Beautiful, Easy to Grow Deer Resistant Shrubs and Trees

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I have lived in northeastern Ohio my whole life and seeing deer is commonplace, even in densely populated suburban and urban areas.

My husband Jimmy and I like to walk through many of the beautiful public parks in the Cleveland area and it isn’t uncommon to see deer grazing.

Quite often, we are able to walk within 5 feet of them and they are not skittish or frightened by our presence.

It is as if they expect to see us!

Last week we saw a mother nursing her baby from about 15 feet away.

The mother saw us but didn’t mind us watching.

I love seeing them in nature.

Their big brown eyes are adorable and they are beautiful… until they start devouring my landscape!

Blooming Purple Lilac.
Lilacs are deer-resistant estimates that Ohio has 18.3 deer per square mile, the third highest in the country.

So Ohio gardeners especially know how deer can make their yard a nightly buffet.

There are many products designed to help keep deer away, however, they generally need to be reapplied regularly.

These are effective for use on a handful of plants but aren’t a realistic, long-term solution for an entire landscape.

One of the best strategies is to continue to add deer-resistant shrubs and plants to your landscape.

Although there isn’t any plant that is “deer-proof,” they certainly have favorite plants and will seek those out over those that they find distasteful.

Deer Resistant Shrubs & Trees

Below is a list of deer-resistant shrubs and trees.

If you live in an area with a high deer population, these plants won’t be their favorites and will make it easier to have a beautiful, enjoyable landscape.

Sometimes young curious deer will taste plants to see if they like them.

If you have a favorite plant that the deer nibble on, use a deer repellent consistently.

Also, see our list of deer-resistant annuals and perennials.

Deer Resistant Shrubs

Please click the plant name and image to see more pictures of each shrub

1. American Holly (Ilex opaca)

American holly leaves with red holly berries.
American Holly



2. Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)

Arrowwood Viburnum Shrub
Arrowwood Viburnum


3. Barberry (Berberis spp)

Barberry Shrub
Crimson Pygmy Barberry
Gold Pillar Barberry in Container
Gold Pillar Barberry


4. Bayberry (Myrica pennsylvanica)

Bayberry shrub in a container
Northern Bayberry (Myrica pennsylvanica)


5. Bluebeard, Blue Spirea, Blue Mist Shrub (Caryopteris spp.)

Bluebeard, Blue Spirea (Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Beyond Midnight’)


6. Butterfly Bush (Buddleia spp)

Butterfly Bush Lo & Behold Ruby Chip
Lo & Behold Ruby Chip Butterfly Bush


7. Boxwood (Buxus spp.)

NewGen Boxwood in container
NewGen Boxwood ‘Freedom’



8. Cotoneaster

Cotoneaster plant in a container
Cotoneaster ‘Little Gem’



9. Dwarf Alberta Spruce

Dwarf Alberta Spruce in black pot
Dwarf Alberta Spruce


10. Dwarf Fothergilla

Dwarf Fothergilla Flowers
Dwarf Fothergilla Flowers


11. Heath (Erica spp.)

Heath plant in a container (Erica 'Kramer's Red')
Heath ‘Kramer’s Red’ (Erica ‘Kramer’s Red’)


12. Heather (Calluna vulgaris)

purple flowering heather (Calluna vulgaris)
Heather (Calluna vulgaris)


13. Juniper (Juniperus spp.)

Blue Sargent Juniper planted in the ground with rock mulch.
Blue Sargent Juniper


14. Lilac

Purple Blooming Lilac flower.
Blooming Lilac


15. Andromeda (Pieris japonica)

Pieris japonica plant in a pot

Andromeda, View on Amazon


16. P.J.M. Rhododendron

PJM Rhododendron in bloom with Pinkish blooms

PJM Rhododendron, View on Amazon


17. Potentilla

Potentillas shrub with yellow flowers in a nursery pot

Potentilla, View on Amazon


18. Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia)

Red berries of a red chokeberry shrub.
Red Chokeberry

19. Rugosa Rose

Close up of a coral red flower with yellow center.
Rugosa rose


20. Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica)

a virginia sweetspire shrub in a nursery pot with pendulous white blooms

Virginia Sweetspire, View on Amazon


21. Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)

Red round berries on a stem.


22. Cutleaf Stephanandra (Stephanandra incisa ‘Crispa’)


23. Daphne

24. Drooping Leucothoe

25. Mugo Pine

26. Norway Spruce

27. Oregon Grape Holly

Blooming Dogwood Tree, blue sky with cloud in background.
Dogwood trees are deer-resistant

Deer Resistant Trees

  1. Betty Magnolia


2. Bottlebrush Buckeye

3. Chinese Elm

Pointed elongated Leaves of a Drake Chinese Elm
Drake Chinese Elm Tree

4. Colorado Blue Spruce

4. Dogwood

White 4-petal blooms of a Kousa Dogwood Tree
Kousa Dogwood Tree in bloom

5. Chinese Dogwood

6. European Hornbeam

7. Honeylocust

8. Hawthorn

9. Katsura

10. Leonard Messel Magnolia

11. Paper Birch

12. Patmore Ash

13. Pawpaw

14. Pine

15. River Birch

16. Russian Olive

17. Serbian Spruce

18. Sour Gum

19. Smoke Tree

20. Susan Magnolia

21. Sweet Gum

22. White Fringe Tree

Blooming White Fringe Tree in a home landscape.
White Fringe Tree

23. White Oak

24. Whitespire Birch

Looking for deer-resistant annuals and perennials? Click here for a list!


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