List of Deer-resistant Plants

Deer Resistant Plants

Looking for a list of plants deer avoid?  We’ve done some research and compiled a list below sorted by sun requirements. To assemble the list, we cross-referenced from different sources that report these native plants as being deer resistant.  Sources include personal experiences from prairie restorationists (Rita McCabe from Save the Prairie Society), an established plant nurseries like Prairie Moon Nursery and Prairie Nursery , as well as organizations such as Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s Special Collections and Morton Arboretum’s list.

Unless noted, soil conditions are assumed to be typical garden soils here in the Chicago area– comprised mostly of clay/loam which tend 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 nameBloom timeHeight in feetSpecial notes
Monarda speciesSummer3-4’’ Hummingbird/Bumblebees
Rudbeckia sppSummer/Fall2-3’’ depending on speciesButterfly host plant
Asclepias sppSummer2-4’ depending on speciesMonarchs
Solidago sppFall2-5’ depending on species Provides for many insects
Coreopsis sppSummer 
Filependula rubraSummer4with spires 
Echinacea sppSummer3-4’Butterfly host plant
Eupatorium sppSummer/Fall3-5’ depending on species 
ArtemesiaFall–flowers generally inconsequential–foliage is silvery grayButterfly host plant
Allium sppSummer12” Some species provide early nectar
Liatris sppSummer2-5’ depending on species 
RuelliaSummer1-2 May feed Buckeye butterfly caterpillar
Amorpha sppSummer2-3’Butterfly host plant
Asters sppFall varies; you can pruneButterfly host plant
Eryngium yuccifoliumSummer 3-4 
Vernonia sppSummer/Early Fall4-5’ 
Parthenium integrifoliumSummer (long bloom time!) 2-3Great pollinator plant
Agastache sppSummer 3-4’ 3-4 depends on speciesGreat pollinator plant; seeds for birds
Baptisia sppSpring1-3’ depending on speciesButterfly host plant
Senna hebecarpaSummer4’-5’ can be prunedButterfly host and great pollinator plant
Pycantheum sppSummer2-3’Great pollinator plants
Euphorbia corollataSummer2-3’ 
Hypericum sppSummer2-4’ tall depending on speciesAmazing pollinator plants
Dalea purpureaSummer 

Part Sun

Plant nameBloom timeHeight in feetSpecial Notes
Anemone candanesis(grows in shade too)Late springadaptable, aggressive, good for groundcover
Shooting StarSpring1-2’ 
Gentian sppFall 2 
Solidago sppFall 2-5 depends on species 
Phlox divaricataSpring/Summer 1 
Helianthus strumosusSummer/Fall3-5’ 
Penstemon digitalisSummer 3 
Eupatorium maculatum Summer 3-4 
Zizea aureaSpringBlack swallowtail host plant
Ceanothus americanusSummerHosts azure butterflies, duskywing
Asters sppSummer-Fall varies Pearl Crescent butterfly
Campanula sppSummer 2 
Verbena sppSummer 
Chamaecrista fasciculataSummer Great pollinator plant; hosts sulphur butterflies
Lobelia spSummer3-4’Hummingbirds
Helenium autumnaleFall3-4’ 
Physostygia virginiaSummer3-4’Can be aggressive, hummingbirds
Iris virginicaSpring 3’ 2-3Moist soil
Pedicularis canadensisSpring 


Plant nameBloom timeHeight in feetSoil
Sanguinaria canadensisSpringmax 12”” 
Tiarella cordifoliaSpring“  “ 
Solidago (Elm-leaved Goldenrod, Zig-zag Goldenrod are a couple examples that will take shade)Fall varies 
Polemonium reptansSpring 1-2 
Asters spp  varies 
Actea sppSpring flowers and berries in fall 1-3 
Cimicfuga racemosaSummer5’’ when in bloom 
Asarum canadenseSpring, interesting flowersGround cover 
Arisaema triphyllumSpring, interesting flower and berries late summer1-2’ 
Geranium maculatum (can handle range of light conditions)Spring1-2’