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Zone 9 Deer Resistant Plants: Common Zone 9 Plants Deer Won’t Eat

Zone 9 Deer Resistant Plants: Common Zone 9 Plants Deer Won’t Eat


By: Amy Grant

Okay, here’s the thing, you live in USDA zone 9 and so do lots of deer. You want certain cherished ornamental plants but, well, a deer’s gotta eat. Without taking the drastic step to eradicate all deer, look for deer resistant plants for zone 9. Are there any zone 9 plants that deer won’t eat? The operative word is ‘resistant’ when discussing these plants. Don’t despair, read on to learn about zone 9 deer resistant plants.

Are There Any Zone 9 Plants Deer Won’t Eat?

Deer are highly adaptive feeders. If their food of choice isn’t in season, they’ll just eat something else. This makes finding plants that deer won’t eat rather difficult. A better way of looking at tackling the problem is to find deer resistant plants for zone 9.

This doesn’t mean they won’t nibble on them, but it does mean that they are less likely to. Choosing deer resistant plants in zone 9 combined with using fencing and deer repellent to reduce damage is a three-pronged approach to reducing damage done by deer.

Zone 9 Deer Resistant Plants

Deer resistant plants are often plants that are either hairy, spiny or with a texture that isn’t deer friendly or they are aromatic plants that you may love but deer tend to steer away from.

Lavender is an example of an aromatic that deer avoid but that looks lovely and smells terrific to the gardener. Woolly lamb’s ear and stiff oakleaf hydrangeas have leaf textures that are unpalatable, or at least less palatable to deer. Of course, this rule of thumb can be broken. Take the succulent tender new shoots of otherwise barbed barberry. Deer think these are delicious.

With that in mind, the following shrubs, climbers and trees are more or less deer resistant and suitable for planting in zone 9 landscapes:

  • Butterfly bush
  • Boxwood
  • Bluebeard
  • Japanese plum yew
  • Creeping juniper
  • Nandina
  • Allegheny spurge
  • American elderberry
  • Chaste tree

Annuals plants, perennials and bulbs that discourage grazing include:

  • Bear’s breeches
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Crocosmia
  • Dianthus
  • Epimedium
  • Goldenrod
  • Joe pye weed
  • Jack-in-the-pulpit
  • Plumbago
  • Bleeding heart
  • Sweet alyssum
  • Royal fern
  • Scented geranium
  • Russian sage
  • Marigold
  • Tansy

There are plenty of deer resistant plants to add to the landscape and they don’t have to be boring. New Zealand flax creates dramatic architectural interest in the garden and deer don’t seem to notice its “wow” factor. Hens and chicks are easy to grow, drought resistant ground covers that aren’t disturbed by deer, and red hot pokers put some ‘caliente’ in the garden with their bold hues of red, yellow and orange.

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Read more about Zone 9, 10 & 11


10 Best Deer-Resistant Shrubs for Landscaping

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

Landscape shrubs are not the preferred food for white-tailed deer, but deer will still eat them in a pinch. During a cold winter or at other times when natural food sources are low, your landscape can be devastated by deer feeding on shrubs and small trees. Sometimes the damage is merely cosmetic, and the plant can recover. But if the bark is completely stripped from a shrub or tree, that can mean the end of the plant.

There are many possibilities among evergreen species, flowering shrubs, and other specimens that deer aren't likely to munch on. Here are 10 varieties of deer-resistant shrubs.

Remember "deer-resistant" is not "deer-proof." Some animals still might choose to take a bite out of these shrubs, especially if food options are limited.