Deer Resistant Plant List for the Rogue Valley

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.

Hesperaloe closeup

It is important to 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. If you 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.

Putting a wire cage around all new trees is recommended. Whether they 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.

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

Ferns | Grasses and Grass-like Plants | Perennials | Shrubs | Trees | Vines
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  Botanical Name

Common Name


***very deer resistant, **usually deer resistant, *can be deer resistant but depends on deer population, try one first
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
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 ***  persistant flag-like seedheads
Calamagrostis spp. Feather Reed Grass ***
Carex spp. Sedges ***
Cortaderia selloana Pampas 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
Imperata cylindrica Japanese Blood Grass *** red tips
Juncus spp. Rush *** many native, wet sites
Miscanthus sinensis Maiden Grass  ***
Muhlenbergia capillaris, rigens Pink Muhly Grass, Deer Grass *** great for meadow look
Nasella or Stipa tenuissima Mexican feather grass ***  will naturalize
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' h flower spikes, part shade
Achillea millefolium  Yarrow ** many colors available
Aconitum spp. Monkshood *** poisonous
Actea spp. Bugbane ** reported to be (still waiting further trials) 
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/Windeflower * 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
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 ** groundcover and hairy species are best
Centaurea simplicicaulis Knapweed *** droughty groundcover
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides Dwarf (Hardy) Plumbago ** late summer bloom + fall color
Chamaemelum nobile Roman Chamomile *** aromatic groundcover sun-shade
Coreopsis spp. Tickseed  **  C. verticilata needle-like leaf is best, long bloom
Crocosmia spp. Crocosmia/Montbrieta * 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 karvinskianus Fleabane/Santa Barbara Daisy *** long blooming groundcover, drought tolerant
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
Gypsophila spp. Baby's Breath * still trialing, but reported to be safe
Helianthemum nummularium Sunrose  * better once established, many flower color options
Helleborus spp. Lenten Rose *** poisonous, winter bloom, part-full shade
Hemerocallis  Daylily * may eat flowers
Heuchera spp. Coral Bells/Alum Root * in mild areas, countless foliage color options
Hypericum calycinum St. John's Wort *** aggressive groundcover, erosion control
Iris spp. Iris - so many species, many native ** eaten in bad areas or during harsh seasons
Kniphofia spp. Red hot poker ** occasionally flowers are eaten
Lamium maculatum Dead nettle ** silvery variegated foliage illuminates shady areas
Laurentia fluviatilis Blue Star Creeper ***  mat forming, starry blue flowers
Leucanthemum x superbum Shasta Daisy ** may eat foliage after bloom finishes
Liatris spicata Gayfeather **  may eat flowers
Monarda spp.  Bee Balm ** fragrant foliage
Monardella odoratissima Coyote Mint *** native, long summer bloom
Narcissus Daffodils *** one of the only reliable bulbs
Nepeta spp. Catmint *** aromatic foliage, long bloom
Oenothera spp. Evening Primrose, Sundrops **  may eat when new, very drought tolerant
Origanum spp. Oregano - edible and ornamental *** fragrant foliage, many cool flowering forms
Paeonia  Peony - countless cultivars *** classic, showy blooms, handsome foliage
Papaver orientale Oriental Poppy **  fuzzy foliage, may eat
Penstemon heterophyllus 'Margarita BOP' Foothill Beardtongue ** still testing, but looking good in mild areas
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
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
Sempervivum spp. Hens and Chicks, Houseleek ** less browsed upon than sedums
Stachys spp. Lambs Ears ***  fuzzy foliage
Tanacetum densum ssp. amani Partridge Feather *** fuzzy, finely divided, silver leaves
Teucrium spp. Germander ***  aromatic, evergreen foliage, bee attractors
Thymus spp. Thyme - creeping and upright  ***  aromatic foliage and edible
Veronica spp. Speedwell ** groundcover species are best once established
Vinca minor  Common Periwinkle *** aggressive groundcover, part-shade erosion control
Zauschneria 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' (rapid grower) ** better once established, new growth often chewed
Baccharis pilularis Coyote Bush *** native into CA, super tough
Baeckea gunniana Alpine Baeckea, Mountain Heath-Myrtle *** aromatic Tasmanian low growing shrub
Berberis spp. Barberry - deciduous & evergreen species ***  thorny stems, colorful in spring and fall
Buddleia hybrids (sterile) Butterfly Bush * will eat when young (short)
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 ** still needs further research, but once established and large...
Caryopteris x clandonensis Bluebeard, Blue Mist Spirea ***  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')
Cephalotaxus harringtonia Japanese Plum Yew ** pokey needle-like foliage, still testing
Chaenomeles speciosa Flowering Quince ***  thorns, early spring blooms
Choisya ternata Mexican Orange *** frangrant white blooms, evergreen
Choisya x dewitteana 'Aztec Pearl' Mexican Orange (cutleaf) *** similar to the above, but more compact, heat/sun/drounght tolerant & hardier
Cistus spp. Rockrose *  the more resinous/sticky varieties are best (like 'Blanche') better once established
Cotinus spp. Smoke bush *  may eat when new or any low down growth
Cotoneaster spp. Prostrate Bearberry ** the smaller leaved/tightly prostrate forms seem best
Daphne spp. Daphne  ***  poisonous, fragrant blooms, likes good drainage
Elaeagnus spp. Silverberry **  evergreen, small thorns, vigorous growth, good hedge
Erica spp. Mediterranean Heath varieties ** most common are winter blooming
Euonymous alatus 'Compactus' Compact Burning Bush * better once established
Fallugia paradoxa Apache Plume *** extremely drought tolerant, fast growing, showy seed-heads (plumes)
Feijoa sellowiana Pineapple Guava **  may chew tips when new
Forsythia x intermedia Forsythia hybrids *  older, established plants
Fremontodendron californicum California Flannel Bush ** rapid growing evergreen w/golden early summer blooms
Genista spp. Yellow Broom (groundcovers) *** gold blooms in spring
Grevillea juniperina Juniper Grevillea  ***  place in protected spot (zone 7b) with poor, un-enriched soil, plant in spring
Hebe cupressoides, salicornioides etc. Whipcord Hebe *** cypress-like fragrant foliage
Hibiscus syriacus Rose of Sharon *  may eat when new or any low down growth
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
Leucophyllum zygophyllum Blue Texas Ranger  ** reported to be - still needs further testing, put in a hot/protected site (zone 7b)
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
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 varieties Andromeda or Lily of the Valley Shrub ***  poisonous, many cultivars
Pinus mugo pumilo Dwarf Mugo Pine ***
Potentilla spp. Cinquefoil ** species with tiny or hairy leaves are the most reliable, best in mild areas
Prunus lusitanica Portuegese Laurel **  good hedge plant, the most reliable Laurel species
Pyracantha spp. and hybrids 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
Ribes spp. Flowering Currant (native, pink) *  will eat especially when small, thorny species like R. roezlii are more reliable
Rosa rugosa (an other wild species) Rugosa Rose, Sea Tomato *  very thorny, showy hips, may still eat - only in mild areas
Rosemarinus officianalis  Rosemary ***  fragrant foliage
Sarcococca spp. Sweetbox ***  leathery foliage, fragrant winter blooms, will tolerate deep shade
Spirea spp. Spirea * mild areas (or established), often with nice foliage color spring/fall
Symphoricarpos alba Snow Berry *  native, thicket forming
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
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
Albizia julibrissin Mimosa, Silk Tree * small leaves
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
Eucalyptus spp. Snow gum, Black Sallee, Tasmanian Snow Gum ***  aromatic, leathery leaves
Ginkgo biloba  Maidenhair Tree ** leathery leaves
Gledisia triacanthos Honey Locust **  small leaves
Heptacodium miconioides Sevon 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 ***
Lagerstoemia 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 spcies are more reliable
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
Robinia pseudoacacia Black Locust  ***  thorny branches
Sequoiadendron spp. Giant Sequioa, Coast Redwood ***
Trachycarpus fortunei Windmill Fan Palm ***
Akebia quinata Akebia vine ***  reliable in mild areas 
Bignonia capreolata Cross Vine *
Campsis radicans Trumpet Vine *
Clematis armandii Evergreen Clematis * leathery leaves
Gelsemium sempervirens Carolina Jessamine ***  poisonous
Holboelia coriocea China Blue Vine * leathery leaves
Humulus lupilus Hops *** stiff hairs coat leaves and stems
Lonicera spp. Honeysuckle  **  ususally reliable
Parthenocissus spp. Virginia Creeper, Boston Ivy, Silver Vein Creeper *
Wisteria spp. Wisteria * will eat, but grows fast enough to overcome


Polystichum Munitum - Western Sword Fern
Polystichum Munitum -
Western Sword Fern
  Hellebore Orientalis
Hellebore Orientalis
  Ophiopogon Nigrescens - Black Mondo Grass
Ophiopogon Nigrescens -
Black Mondo Grass
Ilex Crenata Helleri - Compact
Ilex Crenata 'Helleri' -
Compact Japanese Holly
  Eryngium Jade Frost
Eryngium Jade Frost
  Hellebore Pink Frost with Mondo Grass and Juniper Blue Star
Hellebore 'Pink Frost' with Mondo Grass and Juniper 'Blue Star'
Ilex Crenata Helleri - Compact
Ilex Crenata 'Helleri' -
Compact Japanese Holly
  Fargesia Green Panda - Clumping Bamboo
Fargesia 'Green Panda' -
Clumping Bamboo
Choisya Ternata - Mexican Orange
Choisya Ternata - Mexican Orange
  Pinus Vanderwolf - Vanderwolf Pines
Pinus 'Vanderwolf' - Vanderwolf Pines

Lady's Mantle with Golden Barberry
Lady's Mantle with Golden Barberry
Chilopsis Linearis
Chilopsis Linearis
  Salvia 'Caradonna' with Pennisetum 'Little Bunny'
Salvia 'Caradonna' with Pennisetum 'Little Bunny'
  Callistemon Linearis - Bottlebrush
Callistemon Linearis - Bottlebrush