Deer Resistant Plants

rock steps in a hill side behind a house surrounded by green shrubs

Here in mid-Missouri, there are many pests to watch for in your landscape but ‘deer resistant landscape’ is a phrase we hear day in and day out. If you’re tired of fighting the deer in your landscape and feel like giving up, we get it. But there are many plant choices to consider that deer usually leave alone. Usually, being the keyword here. Deer resistant is not the same thing as deer proof. With deer resistant plants you should have better luck, but we can’t guarantee that some deer might be an exception to the rule.

The list of deer resistant plants is longer than you might think but we’re just going to talk about a few of our personal favorites here.

Shade Shrubs:


If you’re looking for some plants for the north or east side of your home, you’ll want to check out our shade shrubs and the three we outline below are also known to be safe around deer.

  • Fothergilla: You’ll get 3 seasons of interest out of these guys with their spiky white fragrant spring blooms, blueish green summer foliage, then outstanding fall color.
  • Red Twig Dogwood: This is a great opportunity to add some winter interest to your landscape with its bright red stems.
  • Weigela: There are a few different types of weigela prized for their bright spring blooms and dark foliage.

Sun Shrubs:

Below, I’ve listed some historically deer resistant shrubs that are proven to be Missouri-hardy and can handle afternoon sun.

  • John’s Wort: this beautiful plant with its blue foliage and bright yellow blooms is also great for pollinators.
  • Ninebark: There are a bunch of different size and color options that you can choose from to best suit your location or preferences.
  • Viburnum: My favorite is the Korean spice viburnum because the fragrance on these plants is amazing but there are many varieties of viburnums that you can check out.


Evergreen shrubs are a necessity for any landscape and here are three excellent choices for a yard that must take deer into consideration.

  • Common Boxwood: their classic shape can be used universally in landscapes and does well in both shade and sun.
  • Junipers: This is a fun opportunity to select a different foliage color, whether you want yellow, blue, or green.
  • Mugo Pine: if you’re looking for a rounded form, but with little to no maintenance, this is your guy.


There’s a lengthy list of perennials (both shade and sun) that can stand up to deer but here are a few examples:

  • Columbine: a beautiful early spring-bloomer available in a variety of colors and ideal for shady locations.
  • Astilbe: another shade perennial that comes in a wide range of colors. It will flower in late spring and its wispy, cloud-like blooms are super fun.
  • Salvia: we love salvia even if you don’t have a deer problem. Due to its fragrance, deer tend to steer clear of this one. Other scented plants such as Nepeta would accomplish the same goal.
  • Dianthus: this super bright, petite little perennial bring a delicate texture to your landscape

Honorable Mention–Grasses:

Maiden Grass

In general, grasses are always a good choice if you have a deer problem. Anything from the small 1’ liriope to a mature 8’ maiden grass should be pretty safe in your yard.

Selecting deer-resistant plants is a wonderful starting point to preventing regular damage to your landscape if you have a deer population around your home. However, we recommend considering products such as Liquid Fence, which is a repellent spray; or Deer Scram, a granular repellent, which will help deter deer from providing additional damage.

For questions about these deer-resistant plants and all the other options, contact Superior Garden Center or visit our website and utilize our Plant Finder tool.


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Rost, Inc. began in 1985 with a vision of creating stunning and unique landscapes for central Missouri. Founders Tim and Toby Rost began landscaping while attending the University of Missouri.