Plants Deer Don't Like to Eat for Southern California Gardens

Enjoy a beautiful garden by employing these plants -- even if deer are a problem in your area.

Marty Ross


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Society Garlic
1/17

    A cautionary note: There are few, if any, plants you can call deer proof. The plants on this list are selections deer often avoid. But if the critters are hungry enough, they'll eat pretty much anything.

2/17
Agave

    Agaves are beautiful, low-care plants that take heat and drought well. They have architectural foliage that's often beautifully variegated.

    Here's a hint: Pay attention to which varieties you grow -- 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

3/17
Blanket Flower

    Grow this perennial for its awesome flower power; it begins blooming in early summer and continues through fall. The bright red, yellow, or orange flowers are great for cutting, and they attract butterflies, too.

    Plant Name: Gaillardia selections

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide

    Zones: 3-8

4/17
California Fuchsia

    A splashy perennial native to this region, it offers its tubular red flowers from midsummer to late fall. It's a favorite of butterflies and hummingbirds, too, but not deer.

    Plant Name: Zauschneria californica

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 1 foot tall and 2 feet wide

    Zones: 8-10

5/17
Hedgehog Cactus

    A cute, easy-growing plant, hedgehog cactus produces 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

6/17
Hens and Chicks

    Hens and chicks is a tough little ground cover that doesn't usually need watering. It's a slow spreader, so you won't have to keep it from crowding out its neighbors. It's perfect for adding easy color to your landscape.

    Plant Name: Sempervivum selections

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 inches tall and 12 inches wide

    Zones: 4-10, depending on type

7/17
Lavender

    Providing the garden one of its best scents, lavender is also beautiful to look at thanks to its silvery foliage and gorgeous purple blooms. Be sure to plant it next to pathways where you can brush by and enjoy the relaxing smell.

    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

8/17
Lavender Cotton

    This low-care ground cover offers beautiful silvery, aromatic foliage that's evergreen in Zones 7 and warmer. In summer, it 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

9/17
Oriental Poppy

    Fill your garden with spring color from Oriental poppy's crepe-paper-like flowers. This slow-spreading beauty blooms in shades of orange, pink, purple, and red.

    Here's a hint: Oriental poppies often go dormant by midsummer, so 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

10/17
Rosemary

    Use rosemary to fill your garden with the scent of the Mediterranean. This evergreen shrub offers leathery leaves that deer don't touch. Harvest the leaves and add them as you cook to imbue your food with fresh, herbal flavor.

    Plant Name: Rosmarinus officinalis

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 5 feet tall and wide

    Zones: 8-10

11/17
Shasta Daisy

    A classic for its long season of bloom and cheerful good looks, Shasta daisy is also typically left alone by deer. For a standout variety, look for 'Becky' or 'Alaska'.

    Plant Name: Leucanthemum x superbum

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide

    Zones: 4-8

12/17
Soapwort

    This long-blooming perennial needs to be better known (and could probably use a better common name!). It puts on a show with pink or white flowers all summer long and doesn't need any special pampering. Many are especially good for the rock garden.

    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

13/17
Snow-in-Summer

    Give your landscape a cool look, even on the hottest of days, with the silvery foliage and white flowers of snow-in-summer. This great low-care ground cover creates a beautiful, pest-free carpet.

    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

14/17
Society Garlic

    Little purple globes of flowers, like miniature alliums, appear in summer and fall. Society garlic spreads to form clumps and makes an attractive edging for herb gardens, but it's also a top choice for containers.

    Plant Name: Tulbaghia violacea

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 2 feet

    Zones: 7-10

15/17
Texas Sage

    You can't go wrong for loads of easy-growing color on tough, deer-resistant plants if you go with salvias. Texas sage in particular is a great choice for gardeners because it blooms from summer to autumn and has soft, scented foliage.

    Plant Name: Salvia coccinea

    Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

    Size: To 3 feet tall and 1 foot wide

    Zones: Annual

16/17
Yucca

    Plant yucca and forget it. This ultra-tough plant takes heat and drought like a champion and still looks beautiful. Even when it's not flowering, yucca's architectural foliage adds a distinct look to any garden. Pair 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: 4-10

17/17
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