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

Saturday - June 06, 2009

From: Tampa, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Deer resistant groundcover for Tampa, Florida
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I live in Tampa, FL and have a deer problem. I was wondering if you would give me some suggestions for deer resistant ground covers that are hearty and flower but most of all "DEER RESISTANT"!!! Thanks


Below are plants native to Hillsborough County, Florida that have been designated "deer resistant".  You should realize, however, that if environmental conditions (such as drought) ilimit the availability of the preferred foods of the deer, then they will eat plants that normally they would avoid.  All of these plants are low-growing and some have colorful flowers.  Others have more subtle flowers but interesting foliage.  Ferns, of course, have no flowers at all, but deer avoid eating them and they make good groundcovers in moist shade.

Bacopa monnieri (herb of grace)

Callirhoe involucrata (purple poppymallow)

Coreopsis tinctoria (golden tickseed)

Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel)

Hydrocotyle umbellata (manyflower marshpennywort)

Oenothera speciosa (pinkladies)

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit)

Viola sororia (common blue violet)

Rivina humilis (rougeplant)

Salvia lyrata (lyreleaf sage)

Dryopteris ludoviciana (southern woodfern)

Thelypteris kunthii (Kunth's maiden fern)

Woodwardia areolata (netted chainfern)

Bacopa monnieri

Callirhoe involucrata

Coreopsis tinctoria

Gaillardia pulchella

Hydrocotyle umbellata

Oenothera speciosa

Viola sororia

Phyla nodiflora

Salvia lyrata

Rivina humilis

Dryopteris ludoviciana

Thelypteris kunthii

Woodwardia areolata




More Deer Resistant Questions

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

Plants that animals won't eat from Ione WA
April 19, 2013 - In Ione Washington and need to know what types of plants and flowers I can plant that animals in that area wont eat?
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant native plants for Idaho
March 22, 2008 - I live in Pocatello, Idaho. Everything we plant the deer eat. Are there trees, bushes, flowers that they won't eat? Is there any barriers or natural repugnant fragrances that will deter the deer f...
view the full question and answer

Need ground cover plants to grow in the shade a large oak in San Antonio, TX
March 09, 2015 - We have a large backyard in San Antonio covered with live oak and red oak. Since grass does not do well in this shade / bright shade area I would like to plant a low growing ground cover and then add...
view the full question and answer

Bur oak bark damage done by deer
February 03, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: Just noticed that deer have been rubbing the bark on good sized, but young, bur oaks planted last spring. Mostly in one spot on one side of the trunk. Will this kill the ...
view the full question and answer

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