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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.

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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.

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Friday - June 22, 2012

From: Raleigh, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Lists, Deer Resistant
Title: Need deer resistant plants for a shady north facing garden in Raliegh, NC.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I am in need of Deer Resistant Native Shade plants for a North Facing Garden. It is 3 feet wide by 20 feet long. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thank you, Eaten Alive

ANSWER:

If North Carolina deer are like Texas deer,  they’ll pretty much eat anything when they are hungry. However, I’ve found some information that may give you a fighting chance. I’m going to give you several links to North Carolina Carolina Cooperative Extension which has an office in Wake County. The topics include plants lists, managing deer, and landscaping.

(a) plant lists 

(b) managing deer 

(c) landscaping 

Once you have the names of some plants that you might use, you can check them out using our Native Plant Database.  Go to the  “Search native plants database”,  type in the name, and click “go”.  If it is a native plant, the NPIN page for that plant will come up,  and you can learn about its size. light requirements, and other characteristics. Here’s a couple of examples. From the list in (a), we find Abelia, but when we type it in, we don’t get  a page showing.  This means it is not native. Another plant on that list is Yaupon. When we type that in, we get Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon). We find that it is a shrub, 12 - 36' tall, grows in sun, shade, or part shade, but not in Wake County.   Another plant listed is Wax Myrtle  Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) .It is an evergreen shrub, grows in sun, partial shade, and is found in Wake County.

So with a little due diligence, you should be able to come up with a list of plants that will beautify your garden, and have the deer looking elsewhere.

 

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