deer resistant planting

Discussion in 'Garden Design and Plant Suggestions' started by teresa, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. teresa

    teresa Active Member

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    Location:
    courtenay, b.c.
    I have been trying to design a planting plan for a deer friendly garden on Vancouver Island without spending money on plants that they are known to devour.

    I have been unable to find the following plants on deer resistant lists but wonder if they are foundation plants if the deer would be likely to eat them?

    Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘goshiki’

    Taxus baccata ‘repandens’

    Rhododendron

    Hebe ‘autumn joy’

    Star jasmine vine

    Other plants I’d hoped to use further from the house are:

    Sarcoccoca confusa

    Microbiota decussata

    Thread cypress

    Heathers

    Carex oshmensis ‘evergold’

    Brunnera

    Japanese forest grass

    Pennisetum alpecuroides ‘hameln’

    Any advice on these plants would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Teresa
    Courtenay
     
  2. HortLine

    HortLine Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    As you know, when deer are hungry they will eat just about anything. I have seen the following plants listed as deer resistant on Mayne Island: Brunnera macrophylla, Erica, Pennisetum, Rhododendron.
    Some tricks that Steve Whysall suggested in a Vancouver Sun article last fall: planting a barrier with hightly scented plants such as lavender, rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage; planting a barrier of prickly plants such as English holly and berberis.
    Good luck!
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    Holly doesn't last long with deer around. They love it.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Location:
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    Holly doesn't seem to be bothered much by deer in this region, where we have different species of deer. I've only seen a little nibbling of tips on what particular cultivar.

    Only fully resistant plants are those inside a secure 10' high fence.
     
  5. Viet922

    Viet922 Member

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    Location:
    Schwenksville, PA USA
    I think there are some plants that maybe toxic to deer and they simply don't eat them.
    I know deer around my area don't touch boxwoods at all.
     
  6. Maggie76

    Maggie76 Member

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    Location:
    Canoe Cove, PE, CA
    Teresa, I live on Bowen Island and have been experimenting with "deer resistant" plants for the last couple years. Plants from your list I have tried and had good results with are:

    Rhododendron
    Sarcococca confusa
    Brunnera macrophylla (Jack Frost - this hybrid seems to be more prickly than most)

    I would also recommend the following:

    English Holly (somewhat invasive)
    Juniperus squamata
    Senecio cineraria
    Houttynia cordata (invasive, plant only in containers)
    All ferns
    Daffodils
    Lamium (somewhat invasive)
    Helleborus orientalis (poisonous)
    Puschkinia scilloides
    Fritillaria imperialis
    Vinca minor (invasive)
    Miscanthus sinensis
    Allium christophii
    Iris germanica
    Papaver rhoeas
    Datura (poisonous)
    Achillea
    Cotoneaster
    Lavendula augustifolia
    Rosemary
    Thyme

    Although these plants are generally good you should note that deer will nibble even plants they don't like and in fall and winter they may eat them entirely if there are no other food sources available.
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Some kinds of plants will be left alone for years - and then stripped. Same as with hardiness trials it is the long term result that tells the tale. There is also the problem of specimens not on the menu being spoiled by rubbing off of velvet.

    English holly is QUITE invasive in this region. Additional plantings should be carefully considered.
     
  8. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    Location:
    Comox, Vancouver Island, British Columbia Canada
    Teresa we also live in the courtenay area and I can confirm that anything we ever bought at the nursery as deer resistant was chewed on by the deer. There are also a lot of wild rabbits in this area and what the deer don't get they rabbits will.

    We ended up planting the best deer resistance you can get: a deer proof fence all around the property. It's a nice luxury now to be able to go into a nursery and when we ask about a plant and they ask the traditional first question every nursery asks around here "do you have deer" we can say no.

    As for the rabbits that's a different story, we've found that a combination of replacing a lot of the lawn with clover and spraying this stuff called "Bobbex" on the crocuses etc in the spring pretty much keeps them at bay.

    Deer resistance is really a myth I believe, at least in this area. Some plants that we were told were deer resistant to the point of being toxic to deer were munched away. Don't know if the deer survived or not but it didn't seem to stop them any.
     
  9. Corinna

    Corinna Member

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    Location:
    Zone 8b. Nanoose Bay, BC.
    I live in Nanoose Bay on Vancouver Island and planted 2 hedge rows of ceanothas Victoria; the deer have shaved at least 4 ft off the height in most places (over 50 plants, and kept dry so they weren't 'juicey'), they have mowed down my boxwoods from 4-1/2 feet to 12" spindles, eaten my Hotei Rhododendron to its skeletal limbs, munched all my fuzzy poppy leaves to the ground and cleared my Arbutus to neat line of nibbling height. There are so many of them here they eat anything and everything. And every year the females seem to be having twins! I had to give away my Cornus Kousa with the hope they would come back once planted in a safe place. I can't plant a fence unfortunately and must work around these gentle creatures. They are so abundant they move in 'gangs' all day long and will not move if you try to shoo them out of the garden, no matter how noisey or close you get. They are beginning to intimidate me!

    The bunnies nibble what the deer don't and have cleared out all my lovely new heather except the Kramer's red.

    The only things that have been left untouched are my English Lavenders (of which I have 100+ with 15+ varieties), my Rosemary (upright and prostrate) and Leylandii. Knock wood.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2008

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