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

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Monday - October 08, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant, Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Is straggler daisy deer resistant from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is straggler daisy (horseherb) deer resistant? We have lots of deer in our NW Hills, Austin neighborhood, and a lot of shade where not much will grow. Is that plant a good candidate for ground cover where there are deer?

ANSWER:

Please follow this plant link, Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy), to our webpage on it, where you will learn it is a fast-growing, nice low ground groundcover that can tolerate moderate foot traffic. It is native to Travis County, according to this USDA Plant Profile Map, so that means it should not use too many resources, like water, and certainly not fertilizer. What you will not learn is whether or not it is deer resistant, because we don't know. We have a deer-resistant species list, and you should read this statement:

"Deer Resistant Species

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. Try using some of the plants listed here to minimize deer damage to your landscape."

However, this is a very sturdy plant, easily spread to the point that many gardeners consider it a weed. We could hope that either it will be so low that the deer won't eat it, or they won't be able to eat it faster than it can spread. Even so, they will be eating something that you didn't have to spend a lot of money on, or a lot of time caring for it. We would think it would be worth a try, at least distracting the deer from plants that are more valuable to you.

 

From the Image Gallery


Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

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