Top Deer-Resistant Plants of the Southwest

Pick these beautiful varieties if deer are a problem in your area.

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    A word of warning before you start through this slideshow: There are few, if any, plants you can really call deer proof. We've pulled together a selection of plants that deer often avoid. We hope the plants will help you create the garden of your dreams.

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    Agave

    Add incredible structure and drama to your yard with agaves. Besides being beautiful, the plants are low-care, taking heat and drought well. For extra interest, choose types that have variegated foliage (a favorite around here is the Queen Victoria selection). Pick your varieties carefully -- some have dangerously sharp edges.

    Plant Name: Agave selections

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 6-10, depending on type

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    Blanket Flower

    We love the way this tough little perennial blooms and blooms all summer long and then into autumn. The bright red, yellow, or orange flowers are great for cutting -- and will bring many butterflies to your yard.

    Plant Name: Gaillardia selections

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide

    Zones: 3-8

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    California Fuchsia

    California fuchsia is a favorite of butterflies and hummingbirds thanks to the masses of tubular red flowers it produces starting in summer and continuing through fall. It's also a tough-as-nails native plant, requiring virtually no watering during the growing season.

    Plant Name: Zauschneria californica

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 1 foot tall and 2 feet wide

    Zones: 8-10

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    Hedgehog Cactus

    As you'd expect from a cactus, this plant is covered in prickly spines, making it a good bet for gardens where deer tend to frequent. It's also an attractive, easy-growing plant that bears bright clusters of pink, purple, white, yellow, red, or orange flowers in early summer.

    Plant Name: Echinocereus selections

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 2 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 9-10, depending on type

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    Lavender

    A favorite of gardeners everywhere, lavender is one of the best-smelling plants you can grow. (Plant it next to pathways where you can brush by and enjoy the relaxing scent.) It's also one of the prettiest garden plants, bedecked in silvery foliage and gorgeous purple blooms.

    Plant Name: Lavandula selections

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 feet all and 4 feet wide, depending on type

    Zones: 5-10, depending on type

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    Lavender Cotton

    This low-care ground cover offers beautiful evergreen silvery, aromatic foliage. In summer, lavender cotton bears stalks of bright yellow flowers, but the real attraction is the foliage. It's often used to edge herb gardens.

    Plant Name: Santolina chamaecyparissus

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide

    Zones: 6-9

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    Oriental Poppy

    Give your garden a burst of spring color from the crepe-paper-like flowers of Oriental poppy. This slow-spreading beauty blooms in shades of orange, pink, purple, and red. Because Oriental poppies often go dormant by midsummer, it's helpful to plant them with a partner such as salvia so you won't have a bare spot in your garden.

    Plant Name: Papaver orientale

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 4-9

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    Rosemary

    Fill your garden with the scent of the Mediterranean with rosemary. This versatile evergreen shrub bears leathery leaves that deer don't touch. Harvest the leaves and add them as you cook to imbue your food with fresh, herbal flavor all year long.

    Plant Name: Rosmarinus officinalis

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 5 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 8-10

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    Soapwort

    This long-blooming perennial deserves more attention. Soapwort puts on a respectable show with its clusters pink or white flowers all summer long. Plus, it doesn't need any special pampering to stay looking good.

    Plant Name: Saponaria selections

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: From 6 to 24 inches tall and wide, depending on type

    Zones: 3-9, depending on type

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    Snow-in-Summer

    White and silver are classic colors in the garden because they go well with everything. So plant this easy-care ground cover with just about anything for a stunning plant combination.

    Plant Name: Cerastium tomentosum

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 inches tall and spreading to several feet wide

    Zones: 3-7

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    Society Garlic

    Little purple globes of flowers, like miniature alliums, float over grassy leaves in summer and fall giving society garlic its good looks. This clump-forming perennial spreads slowly, so it's an attractive edger for herb gardens. Society garlic is also a top pick for containers.

    Plant Name: Tulbaghia violacea

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 2 feet

    Zones: 7-10

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    Texas Sage

    Would could be better than a salvia? The plants are beautiful, low-care, and usually both deer and rabbit resistant. You just can't go wrong with them. Texas sage is an especially good choice because it blooms from summer to autumn and has soft, hairy foliage.

    Plant Name: Salvia coccinea

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 feet tall and 1 foot wide

    Zones: Annual

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    Yucca

    Plant yucca and forget it -- it'll still look great. This ultra-tough plant takes heat and drought like a champion and still looks beautiful. Without its clusters of tall summertime blooms, its architectural foliage adds a distinctive look to any garden. Try pairing it with ornamental grasses for a bold, unique contrast.

    Plant Name: Yucca filamentosa

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide in bloom

    Zones: Zones 4-10

  • Next Slideshow Low-Maintenance Perennials for the Desert Southwest

    Low-Maintenance Perennials for the Desert Southwest

    Beloved, hardy, low-maintenance garden plants are the best friend-makers a gardener can grow.
    Begin Slideshow »
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