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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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Wednesday - July 24, 2013

From: Memphis, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Deer Resistant, Shade Tolerant, Shrubs, Trees
Title: An evergreen, deer-resistant shrub for Memphis
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I need an evergreen, deep to partial shade, deer resistant shrub or tree. Does such a plant exist?

ANSWER:

If you are mainly looking for an evergreen screening plant, I would suggest Ilex opaca (American holly), Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar), Prunus caroliniana (Cherry laurel) or Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon).  These are all shade tolerant and deer-resistant. Cherry laurel would probably be the fastest grower.  If you would like to try smaller, more showy plants, consider Rhododendron carolinianum (Carolina azalea), Rhododendron catawbiense (Catawba rosebay), or Rhododendron maximum (Great laurel).  These rhododendrons might be happier in more eastern (higher elevation) parts of Tennessee, but if you see them growing in the Memphis Botanic Garden they should be suitable for you.  Vaccinium angustifolium (Late lowbush blueberry) and Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) are relatively low-growing species that would grow well in partial shade.

Most of these plants should be available in one of your local plant nurseries.  I attach images of some of these species from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Image Gallery.

 

From the Image Gallery


American holly
Ilex opaca

Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

Carolina cherry-laurel
Prunus caroliniana

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Great laurel
Rhododendron maximum

Late lowbush blueberry
Vaccinium angustifolium

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

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