Suzie's Scapes
Deer Resistant Rock Garden
Deer eating greens.

Nothing is more pleasing than the sight of young deer grazing in a meadow. Except, of course, when that meadow happens to be your GARDEN.  If you are fortunate enough to live in a rustic or rural setting, you can give in and simply live with deer, or you can try using hot pepper spray or predator urine to safely discourage the deer from your yard.  Another trick is to plant deer and drought resistant plants.  Here are a few examples:

These plants can be grown most anywhere in the continental U.S. (and across corresponding temperate zones).

Hens-N-Chicks in clay stawberry pot Hens-N-Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum)Hens-N-Chicks in bloom

A rosette-like plant that is deer-resistant. Its succulent leaves mass together to form short, compact mounds. Hens and chicks produces a spiked flower but the plant is grown mainly for its foliage. The tiny chick plants grow at the base of the hen or main plant. Detach the chicks and plant them elsewhere, if propagation is desired. Otherwise, just let them be, and they'll form a dense mat that essentially serves as a ground cover.

Stonecrop trailing over a rock bed Stonecrop (Sedum)

Upright StonecropA succulent perennial, Stonecrop is available in either upright or low-growing form. The foliage is thick and waxy and the flowers are actually clusters of many flowerettes. Blooming mid-summer through fall, Stonecrop does well in nearly any type of soil and in either full sun or part shade. The low-growing form will spread to create a thick mat of flowers that requires little care. The upright form will also spread, however, not quite as vigorously as the low-growing form.Red Sedum

The leaves are sometimes variegated and can range in color from bluish-green or greenish-yellow to reddish-pink or almost off-white.   Stonecrop produces flowers that can be yellow, orange, red, pink or white. Flowers usually bloom in clusters above the foliage.

Prickly Pear Cactus in bloom Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia compressa)Prickly Pear about to bloom

Barbed-wire fences may be effective in deer control, if they are tall enough. But why not put the barbed-wire right on the plant? Well, that's just what prickly pear cactus does. It grows to be about 6-14 inches tall, and it bears showy yellow flowers, 2-3 inches in diameter. A prickly pear cactus in bloom next to a red-flowered stonecrop makes for a striking rock garden tandem. This is the only cactus found widely in the eastern U.S.

Lamb's Ear Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantina) Lamb's Ear

Aptly named for its appearance, this is a low-growing, spreading perennial. It's leaves are very woolly feeling and the shape certainly looks like little lambs' ears. It provides wonderful texture in rock gardens and spreads readily.

Rock Garden with Lamb's EarLamb's ear eventually produces light purple flowers on tall spikes. Its silvery foliage has a velvety texture, which is how lamb's ears got its name. Apparently it is this same texture that makes lamb's ear unpalatable to deer.

Provide your drought-resistant, deer-resistant perennials with good drainage and sun, and you should have a rock garden envied by all your neighbors -- except the deer.

Also see Deer Chaser Fountain

More Drought Resistant Plants

Contact Suzie's Scapes for more great ideas!

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