Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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?

Share

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Friday - September 25, 2009

From: Bastrop, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant
Title: Evergreen deer resistant shrub for Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Bastrop TX and the deer have decimated the landscaping at the end of our sidewalk. I need to find compact, evergreen shrubs, (flowering would be a bonus), that will do well in shade and grow to be no more than 3'tall - and be deer-resistant.

ANSWER:

Here are several evergreen shrubs that meet at least some of your requirements fairly well:

The first plant that comes to mind is a dwarf cultivar of Morella cerifera (wax myrtle).  These are available in most nurseries.  They will grow in part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun per day) and are moderately deer resistant.  Be sure to ask for the dwarf cultivar; otherwise, you will have a shrub that will grow 6-12 feet high.

Mahonia swaseyi (Texas barberry) grows only to 3 or 4 feet, is highly deer resistant, but prefers full sun.

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) grows 3-6 feet high, is highly deer resistant and will grow in part shade.

Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista) is called bear grass, but isn't a grass; instead, it is a member of the Family Liliaceae (Lily Family) that grows to 1.5 to 2 feet.  It is evergreen, highly deer resistant and grows in part shade.

Chrysactinia mexicana (damianita) grows to 1-2 feet and is highly deer resistant, but prefers full sun.

You might consider one of the yuccas.  Without the flower stalk they are usually less than two feet high.  Deer will not usually eat the foliage, but they do love the flower stalks.  Both Yucca rupicola (Texas yucca) and Yucca arkansana (Arkansas yucca) will grow in part shade. 

You can see other recommended choices for plants for Central Texas under "Just for Central Texas" on our Recommended Species page.  There is also a link to Deer Resistant Species on that page under "Special Collections", however there aren't many choices in either list for evergreen shrubs less than 3 feet high.

Here are some photos of the above plants from our Image Gallery:


Morella cerifera

Mahonia swaseyi

Mahonia trifoliolata

Nolina texana

Chrysactinia mexicana

Yucca rupicola

Yucca arkansana

 

 

More Deer Resistant Questions

Is India Hawthorne a deer-resistant plant?
July 03, 2011 - Is India Hawthorne a deer resistant plant in Beaufort County South Carolina?
view the full question and answer

Native plants for deer
June 01, 2008 - I live on 5 acres near Brenham and want to plant FOR the deer, without using non-natives. I leave unmowed islands of Buffalo grass, little bluestem and many native forbs. I know they are using it for ...
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

Deer and rabbit repelling plants at nature sanctuary in Waterford VA
May 11, 2010 - We have established a native pollinator garden at our nature sanctuary. Last summer deer and perhaps rabbits devastated it. Now people are proposing surrounding it with boxwood which deer don't like-...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant vines for Kentucky
January 28, 2010 - Is there a vine I can grow on my garden fence to deter deer?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.