The Blog

Deer Resistant Shrubs and Plants

Gardening in regions with high deer activity can be quite a challenge. You put your heart and soul into cultivating a beautiful landscape, only to find it ravaged by these hungry herbivores. At Mitchell’s Nursery, we understand the frustration of having your plants nibbled away by deer. That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of the best deer-resistant shrubs and flowers to help you create a garden that’s both stunning and resilient to deer damage.

Why Deer Avoid Certain Plants

Deer are creatures of habit and tend to avoid plants with strong scents, fuzzy textures, or prickly surfaces. This is good news for gardeners who want to maintain a beautiful landscape without sacrificing their plants to these persistent grazers. Here’s a selection of some of the best deer-resistant shrubs and flowers for your garden.

Caryopteris (Bluebeard)

Caryopteris, commonly known as Bluebeard, is a low-maintenance shrub that offers vibrant blue flowers in late summer and early fall. Its aromatic foliage is one reason why deer tend to avoid it. This hardy shrub is also a favorite among pollinators, attracting bees and butterflies to your garden. Caryopteris is an excellent choice for adding color and texture to your landscape without worrying about deer damage.


Forsythia is a beloved early-blooming shrub that announces the arrival of spring with a burst of bright yellow flowers. While it might not be as aromatic as other deer-resistant plants, its robust growth and dense branching make it unappealing to deer. Forsythia is perfect for creating hedges or borders and requires minimal maintenance, making it a practical and attractive addition to any garden.


Leucothoe is a versatile evergreen shrub known for its glossy leaves and cascading branches. It offers year-round interest, with colorful foliage in the fall and unique blooms in the spring. Deer typically avoid Leucothoe due to its leathery leaves and dense growth habit. It’s an excellent choice for ground cover or for adding depth to your garden beds.

Sarcococca (Sweetbox)

Sarcococca, also known as Sweetbox, is another deer-resistant evergreen shrub with a delightful surprise—its flowers produce a sweet fragrance during the winter months. Deer dislike the strong scent, making Sarcococca a great addition to a deer-resistant landscape. Its compact size and shade tolerance make it ideal for smaller gardens or areas with limited sunlight.

Fragrant Plants

In addition to these shrubs, you can also incorporate strongly scented plants like lavender, lantana, and gardenias into your garden. Deer are known to avoid fragrant plants due to their potent aroma. Lavender not only repels deer but also adds a lovely scent to your garden. Gardenias, with their rich, sweet fragrance, are another excellent choice for a deer-resistant landscape. Lantana comes in many colors and is an excellent annual bedding plant. There are many other herbs and flowers that deer dislike- the strongly scented ones will be the most deer-resistant!

Create a Deer Resistant Garden

By selecting deer-resistant shrubs and flowers, you can enjoy a beautiful garden without constantly worrying about deer damage. At Mitchell’s Nursery, we have a wide variety of plants that are perfect for creating a deer-resistant landscape. Whether you’re interested in colorful blooms, fragrant foliage, or evergreen shrubs, we have something for every garden.

Visit us today to explore our selection of deer-resistant plants and get expert advice on how to design a garden that thrives in the presence of deer. With the right plant choices and a bit of planning, you can create a garden that’s both beautiful and resilient.