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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 - August 25, 2014

From: Newtown Square, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Deer Resistant, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Deer Resistant Plants for Newton Square, PA
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I'm looking for highly deer resistant plants native to PA. Thank you!

ANSWER:

Mr Smarty Plants can lead you that way, but it is a difficult question.  Partially because deer aren’t very picky and will eat the tastiest of the plants which are available.  Your solution in this direction is to have your neighbors grow stuff which is more attractive to them!  As this is not a very likely situation, the other path is to laboriously search out the Mr Smarty Plants archives for good candidates.

One of my favorites is to simply search out where this has been addressed in old MSP question/answer pairs.  Here are several that deal with deer resistance and come from your area:

How are NPIN Deer Resistance Ratings Determined?

Deer resistant plants for Pittsburgh PA
Deer resistant trees and shrubs for PA   
Evergreen, deer resistant privacy screen for Villanova PA 
Perennial ground cover for hillside in Holmdel NJ 
Deer resistant plants for a bioswale in NJ

  Another method to check it out is to review the special collections of native plants that the Wildflower Center maintains. This link is to the Recommended Species collection for Pennsylvania.  The issue, as noted in the messages before, is that deer resistance is not a field we can automatically search. You would search the collection for plants that appeal then you have to read the plant record. Deer Resistance is a separate line under the category “Benefits”.

  The latest method though (and the best), is that the Wildflower Center has developed a specific collection of Deer Resistant Species.  This one can be searched for Pennsylvania and also whether you want wildflowers or shrubs [or other plant habits].  Here are a few likely plants that I found amongst the 87 candidates.

Shrubs:

Amorpha fruticosa (Indigo bush)

Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac)

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry)

 

Herbs [Wildflowers]

Arisaema dracontium (Green dragon)

Capsicum annuum (Chile pequin)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wild rye)

Ratibida columnifera (Mexican hat)

 

From the Image Gallery


Leadplant
Amorpha canescens

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Green dragon
Arisaema dracontium

Chile pequin
Capsicum annuum

Canada wild rye
Elymus canadensis

Mexican hat
Ratibida columnifera

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