Deer in Spring Landscape

Deer Damage Management Techniques

Deer-Resistant Plants

Deer have preferences for feeding on certain plant species. Some plants, both native and ornamental, used for landscaping are preferred as forage by deer. Additionally, landscaped plants are often more attractive to deer because they are fertilized and irrigated. There are some species of plants that deer avoid feeding on because they are less palatable. Though no plants are totally resistant to deer browsing, some are less palatable to deer and are less likely to receive heavy damage.

The following is an incomplete list of “deer-resistant” plants or plants that deer don’t normally prefer to eat. People experiencing deer browse damage to their landscape plantings may consider planting some of the species on this list as alternatives to plants that deer prefer and often damage. When choosing “deer-resistant” plants, it is also important to avoid plants known to be invasive in Maryland such as barberry. For a list of plants to avoid, please check out the Bad Plants Planted by Good People page as well as the Plant Invaders of the Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas Guide.


(Plants in BOLD font are native to Maryland)Flowering Dogwood by Kerry Wixted

  • Allegheny Serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis)
  • American Holly (Ilex opaca)
  • Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
  • Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica)
  • Chinese Paper Birch (Betula albo sinensis)
  • Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens glauca)
  • Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
  • Downy Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea)
  • Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginica)
  • Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)
  • Gingko (Gingko biloba)
  • Heritage Birch (Betula nigra "Heritage”)
  • Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)
  • Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica)
  • Japanese Falsecypress
  • Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa)
  • Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
  • Scotch Pine (Pinus sylvestris)
  • Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginica)
  • Sweetgum (Liquidambar styriciflua)
  • Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)


(Plants in BOLD font are native to Maryland)Winterberry holly by: Kerry Wixted

  • American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
  • American elder (Sambucus Canadensis)
  • Andromeda (Pieris japonica)
  • Arrowwood (Virburnum dentatum)
  • Beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis)
  • Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis)
  • Button Bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
  • Chinese Holly (Ilex cornuta)
  • Chinese Juniper (Juniperus chinensis)
  • Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
  • Deutzia (Deutzia gracilis)
  • Dwarf Sweet Box (Sarcoccoca hookeriana var. humilis)
  • Fetterbush (Leucothoe fontanesia)
  • Fothergila (Fothergilla gardenia)
  • Inkberry (Ilex glabra)
  • Japanese Plum Yew (Cephalotaxus harringtonia var. horeana)
  • Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
  • Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
  • Mugo Pine (Pinus mugo)
  • Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea)
  • Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
  • Sweet Shrub (Calycanthus floridus)
  • Winterberry Holly (Ilex verticillata)

Flowers And Ferns

(Plants in BOLD font are native to Maryland)Columbine by: Kerry Wixted

  • Allegheny Spurge (Pachysandra procumbens)
  • Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)
  • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
  • Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis)
  • Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrosticoides)
  • Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
  • Common Dill (Anethum graveolens)
  • Daffodil (Narcissus spp.)
  • Euphorbia (Euphorbia spp.); some species are native
  • Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana spp.)
  • Foam Flower (Tiarella cordifolia)
  • Foxglove (Digitalis spp.)
  • Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)
  • Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphylum)
  • Lady Fern (Athryrium felix-femina)
  • Lavender (Lavandula spp.)
  • Marigold (Tagetes spp.)
  • Monkshood (Aconitum spp.); some native species
  • Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)
  • Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)
  • Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis var. spectabilis)
  • Rue Anemone (Anemonella thalictroides)
  • Sage (Salvia spp.)
  • Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)
  • Threadleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata)
  • Thyme (Thymus spp.)
  • Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)
  • Wood Fern (Dryopteris marginalis)
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  • Yucca (Yucca spp.)

Sea Oats by:  Kerry WixtedGrasses

(Plants in BOLD font are native to Maryland)

  • Bluestems (Andropogon spp.)
  • Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans)
  • Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
  • Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium)
  • Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)










Maryland Deer Damage Management Techniques