April 11, 2016

Deer Resistant Perennials for Spokane - Zone 5

Since many of my friends around here live with deer in their yards, I'm posting about deer resistant perennials for zone 5 today.  As I mentioned in my post about deer resistant shrubs for zone 5, deer will eat almost anything when they're hungry enough.  But the plants listed here are less likely to be damaged.
Not everything in the photo above is deer resistant, but the lavender 'Walker's Low' catmint (Nepeta, hardy in zones 3-9, 2.5' tall by 3' wide, sun) is recommended for gardens with deer problems.  Plants with silvery leaves like catmint are less likely to be browsed by deer.  The deep violet 'May Night' sage (Salvia, zones 4-9, 1.5 to 2' tall and wide, sun) at the center of the photo is also deer resistant.  Even though many daylilies are not deer resistant, I have seen golden yellow 'Stella d'Oro' daylily (Hemerocallis, zones 4-11, 1.5 to 2' tall and wide, sun/part shade) growing and flowering well in many landscapes with deer.

 Peonies, including herbaceous, Itoh and tree types, are on the deer resistant list.  Above is 'Coral Supreme' (Paeonia, zones 3-8, 3' tall and wide, sun/part shade).

Oriental poppies (Papaver, zones 3-8, 1.5 to 2' tall and wide, sun) like the orange ones above are deer resistant.  Globe alliums like mauve-purple 'Ambassador' (zones 4-8, 3-4' tall, sun) make the list, as do the purple spikes of 'Caradonna' sage (Salvia, zones 4-9, 1.5' tall and wide, sun).

Rosy-orange 'Totally Tangerine' geum (Geum, zones 4-8, 2' tall and wide, sun/part shade) also withstands deer well.

Grassy clumps of violet Siberian iris (Iris siberica 'Caesar's Brother', zones 3-8, 3' tall by 2' wide, sun) are not appealing to deer.

'Emerald Blue' creeping phlox (Phlox subulata, zones 3-6, .5' tall by 3' wide, sun/part shade) are safe from deer.  In the background above you can see a clump of catmint and the 'Coral Supreme' peony  about to bloom.

Tulips are not deer resistant but spring color can be had with 'Basket of Gold' (Alyssum saxatilis, zones 4-8, 1.5' tall and side, sun) above.  Also visible are deer resistant low mounds of purple 'Axcent Blue' Aubretia (zones 4-9, 4" tall by 1' wide, sun).

Spring-blooming Lenten rose (Hellebore, zones 4-9, 1.5' tall/wide, partial shade) is deer resistant.

The sprays of tiny chartreuse flowers above come from deer resistant lady's mantle (Alchimella mollis, zones 3-9, 1.5' tall/wide, part shade).

White 'Bridal Veil' Astilbe (zones 4-9, 2' tall/wide, part shade/shade) brightens shady corners but doesn't attract deer.  Astilbe come in many shades of pink, red, coral and violet.

Midsummer deer resistant plants include 'Golden Sunrise' tickseed (Coreopsis, zones 5-10, 1.5' tall/wide, sun) and all types of coneflowers including coral 'Guava Ice' at left (Echinacea, zones 5-9, 2' tall/wide, sun).

Yarrow attracts butterflies but not deer.  Above is 'Peachy Seduction' (Achilla, zones 4-8, 1.5' tall/wide, sun).  A spike of 'Buzz Purple' butterfly bush is at upper left and is also deer resistant.

Spikes of midsummer mauve Liatris (zones 3-8, 2-4' tall by 1.5' wide, sun) also draw butterflies but are ignored by deer.

'Dazzleberry' (zones 4-9, 6" tall by 1.5' wide, sun) and other types of sedum are deer resistant and bloom in late summer or fall.  The butterflies like these as well.

Fall blooming 'Farmington' Aster (zones 3-9, 2' tall by 1.5' wide, sun) is rarely browsed by deer.

Russian sage (Peroskvia, zones 4-9, 3-4' tall/wide, sun) also avoids the deer with its late summer/fall blooms.

Ethereal Japanese anemones (Anemone robustissima, zones 4-8, 4' tall by 2' wide, part sun) escape the deer but may escape your control as well with their aggressive spreading.  Their flowers are especially welcome in fall.
Hopefully this list gives my deer-afflicted friends a few ideas of what to plant.


  1. I removed all of my daylilies from my front yard last year and replaced them with sage .

  2. This is a great list! I'm glad I'll know right where to find it. I'm hoping to help my parents put in a flowerbed this fall in SE Idaho, and the deer there are quite plentiful. Thanks!

  3. I live in Sammamish, WA and I stumbled upon your blog while desperately researching for deer resistant plants that will thrive in our area. This entry is a godsend. Your garden is breathtakingly beautiful! I thoroughly enjoy your writing and photography as well. Another thought: where do you find time to care for your hundreds of plants with four kids in tow? Kudos to you!

    1. Thanks Diana! Good to hear from you. My kids are becoming quite helpful in the garden. This summer my 4-year old noticed some daylilies that were finished blooming and said he wanted to deadhead them. Not many kids his age know what that means, so we had a chuckle about that. My kids get paid a penny per weed or a penny per deadhead, so they earn money while helping me in the garden. Best wishes for planting a deer-resistant landscape for yourself - you should be a couple of zones warmer than us, so you can grow many plants that would die in Spokane winters.


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