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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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Thursday - March 14, 2013

From: San Marcos, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Water Gardens, Deer Resistant
Title: Deer Resistant Pond Plants
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I am looking for deer resistant aquatic plants to use around a natural swimming pond in San Marcos, TX. The plants will be used to filter the water in a separate section of the pond. There will be a planted area that is 18 inches deep for floating and subsurface plants and an area that is 2-3 inches deep, plus planting areas around the pond to encourage wildlife, etc. Any suggestions will be appreciated!

ANSWER:

Great idea to include more native plants around your natural swimming pond and also allow deer to drink and feed in the area too. Take a look at our Native Plant Database to see the recommended list of deer resistant species. Few plants though 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 we have listed to minimize deer damage to your landscape.

Narrow down the list by just including the Texas natives, full sun and saturated soil to get the subset that will be most appropriate for your situation. There are over 25 plants to consider.

Grasses for the edge of your pond:

Bushy bluestem (Andropogon glomeratus)

Perennials for the edge of your pond:

Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

Rose-mallow (Hibiscus lasiocarpos)

Winged lythrum (Lythrum alatum)

River primrose (Oenothera jamesii)

Shrubs for the edge of the pond:

Wax myrtle (Morella cerifera)

In the pond:

Scouringrush horsetail (Equisetum hyemale var. affine)

Manyflower marshpennywort (Hydrocotyle umbellata)

Zigzag iris (Iris brevicaulis)

Virginia iris (Iris virginica)

American water-willow (Justicia americana)

Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) or on edge

Bigfoot water clover (Marsilea macropoda)

American lotus (Nelumbo lutea)

Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

Knotty Pondweed (Potamogeton nodosus)

Starrush whitetop (Rhynchospora colorata)

Bulltongue arrowhead (Sagittaria lancifolia)

Broadleaf cattail (Typha latifolia)

American eelgrass (Vallisneria americana)

 

From the Image Gallery


River primrose
Oenothera jamesii

Swamp milkweed
Asclepias incarnata

Woolly rose-mallow
Hibiscus lasiocarpos

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Winged lythrum
Lythrum alatum

Scouring-rush horsetail
Equisetum hyemale var. affine

Bushy bluestem
Andropogon glomeratus

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Starrush whitetop
Rhynchospora colorata

American lotus
Nelumbo lutea

Zigzag iris
Iris brevicaulis

Manyflower marsh-pennywort
Hydrocotyle umbellata

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