Deer Resistant Plants

| Learning, Wildlife

Deer Resistant Plants

We’ve been asked a few times about deer-resistant plants, and we’ve done some research and have compiled the below list sorted by sun requirements.

To assemble the document we cross-referenced from different sources that report these native plants as being deer resistant.  Sources include personal experiences from prairie restorationists, Prairie Moon Nursery, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s Special Collections pages: (, Morton Arboretum: (

A very helpful page is

Unless noted, soil conditions are assumed to be typical garden soil here in the Chicago area–clay/loam which tends to hold onto moisture but still drain.  Plants in the full sun group can generally take part sun too, and those in the shade group can likewise take part sun.  To determine correct plants for your site, further research should be done.  Many of our sources warn that hungry deer in the spring are less discriminate about their meals then.  Just as a note, not all deer resistant plants are rabbit resistant.

Let us know if you have a plant that deer seem to avoid in your garden, and it’s not listed here.  We’ll add it.


Full Sun Plants


Plant name Bloom time Height Special notes
Monarda species Summer 3-4’  Hummingbird/Bumblebees
Rudbeckia spp Summer/Fall 2-3’ depending on species Butterfly host plant
Asclepias spp Summer 2-4’ depending on species Monarchs
Solidago spp Fall 2-5’ depending on species  Provides for many insects
Coreopsis spp Summer
Filependula rubra Summer 4′ with spires
Echinacea spp Summer 3-4’ Butterfly host plant
Eupatorium spp Summer/Fall 3-5’ depending on species
Artemesia Fall–flowers generally inconsequential–foliage is silvery gray Butterfly host plant
Allium spp Summer 12”  Some species provide early nectar
Liatris spp Summer 2-5’ depending on species
Ruellia Summer 1-2′  May feed Buckeye butterfly caterpillar
Amorpha spp Summer 2-3’ Butterfly host plant
Asters spp Fall  varies; you can prune Butterfly host plant
Eryngium yuccifolium Summer  3-4′
Vernonia spp Summer/Early Fall 4-5’
Parthenium integrifolium Summer (long bloom time!)  2-3′ Great pollinator plant
Agastache spp Summer 3-4’  3′-4′ depends on species Great pollinator plant; seeds for birds
Baptisia spp Spring 1-3’ depending on species Butterfly host plant
Senna hebecarpa Summer 4’5’ can be pruned Butterfly host and great pollinator plant
Pycantheum spp Summer 2-3’ Great pollinator plants
Euphorbia corollata Summer 2-3’
Hypericum spp Summer 2-4’ tall depending on species Amazing pollinator plants
Dalea purpurea Summer


Part Sun


Plant name Bloom time Height Special Notes
Anemone candanesis(grows in shade too) Late spring adaptable, aggressive, good for groundcover
Shooting Star Spring 1-2’
Gentian spp Fall  2′
Solidago spp Fall  2-5′ depends on species
Phlox divaricata Spring/Summer  1′
Helianthus strumosus Summer/Fall 3-5’
Penstemon digitalis Summer  3′
Eupatorium maculatum  Summer  3-4′
Zizea aurea Spring Black swallowtail host plant
Ceanothus americanus Summer Hosts azure butterflies, duskywing
Asters spp Summer-Fall  varies  Pearl Crescent butterfly
Campanula spp Summer  2′
Verbena spp Summer
Chamaecrista fasciculata Summer  Great pollinator plant; hosts sulphur butterflies
Lobelia sp Summer 3-4’ Hummingbirds
Helenium autumnale Fall 3-4’
Physostygia virginia Summer 3-4’ Can be aggressive, hummingbirds
Iris virginica Spring 3’  2-3′ Moist soil
Pedicularis canadensis Spring





Plant name Bloom time Height Soil
Sanguinaria canadensis Spring max 12”
Tiarella cordifolia Spring “  “
Solidago (Elm-leaved Goldenrod, Zig-zag Goldenrod are a couple examples that will take shade) Fall  varies
Polemonium reptans Spring  1-2′
Asters spp  varies
Actea spp Spring flowers and berries in fall  1-3′
Cimicfuga racemosa Summer 5’ when in bloom
Asarum canadense Spring, interesting flowers Ground cover
Arisaema triphyllum Spring, interesting flower and berries late summer 1-2’
Geranium maculatum (can handle range of light conditions) Spring 1-2’