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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - March 02, 2009

From: Toronto, ON
Region: Canada
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Deer resistant plants for Toronto, Ontario
Answered by: Barbara Medford


What are the native trees and shrubs that are resistant to deer browsing and rubbing?


We can sympathize with your problem. In Texas, we also have deer who seem to be willing to walk up and eat your hat if you don't run. Very likely, they are foraging for different plants here than they are in Canada, but that doesn't change the seriousness of the situation. Although we have lists of deer-resistant species, again, that probably isn't going to apply specifically to your situation. However, we did a little net-surfing, and found some websites that might at least give you some leads. First, here is a GardenWise from Canada Wide Media Limited site Container Displays: Deer Resistant Plants.

A company called Plantskydd Repellants is featured on a Tree World site with two articles from the Billings, Montana Gazette by Rita M. Brehm on Deer Resistant Plants and Deterrents Minimize Damage.  Okay, even in Texas we know that Montana is not in Canada, but it's close, right? 

That was about all we could find that was specifically about northern North America.  However, in our Special Collections, we have a list of Deer Resistant Species. It is noted that deer do not like aromatic plants, nor plants with spines or prickles. They would probably really have to be hungry to attack a Texas Prickly Pear! However, for virtually every entry on that list, someone can tell you that they planted that plant and the deer levelled it. We should note that all the plants on this list are native to North America, which does include Canada. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is focused on the use, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. So, some of the plants on this list are probably quite unpalatable to deer, but you would be challenged to grow Agave havardiana (Havard's century plant) in Ontario. See pictures below to see why we don't think the deer would care for it.

Agave havardiana

Agave havardiana

Agave havardiana

Agave havardiana




More Deer Resistant Questions

Deer resistant plants from New Braunfels TX
August 31, 2012 - I have a 1/2 yard covered by a tree, shady. Bermuda grass previous owner planted has all turned brown this summer. I don't have lots of money to work with but would love to landscape that side of fr...
view the full question and answer

An evergreen, deer-resistant shrub for Memphis
July 24, 2013 - I need an evergreen, deep to partial shade, deer resistant shrub or tree. Does such a plant exist?
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistant Plants for East Texas
March 29, 2010 - We have a lake house at Lake Cypress Springs, between Mt Vernon and Winnsboro, in East Texas. Can you suggest some deer-resistant plants/shrubs that have the potential to last? I understand deer wil...
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant native plants for privacy fence in Bandera, TX
March 24, 2008 - I am trying to have a living privacy fence of some type of evergreen shrubs that would grow about 6ft tall and that would be deer resistant. It would be good if didn't need a lot of maintenance. Do y...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant plants for Pittsburgh PA
January 30, 2012 - What shrubs can I plant on a wet slope that gets partial sun that will help control erosion? They need to be something the deer won't eat! We have lots of deer.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center