En EspaŅol

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


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.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - April 15, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Shrubs
Title: Deer Resistant and Drought Tolerant Pink-Flowering Shrub for Austin, TX
Answered by: Anne Van Nest


Is there a pink-flowering bush that is deer resistant and drought tolerant that would do well in Austin, TX? If not pink flowering, any color of a flowering bush is fine.


The first place to go to find a list of potential plants is our Native Plant Database.  Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have partners in different regions to help with these recommended species lists based on what is easy to access in local nurseries.

Under Combination Search, select the following categories: Texas, Habit – Shrub, Duration – Perennial, Soil Moisture – Dry, and Bloom Color – Pink (you can easily change this to another color). This will give you 22 plants to narrow down. Next you can narrow down your search further by indicating light requirement (sun, part shade or shade), size, and leaf retention (deciduous or evergreen).

When you have your list of a dozen or so potential plants, take a look at the list of plants that deer tend to avoid. Cross reference your potential plants list with the deer resistant plant list and you will have some good candidates for your garden.

Two possibilities that fit your deer resistant, drought tolerant and pink flowering criteria are:

Symphoricarpos occidentalis (Western snowberry) small pinkish-white blooms in June-July. Deer-resistant.

Anisacanthus puberulus (dwarf desert honeysuckle) reddish-pink blooms June-September (Another in this genus is listed as deer resistant so this one might be also).

Expanding your blooming color to any other color will give you more plants to put on your possibilities list. Remember to consider other aspects of the plant such as bark, fruit, multi-season interest, or form in addition to flower color.


From the Image Gallery

Western snowberry
Symphoricarpos occidentalis

Dwarf desert honeysuckle
Anisacanthus puberulus

More Deer Resistant Questions

Plants that animals won't eat from Ione WA
April 19, 2013 - In Ione Washington and need to know what types of plants and flowers I can plant that animals in that area wont eat?
view the full question and answer

Protection of redwoods from deer rutting
June 04, 2008 - We have a mountain home that we visit every other weekend. Are there any methods to protect redwoods from deer rutting that we can put in place since we are not there enough to spray repellent every f...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover and Butterfly attractants for LaRue Texas
May 02, 2012 - LaRue, TX - Would like a native low growing plant as a groundcover. I would like it for six+ hours of sun, drought tolerant, and ones that butterflies might enjoy, while deer won't. Some winter int...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for New York to feed deer
January 02, 2010 - What native grasses do you recommend to encourage deer forage in feed plots?
view the full question and answer

How are NPIN Deer Resistance Ratings Determined?
May 06, 2014 - If your plant data-base (which is the best thing since sliced bread!) is silent on the degree to which a plant is deer-resistant, does this mean you just don't have enough information to make the cal...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center