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Your Local Plant Nursery Resource for the Rogue Valley Since 2005

3223 Taylor Road, Central Point, OR 97502

Deer Resistant Plants

For the Rogue Valley

Our deer resistant plants list reflects years of working with our customers to find what works in this region

One of the most common challenges of gardening in the Rogue Valley is the plentiful deer population. Selecting deer resistant plants is often hit-and-miss and, to compound the problem, not all deer have the same tastes. What is deer resistant in Jacksonville may not be deer resistant in Eagle Point or Ashland. Shooting Star has gained expertise working with customers throughout the region as well as designing landscapes that incorporate deer resistant plants.

First of all, remember that deer resistant does not mean deer proof! Deer may develop a taste for any new plant depending on the season, when it was planted, how much water it gets, and a host of other factors. In addition, young deer will basically eat anything they encounter as they learn about what is edible and what isn’t. You can also expect increased deer pressure during drought years or after a wildfire, when deer are desperate for something to eat.

Shooting Star Nursery also recommends putting a wire cage around all new trees. Whether your trees are deer resistant or not, deer may nibble on the new or lower growth, or scrape their antlers on the trunk causing damage that can be irreversible. It’s especially important to cage your trees in late summer to prevent this type of damage.

If you do find deer nibbling the tender growth of your newly planted flowers or shrubs, be patient and observe their behavior. They may simply try it and then leave it alone. Alternatively, be prepared to protect all new plantings in heavy deer country, even if you are using very deer-resistant plants. You can also spray all new plantings – or more sensitive plants – with deer repellant spray, and alternate between several different spray types.

Our deer resistant list continues to be a work in progress, so let us know what has and hasn’t worked for you and we will incorporate into our list!

artemisia and other deer resistant plants in front yard

Want more help?

If you’d like more help with plant, shrub and/or tree selection or assistance with your landscape design, get details on our Design & Consult page about what types of services we provide. 

Deer resistant plants list

***very deer resistant, **usually deer resistant, *can be deer resistant but depends on deer population, try one first
Botanical Name Common Name Comments
FERNS – Deer will avoid most ferns
Adiantum pedatum Maindenhair/Five Finger Fern ** native, very delicate texture but wirey stems
Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’ Japanese Painted Fern ** silvery/purple foliage, delicate texture
Blechnum spicant Deer Fern **  native
Cyrtomium fortunei Hardy Holly Fern *** glossy, holly like fronds
Dryopteris erythrosora Autumn Fern ***  coppery new growth
Matteuccia Ostrich Fern **
Polystichum munitum Western Sword Fern *** native, evergreen
Polystichum polyblepharum Tassel Fern ***  native
Polystichum setiferum Alaskan Fern *** native
Woodwardia fimbriata Giant Chain Fern ***  coastal native, largest hardy fern
GRASSES AND GRASS-LIKE PLANTS – Deer will avoid most ornamental grasses
Agave neomexicana Hardy Agave *** impenetrable
Hardy Bamboo species (ie. Fargesia, Phyllostachys, Sasa) Bamboo species **  occasional chewing when newly planted
Bouteloua g. ‘Blonde Ambition’ Blue Grama Grass ***  persistent flag-like seedheads
Calamagrostis spp. Feather Reed Grass ***
Carex spp. Sedges ***
Dasylirion wheeleri Desert Spoon *** Wonderfully prickly!
Deschampsia sp. Tufted Hair Grass ***
Festuca spp. Fescue * small evergreen clumps, can be grazed during sparse months
Hakonechloa macra Japanese Forest Grass ***  good for moist shade
Helictotrichon sempervirens Blue Oat Grass ***  evergreen, tough
Hesperaloe parviflora Red False Yucca ** may eat flowers, but foliage is tough/spikey
Juncus spp. Rush *** many native, wet sites
Miscanthus sinensis Maiden Grass  ***
Muhlenbergia capillaris, rigens Pink Muhly Grass, Deer Grass *** great for meadow look
Panicum virgatum Switch grass ***  nice fall color
Pennisetum spp. Fountain Grass ***
Phormium spp. New Zealand Flax  ***  place in protected location
Schizachyrium scoparium Little Bluestem ***  fall color, prairie native
Seslaria autumnalis Autumn Moor Grass ** evergreen, meadowy look
Stipa gigantea Giant Feather Grass ***  evergreen, showy bloom
Yucca filamentosa  Adam’s Needle (Yucca) ***  showy flower spikes
PERENNIALS – Strongly scented, highly textured (sharp or fuzzy), or poisonous choices are best
Acanthus spinosus Bear’s Breeches * dramatic, spined 3′ tall flower spikes, part shade
Achillea millefolium and cultivars Yarrow ** many colors available
Aconitum spp. Monkshood *** poisonous
Agastache spp. Anise Hyssop, Licorice or Hummingbird Mint ***  fragrant foliage, hummingbird magnets, long bloom
Allium spp. Garlic and onion relatives, ball shaped flowers **  strong smell
Ajuga repens  Carpet Bugle ** vigorous shade groundcover
Amsonia spp. Bluestar *** prairie native, latex sap in stems, amazing gold fall color
Anemone spp.  Anemone/Windflower * poisonous, but will eat flowers in bad areas
Armeria maritima Sea thrift * may eat flowers
Artemisia spp. Wormwood ***  aromatic foliage
Asarum caudatum Wild Ginger ** foliage is aromatic when crushed, native for dry shade
Asclepias spp. Milkweed *** milky sap in stems, attracts butterflies/bees
Aster oblongifolius Aromatic Aster ***
Bergenia spp.  Heartleaf Bergenia/Pigsqueak  *** large glossy foliage, spring blooms 
Brunnera macrophylla Siberian Bugloss *** stiff hairs cover large leaves, shade, many silvery forms
Campanula spp. Bellfower ** once naturalized, groundcover and hairy species are best
Centranthus ruber  Jupiter’s Beard ***
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides Dwarf (Hardy) Plumbago ** late summer bloom + fall color
Coreopsis spp. Tickseed  **  C. verticilata needle-like leaf is best, long bloom
Crocosmia spp. Crocosmia/Montbreita * may eat flowers
Delosperma spp. + new hybrids Hardy Ice Plant **  tighter foliage is more reliable
Dianthus spp. Carnations or Pinks *** aromatic foliage, drought tolerant groundcovers
Dicentra spp. Bleeding Heart ** poisonous, but sometimes eaten
Digitalis spp. Foxglove ** poisonous, but eaten sometimes
Echinacea spp. Coneflower *  may eat flowers/petals
Echinops spp. Globe Thistle ***  spiny leaves/flowers
Epimedium spp. Bishop’s Hat * good for dry shade
Erigeron glaucus Seaside Daisy **
Erigeron karvinskianus Fleabane/Santa Barbara Daisy *** long blooming groundcover, drought tolerant
Eriophyllum lanatum Oregon Sunshine ** depends on the local deer population
Erodium spp. Heronsbill * long blooming, ground hugging, rock garden perennials
Eryngium spp. Sea Holly ***  spiny flowers and sometimes leaves too
Erysimum ‘Bowle’s Mauve’ Purple Wallflower *** long blooming but short lived
Euphorbia spp. Spurge *** toxic sap in stems, mostly evergreen species
Gaillardia Blanket Flower ** – may eat flowers
Gaura lindheimeri Gaura ** may eat in bad areas
Geranium cantabrigiense Geranium/Cranesbill ***  scented leaves, great groundcover even in dry shade
Glaucium flavum Horned Poppy *** fabulous silver foliage, horn shaped seed pods, droughty
Glumicalyx goseloides Nodding Chocolate Flower *** orange flowers smell like…., evergreen in mild winters
Helleborus spp. Lenten Rose *** poisonous, winter bloom, part-full shade
Hemerocallis  Daylily * may eat flowers
Hypericum calycinum St. John’s Wort *** aggressive groundcover, erosion control
Iris spp. Iris  *** Lots of native species
Kniphofia spp. Red hot poker ** occasionally flowers are eaten
Lamium maculatum Dead nettle ** silvery variegated foliage illuminates shady areas
Leucanthemum x superbum Shasta Daisy ** may eat foliage after bloom finishes
Limonium sp.  Sea Statice ** may eat flowers & nibble foliage in heavy deer areas
Marrubium rotundifolium Silverheels Horehound ***
Monarda spp.  Bee Balm ** fragrant foliage
Monardella odoratissima Coyote Mint *** native, long summer bloom
Muhlenbeckia complexa Wire Vine ***
Narcissus Daffodils *** one of the only reliable bulbs
Nepeta spp. Catmint *** aromatic foliage, long bloom, great selection
Oenothera spp. Evening Primrose, Sundrops **  may eat when new, very drought tolerant
Opuntia sp. Prickly Pear Cactus ***
Origanum spp. Oregano – edible and ornamental *** fragrant foliage, many cool flowering forms
Pachysandra Pachysandra ** great for dry shade
Paeonia  Peony – countless cultivars ** classic, showy blooms, handsome foliage
Papaver orientale Oriental Poppy **  fuzzy foliage, may eat
Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Margarita BOP’ Foothill Beardtongue ** usually deer resistant, better when established
Penstemon pinifolius Pineleaf Beardtongue ** adaptable rock garden plant, needle-like leaves
Perovskia atriplicifolia Russian Blue Sage ***  aromatic foliage
Phlomis spp. Jerusalem Sage *** large, fuzzy leaves
Phlox subulata Creeping Phlox ***  needle like foliage
Pratia peduncularis Blue Star Creeper *** tight groundcover
Pterocephalus depressus Moroccan Pincushion ***
Pulmonaria spp. Lungwort ** leaves are covered in prickly hairs, early bloom
Rubus calycinoides(pentalobus) Creeping Bramble *** tough leaves, prickly stems
Rudbeckia spp. Black Eyed Susan *  may eat flowers
Salvia spp. + hardy hybrids Sage  *** smellier foliage is best
Santolina chamaecyparissus, virens Lavender Cotton *** aromatic, evergreen foliage, button-like flower
Schizostylus coccinea Crimson River Lily ** best in mild areas
Sempervivum spp. Hens and Chicks, Houseleek ** less browsed upon than sedums
Senecio grayi Bush Senecio ***
Sisyrinchium sp. Blue-eyed/Yellow-eyed Grass **
Solidago ‘Fireworks’ ‘Fireworks’ Goldenrod ** may browse
Stachys spp. Lambs Ears ***  fuzzy foliage
Teucrium spp. Germander ***  aromatic, evergreen foliage, bee attractors
Thymus spp. Thyme – creeping and upright  ***  aromatic foliage and edible
Verbena rigida Rigid Verbena ** will munch in bad areas
Veronica spp. Speedwell * groundcover species are best, need protection while young
Vinca minor  Common Periwinkle *** aggressive groundcover, part-shade erosion control
Zauschneria sp. California Fuschia ** may eat, best fall bloom, colonizer
SHRUBS – Aromatic, resinous/sticky, thorny/prickly or poisonous choices are the most reliable
Arctostaphylos spp.  Manzanita – esp. ‘Austin Griffiths’ , ‘Pacific Mist’ ** better once established, new growth often chewed, need protection when young
Aucuba japonica Spotted Laurel ***
Baccharis pilularis Coyote Bush *** native into CA, super tough
Berberis spp. Barberry – deciduous & evergreen species ***  thorny stems, colorful in spring and fall
Buddleia hybrids (sterile) Butterfly Bush ** when mature, * when young
Buxus spp. Boxwood *** classic for low hedges and formal gardens
Callistemon spp. Hardy Bottlebrush – alpine species  *** needle-like pokey foliage
Calluna vulgaris Scotch Heather * may eat when new, late summer bloom
Calycanthus spp. Spicebush ** protect when small
Carpenteria ‘Elizabeth’ Bush Anemone **
Caryopteris x clandonensis Bluebeard, Blue Mist Spirea *** great choice! reliable, long summer bloom, attracts pollinators
Ceanothus spp. California Lilac, Blue Blossom ** cultivars with holly-like leaves are most reliable (like ‘Blue Jeans’ and ‘Emily Brown’), needs protection when young
Cephalotaxus harringtonia Japanese Plum Yew ** pokey needle-like foliage, still testing
Chaenomeles speciosa Flowering Quince **  thorny types only, early spring blooms
Choisya ternata Mexican Orange *** fragrant white blooms, evergreen
Choisya x dewitteana ‘Aztec Pearl’, ‘Bluestone’ Mexican Orange (cutleaf) *** similar to above, but more compact, heat/sun/drought tolerant & hardier; needs good drainage & summer heat
Cistus spp. Rockrose *  the more resinous/sticky varieties are best (like ‘Blanche’, ‘Sunset’) better once established
Cotinus spp. Smoke bush *  may eat when new or any low down growth, protect until large and established
Cotoneaster spp. Prostrate Bearberry ** the smaller leaved/tightly prostrate forms seem best
Daphne spp. Daphne  ***  poisonous, fragrant blooms, likes good drainage
Distylium Distylium ** protect when young
Elaeagnus spp. Silverberry **  evergreen,  vigorous growth, good hedge, thorny varieties e.g.: Hosobu Fukurin) are best
Erica spp. Mediterranean Heath varieties ** most common are winter blooming
Euonymous alatus ‘Compactus’ Compact Burning Bush * better once established
Fatsia japonica Japanese Aralia **
Feijoa sellowiana Pineapple Guava **  may chew tips when new
Forsythia x intermedia Forsythia hybrids **  older, established plants, protect when young
Genista spp. Yellow Broom (groundcovers) *** gold blooms in spring
Hebe cupressoides, salicornioides etc. (e.g.: Karo, Golden Esk) Whipcord Hebe *** cypress-like fragrant foliage
Hibiscus syriacus Rose of Sharon *  may eat when new or any low down growth, better when established
Holodiscus discolor Oceanspray **
Hypericum ‘Sunburst’ ‘Sunburst’ St. John’s Wort Bush ** once established
Ilex spp. Holly ** the spinier, leathery leaves are more reliable
Juniperus spp. Juniper ***
Kalmia latifolia Mountain Laurel ** poisonous, may still eat, rich/acidic soil
Lavandula spp.  Lavender ***  fragrant foliage
Leptospermum humifusum, lanigerum, namadgiensis Alpine Tea Tree ***  aromatic foliage
Leucothoe (esp. ‘Scarletta’, Rainbow’) Leucothoe **
Loropetalum chinensis Fringe flower * only in mild deer areas or protected spots
Mahonia spp. Oregon Grape ***  native, leathery/holly-like leaves
Myrica californica Pacific Wax Myrtle ** coastal native, fragrant foliage, large shrub/small tree, protect when young
Myrtus communis ‘Compacta’ & ‘Tarrentina’ Common Myrtle ***  fragrant foliage, starry white flowers, put in hot/protected sites (zone 8)
Nandina domestica  Heavenly Bamboo * only in mild deer areas or larger, established plants
Nerium oleander Oleander *** highly poisonous, extremely drought tolerant, put in a protected site (zone 8)
Osmanthus heterophyllus Holly-Leaf Osmanthus ** many cultivars, ones with spinier leaves are more reliable
Ozothamnus spp. Ozothamnus *** evergreen, interesting foliage and flowers
Philadelphus spp. Mock Orange *  larger/established plants only
Picea spp. (dwarf varieties) Spruce (shrubby cultivars) *** pokey needles
Pieris  Andromeda or Lily of the Valley Shrub ***  poisonous, many cultivars
Pinus mugo pumilo Dwarf Mugo Pine ***
Pittosporum Pittosporum **
Podocarpus Yew Pine ***
Potentilla spp. Cinquefoil ** species with tiny or hairy leaves are the most reliable, best in mild areas
Prunus lusitanica Portuguese Laurel **  good hedge plant, the most reliable Laurel species
Punica Pomegranate ** protect when young
Pyracantha  Firethorn **  thorny and tough
Rhamnus californica ‘Eve Case’ Eve Case California Coffeeberry ** more compact than the species – seems to be browsed less as well, evergreen, showy berries, great for wildlife
Rhododendron spp. Rhododendron – scented varieties like ‘PJM’ are best ** mildly poisonous, but may still eat
Rhus aromatica ‘Gro-Low’ ‘Gro-Low’ Fragrant Sumac ** better when established
Ribes spp. Flowering Currant (native, pink) *  will eat especially when small, thorny species like R. roezlii are more reliable
Rosa rugosa (and native rose species) Rugosa Rose, Sea Tomato *  very thorny, showy hips, may still eat – use only in mild areas
Rosmarinus officianalis  Rosemary ***  fragrant foliage
Sarcococca spp. Sweetbox ***  leathery foliage, fragrant winter blooms, will tolerate deep shade
Spirea spp. Spirea ** best in mild areas, often with nice foliage color, protect when young
Symphoricarpos albus Snow Berry *  native, thicket forming, better when established
Teucrium fruticans Bush Germander ***  aromatic foliage
Umbellularia californica California Bay  *** aromatic, leathery foliage, slow growing – can eventually attain tree size
Viburnum bodnantense ‘Pink Dawn’ Pink Dawn Viburnum  ***most reliable species, aromatic foliage, good choice for a large shrub
Vitex agnus-castus Chaste Tree ***  aromatic foliage, purple flowers in summer
TREES – It’s always important to use a wire cage or trunk protector around any new tree (to guard the bark from bucks rutting their antlers in fall and to prevent lower limbs/leaves from being chewed).   Aside from the following trees, almost any deciduous tree would also be considered deer resistant once large enough and with a high enough canopy.
Abies pinsapo ‘Glauca’ Blue Spanish Fir *** short, pokey needles
Abies concolor White Fir ***  thick, flat needles
Acer palmatum Green Japanese Maple ** protect lower branches and trunk when young
Albizia julibrissin Mimosa, Silk Tree * small leaves, will eat lower branches
Araucaria  Monkey Puzzle ***  sharply pointed leaves
Cedrus spp. Cedar *** pokey needles, usually the most reliable conifer
Cercis spp. Redbud  *j C. occidentalis and C. reniformis are more reliable
Chamaerops humilis Mediterranean Fan Palm *** barbed branches, fiberous leaves
Chitalpa tashkentensis Chitalpa **  long summer bloom, very drought tolerant
Chilopsis linearis Desert Willow *** aromatic, narrow leaves, long/showy summer bloom
Crataegus spp. Hawthorne ***  species w/large thorns are best
Ginkgo biloba  Maidenhair Tree ** leathery leaves
Gleditsia triacanthos Honey Locust **  small leaves
Heptacodium miconioides Seven Sons Flower ** good results in mild areas, late summer bloom, peeling bark
Ficus varieties Fig tree **  aromatic leaves, may still eat lower growth
Juniperus varieties Juniper ***
Lagerstroemia spp. Crape Myrtle  ** will eat when new/low growth, best as tree form or limbed up
Laurus nobilis Bay Laurel ** aromatic foliage used in cooking, evergreen, 
Magnolia spp. Magnolia *** evergreen species are more reliable
Parrotia  Persian Ironwood ** great fall color
Picea spp. Spruce ***  the pokier the needles the better (like Colorado Blue Spruce)
Pinus spp. Pine ***
Pseudotsuga menziesii Douglas Fir ***
Quercus spp. Oak * species w/pokier, barbed leaves are more reliable, may eat lower growth when young
Sequoiadendron spp. Giant Sequioa, Coast Redwood ***
Thuja ‘Green Giant’ ‘Green Giant’ Arborvitae ** protect when young
Trachycarpus fortunei Windmill Fan Palm ***
Zelkova Zelkova ** good street tree, great fall color
VINES – Protect all vines when young!
Akebia quinata Akebia vine ***  reliable in mild areas 
Bignonia capreolata Cross Vine *
Campsis radicans Trumpet Vine *
Clematis armandii Evergreen Clematis * leathery leaves
Holboelia coriocea China Blue Vine * leathery leaves
Humulus lupilus Hops *** stiff hairs coat leaves and stems
Lonicera spp. Honeysuckle  **  usually reliable
Parthenocissus spp. Virginia Creeper, Boston Ivy, Silver Vein Creeper *
Trachelospermum asiaticum Asiatic Jasmone *** used as evergreen groundcover
Trachelospermum jasminoides Star Jasmine ** protect when young
Wisteria spp. Wisteria * will eat, but grows fast enough to overcome

Looking for a specific plant, shrub or tree?

Our availability list is updated frequently so you can see at a glance what we have in stock at the nursery as well as the pot sizes. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, contact us.