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Wednesday - October 27, 2010

From: Anderson, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Deer-resistant plants for Anderson SC
Answered by: Barbara Medford


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 it was deer since we saw tracks where they ate our tomato plants. We live in a well-populated city area, but the deer are here now. Will I be safe planting pansies, or are there other plants that are deer-resistant that I could try?


To begin with, both pansies and impatiens are non-native to North America. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown. So, we really can't give you advice about planting those, or their deer resistance, because they are out of our realm of expertise. However, we do have a list of Deer-Resistant Species, found on the Recommended Species page, which might be of some help to you.

Few plants are completely deer resistant. Several factors influence deer browsing including the density of the deer population, environmental conditions such as drought, and plant palatability. Deer tend to avoid plants with aromatic foliage, tough leathery and/or hairy or prickly leaves or plants with milky latex or sap.

We went to the Deer Resistant Species list. On the sidebar, we selected on South Carolina, "herb" (herbaceous  blooming plant) and "part shade" to see what might be suited to your purpose. You could refine this search by indicating soil moisture available, even bloom color and bloom time, if you wish. Of course, the more specifications you add, the fewer choices you will get. When we ran the search as we indicated above, we got 42 results. We will list some that we think would be appropriate. Follow each plant link to that page to learn the Growing Conditions and bloom time. Note that we consider "sun" to be 6 hours or more of sun a day, "part shade" as 2 to 6 hours of sun, and "shade" as less than 2 hours. You might watch the shade around your oak tree and adjust your requirements according to how much sun plants under it actually get. Futhermore, some of these plants are rated as only "mildly resistant" and we avoided choosing any of those.

If you have difficulty obtaining the plants you choose, go to our National Suppliers Directory, type your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" box, and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and consultants in your general area. All have contact information so you can find out if they have what you are looking for.

Deer-resistant blooming shade plants for Anderson SC:

Asclepias incarnata (Swamp milkweed) 

Capsicum annuum (Chile pequin) 

Coreopsis tinctoria (Plains coreopsis) 

Euphorbia marginata (Snow on the mountain) 

Eupatorium serotinum (Late boneset) 

Monarda fistulosa (Wild bergamot) 

Passiflora lutea (Yellow passion vine) 

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed susan)

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet sage)

Scutellaria ovata (Heart-leaf skullcap)

Verbesina virginica (Frostweed)

Viola sororia (Missouri violet)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Asclepias incarnata

Capsicum annuum

Coreopsis tinctoria

Euphorbia marginata

Eupatorium serotinum

Monarda fistulosa

Passiflora lutea

Rudbeckia hirta

Salvia coccinea

Scutellaria ovata

Verbesina virginica

Viola sororia





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