Are your flowers deer food?

When deer are very hungry they will eat almost anything, but during the growing season they usually have lots of options. That being the case, they often eat what they like best. Following is a list of trees, shrubs, perennial flowers, and annual flowers used by North Dakota gardeners. They are grouped according to the relative palatability of these plants to deer.

PERENNIALS

Deer generally prefer to eat:

  • Crocus
  • Daylily
  • Hawkweed
  • Hosta
  • Hyacinth
  • Iris
  • Lilly
  • Meadow Rue
  • Phlox
  • Rose
  • Sedum
  • Strawberry
  • Tulip

Deer generally dislike:

  • Achillea (Yarrow)
  • Ajuga
  • Allium
  • Anemone
  • Bittersweet
  • Bleeding heart
  • Buttercup
  • Cinquefoil
  • Clematis
  • Columbine
  • Coneflower
  • Coral bell
  • Coreopsis
  • Cranesbill
  • Daffodil
  • Daisy
  • Ferns
  • Feverfew
  • Flax
  • Forget-me-not
  • Gayfeather
  • Goatsbeard
  • Goldenrod
  • Joe-Pye weed
  • Lamb’s ear
  • Lavender
  • Lily-of-the-valley
  • Lupine
  • Monkshood
  • Pachysandra
  • Pennyroyal
  • Penstemon
  • Peony
  • Poppy
  • Primrose
  • Ribbongrass
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Snow-on-the-Mountain
  • Speedwell
  • Tansy
  • Thistle
  • Toadflax
  • Yucca

ANNUALS AND BIENNIALS

Deer generally prefer to eat:

  • Hollyhock
  • Impatiens
  • Pansy
  • Sunflower
  • Violet

Deer generally dislike:

  • Alyssum
  • Begonia
  • Dahlia
  • Dusty miller
  • Flax
  • Forget-me-not
  • Four-o’clock
  • Foxglove
  • Geranium
  • Heliotrope
  • Lobelia
  • Marigold
  • Mint
  • Morning glory
  • Mullein
  • Parsley
  • Periwinkle
  • Polygonum
  • Primula
  • Salvia
  • Snapdragon
  • Verbena
  • Zinnia

NOTE: The information provided above was gleaned from browse survey reports conducted by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, a recent article published in Minnesota Horticulturist (Oh, Deer! Suggestions for coping with Deer in the Home Landscape, B.R. Jarvis and D.F. Bravero), public information bulletins produced by the states of Illinois and New Jersey, New York, and conversations with local nursery owners.

From: USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center  www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/wildlife/wildback/append.htm