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Mr. Smarty Plants - Deer-resistant plants for South Carolina

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Friday - December 09, 2005

From: Millbury, MA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Deer-resistant plants for South Carolina
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have purchased a home in SC in an area that is overun with deer. What flowering plants for that area do deer not eat.

ANSWER:

First of all, you need to realize that lists of deer-resistant plants hold true most of the time; however, if the deer are stressed for food, they may decide that these otherwise deer-resistant plants are quite tasty after all. That said, here are three lists of deer-resistant plants:

1. From the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service, Deer-Tolerant Ornamental Plants.
2. From the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Best Deer Resistant Landscape Plants.
3. From the Native Plant Society of Texas, an article, Camouflage Gardening, about how to create a deer-resistant garden. This also includes a list of deer-resistant native Texas plants, many of which are also appropriate for South Carolina.

The first two lists (Cincinnati Botannical Gardens and Georgia Cooperative Extension Service) give both native and non-native ornamental plants. Since our mission here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is the study and promotion of native plants, I will recommend a few of the deer-resistant plants on the lists that are native to South Carolina:

1. Lantana (Lantana camara) or Texas Lantana (Lantana urticoides)
2. Native Irises, Dwarf crested iris (Iris cristata), Slender blue iris (I. prismatica), and Dwarf violet iris (I. verna)
3. Lyre-leaf sage (Salvia lyrata)
4. Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata)
5. Steeplebush (Spiraea tomentosa)
6. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
7. Purple bergamot (Monarda media)
8. Coreopsis, such as C. auriculata, C. basalis, C. grandiflora or C. major
9. Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
10. Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

You can find recommendations for landscaping with native plants for your area from the North Carolina Native Plant Society and compare them to the deer-resistant lists for matches.

To find a nursery or seed company selling native plants in your area, visit our National Suppliers Directory where you can search by state or region for suppliers. Both the South Carolina Native Plant Society and the North Carolina Native Plant Society have links to suppliers on their web pages, also.
 

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