Contact Phone

A Guide To Deer Resistant Landscaping

April 26, 2023
A Guide To Deer Resistant Landscaping
twitter icon
facebook icon
Table of Content

Most likely, a lot of time and energy has gone into your landscape. The last thing you want is to wake up one day and find that a couple deer made dinner of it. You may love your landscape, but so do deer. To make sure this doesn’t happen, find some deer resistant plants for your landscape. Just as pretty, but not quite as delicious.

There are few plants deer WON’T eat but I’m hopeful you don’t live around starving deer.  In which case, you can fill your landscape with plants they would prefer not to indulge on. . If a plant smells or feels weird to us, chances are it does to a deer too. Additionally, most young trees are like dessert to deer. So, even after investing in some deer proof plants, consider protecting any saplings.

Checkout some of the best deer resistant plants prone to thriving in Wisconsin and its cities like Milwaukee, Appleton and other.

Shrubs and Trees Deer Won't Eat

Highbush Cranberry

Deer may munch on the fruits of this native Wisconsin plant. Yet, it will most likely not devour the actual plant. This shrub grows well in moist areas. It is not actually a cranberry but resembles it in both appearance and taste.

Northern Bush Honeysuckle

While not an actual honeysuckle, it is great for borders or hedgerows. It will survive droughts and adapt to poor soils. Its aroma will keep deer away.


Usually found in wet areas, the chokeberry is part of the rose family. It adapts easy to dry areas and is fine in sun or shade. Deer do not partake in this plant, nor birds due to its sour nature. Because of this, your chokeberry will persevere into the winter.


Due to its smell, deer stay away from this shrub. There are many varieties of Boxwood. Many of these are native to Wisconsin, and all will emit the deer resistant fragrance. Boxwood is drought resistant and don’t mind if it’s shady or sunny.

Golden nugget

Golden nugget is a type of Japanese Barberry. Japanese Barberry’s are deer resistant due to their thorny nature and a Wisconsin native. Yet, most Barberry’s flower wide-spreading fruits and seeds. This has caused them to become invasive. The Golden Nugget is one of the Barberries that does not sprout seeds everywhere.

deer resistant trees

Common Ninebark

This native shrub is great all year long. Another good hedge bush and great for controlling erosion.


A shrub that reaches the height of a small tree. The chokecherry loves the shade and moist soil. This easy Wisconsin beauty will also be fine in sunny, dry environments.

Common Elderberry

This beautiful shrub is home to many songbirds. It is great for wine and jelly. Only one is necessary for plentiful fruiting.

Red Maple

Be careful with a young Red Maples. Once your tree develops its bark, it is safe to fight off deer. This beautiful red tree is widespread across the United States. Easy to grow in different soils, make sure your Red Maple is getting enough sun.

Pagoda Dogwood

While pretty much any Dogwood is resistant to deer, the Dagoda Dogwood is native to Wisconsin. Different than other Dogwoods, the Pagoda has tiered branching and alternate leaves. Because its flowers are so fragrant, deer take a pass on this shrub. The Pagoda prefers moisture and shade.

Nannyberry Tree

Another versatile year-round shrub, the Nannyberry is both beautiful and adaptable. This plant converts into many uses depending on how you groom it.

Deer Resistant Perennials

Deers don't eat black-eyes susan - a wildflower.

Black-Eyed Susan

Part of the sunflower family, these beautiful flowers grow easy in Wisconsin climate. Black-Eyed Susans are commonly confused with Coneflowers. They like moist soil and lots of sun but will survive most conditions. Be careful where you plant these as sometimes, they squash other flowers nearby. Because of their fuzzy texture, deer stay away.


There a wide variety of Coneflowers native to Wisconsin. Because of their spiny center and strong scent, deer take a pass on these flowers. While like the Black-Eyed Susans, Coneflowers are part of the daisy family. They can withstand drought, heat, humidity, and poor soils. Their easy to grow nature makes this a great plant to have around your landscape.


A woodland native, deer stay away, and hummingbirds love it. It survives in most soils. Pair it with Geranium, Foamflower or Ginger for a beautiful combination.           


Can’t figure out what will survive in your dry sandy soil? Lupines are perfect for this. Deer will stay away but the endangered Karner Blue butterfly will thrive off this plant.


Spiderworts are very resilient. Their spikey foliage keep deer away. They like to bloom in the morning and close during the heat of the day. This conserves energy, letting them stay around for longer.


Sage is great for harsh areas you have ignored. Great in heat and drought, plant your sage in dry soil. Nice and fragrant, no matter where you plant it, deer will stay away.

Black Cohosh

A woodland native perfect for your shady areas. It doesn’t bloom for long, but it will continue to grow in your shade. Its odors repel and it is very deer resistance. It has been used for treatment of snakebites lung inflammations and childbirth.


Fast growing and long living, these perennials get tall. There are many different types all easy to grow in varying environments. While deer usually don’t care for these, you may have to watch for rabbits.


Lungwort is a slow spreading native Wisconsin perennial. This deer-resistant plant is easy to grow.


Part of the mint family, deer stay away but be aware if you have cats. Catmint is drought friendly and easy to grow.

Annuals Deer Dislike

Marigolds are a deer resistant annual that can be used to bring color to Wisconsin landscapes.


Marigolds produce a toxic chemical not only to deer but also to us. So, no eating your marigold but feel free to plant away! These plants are easy to grow and very happy. Make sure to give them lots of sunshine.

Tall Blue Larkspur

Great in sandy dry soils, these annuals thrive in shade. Native to woodlands, and home to hummingbirds. Larkspur and other delphiniums are toxic to animals, keeping deer far away from them.


At Earth Development we've been providing landscape maintenance services for more than 20 years. If you need any help like  bed maintenance and further more, we are always ready to help you! For more information, to get a free quote, or to speak to one of our friendly team members, don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can get a quote online, or give us a call!

Eddy Zakes
Eddy is a distinguished expert in the snow removal and landscaping industry, boasting over 20 years of experience. As an Advanced Snow Manager certified by the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA), he is dedicated to upholding the highest industry standards. His strong commitment to excellence and relentless pursuit of improvement makes him a trusted voice in the snow removal and landscaping.
Let Us Help You
Looking to create a beautiful and inviting outdoor space for your business? Our team of landscaping experts will work with you every step of the way to bring your vision to life. Let's get started on creating the perfect landscape for your business!