Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
1 rating

Tuesday - August 14, 2012

From: Media, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Shade Tolerant
Title: Deer resistant, drought- and shade-tolerant plant for Pennsylvania
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, I need a deer/drought resistant, shade tolerant, rocky soil perennial. I would like it to have some winter appeal. I live outside of Philadelphia, PA. Thank you so much for your time!

ANSWER:

You can find a list of Deer Resistant Species on our Recommended Species page; however, I urge you to read our "disclaimer" concerning "deer resistant plants":

"Few plants are completely deer resistant. Several factors influence deer browsing including the density of the deer population, environmental conditions such as drought, and plant palatability. Deer tend to avoid plants with aromatic foliage, tough leathery and/or hairy or prickly leaves or plants with milky latex or sap. Try using some of the plants listed here to minimize deer damage to your landscape."

To find plants that meet your other criteria, use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to choose "Pennsylvania from the Select State or Province option, "Perennial" from Lifespan, "Shade" and/or "Part shade" from Light Requirement and "Dry" from Soil Moisture.  Here are some suggestions from that list:

GROUNDCOVER PLANTS:

Salvia lyrata (Lyreleaf sage) has evergreen leaves and violet/purple blossoms in the spring.

Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit) may remain green in mild winters.

Carex texensis (Texas sedge) is evergreen.

HERBACEOUS PERENNIALS (with showy summer blossoms):

Monarda fistulosa (Wild bergamot)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

SHRUBS:

Ptelea trifoliata (Wafer ash)

Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac) has colorful fall foliage and red berries that persist through the winter.

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry) has pink/purple berries that stay on the bush through the winter.

You might find the answer to a previous question about deer resistant plants from someone in Pennsylvania of interest.

 

From the Image Gallery


Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Wild bergamot
Monarda fistulosa

Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Eastern red columbine
Aquilegia canadensis

Wafer ash
Ptelea trifoliata

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

More Drought Tolerant Questions

Replacing Drought-Stricken Cedars
January 16, 2012 - Hello, I live in Williamson County on a couple acres. We have several dead cedars as a result of drought; we're reluctant to cut them down because many of them provide a friendly barrier between us...
view the full question and answer

My Cedar Elms drop leaves all year long. Is that a problem?
February 10, 2013 - Lake LBJ Area. My Cedar Elms,(I have about 8) drop leaves all year long and then drop all in late fall/early winter. Does the year round drop indicate a problem? It is definitely a nuisance. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Native plants for Jonestown/Leander
September 01, 2010 - Dear Mr.Smarty Plants, I am new to Texas we bought a house here in Jonestown/Leander that has absolutely no plant life whatsoever I was wondering if you could provide me with the names of some drough...
view the full question and answer

Drought & Deer Resistant Shrub for Shade in Medina, TX
June 14, 2013 - We are dedicated to native plants in Medina, but are desperate to find a drought and deer resistant shrub for shade. Would we be too far off base with an oleander bush? We know birds and most butterfl...
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistant, Fast Growing Groundcover Suggestions for Georgia
April 20, 2013 - Our driveway is 1/4 mile in length and is steep on both sides (one side up one side down). It currently has grass that our contractor planted using seed when we built our house. We are unable to cut t...
view the full question and answer

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