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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - June 24, 2012

From: Oxford, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Deer Resistant, Groundcovers, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Deer Resistant Groundcover for lower Michigan
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

What ground cover is deer resistant for a sunny location in lower Michigan?

ANSWER:

Mr Smarty Plants method for searching out suggestions is to pull up the “Recommended Species” list and sort that for the requested characteristics.  In this case, I used the MI Collection and sorted this for “Sunny” and “0-1” feet high. This approach gave me 8 candidates.  You have to read the plant record to find out about "Deer Resistance".  Deer Resistance, when noteworthy, is found in the “BENEFIT” section for each plant.  As groundcovers are just about perfect for deer food, beware of any that have notations indicating food value for either wildlife or people.

Using this method, I found four plants to suggest.   Allium canadense (Meadow garlic) and Viola sororia (Missouri violet) are listed as having high Deer resistance – and Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's breeches) was listed as Moderate.  Interestingly [to me], Opuntia humifusa (Devil's-tongue) is in this listing without a Deer resistance annotation, but they do very well escaping the deer down here!

I also checked as to what previous Mr. Smarty Plants answers said about groundcovers.  This one asked about both deer resistance and sandy soil.
The rest of the questions did not specifically ask about Deer Resistance, but if you like any of these suggestions, just check the “BENEFIT” comments.  All of these questions come from Michigan:
Groundcovers for Central MI
Evergreen Shrubs for Detroit 
Memorial Garden in N. Michigan  
Plants for Shady, low-traffic area

 

From the Image Gallery


Meadow garlic
Allium canadense

Meadow garlic
Allium canadense

Missouri violet
Viola sororia

Missouri violet
Viola sororia

Dutchman's breeches
Dicentra cucullaria

Low prickly pear
Opuntia humifusa

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