Do deer eat iris flowers

Van Engelen

As much as we adore wildlife, we detest the sight of a deer herd casually grazing in our garden, or squirrels frolicking about the lawn with Crocus bulb-bulging cheeks. Our garden is not intended to be an all-you-can-eat buffet, except for the happily bumbling bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Tulips and Lilies (Not)
It is sad but true that Tulip and Lily flowers are favored deer bon-bons. Deer may patiently wait to dine until spring buds have puffed into full glory, or until the flowers open. On a shorter scale, rabbits may munch on developing stems and foliage, and on the flowers of low varieties.

Garden Surprise Parties
Chipmunks, voles, gophers and prairie dogs use underground tunnels to snack on tasty roots and may even tug on, or munch on, the bulbs themselves. Squirrels and chipmunks may dig up freshly planted bulbs, particularly Crocus, and replant them for surprise spring gardens. Word has it that squirrels do not favor Crocus tommasinianus varieties, but we haven’t had it confirmed by actual squirrel testimony. Grub-eating moles disrupt gardens and plantings but normally just go after grubs. Since lazy, vegetarian voles use the mole tunnels, it is smart to apply grub-proof applications on lawns and gardens to help minimize destructive vole behavior.

So Many Resistant Flower Bulbs
We needn’t despair since there is a vast assortment of flower bulbs to which deer normally turn up their noses. When animals are starving, they may nibble experimentally on anything. Deer may even eat sharply serrated holly leaves. Here is a general list of the types of flower bulbs that they do not normally eat. For a specific list of individual varieties, go to our special home-page Deer-Resistant Varieties search.

Corydalis solida
Dutch Iris
Eranthis hyemalis
Geranium tuberosum
Herbaceous Peonies
Hyacinthoides hispanica
Hyacinthoides non-scripta
Oxalis adenophylla
Puschkinia libanotica

On Guard, Marauding Varmints
Like most of us, if you can’t live without Tulips in the spring, and Lilies in the summer, you may want to try to prevent animals from being tempted by them.

The most fail-safe way to protect gardens from deer is to install fences at least 8′ high. This is also good for human beings, to reduce the possibility of deer ticks and Lyme Disease. One may also try to scare deer and varmints away by walking dogs around areas with delicious plant material, or spray commercial solutions of scary predator urine. Some gardeners report luck with mulching their prized beds with dog or human hair.

To protect tasty Tulip and Lily buds and flowers from being eaten, apply either a commercial repellent spray or a home-brewed concoction. This is normally done after each rainfall to refresh its foul smell and taste. In the Hosta Journal, Joyce Descloux reports on a home-brewed mix she found to be effective: “In a kitchen blender, drop two old unshelled eggs, one large clove of garlic, a loose cupful of green onion tops, and two cups of water. Process to liquefy about two minutes. Pour into a wide-mouthed quart jar; stir in two tablespoons of chili pepper. Add an old piece of deodorant soap and fill with water.” She keeps the mix unrefridgerated so it gets as foul and smelly as possible. She recommends to drip it on to plagued plants from a big old sponge while wearing protective garden gloves.

Planting Tricks
To deter underground rodents, many plant yummy bulbs in fine gage wire cages, or surround bulbs with crushed shells beneath and around them. (Make sure that wire enclosures are submerged to the proper depth and that soil is tamped down around and above the cage to prevent poor water drainage.)

Some people have planted moth balls around bulbs to deter rodents, but we worry that they may hurt the soil and bulbs as they decompose. Others have told us that they plant Bounce drier sheets around bulbs. We don’t recommend moth balls or drier sheets, or anything that could possibly burn and stunt root growth and bulb performance.

Go with Mother Nature
We want to help keep the process of gardening fun with the best possible outcomes. Because we think that Mother Nature always wins, we like to do things with as little tedious work and as naturally as possible. One of the best ways to deter or fool deer and rodents is to interplant unappetizing bulbs as a disguise around yummy bulbs. An example would be to plant Tulip bulbs within a defensive perimeter of Allium, Fritillaria or Narcissi.

Interplant with Deer- and Rodent-Resistant Plants and Shrubs
Or, you could plant Tulip and Lily bulbs among deer- and rodent-resistant annual and perennial plants from among the list below. Most of these perennials may be secured at a good local garden center or nursery. Those in bold may be grown from seed and secured through our sister company, Kitchen Garden Seeds.

Sometimes, it also helps to plant tasty flower bulbs among deer- and rodent-resistant shrubbery.

Berberis (Barberry)
Budleaia (Butterfly Bush)
Buxus (Boxwood)
Callicarpa (Beautyberry)
Caryopteris (Blue Mist)
Cephalanthus (Buttonbush)
Cephalotaxus (Japanese Plum Yew)
Clethra (Summersweet)
Hibiscus (Rose of Sharon)
Itea (Virginia Sweetspire)
Kalmia (Mountain Laurel)
Myrica (Bayberry)
Pieris (Andromeda)
Potentilla (Bush Cinquefoil)
Prunus (Cherry Laurel)
Pyracantha (Firethorn)
Syringa (Lilac)

Deer-Proof Bulbs

Keep Bambi at bay with these deer-resistant bulbs by Judy Glattstein, Photography by Edward and Joan De Gray


Whether you plan to attract wildlife to the garden or not, Bambi and his relatives may come to dine. The various repellents and fencing options are not guaranteed solutions. I find it is easier to grow plants deer generally don’t eat. Here are bulbs that grow just fine on my unfenced 9 acres in western New Jersey, where deer look in the kitchen window, as well as other deer-proof bulbs suitable for gardeners in other states.

Anemone blanda ‘Radar’Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’Eranthis hyemalis

Random bulb genera that deer ignore include Canna, Oxalis and Cyclamen. Many more deer-proof bulbs may be found in the Amaryllis family. Poisonous, and seemingly immune to browsing by deer, these include all daffodils (Narcissus), all snowdrops (Galanthus) and all Leucojum, including both spring and summer snowflakes. All three genera thrive in Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Michigan, as well as states farther south.

Gardeners in California and similar Mediterranean regions can grow Amaryllis belladona, the true amaryllis, commonly known as naked lady. Other tender Amaryllis family members include Crinum, Hippeastrum, Nerine, Zephyranthes and another naked lady, also known as surprise lily or magic lily, Lycoris species and cultivars, popular with gardeners in North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi and any other Zone 9 to 11 region you care to name.

Narcissus poeticus var. recurvusFritillaria imperialis ‘Lutea’Narcissus ‘Professor Einstein’

Aroids (plants in the Araceae or Arum family) contain oxalic acid crystals in all parts of the plants. Accordingly, all jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema species), whether native North American or exotic Asian, are distasteful to deer. So are caladium, seasonal plants for cooler climates and permanent features in Florida gardens. Deer in the Gulf states, Florida and the Texas Gulf region also decline to dine on calla lily, Calla and Zantedeschia species and cultivars.

Bulbs Deer Won’t Eat:

  • Canna
  • Narcissus
  • Galanthus
  • Amaryllis
  • Calla
  • Allium
  • Muscari

Bulbs to Avoid if You Have Deer:

  • Tulips
  • Lilies

Perhaps because many of the Ranunculus family are poisonous, all bulbs in this family are ignored in my garden. Winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) is disregarded, as are anemones such as spring-blooming Grecian windflower (Anemone blanda) and the woodland A. nemorosa.

Though Lily family bulbs such as lilies and tulips are popular salad bar favorites for deer, there are a few bulbs in this family that they ignore. These include all the ornamental onions (Allium species and cultivars) every Camassia I ever planted; and the pretty little blue-flowered glory of the snow (Chionodoxa). Spring-flowering squills (Scilla) are also unharmed. Every fritillaria, from the stately but skunk-smelling crown imperial (Fritillaria imperialis) to the charming checkered bell flowers of Guinea hen flower (F. meleagris), are also left alone. Grape hyacinths (Muscari species and cultivars) grow and flower unhindered. Confusingly called naked lady (which seems a popular name) or fall crocus (which it is not), the poisonous fall-flowering Colchicum remains unmolested. Though hyacinths do poorly in subsequent years, deer don’t eat them and so cannot be the culprits for their decline in my garden. Deer will, however, occasionally chew the tips off leaves of wood hyacinth (Hyacinthoides hispanica).

So even if tulips are devoured and dahlias gobbled down, take heart. There are lumpy underground treasures that you can plant with confidence and enjoy.

Bulbs for Your Garden
A Modern Garden in Deer Country
Deer-Resistant Plants
Bulbs 101: Planting and Storing Flower Bulbs

Deer-resistant perennials and bulbs

First: the caveat. With the possible exception of spiny Barberries (Berberis) there are no absolutely deer-proof plants. If the herd is large enough, and food is scarce enough, deer have been known to eat almost anything.

That said, there are some plants that are much less palatable to deer. If you have a problem in your neighborhood, it’s probably a good idea to draw heavily from this list of perennials that are rarely browsed. If you can’t live without certain plants that are candy to deer, you can plant them in an enclosed area, or use repellents in that bed, to try to minimize the damage.

Although it’s the curse of gardeners that we crave what we can’t grow (folks in Florida long for Lilacs, New Englanders for Agapanthus), it is possible to create a lovely garden using Deer-Resistant Plants & Bulbs . It’s a challenge, but not an impossibility.

Deer-Resistant Plants & Bulbs tend to share certain characteristics: fuzzy or wooly leaves; pungent-scented foliage (Catmints, Mints, Lavenders, Agastache, Salvias, etc) and/or foul taste (even poisonous). Spines, thorns, and prickles protect some plants, such as Barberry, but we’ve heard from customers who’ve lost even Rugosa Roses to browsing—hard to believe for anyone who’s ever tried to prune a Rugosa without drawing blood, but true.

If the deer herd is large, the youngsters can do some damage sampling plants and then spitting them out—we’ve heard of deer tearing up and then leaving Narcissus (Daffodils) and Digitalis (Foxgloves), both quite poisonous. That’s how the young learn what’s good—or not good—to eat.

Deer also tend to have regional tastes, so we’ve found the same plants on lists of both “rarely eaten” and “sometimes eaten.” It’s always a good idea to consult your local cooperative extension office and other gardeners in your neighborhood or town for advice. Deer also seem to have an uncanny ability to find (and eat) fertilized plants, so go easy on the nitrogen if you feed your plants.

Many serious gardeners resist the idea for a long time, but finally enclose at least some areas of the garden in tall deer fencing. It works. If the deer population is large, and the depredation severe, fencing becomes the best long-term solution, if you want to grow plants that deer love. Because deer are just as happy to wiggle under a fence as to leap over it, be sure the fence is secure at ground level. A six- to seven-foot tall fence is needed; gardeners in California developed the idea of using two shorter fences, about 4 feet apart, because deer are usually cautious about getting into any situation where they might be trapped.

We’ve compiled the following list of deer-resistant bulbs and perennials from research published by several cooperative extension offices in the northeast.

Deer resistant perennials for full to part sun

Ajuga reptans
Amsonia tabernaemontana(Bluestar)
Anemone sp.
Aquilegia (Columbine)
Asarum europaeum
Asclepias tuberosa(Butterfly Weed)
Baptisia australis
Boltonia asteroides
Buddleia davidii(Butterfly Bush)
Calluna (Heather)
Campanula carpatica(Bellflower)
Centaurea sp.
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides
Chrysanthemum x superbum(sometimes nipped)
Cimicifuga racemosa
Coreopsis sp.
Echinacea purpurea(Purple Coneflower)
Erica (Heath)
Eupatorium (Joe-Pye Weed)
Euphorbia (Spurge)
Geranium (especially G. macrorrhizum)
Grasses, Ornamental (Calamagrostis, Miscanthus, Pennisetum, Festuca, Hakonechloa)
Gypsophila paniculata(Baby’s Breath)
Iberis sempervirens
Iris sibirica
Lavandula (Lavender)
Liatris spicata(Gayfeather)
Linum perenne
Monarda (Bee Balm)
Nepeta (Catmint)
Oenothera (Evening Primrose)
Paeonia (Peony)
Perovskia (Russian Sage)
Platycodon grandiflorus (Balloon Flower)
Potentilla sp.
Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary)
Salvia sp.
Solidago (Goldenrod)
Stachys byzantinus (Lamb’s Ears)
Thymus (Thyme)
Verbascum sp (Mullein)
Veronica latifolia

Deer resistant perennials for full or part shade

Asarum (Ginger)
Convallaria (Lily of the Valley)
Dicentra (Bleeding Heart)
Digitalis sp (Foxglove)

Adiantum pedatum – Maidenhair Fern
Athyrium ‘Ghost’
Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’ – Japanese Painted Fern
Dennstaedtia punctilobula – Hay-scented Fern
Matteuccia struthiopteris – Ostrich Fern
Onoclea sensibilis
Osmunda cinnamomea – Cinnamon Fern
Osmunda claytoniana
Osmunda regalis
Polystichum acrostichoides – Christmas Fern

Geranium (especially G. macrorrhizum)
Helleborus (Hellebore)
Kirengeshoma palmata (Waxbells)
Lamium sp
Primula sp (Primrose)
Pulmonaria sp (Lungwort)

Flower Bulbs rarely damaged by deer
Fritillaria imperialis (Crown Imperial)
Galanthus (Snowdrop)
Narcissus (Daffodil, Jonquil)
Scilla (Squill)

Deer-resistant bulbs for spring color in the garden

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It can be challenging to grow a beautiful, color-filled garden when you live where there’s a large population of deer. While fencing your yard or religiously spraying deer deterrents are effective ways to keep the herd from decimating your garden, there is another way. For many gardeners, the most important step in gardening with deer is to include as many deer-resistant plants as possible. When it comes to spring-blooming bulbs, this is not just important — it’s essential. Deer are especially hungry in the spring, and their palates seem to be far less discerning. Today, we’re teaming up with, a website for information about flower bulbs, to tell you about six of our favorite deer-resistant bulbs. They’ll add a pop of color to your spring garden, without losing their heads to a browsing Bambi.

6 Deer-Resistant Bulbs

The six deer-resistant bulbs you’re about to meet are all spring-blooming. To enjoy their gorgeous blooms, plant the bulbs in the autumn. They’ll spend the winter growing roots and settling in. Then, come spring, when their greens and blooms emerge from the ground, you’ll be able to enjoy their cheery beauty for many weeks.

Not all spring-blooming bulbs are resistant to deer damage, but there are a handful of gorgeous choices that are!

1. Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis):

Among the very first bulbs to emerge each spring, snowdrops may be petite, but they sure are a welcome sight to winter-weary eyes! Many gardeners live by the old adage that when the snowdrops bloom, it means winter is officially over, even though they sometimes appear when there’s still snow on the ground. Like daffodils, snowdrops contain a distasteful, poisonous alkaloid known as lycorine. This compound keeps all mammals from eating the bulb, greens, and blooms. Snowdrops are not only suitable for a list of deer-resistant bulbs, but also for a list of rodent-resistant bulbs, too.

Galanthus (snowdrops) produce lovely little white flowers early in the spring.

This bulb produces small, nodding, bell-like blooms in the very early spring or late winter. Though most varieties stand just a few inches tall, they’re hard to miss when little else in the garden is in bloom. Snowdrop flowers are white and come in both single and double forms. Try planting them in woodland gardens, rock gardens, under large trees, and even right in your lawn. The blooms will pop up out of the grass each spring.

Snowdrops are so tough, they often bloom while there’s still snow on the ground.

2. Daffodils (Narcissus species):

There are dozens of different daffodil species, with thousands of named cultivars on the market. Botanists divide all of these daffodils into 13 different divisions based on their physical features. One of these divisions, the double daffodils (named for their densely-packed layers of petals), is 2018’s Bulb of the Year.

There are thousands of different types of daffodils, but they’re all bulbs that are resistant to deer damage.

Like snowdrops, daffodils contain the alkaloid lycorine which makes them unpalatable to deer and rodents. Of all the deer-resistant bulbs available to gardeners, daffodils offer the most in terms of varietal choices and low maintenance. Daffodils reliably return to the garden year after year, with the clumps growing larger with each passing season. In addition to being deer-resistant flower bulbs, daffodils are inexpensive, winter hardy, and very easy to grow — what more could a gardener ask for? Plant them in flower beds, cutting gardens, woodland areas, and shrub borders. Miniature varieties look lovely in rock gardens, fairy gardens, and raised beds, too.

3. Crocus (Crocus tommasinianus):

Sometimes called the “tommie crocus”, it’s said that C. tommasinianus is the most deer-resistant crocus available to gardeners. While other crocus species and varieties are not reliably resistant to deer, tommies are one species that’s known to be disliked by chipmunks and voles, in addition to deer.

“Tommie” crocus aren’t just adorable, they’re also resistant to deer and rodents.

Tommies produce pink, purple, or lavender flowers, depending on the cultivar. They’re in bloom between late February and late March, depending on your gardening zone. The bare flowers pop out of the soil a few days before the foliage emerges. Though they only reach a height of about 3 inches, tommies make a big impact on the landscape. They are deer-resistant bulbs that naturalize beautifully, creating a large colony just a few years after planting. I have them growing in my lawn, but you could also plant them under trees, along woodland paths, in beds and borders, and along walkways.

If you’re looking for crocus bulbs that are deer resistant, “tommie” crocus is the way to go.

4. Crown Imperials (Fritillaria imperialis):

If ever there were a big, bold bulb to knock your gardening socks off, crown imperials would be it. This member of the lily family has a bloom-cluster reminiscent of a pineapple. Each bulb produces one flower stalk that’s topped with a group of elongated, bell-shaped flowers wearing a green “cap” of foliage. Standing tall at 40 inches, crown imperials come in shades of red, orange, and yellow.

Crown imperials put on a fantastic spring show in the garden.

When planting crown imperial, it’s hard to miss the skunk-like fragrance and hollow center of the bulbs themselves. While the scent might make the planting process a bit unpleasant, the odor of the bulb is one of the reasons this plant is right at home on a list of deer-resistant bulbs. The foliage doesn’t smell bad, but the blooms do have a slightly musty scent. You’ll probably only notice it, though, if you stick your nose right into one of the flowers. The hollow center of the bulb can sometimes collect water and cause the bulb to rot. To prevent this, plant the bulbs on their side. Crown imperials prefer well-drained sites and are suited to groundcover beds, perennial borders, and flower gardens.

5. Alliums (Allium species):

If you twisted my arm and forced me to pick a favorite on this list of deer-resistant bulbs, I would choose the alliums. These members of the onion family are a diverse group, though they all produce their trademark ball-shaped flower clusters. Often called ornamental onions, these characters make brilliant garden specimens for a million different reasons (okay, maybe not a literal million, but certainly a lot!). Alliums are deer-resistant flower bulbs that are long-blooming, rodent-proof, and colorful, but they also come in a broad diversity of plant sizes, forms, and bloom colors.

Alliums are incredible late-spring blooming bulbs that are also resistant to deer damage.

Most alliums bloom in late spring or early summer, just as other spring-blooming bulbs are wrapping it up for the season. Some alliums are pixie-sized, while others are nearly as tall as a 10-year-old. The bloom clusters can be the size of a quarter or as big as a dinner plate. Alliums make wonderful cut flowers. After the plant has gone to seed, the dead seed head can be used in dried flower arrangements or left as a decorative statement in the garden. Plant larger alliums in cutting gardens, perennial beds, and shade gardens. Smaller species look fantastic in rock gardens and along walkways and garden paths.

6. Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides hyspanica):

Another member of the lily family, Spanish bluebells definitely deserve a place on any list of deer-resistant bulbs. Their white, pink, or blue flowers are shaped like tiny bells and hang in groups from the top of the upright flower stalks in late spring. The sizeable plants grow up to 16 inches tall, and over time, form a beautiful, natural colony of bluebells through bulb offsets and seeds. Plus, the wide, strapping leaves are lovely even when the plant is not in flower.

Spanish bluebells look so pretty in a woodland setting.

Also known as wood hyacinth, Spanish bluebells, and their close cousin the English bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), are winter hardy and low-maintenance. Both are well-suited to woodland gardens and planting beds beneath large trees as they’re quite shade tolerant. It’s also reported that Spanish bluebells grow under black walnut trees where few other plants thrive. When it comes to deer-resistant bulbs, Spanish bluebells have so much to offer.

Spanish bluebells are one of the easiest deer-resistant bulbs. Plus, they’re very winter hardy.

We hope this post inspires you to plant more spring-blooming bulbs in your garden. For more deer-resistant flower bulbs, head to this page on the website that offers a longer list of bulbs that deer don’t like. You’ll also find lots of gorgeous photos of these plants in gardens of all shapes and sizes.

A hearty thank you to for sponsoring this post so that we could share these stunning and easy-to-care-for, deer-resistant bulbs with our Savvy Gardening readers. Time to get planting!

If you’re looking for more deer-resistant garden plants, please visit this article on annual plants the deer don’t like.

For more on growing beautiful bulbs, check out these related posts:

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  • Bulb-planting design tips from the Keukenhof
  • A unique tip to keep paperwhites upright
  • Growing amaryllis for the holidays

I’ve almost always lived in the country, so I’m used to dealing with deer. But the deer in my new neighborhood are different.

For one thing, there are a lot of them. I’m starting to suspect there are more deer per square mile than people here. Okay, maybe not that many. But every time I go outside for a walk, or bike ride, there they are.

The other thing about these deer? They aren’t afraid of people. Not one bit.

Declaration of War

Last week, I went for a bike ride. There were several deer grazing near the bike path. One good-sized doe was actually standing on the path. I rode up on my bike and she didn’t budge, not one inch.

In fact, she just lifted her head and stared at me. I cleared my throat. I politely asked her to move. Okay, I yelled at her. Still, she just stood there, staring. If she could have talked, she’d have said, “You talkin’ to me?” in her best Bobby DeNiro impression.

She moved off the path eventually. But she took her sweet tim. Her message was clear. “You’re not the boss of me, lady.”

The tourists (we get a lot of vacationers in the summer months) think the deer are adorable. They oooh and ahhh over them. They stop their cars and snap pictures, then post them on Instagram with cute captions.

The tourists don’t know these deer like I do.

These deer are not like other deer. They travel in packs, snapping their fingers in unison and wearing gang colors. For all their big eyes and velvety noses, there is a sinister side to these deer.

I hate to be the one to say it, but these deer are bad news. Really, really bad. And I have proof.

See this? It used to be one of my hostas. That was before the deer got to it. I’m telling you, these deer are bad!

Need more proof? I submit the before and after photos of my roses.

Plan A (Spoiler Alert: It Didn’t Work)

Now look, I was aware of the deer problem when we moved in. If you live in the forest, you should expect that there will be deer around. That’s why we put in deer resistant landscaping.

And, mostly, it has worked. They haven’t done too much damage to the outer planters. But the problem with those deer resistant plantings is that they aren’t very pretty.

I like flowers but my landscape designer’s plan didn’t include many, because of the deer.

Not a problem, I decided. We have this flagstone courtyard. It’s closed on three sides and kind of small. I figured that, between the lack of escape routes and strange feeling of flagstone under hooves, the deer would rather avoid it. This made it the perfect place to cultivate my less deer resistant plants.

I planted hostas, roses, lavender, and hydrangea, creating a pretty pocket flower garden. With the sound of water gurgling in the fountain, it was a sweet bower, a flowery refuge. And, just as I had hoped, the deer steered clear.

Until last week.

I hate these deer. I really do.

So, okay. Fine. Round one goes to the deer. But I am not giving up. These deer are not going to get the best of me.

If it’s the last thing I do, I will have flowers in my garden!

The flagstone courtyard was Plan A. That didn’t work so I’m moving on to Plan B.

Or rather, Plan Bulb.


The most recent copy of the White Flower Farms catalog arrived this week.

When I lived in Connecticut, my house was just five miles away from White Flower Farms. Their demonstration gardens were simply spectacular and always on the tour when guests came to visit.

White Flower Farms is one of the premier garden supply companies. Their reputation for quality is well deserved and extends across the country. Fortunately for this Connecticut transplant, their catalog extends just as far and they ship to all fifty states and growing zones.

I poured over the catalog pages, searching for a solution to the problem of Gangs of Bad Deer.

I didn’t have to look for long.

Fall is the right time for planting bulbs and quite a few of those bulbs are highly deer resistant.

Could this be the solution to my problem?

I hope so because I’ve just ordered one hundred and forty bulbs from White Flower Farms.


I’ve always known that deer don’t much care for daffodils. Voles don’t like them either, so that’s a plus. The catalog didn’t say anything about squirrels. I’ll sprinkle the ground with red pepper flakes after I plant to discourage them.

But the problem with daffodils, for me, is that most are yellow.

Nothing against yellow; it’s just not my favorite colors for gardens. And since deer apparently don’t much care for yellow flowers of all sorts, the gardens in my neighborhood have tons of yellow. I’m just so tired of looking at it.

Even so, I’ve ordered “Narcissus The Classic Mixture”. It’s a 25 bulb collection that includes four popular Daffodils – “Dutch Master”, “Ice Follies”, “Akita”, and “Sir Winston Churchill”.

I think the white will balance out the yellow nicely.

Happily, the catalog included several daffodil varieties that leaned a bit more toward pink! I’ve purchased 25 bulbs in the “First Blush – Pink Narcissus Mixture”. I also splurged on a dozen “Narcissus ‘Delnashaugh.’” I absolutely love the apricot colored ruffles in the center of these creamy double blooms!

Image Credit: White Flower Farms


Nothing says, “Spring is just around the corner!” like a carpet of snowdrops. These sweet, aptly named, bell shaped blooms pop up their pretty heads just as the snow is beginning to melt.

I’ve bought fifty and plan to plant them in the natural area of my garden, tuckin them in around the trees.

Image Credit: White Flower Farms


My nickname for allium has always been “Dr. Seuss Flowers.”

To me, those big, purple snowballs on spindly green stems look like something you’d find in Cat In The Hat’s garden.

However, allium are actually members of the onion family. And deer don’t seem to like the taste of onions. (Perhaps they’re worried about bad breath?)

Just as important, planting allium in my garden will give me that pop of purple I crave.

Allium are fairly expensive, but the 25 Allium “Purple Sensation” I’ve ordered were a pretty good deal. That left enough in my budget to splurge on 3 Allium “Ambassador”.

At more than nine dollars a bulb, they’d better be spectacular!

Image Credit: White Flower Farms

Fingers crossed

With one hundred and forty bulbs to plant, I’m going to have some very busy days in the garden.

It’s definitely an investment of cash and elbow grease. But I’m convinced that “Plan B” will pay off big time next spring.

However, just to hedge my bets, I might make one more investment in my garden – a sign that says, “No Deer Allowed!”


Deer Resistant Flower Bulbs

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  • Double Daffodil Bulbs Double Beauty
  • Large Cupped Daffodil Bulbs Altruist
  • Trumpet Daffodil Bulbs Akita
  • Grape Hyacinth Bulbs Yellow Fragrance
  • Miniature Daffodil Bulbs Prototype
  • Large Cupped Daffodil Bulbs Brackenhurst
  • Allium Bulbs Silver Spring
  • Spring Starflower Bulbs Charlette Bishop
  • Miniature Daffodil Bulbs White Tete-a-Tete
  • Specie Iris Bulbs Katharine Hodgkin
  • White Splendour Anemone
  • Wave Double Daffodil
  • Allium karataviense
  • Allium unifolium
  • Allium oreophilum
  • Pink Jewel Allium
  • Early Fantasy Fritillaria
  • Tete Boucle Miniature Double Daffodil
  • Violet Beauty Allium
  • Purple Hyacinth Mix
  • Winter Buttercups
  • Belladonna Lily
  • Pink Giant Glory Of The Snow
  • Amethyst Meadow Squill Bulbs
  • Pink Parasol Trumpet Daffodil
  • Peach Cobbler Double Daffodil
  • Yellow Spider Lily
  • Delft Blue Hyacinth Mix
  • Purple Blend Allium Mix
  • Allium giganteum
  • Sweet Love Daffodil
  • Magic Allium
  • Large Cupped Daffodil Bulbs Avalon
  • Lion King Dutch Iris
  • All In One Daffodil Mix
  • Summer Drummer Allium
  • Pipit Daffodil
  • Orange Monarch Snow Crocus
  • Trepolo Butterfly Daffodil
  • Orange Bugle Lily Bulbs
  • Red Spider Lily
  • Snow Crocus Mix
  • Butterfly Daffodil Mix
  • Mediterranean Bells
  • Pickwick Dutch Crocus
  • The Poet’s Daffodil Actaea
  • Red Mohican® Allium
  • St Brigid Anemone Mix
  • Mount Hood Trumpet Daffodil
  • Tricolor Snow Crocus
  • Graceful Allium
  • Smiling Twin Butterfly Daffodil
  • Fashion Double Daffodil
  • Chequered Lily Fritillaria Mix
  • Golden Ducat Double Daffodil
  • Early Spring Delight Bulb Mix – Bag of 75
  • Valentine Hyacinth Mix
  • Ruby Giant Snow Crocus
  • Allium Bulbs Pinball Wizard
  • Blue Spanish Bluebells
  • Delft Blue Grape Hyacinth Mix
  • Apricot Whirl Butterfly Daffodil
  • Giant Grape Hyacinth
  • Rainbow Allium Mix
  • Gladiator Allium
  • Blue Allium caeruleum
  • Red Crown Imperial
  • Yellow Crown Imperial
  • Snowdrops
  • Yellow Cheerfulness Double Daffodil
  • Pink Sunrise Grape Hyacinth
  • Grape Hyacinth
  • Tequila Sunrise Hyacinth Mix
  • Remembrance Dutch Crocus
  • Drumstick Allium
  • Siberian Squill
  • Sapphire Beauty Dutch Iris
  • Excelsior Dutch Iris
  • Trumpet Daffodil Mix
  • Yellow Mammoth Dutch Crocus
  • Sunshine Large Cupped Daffodil Mix
  • Joan Of Arc Dutch Crocus
  • Fat Tuesday Hyacinth Mix
  • Grape Hyacinth Bulbs Cotton Candy
  • Dark Blue Specie Iris
  • Pink Charm Large Cupped Daffodil
  • Blue Moon Dutch Crocus Mix
  • Wild About Allium Mix
  • Tahiti Double Daffodil
  • Fortissimo Large Cupped Daffodil
  • Holland Sensation Trumpet Daffodil
  • Cool Flame Large Cupped Daffodil
  • Double Poet’s Daffodil
  • Carnegie Hyacinth
  • Blue Jacket Hyacinth
  • Oriental Beauty Dutch Iris
  • Pink Large Cupped Daffodil Mix
  • Allium schubertii
  • Double Daffodil Mix
  • Scarlet Ohara Large Cupped Daffodil
  • Large Cupped Daffodil Bulbs Misty Glen
  • Ice Follies Large Cupped Daffodil
  • Peppermint® Grape Hyacinth
  • Jan Bos Hyacinth
  • Eye Of The Tiger Dutch Iris
  • Mount Everest Allium
  • Purple Sensation Allium
  • Silver Shamrock
  • Pink Spanish Bluebells
  • Spanish Bluebells Mix
  • Camassia Lily
  • Spring Has Sprung Mix
  • Anemone De Caen Mix
  • Anemone blanda Mix
  • Yellow Queen Dutch Iris
  • Woodland Mix
  • White Grape Hyacinth
  • Hyacinth Mix
  • Tiger Dutch Iris Mix
  • Fireworks Allium Mix
  • Dutch Iris Mix
  • Thalia Daffodil
  • Jetfire Miniature Daffodil
  • Giant Snowdrops
  • Specie Iris Mix
  • Tete-a-Tete Miniature Daffodil
  • Miss Saigon Hyacinth
  • Hyacinth Bulbs Gypsy Princess
  • Cheerfulness Double Daffodil
  • Tiny Dancers Bulb Collection
  • Shades of Allium Bulb Collection
  • Dutch Crocus Mix
  • Dutch Master Trumpet Daffodil
  • Globemaster Allium
  • Large Cupped Daffodil Mix
  • Sunny Side Up Butterfly Daffodil
  • Ambassador Allium
  • Fox’s Grape Fritillary
  • Ivory Bells Persian Lily
  • Persian Lily
  • Sorbet Daffodil
  • Snowtip Large Cupped Daffodil
  • Petit Four Double Daffodil
  • Intrigue Jonquilla Daffodil
  • Extravaganza Double Daffodil
  • Cassata Daffodil
  • Art Design Double Daffodil
  • Spring Beauty Snow Crocus
  • Hollywood Flower Bulb Collection
  • Royal Elegance Flower Bulb Collection
  • Ballerina Flower Bulb Collection
  • Premier Flower Bulb Collection
  • Sangria Allium Flower Bulb Collection
  • Purple Galaxy Allium Flower Bulb Collection
  • Blushing Daffodil Flower Bulb Collection
  • Lemon Chiffon Daffodil Flower Bulb Collection
  • Citrus Daffodil Flower Bulb Collection

Top 12 Deer Resistant Summer Blooming Perennials and Bulbs

Oh. Deer! Is one way to respond when you see deer munching on your flowers and plants in the garden. These four-legged furry animals are not typically seen as friends to most gardeners. Deer in the garden can cause plenty of damage to your trees, shrubs, perennials, and bulbs. Since I am not a deer it is hard for me to say what attracts them to certain plants more than others. Perhaps it is the sweet scent of lily blooms they are attracted to? Or maybe the lush, green leaves of the hosta just really wet their whistle? While we may not know why they choose certain plants to feast on, we do know there are plants that they tend to stay away from. If deer are making your garden their buffet continue reading for my top 12 deer resistant perennials & flowers:

Top 12 Deer Resistant Perennials & Deer Resistant Bulbs

All the perennials and flowers in this list bloom in summer (June, July, August or September). Keep in mind if deer are really hungry, they will eat anything, even plants with thorns or toxic components. Therefore, if deer are prevalent in your yard you may want to protect your most valuable plants with a deer repellent such as Liquid Fence.

  1. Gladiolus

    Typically seen in flower arrangements gladioli are a popular summer-blooming bulb. Gladiolus come in an array of colors and even different flower sizes and heights. The range of colors found in the gladiolus flower is expansive ranging from various shades of red, pink, orange, white, yellow, purple and green. Solid color gladiolus flowers are popular, but two-toned gladiolus are unique with added color! Deer tend to stay away from these mid-summer blooming favorites and are safe to plant if deer are a concern.

  2. Buttercups

    Buttercups, also known by their botanical name Ranunculus are delightful summer flowers! The papery blooms of buttercups are fully double and make excellent cut flowers, as well as nice potted plants. These deer resistant summer-blooming bulbs are rarely if ever harmed by deer. Buttercups are commonly sold as a mixed package, but there are unique deep purple and rustic orange buttercup varieties available as well! If you are looking for an adorable sun loving bulb to add to your deer resistant garden the buttercup will definitely fill you up!

  3. Canna Lilies

    Canna Lilies have a tropical appearance in both their blooms and the large green leaves on the bulbs. Thriving in full sun with plenty of water, canna lilies can be grown in a wide range of landscape applications. Dwarf varieties of canna lilies perform well in large containers for your patio. If you want a tall screen in your yard that is not permanent but will fill in fast canna lilies can provide a lot of height in a short amount of time. Blooming all summer with attractive leaves, turn the heat up in your garden with tropical canna lilies. Deer tend to steer clear of canna lilies and are safe to plant in your garden if deer visit often.

  4. Siberian Iris

    Siberian Iris are similar to the popular Bearded Iris, and both are deer resistant! Bearded Irises are available in nearly every color of the rainbow, which is a huge draw for many gardeners. Siberian Iris aren’t available in as many colors; however, their blooms are still vibrant. Siberian Iris will produce true blue flowers, deep rich flowers, lemon yellow flowers and even some blooms that look tie-dyed! These hardy perennials bloom in early summer atop tall grass like leaves! Siberian Iris look great in a planting bed, but also near water’s edge. Plant your Siberian Iris in full sun and be sure to keep them well watered once established.

  5. Agapanthus

    A true blue flower! Whenever flowers bloom in true shades of blue it is special, as this is a rarity in the flower world. Agapanthus, also known as Lily of the Nile bloom with clusters of tall blue flowers in early summer. Gardeners with deer problems in warm climates like zone 8 and above will be able to grow Agapanthus as a perennial. That shouldn’t leave gardeners in colder climates feeling left out though. Agapanthus grows well as a potted plant, making it a great addition to your deer resistant collection of plants in any hardiness zone.

  6. Allium

    When you think of Allium you may think of the fall planted favorites that grow from a bulb-like Purple Sensation, Giganteum and White Giant. However, there are also Allium that grow from a perennial root like Millennium Allium and Blue Eddy Allium. Planting perennial alliums in spring that bloom in mid-summer can help extend the allium bloom season. Both fall-planted allium and spring planted allium are deer resistant, and bloom in early or mid-summer!

  7. Salvia

    Often referred to as Perennial Sage due to its relation to Sage you use for cooking, perennial Salvia is an easy-to-grow deer resistant favorite! Blooming in early summer, this easy-to-grow perennial will continue to bloom all summer if the spent blooms are removed. Another bonus about salvia is that it doesn’t grow too big. Reaching a height of 18-24″ this mound shaped perennial has a place in any sunny garden that has a deer problem.

  8. Bleeding Hearts

    Bleeding Hearts are a spring-blooming flower; however, if planted in enough shade they will continue to bloom into early summer. Deer tend to stay away from these nostalgic perennial favorites. If the deer are eating all of your hostas in your shade garden adding Bleeding Hearts to the area will help keep it looking more full.

  9. Oriental Poppies

    Blooming in early summer these ephemeral perennials put on a show in early summer and then disappear for the rest of summer until next season. Their hairy leaves and bright colored blooms keep the deer at bay. Oriental Poppies can be planted in spring or fall and come in an array of bright red, orange, pink and white blooms. Oriental Poppies require well-drained soil and protection in winter; applying a light layer of mulch to your poppies in fall is advised.

  10. Globe Thistle

    Globe Thistle is a unique perennial that has an interesting flower shape and bloom. The true electric blue blooms are globe shaped and appear mid-summer. Even though the name of the plant has thistle in it, these are welcome plants in your garden that attract butterflies but deter deer from feasting. Grow Globe Thistle in full sun, and soil that drains well. Once established, Globe Thistle is drought tolerant.

  11. Peonies

    Perhaps it’s the fragrance of the blooms that keep the deer away or maybe something in the leaves deer don’t enjoy! Peonies bloom in early summer with showy blooms in shades of pink, red, coral, yellow and white. Plant your peonies in full to part sun, with soil that drains well. If deer come near your house peonies are a nice foundation plant that will not be bothered by deer, plus they also work well mixed into a perennial border.

  12. Astilbe

    Astilbe are shade loving favorites that are fairly easy to grow as long as they are provided enough moisture. If you want to add color to your shade gardens Astilbe are a wonderful flowering perennial that bloom in shades of red, pink, and white. Blooming at various times throughout summer these deer resistant shade perennials are a must-have addition to your shade garden.

Keep the Deer Away With Repellants, Deer Resistant Plants and Home Remedies

For homeowners and gardeners with heavy deer populations using repellents and planting deer-resistant varieties may not be enough. Installing a fence may be necessary if the deer seem to be relentless.

In addition to using repellants and planting deer-resistant perennials and bulbs, some home remedies may also seem to help. Home remedies I have learned from other gardeners include using a motion activated sprinkler to startle the deer or hanging cd’s from your trees as the reflective light will scare the deer off. Many gardeners swear by cutting Irish Spring soap into smaller pieces and placing them in an old pair of pantyhose and placing them in the garden. Planting Marigolds can help deter both bunnies and deer in your perennial and vegetable garden.

No matter what you do try to keep the deer out, it is always good to switch your methods and keep trying new ways and new plants. If you have any home remedies to keep deer out, or favorite deer resistant plants leave a comment here, as we would love even more suggestions to deter and repel deer from the garden.

The Garden Blog

Planting bulbs is one of the best gifts you can give to your future self. Plant in fall, forget about them over the winter, then get excited when you see their new growth emerge in the spring. Unfortunately, there are others who also get excited to see that new spring growth; deer. If you are in the Cincinnati area, white tailed deer can be more damaging to a landscape than all the insects of the season. While all ‘deer-resistant’ lists should be taken with a grain of salt, here are our top five bulbs that deer tend to place on the bottom of their wish list.

1. Daffodils

These cheerful spring flowers are available in classic yellow as well as white, peach, and pink combinations. Cluster bulbs in groups to get the most color impact.

2. Grape Hyacinths

Short plants with clusters of purple ‘grape-like’ bloom. Grape hyacinths are great companions around shrubs and perennials such as ferns and hellebores.

3. Fritillaria

Also called Crown Imperial, Fritillaria are tall, dramatic flowers that reach around 3’ in height. The flower stalk is topped with a ring of trumpet-shaped suspended flowers available in red or yellow.

4. Giant Allium

Another flower behemoth. Large spheres composed of tiny purple flowers sit atop a 4’ flower stem.

5. Surprise Lily

Daffodil-like leaves emerge in the spring but then turn brown and dry up. Where’s the flower? Surprise! A few weeks later in the summer a single flower stalk emerges with a beautiful pink lily-shaped flower.

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