Deer Resistant Native Plants That You Might Not Think Of

Creating an all native garden becomes a challenge if deer are in the neighborhood. Rudbeckia, Echinacea and Asters are garden staples in the native garden but they are also deer food. Following is a list of plants that are native to Connecticut that we’ve found deer tend to avoid.  These plants are not only native,  they are plants that you might not of heard of. At Designing Eden LLC we are known for our planting designs and we sometimes use exceptional plants that no one has ever heard of. I do consider cultivars of native plants as native.

A contemporary house in Washington, CT with gardens that include Amsonia 'Storm Cloud'
The ephemeral Virginia Bluebell is not only a plant that colonizes as an understory plant, it is relatively deer resistant. Plant early. Seems to be hard to establish if you plant after it goes dormant. Will need a companion plant as Bluebells go dormant after spring flowering.
Phlox stolonifera is another colonizer that produces some great spring flowers.
Geum fragarioides was thought to be extinct in Connecticut but was recently rediscovered growing in the wild. An easy edger plant for sun or partial shade.

Gillenia trifoliata. Is a northeastern US native but does not naturally exist in Connecticut. This variety is called Pink Profusion. It prefers partial shade so it makes a good understory plant.

Packera aurea is another colonizer. Foliage remains low to the ground but in flower, the plant is in the 18-24" range. Very low maintenance and deer resistant.
Tiarella cordifola should be a staple in any shady native plant garden. It's a great plant that covers real estate, helping to create a low maintenance garden.
Scutellaria integrifolia is a plant that tends to move around a garden. It's a full sun plant. Supposedly Skullcaps like moisture but it will do fine in ordinary garden conditions. The web lists its size as 1-2 feet. In Connecticut, I finid it's more in the 2 plus feet range.
Silene caroliniana is a native plant that seems to flower forever. We use it as an edger in full sun conditions.
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Richard Schipul
Richard Schipul

For the last 30 years, I have owned the landscape company Designing Eden LLC based in New Milford, CT. We offer landscape designs, landscape installations and garden maintenance services in Fairfield and Litchfield County Connecticut. I am currently the only Nationally Certified Landscape Designer in Litchfield County and sit on the board of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and Mad Gardeners.


2 thoughts on “Deer Resistant Native Plants That You Might Not Think Of”

  1. Wow, you certainly picked amazing natives. The Amsonia looks stunning with the Fothergilla. And the native phlox and geum really pack a punch in mass planting. I’ve recently been using Piet Oudolf’s natives plant list, and like you he uses cultivars too. So far this year I added Calamintha Nepeta (which I love), Sporobolus Heterolepsis, Asclepias Tuberosa, Agastache Blue Fortune and Little Adder, Allium, Monarda Claire Grace, and Horsemint and I have so many more pollinators and birds visiting. Just adding a few natives makes a huge difference!

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