7 Deer-Resistant Plants to Protect Your Landscape

Hungry deer can quickly turn a luscious garden into a decimated backyard in just a few hours. Deer enjoy munching on many types of plants, and fences aren’t always enough to keep them out of your yard. Unfortunately, deer damage is rampant in Atlanta and Georgia. 

Luckily, thoughtfully planting specific plants can serve as deterrents for these animals. Learn more about the best deer-resistant plants in Georgia and how to incorporate them into your landscape!

1. Dwarf Mondo Grass

Dwarf Mondo Grass

Dwarf Mondo Grass is a compact, evergreen ornamental grass with arching dark green foliage that deer don't prefer. Small, bell-like purple flowers bloom atop leafless stems in the summer.

The flowers are followed by pea-sized blue-black berries that are often hidden in the foliage. This grass is also low maintenance, requiring little upkeep. Best grown in part sun and slightly acidic, moist, well-drained soil.  

Landscape Tip: Plant this grass as a border around your landscape or use it as ground cover. 

Shop Plant

2. Autumn Fern

Autumn Fern

Typically avoided by deer, the Autumn Fern is a vase-shaped evergreen fern with arching tri-pinnate fronds. These frilly, papery fronds emerge copper-red and mature to dark green. It thrives in rich, moist, acidic soils with some shade. It also tolerates drought once established.

Landscape Tip: Use to cover bare spots in shaded gardens or where you notice deer walking through. 

Shop Plant

3. Hardy Ice Plant

Hardy Ice Plant 

Hardy Ice Plant is a vigorous evergreen succulent that makes excellent ground cover. The plant gets its common name from its foliage’s appearance, which has transparent flakes that resemble ice on its fuzzy leaves (deer tend to avoid leaves with fuzz). Vibrant red-purple flowers bloom in late summer. It needs full sun and dry, sharply-drained soils.  

Landscape Tip: Instead of grass, use the Hardy Ice Plant as ground cover. 

Shop Plant

4. Fragrant Tea Olive

Fragrant Tea Olive

Deer aren’t fans of strongly scented plants, which makes the Fragrant Tea Olive a wonderful addition to your landscape. 

This large, densely branched evergreen shrub has dark green-toothed foliage year round. The highly fragrant tiny white flowers grow in clusters along stems in fall. It’s best planted in part sun with acidic, rich, and moist well-drained soils. 

Landscape Tip: Plant near windows and outdoor living areas. Deer are less likely to come near your house, and you can also enjoy the blooms up close. 

Shop Plant

5. Rose Creek Abelia

Rose Creek Abelia

A hardy evergreen shrub, the Rose Creek Abelia has crimson stems. Its lustrous leaves emerge with a pinkish cast, mature to dark green, and transform into a wonderful combination of purple and green in winter. Showy clusters of small, fragrant, white flowers emerge from rosy pink sepals on new wood in summer. 

Landscape Tip: Rose Creek Abelia works well for foundation or mass plantings around the yard. They also look nice planted next to a fence. 

Shop Plant

6. Sweet Flag

Sweet flag

Sweet Flag is a hardy evergreen perennial swamp or bog plant with bright yellow-green spicy scented Iris-like foliage. The fleshy spadix covered with tiny white flowers appears in June and July, followed by dark berries. It’s a vigorous spreader that can be used for erosion control. 

Landscape Tip: Plant Sweet Flag in moist areas as a dense ground cover. You can also use it to accent a pond. 

Shop Plant

7. First Editions® Sundrop™ Spirea

First Editions® Sundrop™ Spirea

Gold Thread Spirea is a compact deciduous shrub with petite willow-like leaves that stays golden yellow with tints of red in fall. Flat-topped clusters of soft pink flowers cover the plant from late spring into summer. It grows best in full sun and well-drained soils. Remove spent flowers to encourage additional bloom.  

Landscape Tip: Layer this shrub into mixed shrub plantings (three to five shrubs together). Create contrast by adding different types of plants. 

Shop Plant

Design a deer-resistant landscape

The above deer-resistant plants can’t guarantee that a determined deer won’t try to nibble, but they lower your risk of a half-eaten landscape! Here are more tips to protect your garden from deer:

  • Stagger plant heights. This way, deer damage will be less noticeable. 
  • Plant close to your house. Deer are less likely to venture here. 
  • Sprinkle Irish Springs Soap shavings. Shave off a few slices around areas where deer come through. They tend to get spooked by the smell. 
  • Use deer-repellent granules. As nasty as it sounds, adding predatory scents, such as coyote urine-scented granules, around your landscape can scare off deer. 

If you want more landscape advice, schedule an On-Site Consultation with ServeScape. We offer a one-hour scheduled site visit from a Landscape Architect or Designer to make your landscape dreams a reality.