Deer tend to avoid some plants and relish others. While no plant can be guaranteed to be “deer-proof,” some types of plants are less tasty. Try planting the following kinds of plants which are less attractive to deer.
Tree suggestions include white fir, Colorado spruce, pinyon pine, common juniper, Rocky Mountain maple, hackberry and honeylocust.
Shrub possibilities are lead plant, potentilla, Austrian copper rose, quince, ‘Blue Mist’ spirea, winged euonymus, golden currant, lilacs, Oregon grape holly and pyracantha.
Ground covers to be tried are creeping mahonia, English ivy, thyme and snow-in-summer. Perennial flowers thatmay be of use are purple coneflower, peony, blazing star, Shasta daisy, Mexican hat coneflower, lily-of-the-valley and Russian sage. Deer-resistant herbs include marjoram and lavender.
Bulbs that are less attractive to deer include daffodils and grape hyacinth.
Native plants growing in their native habitats may be less appealing to deer than highly fertilized and highly irrigated garden plants. Any plant may be attractive to hungry deer in some seasons. More extensive lists may be obtained from some municipalities or local Colorado State University Extension county offices.
For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).