En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Climbing vines that are deer resistant

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

Friday - July 12, 2013

From: Columbia, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Deer Resistant, Vines
Title: Climbing vines that are deer resistant
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Please find plants that are climbing vines and are deer resistant

ANSWER:

Deer resistance is a relative thing, depending upon the availability (or not) of other more desirable food.  So there is no guarantee.  But I have in mind several vine species, ranging from the very deer-resistant Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria) to Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper), which deer love to nibble on.  The following species are probably in between in their palatability.  Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine), Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper), Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine), Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle), Clematis crispa (Swamp leatherflower) and Celastrus scandens (American bittersweet).

In my experience, deer do not bother Carolina jessamine or Crossvine, but they love Trumpet creeper.  Actually, that works out well, because Trumpet creeper tends to produce underground runners that send up shoots in areas where you don't want them to be.

You did not tell me what sort of site you have for the vines.  Some of the above species prefer full sun while others will grow in shade.  Some are evergreen and others deciduous.  Some grow to a greater height than others.  Reading about them on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Native Plant Database will give you the information you need to choose a vine suited to your needs.

I have observed that here in Texas (where the deer are rather small), any foliage at least 4 feet above the ground is not eaten by deer.  And they do not generally eat stems free of leaves.  So if you protect your vines until they grow high enough, you can enjoy most of the ones I have listed.

Most of the species listed above should be available at one of your local plant nurseries.  Some are shown in the images below.

 

From the Image Gallery


American wisteria
Wisteria frutescens

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Carolina jessamine
Gelsemium sempervirens

Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

Swamp leatherflower
Clematis crispa

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

More Vines Questions

Identification of vine in Pennsylvania
June 11, 2012 - I have several vine plants growing in my deck planters from last season. The leaves are 9 pointed, it looks more like 7, but there are 2 little points at the very bottom of the larger leaves. When t...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a vine with purple flowers
July 06, 2011 - I'm trying to identify a vine-like plant growing in my yard to determine if it is a weed or should be kept around. It has small purple flowers with a small yellow center, looking like a mini honeysuc...
view the full question and answer

Purple leatherflower with white bloom
July 17, 2014 - A couple of years ago at the wildflower center native plant sale I bought a purple leatherflower according to the tag. This is the first year it has bloomed and the blooms are pure white. The shape ma...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification--vine with spiny pods in California
July 05, 2010 - I came across a vine while hiking in Orange County, CA. It didn't have flowers on it but has 3 or 4 inch spiny pods. What is it? The vine itself looks similar to a Morning Glory vine.
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine in Ohio
March 26, 2010 - We were in our school's back yard and we found a vine that has green leaves and has a purple stem and we were just trying to figure out what is was? Can you help us out with that!
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center