15 Plants That Attract Deer (Flowers, Vegetables, and Shrubs That Deers Love)

15 Plants That Attract Deer (Flowers, Vegetables, and Shrubs That Deers Love)

Ah, the eternal saga of plants that attract deer in the garden! Some folks see deer as adorable pals deserving of a nibble or two, while others see them as pesky interlopers, ruining all hopes of a bountiful harvest.

But fear not, dear reader! We’ve got the scoop on plants that are like a dinner bell for these hoofed visitors. 

And don’t worry, we’ve also got the lowdown on how to either roll out the red carpet for them or send them packing faster than you can say “Oh deer!” 

So whether you’re aiming to cozy up with Rudolph or give him the boot, we’ve got the tips to make it happen.

Eastern Red Cedar

Eastern Red Cedar
Image by University of Maryland Extension
Ease of GrowingEasy ●○○○○
Scientific NameJuniperus virginiana
Plant TypeEvergreen Tree/Shrub
USDA Zone2 to 9
Size30 to 40 feet tall and 8-20 feet wide
Parts of the Plant that Attract DeerFoliage, especially new growth
Ideal LightFull Sun to Partial Shade
Ideal SoilWell-drained, Sandy, Loamy
Ideal Temperature (F and C)60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C)
Ideal WateringModerate, well-drained soil

Ah, the Eastern Red Cedars, luring in deer like a siren song with their juicy berries and lush foliage! 

To create a deer hotspot, plant these cedars in clusters and watch the deer flock in faster than you can say “Dinner’s served!” 

Now, if you’re more of a “deer, deer, go away” kind of gardener, grow garlic and onions around the tree. 

American Beech

American Beech
Image by Omeka@CTL | Exhibits – The University of Vermont
Ease of GrowingModerate to Difficult ●●●●○
Scientific NameFagus grandifolia
Plant TypeDeciduous Tree
USDA Zone3 to 9
Size50 to 80 feet tall
Parts of the Plant that Attract DeerBuds, Leaves, and Nuts
Ideal LightPartial to Full Shade
Ideal SoilWell-drained, Moist
Ideal Temperature (F and C)60°F to 70°F (15°C to 21°C)
Ideal WateringRegular Watering, Moist Soil Preferred

The American Beech’s buds to leaves to nuts are a gourmet buffet tailored just for deer. 

Now, if you’re keen to roll out the welcome mat for more deer, plant the trees in shady spots where they thrive.

But when those deer get a bit too cozy with your precious beeches, fencing is your trusty sidekick, keeping them at bay. And if that’s not enough, a little spritz of deer repellent on the foliage will have them saying “no thanks”!

Switchgrass

Switchgrass
Image by The Spruce
Ease of GrowingEasy to Moderate ●●○○○
Scientific NamePanicum virgatum
Plant TypePerennial Grass
USDA Zone5 to 9
SizeTypically 3 to 6 feet tall
Parts of the Plant that Attract DeerLeaves and Seeds
Ideal LightFull Sun
Ideal SoilWell-drained, Tolerant of Various Soil Types
Ideal Temperature (F and C)60°F to 80°F (15°C to 27°C)
Ideal WateringDrought-tolerant, but benefits from regular water

The majestic switchgrass, standing tall and proud like a VIP at a garden gala, is a total deer magnet. 

If you’re feeling generous and want to treat your deer buddies to a feast, consider planting even more switchgrass in their favorite hangouts. But if you’d rather keep your greens to yourself (and who could blame you?), it’s time to bring out the big guns. 

You can set up some fencing or bust out the deer repellent to keep those ravenous grazers at bay. 

Common Persimmon

Common Persimmon
Image by Gardenia.net
Ease of GrowingEasy to Moderate ●●○○○
Scientific NameDiospyros virginiana
Plant TypeDeciduous Tree
USDA Zone4 to 9
Size35 to 60 feet tall
Parts of the Plant that Attract DeerFruits (Persimmons)
Ideal LightFull Sun to Partial Shade
Ideal SoilWell-drained, Sandy to Loamy Soil
Ideal Temperature (F and C)60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C)
Ideal WateringRegular Watering, Drought-Tolerant

Ah, the irresistible allure of persimmons for our deer friends! Come fall, those ripe fruits are like a gourmet invitation for Bambi and crew — planting Common Persimmon trees in deer zones practically guarantees a bonus buffet.

But fear not, green thumbs! We’ve got tricks to keep those persimmons safe. 

Fencing and netting act like velvet ropes, while a spritz of deer repellent has them turning up their noses faster than you can say “deerlicious.” 

Plantain Lily

Plantain Lily
Image by World of Flowering Plants
Ease of GrowingEasy to Moderate ●●○○○
Scientific NameHosta
Plant TypePerennial
USDA Zone3 to 9
SizeVaries by cultivar, typically 1 to 3 feet tall
Parts of the Plant that Attract DeerFoliage and Flower Stems
Ideal LightPartial to Full Shade
Ideal SoilWell-drained, Moist
Ideal Temperature (F and C)60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C)
Ideal WateringRegular Watering

Ah, the lush Hostas — deer delicacies in the garden! Their broad leaves and occasional blooms are irresistible to our hoofed pals, especially in shaded areas where they love to roam.

To entice them, strategically plant Hostas in shady spots. But if you’d rather keep them at bay, fortify with fences or repellents.

Also, go for less tempting Hosta varieties and sprinkle in some deer-resistant plants to deter those garden nibblers. 

Tulip

Tulip
Image by The Spruce
Ease of GrowingEasy to Moderate ●●○○○
Scientific NameTulipa spp.
Plant TypePerennial
USDA Zone3 to 8
SizeVaries by species, typically 6 to 24 inches tall
Parts of the Plant that Attract DeerFlowers and Leaves
Ideal LightFull Sun
Ideal SoilWell-drained
Ideal Temperature (F and C)50°F to 60°F (10°C to 15°C)
Ideal WateringModerate water, well-drained soil

Tulips, those delicate darlings of the garden, are like a dinner bell for deer with their irresistible scent and taste. In places overrun with these graceful grazers, tulips often fall prey to their browsing ways.

But if you’re keen on hosting a deer party in your yard, strategically plant tulips in their favorite hangouts. Those vibrant blooms are like a magnet for them! 

And if you’d rather keep your tulips to yourself (we don’t blame you!), fortify your garden fortress with fencing or slather on some deer repellents to keep those hungry visitors at bay.

Dahlia

Dahlia
Image by Home Beautiful
Ease of GrowingModerate to Difficult ●●●●○
Scientific NameDahlia spp.
Plant TypeAnnual or Perennial (depending on climate)
USDA Zone8 to 11 (usually grown as annuals in colder climates)
SizeVaries by cultivar, typically 1 to 6 feet tall
Parts of the Plant that Attract DeerFlowers
Ideal LightFull Sun
Ideal SoilWell-drained, Rich
Ideal Temperature (F and C)60°F to 70°F (15°C to 21°C)
Ideal WateringRegular water, well-drained soil

Dahlias — the irresistible temptation for deer with their vibrant blooms and delicate petals! If you’re aiming to host a deer dinner party in your garden, simply plant these beauties in spots frequented by our antlered friends.

But if you’re not into sharing your dahlias with daring deer, fear not! From fortifying your garden fortress with fencing to dousing your flowers in deer repellents, you’ve got plenty of ways to keep those hungry herbivores at bay. 

Rose

Rose
Image by 1-800-Flowers.com
Ease of GrowingEasy to Moderate ●●○○○
Scientific NameRosa spp.
Plant TypePerennial
USDA Zone3 to 9
SizeVaries by species and cultivar, typically 1 to 15 feet tall
Parts of the Plant that Attract DeerFlowers, Leaves, and Stems
Ideal LightFull Sun
Ideal SoilWell-drained, Rich
Ideal Temperature (F and C)60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C)
Ideal WateringRegular water, well-drained soil

Despite their prickly thorns, these beauties can still tempt the taste buds of those hoofed connoisseurs. 

Now, if you’re looking to roll out the green carpet for more deer in your garden, simply plant your roses in their favorite hangout spots. But if you’d rather keep those buds to yourself, it’s time to fortify your defenses! 

We’re talking fencing, deer repellents, and surrounding your roses with some tough-as-nails, deer-resistant plant pals. 

Azalea

Azalea
Image by Everett Herald
Ease of GrowingEasy to Moderate ●●○○○
Scientific NameRhododendron spp. (Azalea group)
Plant TypeEvergreen or Deciduous Shrub
USDA Zone4 to 9
SizeVaries by species and cultivar, typically 3 to 8 feet tall
Parts of the Plant that Attract DeerLeaves and Buds
Ideal LightPartial Shade to Full Shade
Ideal SoilWell-drained, Acidic
Ideal Temperature (F and C)60°F to 70°F (15°C to 21°C)
Ideal WateringRegular water, moist soil

Azaleas are five-star menu for deer, especially in areas where these graceful grazers roam free. 

If you’re into having a deer buffet in your backyard, go ahead and plant those azaleas in prime deer territory. 

But if you’d rather keep your garden to yourself, it’s time to break out the big guns: fences, deer repellents, and strategic placement of deer-repelling plants like onions and garlic!

Hydrangea

Hydrangea
Image by Future Forests
Ease of GrowingEasy to Moderate ●●○○○
Scientific NameHydrangea spp.
Plant TypeShrub
USDA Zone3 to 9
SizeVaries by species and cultivar, typically 3 to 6 feet tall
Parts of the Plant that Attract DeerLeaves and Flowers
Ideal LightPartial Shade to Full Sun
Ideal SoilWell-drained, Moist
Ideal Temperature (F and C)60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C)
Ideal WateringRegular water, keep soil consistently moist

The hydrangea’s lush blooms and foliage are siren songs for deer, particularly in areas teeming with these four-legged foragers! If you’re into hosting a deer rendezvous in your garden, simply plant these beauties in spots frequented by these graceful grazers.

But if you’re not in the mood for a deer dinner party, just put up some fencing or spritz on some deer repellents to give those pesky nibblers a polite but firm “keep out” message. 

American Elderberry

American Elderberry
Image by Gardener’s Path
Ease of GrowingEasy to Moderate ●●○○○
Scientific NameSambucus canadensis
Plant TypeDeciduous Shrub
USDA Zone3 to 9
SizeTypically 5 to 12 feet tall
Parts of the Plant that Attract DeerLeaves, Flowers, and Berries
Ideal LightFull Sun to Partial Shade
Ideal SoilWell-drained, Moist
Ideal Temperature (F and C)60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C)
Ideal WateringRegular water, well-drained soil

With its fancy compound leaves, elegant clusters of white blooms, and rich purple berries, the American Elderberry is a five-star buffet for our antlered pals. 

Now, if you’re into playing host to more deer in your garden, it’s simple: just plant some American Elderberry in the spots they frequent. 

But if you’re more interested in keeping these furry diners at bay, fear not! You can use fortress-like fences to deer repellents that’ll have them wrinkling their noses!

American Beautyberry

American Beautyberry
Image by North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox – NC State University
Ease of GrowingEasy to Moderate ●●○○○
Scientific NameCallicarpa americana
Plant TypeDeciduous Shrub
USDA Zone6 to 10
SizeTypically 3 to 8 feet tall
Parts of the Plant that Attract DeerLeaves and Berries
Ideal LightFull Sun to Partial Shade
Ideal SoilWell-drained, Moist
Ideal Temperature (F and C)70°F to 100°F (21°C to 38°C)
Ideal WateringRegular water, well-drained soil

The American Beautyberry, with its luscious clusters of purple berries that deer just can’t resist!

Now, if you’re keen on having a deer rendezvous in your garden, planting this beauty is a surefire way to get them flocking. 

But if you’d rather keep your American Beautyberry buffet-free, fences and deer repellents are your new besties in the battle against berry-loving deer!

Common Blackberry

Common Blackberry
Image by Gardener’s Path
Ease of GrowingEasy to Moderate ●●○○○
Scientific NameRubus fruticosus
Plant TypePerennial Shrub
USDA Zone4 to 9
SizeTypically 3 to 6 feet tall, can spread as a thicket
Parts of the Plant that Attract DeerLeaves, Flowers, and Berries
Ideal LightFull Sun to Partial Shade
Ideal SoilWell-drained, Moist
Ideal Temperature (F and C)70°F to 85°F (21°C to 29°C)
Ideal WateringRegular water, well-drained soil

Despite their prickly demeanor, blackberry bushes seem to have an irresistible allure for deer, who happily munch on the juicy clusters of dark berries and delicate white flowers. 

But if you’d rather keep those blackberries all to yourself, there are ways to thwart the deer’s plans. You can build fences taller than a giraffe’s neck and spritz some deer repellent around like it’s confetti. 

Strawberry

Strawberry
Image by The Spruce
Ease of GrowingEasy to Moderate ●●○○○
Scientific NameFragaria x ananassa
Plant TypePerennial Ground Cover
USDA Zone3 to 10
SizeTypically 6 to 12 inches tall, spreading growth habit
Parts of the Plant that Attract DeerLeaves and Fruits
Ideal LightFull Sun to Partial Shade
Ideal SoilWell-drained, Rich in Organic Matter
Ideal Temperature (F and C)60°F to 80°F (15°C to 27°C)
Ideal WateringRegular water, keep the soil consistently moist

Well, well, well, it seems deer have a penchant for strawberries just like us humans do! 

Now, if you love hosting a deer party in your strawberry patch, go ahead and plant more of those red gems alongside some other enticing flora. 

But if you’d rather keep these garden guests at bay, just use fences, deer-repellent sprays, or even some aromatic additions like onions and garlic to send those deer running for the hills!

Spinach

Spinach
Image by Gardening Know How
Ease of GrowingEasy ●○○○○
Scientific NameSpinacia oleracea
Plant TypeAnnual Leafy Green
USDA Zone3 to 11
SizeTypically 6 to 12 inches tall
Parts of the Plant that Attract DeerLeaves
Ideal LightFull Sun to Partial Shade
Ideal SoilWell-drained, Rich in Organic Matter
Ideal Temperature (F and C)50°F to 75°F (10°C to 24°C)
Ideal WateringRegular water, keep the soil consistently moist

Ah, those ravenous deer just can’t resist tender spinach leaves, especially when times get tough! But fear not, we’ve got the inside scoop on how to either roll out the green carpet for them or protect your precious greens from their voracious appetites.

To safeguard your spinach stash from those hungry hoards, you’ve got options aplenty. You can throw up some fences, slather on some deer repellent, or opt for spinach varieties that are as deer-proof as Fort Knox. 

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