Planting Resources

Deer Resistant or Not

The Arboretum has a large deer population, and through the years we have a learned a little about what they eat and what they mostly avoid. The following lists have been compiled from several sources over the years including much of our own experience. As many gardeners know, there is no such thing as a deer resistant plant. Their taste for plants changes over time, and they often try new things causing a great deal of damage before deciding not to come back for seconds. Please use this list as a starting point, and contact us at [email protected] with your questions and observations. We will continue to update this list as we observe more deer browse.

Rarely Damaged Native Perennials

Scientific Name Common Name
Amsonia sp. bluestar
Aquilegia sp. columbine
Arisaema triphyllum Jack-in-the-pulpit
Aruncus dioicus goat’s beard
Asarum canadense         wild ginger
Ascelpias sp. butterfly weed
Baptisia sp. false indigo
Chrysogonum virginianum green and gold
Cimicifuga racemosa snakeroot
Coreopsis sp. tickseed
Dicentra eximia

fringed bleeding heart

Echinacea sp.    coneflower
Eupatorium sp. Joe-Pye weed
Geranium sp.

hardy geranium, cranesbill

Heuchera sp. alumroot
Iris sp.   iris 
Liatris sp.           blazing star
Mertensia virginica

Virginia bluebells

Monarda sp. bee balm, Bergamot
Opuntia humifusa

prickly pear

Pycnanthemum sp.        mountain mints
Polemonium reptans Jacob’s ladder
Rudbeckia sp.    black eye Susan
Solidago sp. golden rod
Stokesia laevis Stoke’s aster
Tiarella  sp.        foam flower
Trillium  sp.


Frequently Damaged Native Perennials

Aster sp. Asters are now in multiple genera including Symphyotrichum. At the Arboretum Symphyotrichum oblongifolius seem to be particularly deer resistant until Covid shut the grounds down in the spring of 2020 and they were eaten quite readily.  

Lobelia cardinalis cardinal flower
Phlox sp. phlox

Rarely Damaged Non Native Perennials

Achillea sp. yarrow
Aconitum sp. monkshood
Alchemilla mollis lady's mantle
Anemone japonica Japanese Anemone
Arabis sp. rock cress
Armeria maritima thrift
Artemisia sp.      silver mound, wormwood
Astilbe sp.         Astilbe
Dianthus sp. pinks
Dicentra spectabilis bleeding heart
Digitalis sp.        foxglove
Echinops ritro     globe thistle
Epimedium sp. barrenwort
Helleborus orientalis Lenten rose
Iberis sp. candytuft
Iris sp. Iris (bearded, Siberian, etc.)
Nepeta sp.         catmint
Papaver orientale Oriental poppy
Perovskia atriplicifolia Russian sage
Platycodon grandiflorus balloon flower
Pulmonaria sp.   lungwort
Salvia sp. perennial Salvia
Stachys byzantina  lamb's ear
Veronica sp. Veronica

Rarely Damaged Bulbs

Alliums sp. ornamental onions
Chionodoxa luciliae glory-of-the-snow
Galanthus nivalis snowdrop
Hyacinthus orientalis       hyacinth
Narcissus sp. daffodils
Scilla sp. squill

Frequently Damaged Bulbs

Crocus sp. Crocus
Lillium sp. lily
Tulipa sp.          tulip

Rarely Damaged Herbs

Agastache sp. anise hyssop
Alliums sp. chives, garlic
Anethum graveolens dill
Lavandula sp. lavender
Mentha sp. mint
Origanum sp. oregano
Rosmarinus sp. Rosemary
Santolina chamaecyparissus       lavender cotton
Thymus sp. thyme

Rarely Damaged Native Ferns

Adiantum pedatum maidenhair fern
Athyrium filix-femina       lady fern
Dennstaedtia punctilobula hay scented fern
Matteuccia struthiopteris ostrich fern
Onoclea sensibilis          sensitive fern
Polystichum acrostidroides Christmas fern

Rarely Damaged Annuals

Ageratum houstonianum Ageratum
Antirrhinum majus snapdragons
Begonia semperflorens               annual Begonia
Capsicum sp. ornamental peppers
Cosmos bipinnatus         Cosmos
Salvia sp.          annual Salvia
Tagetes sp.       marigolds
Zinnia sp. Zinnias

Frequently Damaged Annuals

Celosia argentea Celosia
Impatiens sp. Impatiens
Pentas lanceolata Pentas
Petunias sp.      Petunias
Viola sp. violets and Pansies


Invasive Species List

Blandy maintains a list of invasive plant species that are commonly sold in the nursery trade. We strongly discourage the sale, purchase, planting, or propagation of any of the plants on this list as they are known to escape into natural areas and cause significant ecological damage. These invasive species outcompete native plants for resources, reduce overall biodiversity in areas where they are introduced, choke out waterways, and provide little to no benefit for native pollinators and insects. Additionally, all plants on this list may not be sold at any events hosted by Blandy, including our annual garden fair.

Click here for the full list.