Home » Outdoor Gardening » 20 Deer and Rabbit Resistant Perennials

20 Deer and Rabbit Resistant Perennials

Explore our curated selection of deer and rabbit-resistant perennials, designed to thrive in your garden without becoming a wildlife snack. From the vibrant Coneflower to the fragrant Lavender, these plants offer beauty and resilience in equal measure. Create a garden that blooms freely while staying protected from curious visitors.

What Perennials Are Deer and Rabbit Resistant?

deer and rabbit resistant perennials

When planning a garden, it’s essential to consider wildlife that may browse your plants. Deer and rabbits can be particularly problematic, munching on your favorite blooms and foliage. However, some perennial plants are naturally resistant to these animals, either due to their taste, texture, or toxicity. Here’s a list of perennial plants that are deer and rabbit-resistant, ensuring your garden remains beautiful and intact:

  • Allium (Allium)
  • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)
  • Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)
  • Buddleia / Butterfly Bush (Buddleja)
  • Coneflower (Echinacea)
  • Cranesbill (Geranium)
  • Daffodils (Narcissus)
  • Dianthus (Dianthus)
  • Foxglove (Digitalis)
  • Iris (Iris)
  • Lamb’s Ears (Stachys byzantina)
  • Lavender (Lavandula)
  • Monarda / Bee balm (Monarda)
  • Monkshood (Aconitum)
  • Paeonia / Peony (Paeonia)
  • Perennial Salvia (Salvia)
  • Russian Sage (Perovskia)
  • Spurge (Euphorbia)
  • Wormwood (Artemisia)
  • Yarrow (Achillea)

Allium (Allium)

allium deer and rabbit resistant perennial

Allium, known for its spherical clusters of flowers, includes onions, garlic, and ornamental varieties. Easy to care for and self-seeds. Deer and rabbits avoid it due to its pungent smell and taste.

  • Suggested USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-8
  • Why Deer and Rabbits Don’t Like It? Alliums’ strong, pungent odor is off-putting to deer and rabbits, deterring them from nibbling on the plants.
  • Growing conditions: Full sun, well-drained soil.
  • Expected Blooming Period: Late spring to early summer

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)

black eyed susan deer and rabbit resistant perennial

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) is a robust perennial with daisy-like yellow flowers and a dark brown center. It’s low-maintenance and self-seeds, making it a great choice among deer and rabbit-resistant perennials. Deer and rabbits avoid it due to its coarse texture.

  • Suggested USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9
  • Why Deer and Rabbits Don’t Like It? The coarse texture and bitter taste make Black-eyed Susans less appealing to deer and rabbits, who prefer softer, sweeter foliage.
  • Growing conditions: Full sun, well-drained soil, drought-tolerant once established.
  • Expected Blooming Period: Summer to fall

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra)

bleeding heart deer and rabbit resistant perennial

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra) features heart-shaped pink or white flowers on arching stems. It’s easy to care for and adds charm to shaded gardens. Deer and rabbits avoid it due to its slightly toxic nature. Here is where I recommend buying Bleeding Heart.

  • Suggested USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9
  • Why Deer and Rabbits Don’t Like It? The slightly toxic nature of Bleeding Heart, combined with its delicate and unusual foliage, makes it unappealing to deer and rabbits.
  • Growing conditions: Partial to full shade, moist, well-drained soil.
  • Expected Blooming Period: Spring to early summer

Buddleia / Butterfly Bush (Buddleja)

butterfly bush deer and rabbit resistant perennial

Butterfly Bush (Buddleja) is a fast-growing perennial with fragrant, colorful flower spikes that attract butterflies. It’s easy to care for and resistant to deer and rabbits due to its aromatic foliage.

  • Suggested USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-10
  • Why Deer and Rabbits Don’t Like It? The strong fragrance and slightly bitter taste of Butterfly Bush deter deer and rabbits from feeding on it, making it a resilient garden choice.
  • Growing conditions: Full sun, well-drained soil, drought-tolerant.
  • Expected Blooming Period: Summer to fall

Coneflower (Echinacea)

coneflower deer and rabbit resistant perennial

Coneflower (Echinacea) is a hardy perennial with daisy-like flowers and a prominent central cone. It’s easy to care for and self-seeds, making it a popular option among deer and rabbit-resistant perennials. Deer and rabbits avoid it due to its tough texture.

  • Suggested USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9
  • Why Deer and Rabbits Don’t Like It? The tough texture and spiky central cone of Coneflowers make them less appealing to deer and rabbits, who prefer softer plants.
  • Growing conditions: Full sun, well-drained soil, drought-tolerant.
  • Expected Blooming Period: Summer to fall

Recommended reading: How to Care for Coneflowers

Cranesbill (Geranium)

cranesbill deer and rabbit resistant perennial

Cranesbill (Geranium) is a versatile, hardy perennial with attractive foliage and flowers. Easy to care for, it spreads steadily. Deer and rabbits avoid it due to its aromatic leaves. Here is where I recommend buying Cranesbill.

  • Suggested USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-9
  • Why Deer and Rabbits Don’t Like It? The aromatic foliage of Cranesbill is off-putting to deer and rabbits, who prefer less fragrant plants.
  • Growing conditions: Full sun to partial shade, well-drained soil.
  • Expected Blooming Period: Spring to fall

Daffodils (Narcissus)

daffodils deer and rabbit resistant perennial

Daffodils (Narcissus) are bright, cheerful perennials with trumpet-shaped flowers. Easy to care for and self-seeding. Deer and rabbits avoid them due to their toxicity.

  • Suggested USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9
  • Why Deer and Rabbits Don’t Like It? The toxic alkaloids in daffodils deter deer and rabbits from eating them, as these compounds can cause illness or discomfort if ingested.
  • Growing conditions: Full sun to partial shade, well-drained soil.
  • Expected Blooming Period: Early spring

Dianthus (Dianthus)

dainthus deer and rabbit resistant perennial

Dianthus, also known as pinks, is a fragrant perennial with frilly, colorful flowers. Easy to care for and may self-seed. Deer and rabbits avoid it due to its strong scent.

  • Suggested USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9
  • Why Deer and Rabbits Don’t Like It? The spicy fragrance and bitter taste of Dianthus deter deer and rabbits, who prefer milder, more palatable plants.
  • Growing conditions: Full sun, well-drained soil.
  • Expected Blooming Period: Spring to summer

Foxglove (Digitalis)

foxglove deer and rabbit resistant perennial

Foxglove (Digitalis) is a tall perennial with tubular flowers. Easy to care for but highly toxic, Foxglove is a preferred choice among deer and rabbit-resistant perennials. Its toxicity effectively deters deer and rabbits from feeding on it, making it a staple in cottage gardens.

  • Suggested USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-10
  • Why Deer and Rabbits Don’t Like It? The toxicity of Foxglove makes it highly unpalatable and dangerous for deer and rabbits to consume, protecting it from being eaten.
  • Growing conditions: Partial shade, moist, well-drained soil.
  • Expected Blooming Period: Late spring to early summer

Iris (Iris)

iris deer and rabbit resistant perennial

Iris is a stunning perennial with sword-like leaves and vibrant, intricate flowers. Easy to grow and deer and rabbit resistant due to its toxic rhizomes. Here is where I recommend buying Iris.

  • Suggested USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9
  • Why Deer and Rabbits Don’t Like It? The toxic compounds in Iris rhizomes deter deer and rabbits from feeding on them, as ingestion can cause discomfort and illness.
  • Growing conditions: Full sun to partial shade, well-drained soil.
  • Expected Blooming Period: Spring to early summer

Lamb’s Ears (Stachys byzantina)

lambs ears deer and rabbit resistant perennial

Lamb’s Ears (Stachys byzantina) is a hardy perennial with soft, velvety leaves. It is easy to care for and deer and rabbit-resistant due to its texture.

  • Suggested USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-9
  • Why Deer and Rabbits Don’t Like It? The fuzzy texture of Lamb’s Ears is unappealing to deer and rabbits, who prefer smoother foliage for feeding.
  • Growing conditions: Full sun, well-drained soil, drought-tolerant.
  • Expected Blooming Period: Late spring to early summer

Lavender (Lavandula)

lavender deer and rabbit resistant perennial

Lavender (Lavandula) is a fragrant perennial with silvery foliage and purple flowers. Easy to care for and deer and rabbit-resistant due to its strong scent. It’s often used in herb gardens.

  • Suggested USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-9
  • Why Deer and Rabbits Don’t Like It? The strong, aromatic fragrance of Lavender is unappealing to deer and rabbits, who tend to avoid strongly scented plants.
  • Growing conditions: Full sun, well-drained soil, drought-tolerant.
  • Expected Blooming Period: Summer

Recommended reading: How Often to Water Lavender

Monarda / Bee balm (Monarda)

bee balm deer and rabbit resistant perennial

Bee balm (Monarda) is a vibrant perennial with aromatic foliage and tubular flowers. It’s easy to care for and spreads readily, making it a favorite among deer and rabbit-resistant perennials. Deer and rabbits avoid it due to its strong scent, which acts as a natural deterrent in gardens.

  • Suggested USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-9
  • Why Deer and Rabbits Don’t Like It? The strong, minty aroma of Bee balm is unappealing to deer and rabbits, making them avoid this plant in favor of milder-scented options.
  • Growing conditions: Full sun to partial shade, moist, well-drained soil.
  • Expected Blooming Period: Summer

Monkshood (Aconitum)

monkshood deer and rabbit resistant perennial

Monkshood (Aconitum), also known as wolfsbane, is a tall perennial with helmet-shaped blue flowers. It’s easy to grow but toxic, which helps protect it from deer and rabbits.

  • Suggested USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-7
  • Why Deer and Rabbits Don’t Like It? The toxicity of Monkshood deters deer and rabbits from eating it, as ingestion can be harmful or fatal to these animals.
  • Growing conditions: Partial shade, moist, well-drained soil.
  • Expected Blooming Period: Late summer to early fall

Paeonia / Peony (Paeonia)

peony deer and rabbit resistant perennial

Peony (Paeonia) is a long-lived perennial with large, fragrant flowers. It’s easy to care for and deer and rabbit-resistant due to its bitter taste. Here is where I recommend buying Peony plants.

  • Suggested USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-8
  • Why Deer and Rabbits Don’t Like It? The bitter taste and tough texture of Peony foliage make it unappealing to deer and rabbits, who prefer softer, sweeter plants.
  • Growing conditions: Full sun to partial shade, well-drained soil.
  • Expected Blooming Period: Late spring to early summer

Perennial Salvia (Salvia)

perennial salvia deer and rabbit resistant perennial

Perennial Salvia is a hardy plant with aromatic foliage and spiky flowers. It is easy to care for and is deer and rabbit-resistant due to its strong scent.

  • Suggested USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-8
  • Why Deer and Rabbits Don’t Like It? The strong aroma of Salvia foliage deters deer and rabbits from feeding on it, making it a resilient choice for gardens.
  • Growing conditions: Full sun, well-drained soil, drought-tolerant.
  • Expected Blooming Period: Late spring to fall

Russian Sage (Perovskia)

russian sage deer and rabbit resistant perennial

Russian Sage (Perovskia) is a woody perennial with silvery foliage and lavender-blue flowers. It’s easy to care for and highly deer and rabbit-resistant due to its strong scent. Here is where I recommend buying Russian Sage.

  • Suggested USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-9
  • Why Deer and Rabbits Don’t Like It? The strong fragrance and slightly bitter taste of Russian Sage make it unappealing to deer and rabbits, who prefer milder plants.
  • Growing conditions: Full sun, well-drained soil, drought-tolerant.
  • Expected Blooming Period: Summer to fall

Recommended reading: How to Care for Russian Sage

Spurge (Euphorbia)

spurge deer and rabbit resistant perennial

Spurge (Euphorbia) is a diverse perennial with unique foliage and flowers. Easy to care for and deer and rabbit-resistant due to its milky, toxic sap.

  • Suggested USDA Hardiness Zones: 5-9
  • Why Deer and Rabbits Don’t Like It? The toxic, milky sap of Spurge deters deer and rabbits from eating it, as it can cause irritation and discomfort if ingested.
  • Growing conditions: Full sun to partial shade, well-drained soil, drought-tolerant.
  • Expected Blooming Period: Spring to early summer

Wormwood (Artemisia)

wormwood deer and rabbit resistant perennial

Wormwood (Artemisia) is a hardy perennial with silver-gray foliage and a strong aroma. Easy to care for, it is known for being deer and rabbit-resistant due to its bitter taste and potent scent, which these animals find unappealing.

  • Suggested USDA Hardiness Zones: 4-9
  • Why Deer and Rabbits Don’t Like It? The bitter taste and strong aroma of Wormwood make it unappealing to deer and rabbits, who prefer sweeter, milder plants.
  • Growing conditions: Full sun, well-drained soil, drought-tolerant.
  • Expected Blooming Period: Late summer to early fall

Yarrow (Achillea)

yarrow deer and rabbit resistant perennial

Yarrow (Achillea) is a hardy perennial with feathery foliage and flat-topped flower clusters. Easy to care for and self-seeds. Deer and rabbits avoid it due to its strong aroma and slightly bitter taste.

  • Suggested USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-9
  • Why Deer and Rabbits Don’t Like It? The strong aroma and slightly bitter taste of Yarrow deter deer and rabbits, who tend to avoid strongly scented and bitter plants.
  • Growing conditions: Full sun, well-drained soil, drought-tolerant.
  • Expected Blooming Period: Summer

Some Plants to Avoid Planting that Deer and Rabbits Love

While deer and rabbits can be charming visitors, they can also be destructive to your garden. Here are some popular plants that deer and rabbits find particularly tasty, and that you might want to avoid planting if you have heavy herbivore traffic in your area:

  • Hostas: These shade-loving perennials have beautiful big leaves that are a favorite food source for rabbits.
  • Daylilies: While deer tend to avoid the flowers, rabbits love to nibble on daylily foliage and buds.
  • Vegetable Garden Staples: Rabbits and deer love to munch on veggies like tomatoes, peppers, beans, and peas. If you’re set on growing vegetables, consider using fencing or other deterrents.
  • Many Roses: Deer especially loves tender new rose growth and flower buds. Some thornless varieties may be less appealing, but be sure to check deer resistance before planting.
  • Impatiens: These shade-loving annuals are a favorite food source for rabbits.
  • Azaleas and Rhododendrons: While deer may not eat these in large quantities, they will browse on them if other food sources are scarce.

Ways to Protect Your Plants from Deer and Rabbits

Having a beautiful garden can be a source of joy, but it can be frustrating to find your favorite plants nibbled or trampled by deer and rabbits. Luckily, there are several ways to protect your precious greenery from these furry visitors. Here are a few methods you can try:

  • Physical Barriers: Fences are the most effective way to keep deer and rabbits out of your garden. Deer fencing should be at least 8 feet tall, with a mesh size that is small enough to prevent them from squeezing through. For rabbits, chicken wire or hardware cloth can be used to create a protective barrier around raised beds or vegetable gardens.
  • Repellents: Several commercial repellents are available that can help deter deer and rabbits. These typically come in a spray or granular form and work by emitting an odor or taste that these animals find offensive. Be sure to follow the application instructions carefully and reapply as needed, especially after rain.
  • Natural Deterrents: There are some natural home remedies that some gardeners swear by to deter deer and rabbits. These include sprinkling human hair clippings, blood meal, or cayenne pepper around your plants. While the effectiveness of these methods can vary, they are worth a try, especially for smaller gardens.
  • Scarecrow Sprinklers: Motion-activated sprinklers can be a humane way to startle deer and rabbits away from your garden. The sudden burst of water will surprise them and encourage them to find food elsewhere.

Recommended reading: How to Keep Deer Out of the Garden

Sale
Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer Motion Activated Pest Deterrent Sprinkler
  • ULTIMATE YARD PROTECTION – Defend your yard with our powerful motion-activated sprinkler that deters animals and pests effectively.

Final Conclusions

Deer and rabbits may be cute, but they can wreak havoc on your garden dreams. Don’t let these furry foes spoil your landscaping fun! This guide has introduced you to a world of stunning deer and rabbit-resistant perennials. From the fragrant allure of lavender to the bold blooms of echinacea, there’s a plethora of options to create a flourishing haven that these herbivores won’t find appealing. So, plant with confidence, embrace the beauty of deer and rabbit-resistant perennials, and watch your garden thrive!

If this post about deer and rabbit-resistant perennials was helpful, please share it:

20 deer and rabbit resistant perennials

About Henry Morgan

Henry Morgan is an agronomist horticulture founder of The Garden Style Company and The Garden Style Website. He previously worked for Mondelēz International as an Agronomist Engineer specializing in agricultural products management in highly populated areas. In 2000, Henry started working with farmer-producers in agricultural businesses selling wholesale fresh produce and retail plants in Van Buren, Arkansas. Nowadays, Henry lives in California, where he offers expert consulting services for organic vegetable gardening. As a science writer working with his wife, Julia, Henry shares his passion for gardening and farming, trying to reach and teach as many folks as possible.

Leave a Comment