En Espa—ol

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
3 ratings

Friday - September 25, 2009

From: Bastrop, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Evergreen deer resistant shrub for Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Bastrop TX and the deer have decimated the landscaping at the end of our sidewalk. I need to find compact, evergreen shrubs, (flowering would be a bonus), that will do well in shade and grow to be no more than 3'tall - and be deer-resistant.

ANSWER:

Here are several evergreen shrubs that meet at least some of your requirements fairly well:

The first plant that comes to mind is a dwarf cultivar of Morella cerifera (wax myrtle).  These are available in most nurseries.  They will grow in part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun per day) and are moderately deer resistant.  Be sure to ask for the dwarf cultivar; otherwise, you will have a shrub that will grow 6-12 feet high.

Mahonia swaseyi (Texas barberry) grows only to 3 or 4 feet, is highly deer resistant, but prefers full sun.

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) grows 3-6 feet high, is highly deer resistant and will grow in part shade.

Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista) is called bear grass, but isn't a grass; instead, it is a member of the Family Liliaceae (Lily Family) that grows to 1.5 to 2 feet.  It is evergreen, highly deer resistant and grows in part shade.

Chrysactinia mexicana (damianita) grows to 1-2 feet and is highly deer resistant, but prefers full sun.

You might consider one of the yuccas.  Without the flower stalk they are usually less than two feet high.  Deer will not usually eat the foliage, but they do love the flower stalks.  Both Yucca rupicola (Texas yucca) and Yucca arkansana (Arkansas yucca) will grow in part shade. 

You can see other recommended choices for plants for Central Texas under "Just for Central Texas" on our Recommended Species page.  There is also a link to Deer Resistant Species on that page under "Special Collections", however there aren't many choices in either list for evergreen shrubs less than 3 feet high.

Here are some photos of the above plants from our Image Gallery:


Morella cerifera

Mahonia swaseyi

Mahonia trifoliolata

Nolina texana

Chrysactinia mexicana

Yucca rupicola

Yucca arkansana

 

 

More Deer Resistant Questions

Deer-resistant plants for Anderson SC
October 27, 2010 - I usually plant pansies in the fall & impatiens in the spring under a large oak tree which gets afternoon sun. My impatiens were beautiful early on, but then were annihilated by something. I think i...
view the full question and answer

Barrier Planting in Boston
January 29, 2013 - I live in the Boston area and a school is being built right behind my property. The school kindly left me a 100' barrier that includes some 40' high pines, a couple of tall oaks and some spindly po...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Deer-Resistant Plants
March 22, 2004 - Do you have a list of Texas plants that are deer resistant?
view the full question and answer

How are NPIN Deer Resistance Ratings Determined?
May 06, 2014 - If your plant data-base (which is the best thing since sliced bread!) is silent on the degree to which a plant is deer-resistant, does this mean you just don't have enough information to make the cal...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistance of maple leaf viburnum in Austin
November 20, 2009 - Looking on the Texas Plant Information Database for Maple Leaf Viburnum, I donít find any information about deer (whitetail or axis, southern edge of Edwards Plateau) resistance. Other sites give mixe...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center