Does deer damage keep you from growing a gorgeous flower garden? Here are 27 deer-resistant plants for the cottage garden to grow this spring. (Post updated June 2022)
If you live in deer country like me, I feel your pain.
It is so hard to garden around them, isn’t it?
Between expensive fencing, repellents, and gadgets, what is a gardener to do?
But all is not lost.
There are a variety of tactics to employ to keep deer from eating garden plants.
One of the easiest ways to keep deer from snacking on the garden is to plant flowers they prefer not to eat.
And there are a lot of them!
Wait until you see how many cottage garden flowers you can grow that deer tend to avoid.
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What Deters Deer From Eating Your Garden
Gardeners from all skill levels have lots of opinions on this topic.
From soaps like Irish Spring to scattering human hair and pet fur, I’m not sold on their effective level.
That said, deer do have a heightened sense of smell and certain types of odors keep them away including:
- wolf urine
- putrescent egg solids
Do Coffee Grounds Keep Deer Away from Garden Plants?
I’ve been asked this a few times recently and I’ve not heard of this one before.
Therefore I don’t recommend relying on coffee grinds in the garden to keep deer out of the garden.
What is the Best Deer Repellent?
Now deer repellents I DO have an opinion on because I have used so many different types and have a favorite.
THIS is what I use ALL THE TIME.
I’ve been using it for several years now with great success.
But why do I use this one when there are so many others on the market?
Because it does not smell as bad as the others AND does not get clogged.
I don’t know about you, but that drives me nuts.
So this repellent is my go-to.
Whatever spray repellent you ultimately decide to use, keep in mind it must be applied consistently and started when your garden plants break ground in early spring.
Deer are creatures of habit that walk along the same trail. Once they learn they don’t like what your garden offers, they will find another path.
But never let your guard down because once you get complacent with the spray repellents, they will find those plants and flowers and eat them to the ground.
I shared a whole video on this topic too. Watch it HERE.
Planting Smart in the Cottage Garden
While there are lots of strategies and repellents that gardeners can employ to protect their gardens from deer damage, one of the best ways to avoid deer damage is to plant smart.
To plant smart, it’s important to do your research before purchasing plants from the garden nursery.
Now that research will take all of about 5 minutes to do. But trust me, it’s worth taking the time to do it if you want to keep deer from eating your garden plants.
And Rutgers Cooperative Extension created a list of plants rated by deer resistance that is like my bible before I purchase plants at the nursery.
I refer to their list ALL THE TIME. It is invaluable for a gardener who wants to keep deer from devouring garden plants and flowers.
In case you forget your list or don’t have it on you while you are shopping, keep this in mind.
Deer typically stay away from prickly, heavily scented flowers, trees, and shrubs.
So look for plants with these types of characteristics.
And when you see this list of flowers, you’ll understand better the types of plants they prefer not to eat.
Here are some of my favorites to grow.
27 Deer Resistant Plants for the Cottage Garden
These plants are listed in no particular order but are on the rarely damaged list of perennials, bulbs, and annuals listed by Rutgers Cooperative Extension.
While this is not an exhaustive list, I have planted most of these in my own cottage garden for constant blooms throughout the growing season.
- nepeta (catmint)
- bleeding hearts
- lamb’s ear
- russian sage
- globe thistle
- false indigo
- lenten rose – hellebores
- flowering tobacco
- spider flower
And speaking of this list, when I started my new cottage garden here at the new house, I planted several cottage garden flowers that deer prefer to leave alone.
So far, my flowers are intact with no deer damage.
Rabbit damage though?
Well that’s a whole different post.
Shop for Garden Supplies
Click here to shop my list of favorite garden supplies that I use regularly spring through fall.
And if you need garden tools? Here are my top 10 garden tools that every gardener needs.
Looking for More Flower Garden Ideas?
If you love flowers and want to grow more in your garden, here are some posts that will get you on your way.
From tucking in flowering plants that are deer-resistant or ones that attract more butterflies and hummingbirds, to shade-loving flowers like the lenten rose, these posts will get you on your way to growing a garden that will bring joy for years to come.
Here are more cut flower and cottage garden growing tips, tricks, and design inspiration.
- 5 Quick Ways to Grow a Cottage Garden
- Why and How to Divide Perennials
- Perennials vs Annuals
- Flowers that Bloom in Midsummer
- How My Cottage Garden Grew in 2021
- Cut Flower Gardening for Beginners
- The Complete Guide to Roses Care
- The Basics of Hydrangea Care
- Everblooming Cottage Garden Design Ideas
- The Secret to Growing an Everblooming Cottage Garden
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