En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - November 29, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Deer-resistant ground covers
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Are there any deer resistant ground covers? Our asiatic jasmine has been eaten up by the deer.

ANSWER:

If you are looking for ground covers without showy flowers, your best natives would be grasses or sedges. For areas with lots of sun Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) is an excellent choice. It forms a turf and, not only is it deer-resistant, but it is also drought-resistant and requires very little mowing. It does require at least 6 hours of sunshine every day to thrive and it does turn somewhat brown in the winter. If left unmowed, it grows to 6-12 inches high.

Another grass that is a bit more wispy is Aristida purpurea (purple threeawn). The seedheads turn purple in the fall.

There are several sedges that are evergreen and will grow both in shade and sun:

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Carex planostachys (cedar sedge)

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge)

If you have lots of sun in your area and you want a groundcover with flowers, you could use:

Chrysactinia mexicana (damianita)

These low-growing plants will grow in sun or part shade:

Salvia lyrata (lyreleaf sage)

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot)

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit)

Wedelia texana (hairy wedelia)   This plant is listed as moderately resistant to deer, but its growth rate is such that it can usuallly keep up with the deer grazing on it.

Finally, these plants prefer part shade:

Stachys coccinea (scarlet hedgenettle)

Tetraneuris scaposa (stemmy four-nerve daisy)

Salvia roemeriana (cedar sage)

For all the plants above Mr. Smarty Plants would like to offer the following caveat: These plants have been identified as deer-resistant, but under adverse environmental conditions deer may eat many plants that under normal situations they wouldn't eat!


Bouteloua dactyloides

Aristida purpurea

Carex texensis

Chrysactinia mexicana

Salvia lyrata

Melampodium leucanthum

Wedelia texana

Phyla nodiflora

Stachys coccinea

Tetraneuris scaposa

Salvia roemeriana

 


 

 

More Deer Resistant Questions

Deer and rabbit repelling plants at nature sanctuary in Waterford VA
May 11, 2010 - We have established a native pollinator garden at our nature sanctuary. Last summer deer and perhaps rabbits devastated it. Now people are proposing surrounding it with boxwood which deer don't like-...
view the full question and answer

Determining best time to harvest deer grass seeds in California
September 06, 2006 - When is the best time to harvest deer grass seeds at about 4,000 feet in southern Riverside County California??
view the full question and answer

Keeping deer away from non-native plants in Lansing MI
June 22, 2011 - What is the real - best way to keep deer from eating my Hostas, Garden phlox and lilies? Ive tried the stinky spray and the fertilizer granules that deter, to no avail.
view the full question and answer

Do Deer Eat Orchid Trees?
March 08, 2013 - I have planted three anacacho orchid trees, however we have a lot of deer around us. Is this a tree they will want to eat? Do you have any ideas to keep deer away?
view the full question and answer

Does deer repellant really work from Hope NJ
November 10, 2009 - Does Deer Stopper by Messina Wildlife really work as an organic pest repellent?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center