Deer Resistant Plants

by Catherine Haug

As we are gardening, with the intent of preserving at least some of our harvest for the long winter; or we are improving our landscaping to be more sustainable, we want to ensure that we actually have a harvest and landscape. And that means doing what we can to prevent deer (and other critters) from decimating our plantings. Ways to discourage deer:

Remember that having flowers in your garden attracts pollinators; why not choose those that are deer resistant? Or if landscaping with evergreen and deciduous trees to help cool your home in summer, and warm it in winter (a sustainability goal), why not choose deer-resistant species?

I found a list of deer-resistant flowers and landscaping plants at Swan River Gardens the other day.  It’s not available on their website, so I typed it up into a pdf file for your reference.  To that list I added deer-resistant fruits, veggies and herbs that I got from other sources, and annotated those that are Montana natives, since growing natives is more sustainable than growing non-natives.

To see the entire list of deer-resistant plants, check out the pdf file: Deer Resistant Plants. The list below includes only deer resistant native plants.

Deer Resistant Native Fruits, Veggies & Herbs

The following are just a few from Note, however, that being deer resistant does not mean that other animals won’t bother them, such as moles and ground squirrels. Also, “please note that Deer RESISTANT does not mean Deer PROOF.”

** Only natives are listed here; see Deer Resistant Plants for longer list that includes non-natives.

  • Asparagus **
  • Blueberry Elder  or Blue elderberry **
  • Red elderberry **
  • Rhubarb; Wild Rhubarb is native **
  • Tarragon **

Deer Resistant Native Flowers & Landscaping Plants

“Please note that Deer RESISTANT does not mean Deer PROOF.

Only natives are listed here; see Deer Resistant Plants for longer list that includes non-natives.


  • Aster (Aster): Heath Aster, Snowy Aster are native **
  • Columbine (Aquilegia): Yellow Columbine is native **
  • Coneflower (Echinacea) **
  • Ferns (Ferns): many species are native (refer to Roadside Use of Native Plants (Montana)) **
  • Forget Me Not (Myosotis) **
  • Iris (Iris): Rocky Mountain Iris is native **
  • Lupine (Lupinus): Long-spurred, Silky, & Silvery Lupine are  native  **
  • Penstemon (Penstemon): Fuzzy long, Hot rock, Shrubby, Slender and Wax-leaved Penstemon are native **
  • Yarrow (Achillea) **

Shrubs & Trees

  • Alpine Currant (Ribes) **
  • Ash (Fraximus): Green, Mountain & Black Ash are native **
  • Clematis (Clematis):  Blue, Hairy and Western white Clematis are native **
  • Hawthorne (Crataegus): several species are native **
  • Juniper (Juniperus): several varieties are native **
  • Oregon Grape (Mahonia) **
  • Pine (Pinus): Ponderosa pine is native **
  • Spruce (Picea) White spruce is native  **


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