilegia Canadensis (3)

Coneflower, Echinacea spp. (2,5)

Coreopsis hyb. and spp (2,5)

Cosmos, Cosmos bipinnatus

Dusty Miller, Centaurea cineraria (3)

Flame Acanthus, Anisacanthus wrightii

Foxglove, Digitalis (2,5)

Gayfeather, Liatris (2)

Hens and Chicks, Sempervivum spp.

Hummingbird Bush, Anisacanthus (1)

Indigo Spires, Salvia spp.

Iris (1)

Lamb's Ear, Stachys byzantina (1)

Lantana, horrida, natives resistant, hybrids not

Lavender Cotton, Santolina (1)

Lily of the Nile, Agapanthus (1)

Mealy-cup Blue Sge, Salvia farniacea (5)

Mexican Bush Sage, Salvia leucanthia (1)

Mexican Mint Marigold, Tagetes lucida (3)

Mexican Petuia, Ruellia spp. (1)

Oxalis (3)

Oxeye Daisy, Chrys. Leucanthum (1)

Penstemon (3)

Red Yucca, Hesperaloe parvifolia (2,5)

Rock Rose, Pavonia (3)

Roses (Lady Banks-no nibbling) (4)

Rosemary, Rosmarinum officinalist (1)

Russian Sage, Paervosdia (1)

Salvia coccinea (3)

Salvia greggii (Cherry Sage less nibbling) (4)

Silver Artemisia, Artemisia ludoviciana (2)

Sotol, Dasylirion spp. (1,5)

Spiderwort, Tradescantia spp. (3)

Sword Fern, Nephrolepis spp. (6)

Turks Cap, Malvaviscus arboreus (3)

Verbena, Verbena spp. (5)

Wood Fern, Dryopteris spp. (1,5,6)

Yarrow, Achillea spp. (3)

Zexmenia, Wedelia hispida (1)


Anacacho Orchid (1)

Ash, Franxinum spp. (1)

Bald Cypress, Taxodium distichum (1)

Bois d'Arc (1)

Cedar Elm (1)

Chaste Tree, Vitex spp. (1)

Cherry Laurel, Prunus caroliniana (1)

Crepe Myrtle (old varieties) (1)

Desert Willow, Chilopsis linearis (5)

Deodora Cedar (1)

Elm (all varieties) (1)

Flameleaf Smac, Rhus lanceolata (5)

Fig, Ficus spp. (1)

Golden Ball Lead Tree, Leucana retusa (5)

Juniper (1)

Maple, Acer grandidentatum (1)

Mesquite, Prosopis (beans eaten) (1)

Mexican Persimmon, Diospyros texana (1)

Mexican Plum, Prunus mexicana (1)

Mountain Laurel (1,5)

Oaks, Quercus spp (1)

Palm (all varieties) (1)

Pecan (1)

Pine (3)

Possum Haw, Ilex deciduas (1)

Redbud (Eastern & Mexican nibbled) (3)

Retama (3)

Roughleaf Dogwood, Cornus drummondii (5,6)

Smoke Tree, Cotinus obovatus (1)

Sumac, Rhus spp. (1)

Texas Buckeye, Acsculus arguta (5,6)

Texas Persimmon, Dispyros texana (5)

Walnut (1)

Yaupon, Ilex vomitoria (1)

Click here for PDF printable document

Go to Sheryl's Garden page


Caladium (3)

Daffodil (1)

Iris (1)

Snowdrop (1)

Tulip (1)


Abelia spp (3)

Acuba, Acuba japonica (6)

Agarito, Berberis trifoliate (1,5)

Agave (2)

Autumn Aster, Aster sppl (4)

Autumn Sage, Salvia greggii (5,6)

Barberry, Berberis (pygmy not resistant) (1)

Bear Grass, Nolina spp. (1)

Beautyberry, Callicarpa Americana (1)

Blackberry, Rubus spp (thorny only) (5)

Buckeye, Aesculus pavia (3)

Butterfly Bush, Buddleia (3)

Boxwood, Buxus microphylla

Cassia spp (3)

Cast Iron Plant, Aspidistra (3)

Cactus (1)

Cenizo, Leucophyllum frutescens (1)

Cherry Sage (3)

Cotoneaster (3)

Dwarf Chinese Holly, Ilex (1)

Dwarf Yaupon, Ilex (Stokes variety) (1)

Eleagnus (3)

Evergreen Sumac, Rhus virens (1,5)

Fragrant Mimosa, Mimosa borealis (5)

Germander, Teucrium fruticans (3)

Goldcup, Hypericum spp

Hypericum (3)


Japanese arealia, Areilia sieboldii

Jerusalem Cherry, Solanum pseudocapsicum

Junipers (most varieties) (1,5)

Kidneywood, Eysenhardtia texana (3)

Lantana, Lantana horrida (natives resistant)(4,5)

Mistflower, Eupatorium (1)

Mexican Buckeye, Ungnadia speciosa (5)

Mexican Oregano, Poliomintha longiflora (1)

Mexican Silktassle, Garrya lindheimeri (5)

Mountain Laurel, Sophora secundiflora (1)

Nandina, nana and domestica (3,6)

Oleander, Nerium (1)

Pampas Grass, Cortaderia selloana (1)

Prickley Pear Cactus (1)

Privet (3)

Pyracantha spp. (1)

Red-Leaf or Japanese Barberry, thunbergii

Red Yucca, Hesperaloe parviflora (3)

Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis (1)

Salvia greggii (red) (3)

Salvia leucantha (1)

Santolina (1)

Scotch Broom, Cytisus scoparius

Sotol, Dasylirion (2)

Spirea (3)

Sumac, Rhus spp (1)

Texas Persimmon, Diospyros texana (1)

Texas Sage, Leucophyllum frutescens (1,5)

Turk's Cap, Malvaviscus arboreus (5,6)

Viburnum (1)

Wax Myrtle, Myrica cerifera (1)

Yaupon, Ilex (use Stokes) (1)

Yew Pine, Podocarpus macrophyllus (1)

Yucca (2)


Bamboos, Bambusa (3)

Beargrass, Nolina spp. (1,5)

Fescues, Festuea spp. (3)

Little Bluestem (1)

Muhly Grass, Muhlenbergia Lindheim (1)

Pampas Grass, Cortaderia spp. (1)

Seep Muhly (1)

Vines and Groundcovers

Aarons Beard, Hypericum calycinum

Ajuga (3)

Asiatic Jasmine (1)

Carolina Jessamine (3)

Carpet Bugle, Ajuga reptans (4,6)

Clematis (3)

Confederate Jasmine (3)

Cross Vine (1)

English and Algerian Ivy (1)

Ferns (3)

Fig Ivy (3)

Honeysuckle (Coral & purple nibbled less) (3)

Liriope (4)

Monkey Grass (4)

Muhly Grass (1)

Myrtle, Vinca major (6)

Santolina (1,5)

Spearmint, Menta spicata (6)

Star Jasmine, Trachelospernum jasminoides(4)

Verbena (3)

Vinca, Apocynaceae (3)

Virginia Creeper (3)

Wisteria (3)

Yarrow (3)