These plants can be grown most anywhere in the continental U.S. (and across corresponding temperate zones).
Hens-N-Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum)
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.
A 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.
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 (Opuntia compressa)
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 (Stachys byzantina)
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.
Lamb'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
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