Many Coloradoans live in areas where deer regularly visit. While it’s not hard to understand why deer consume the same vegetables that humans eat, additional “deer salads” include annual and perennial flowers as well as trees and shrubs. Deer-resistant plant lists have been put together but the problem is that deer in different areas appear to have different tastes. Rather than offer a list of specific plants, consider suggesting guidelines for plants that deer don’t tend to favor.
Deer tend to avoid plants with strong odors (lavender cotton, hyssop, Artemisia, sumac, chocolate flower, oregano, lavender), many ornamental grasses and ferns, and plants with fuzzy, prickly or sharp leaves (lamb’s ear, yucca, Colorado spruce). These are only guidelines to plants to try. They may or may not be successful. The plants may be successful for a period of years and then browsed in another year. A hungry deer will find almost any plant palatable so no plant is always “deer-proof”.