En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Deer-resistant groundcover for sunny hillside in California

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

Tuesday - November 17, 2009

From: Hillsborough, CA
Region: California
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Deer-resistant groundcover for sunny hillside in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

we are looking for a deer resistant, drought resistant ground cover that we can grow from seed. we have a large,partial sunny hillside, well drained,that is cover with oak leaves and pine needles..and weeds. any suggestions? Thank you.

ANSWER:

Grasses and sedges are one possibility.  Deer generally avoid eating grasses.  Here are a few native to your area and generally available as seeds:

Danthonia californica (California oatgrass) and you can see a photo here

Koeleria macrantha (prairie Junegrass)

Calamagrostis foliosa (leafy reed grass) 

Deschampsia cespitosa (tufted hairgrass)

Deschampsia elongata (slender hairgrass)  

Carex praegracilis (clustered field sedge) and here is more information and photos

Carex pansa (sanddune sedge) and here is an indepth article with photos by David Amme from Bay Natives. 

You can see more possibilities for grasses available in your area at Yerba Buena Nursery in Woodside, California and Bay Natives in San Francisco, one of our Associate SuppliersLarner Seeds in Bolinas, California, another of our Suppliers, lists most of the grasses recommended above and other California grass seeds for sale.

Las Pilitas Nursery in Santa Margarita and Escondido, California, another of our Suppliers, has an excellent article, California Gardens with Deer Problems, that has further recommendations for deer-resistant native plants.  Here are a few from that article that would be good groundcovers:

Clinopodium douglasii [syn. = Satureja douglasii] (yerba buena) and here are photos and more information

Monardella antonina (San Antonio Hills monardella)—deer avoid most members of the mint family (Family Lamiaceae) because of their strong flavor.

Ferns are also plants that deer avoid.  Since they aren't flowering plants they can't be planted from seed.

Polystichum munitum (western swordfern)

Dryopteris arguta (coastal woodfern)

Adiantum jordanii (California maidenhair) and more information and photos

These ferns as well as some of the other recommendations are available as plants in your area at Bay Natives in San Franciso and Yerba Buena Nursery in Woodside.   You can search for other suppliers in your area that might have seeds or plants of the above recommended species in our National Suppliers Directory.

 

More Deer Resistant Questions

Lupines for attracting deer in South Carolina
April 06, 2007 - I live in SC and was watching a TV show called "Making it Grow" and they did a segment on Lupine. The lady on the show said that the plant attracted whitetail deer and I was wondering if that was t...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses and wildflowers to attract butterflies in Blanco Co., TX
February 23, 2005 - Could you please recommend (native, xeriscape, deer resistant) grasses and flowers that attract butterflies that can be grown in Blanco County?
view the full question and answer

Groundcovers for hillside in Northern California
November 19, 2012 - I have read numerous posts on here, but I have not found my exact situation. I live in Northern California. I am looking for some type of ground cover to grow on a hillside. Directly above the hillsid...
view the full question and answer

Food for deer and turkey in Oklahoma
September 10, 2009 - We recently moved to NE Oklahoma from Texas and have 7 acres, a lot of wild turkeys and wild deer. About 2-3 acres are open, with sun and partial to lots of shade as the rest is heavily wooded. What ...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistance of Calylophus berlandieri
March 25, 2007 - Is Calylophus drummondii deer resistant? We have a lot of mule deer in se Arizona? Thanks in advance for your advice.
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