When seeking out deer resistant flowering shrubs try to keep your expectations realistic. Deer will eat almost any plant if it is the only option, especially in areas with heavy deer populations. Even deer resistant bushes may be a source of food for a hungry animal, especially the tasty, tender, young growth and flowers. The Butterfly Bush (Buddleia), Barberry, and herbs like Lavender, Catmint, and Rosemary have the highest deer resistance ratings, with Viburnum (Snowball Bushes, etc), Abelia, Forsythia, Camellia, Lilac, Beautyberry, Weigela, and Rose of Sharon Hibiscus following close behind. Our Top Ten Deer Resistant Flowering Shrubs are also drought tolerant and low maintenance.
Flowering Shrubs | Deer Resistant Top Ten
These flowering evergreen shrubs have beautiful blooms that are reminiscent of old world roses. These southern staples are heat tolerant and generally bloom in fall and winter. Try the October Magic Camellia collection for exciting colors, huge lacy blooms, and high disease resistance. If you are looking for red flowers, check out the Yuletide, Hot Flash, Kramer’s Supreme, or the Greensboro Red Camellias. If you think pink, look to Shishi Gashira, Marie Bracey, and the Kanjiro Camellias.
Butterflies and hummingbirds love these fantastic deciduous flowering shrubs, but deer don’t! Weigelas are very easy to grow. Check out the Fine Wine Dwarf Weigela for a compact bush with dark green to purple foliage and tons of pink flowers. The Sonic Bloom Red Weigela offers true red blooms from spring to fall.
Forsythias are fast growing flowering shrubs that are known for their abundance of yellow blooms in spring. These pretty bushes are pollution and salt tolerant. Check out the classic Lynwood Gold for deep golden-yellow flowers and the Beatrix Farrand for a vibrant, sunny yellow color.
These unique bushes have pretty purple berries that add color to the landscape and feed wildlife from summer to winter. The berries can be used to make jelly and wine. We recommend the Japanese Beautyberry which is more compact and easier to maintain that the American Beautyberry.
Lilacs are well known and beloved fragrant flowering shrubs. Deer don’t love the heavenly scented blooms like we do, so these are an excellent choice for a deer resistant bush. Check out the reblooming series Bloomerang. Not only do they repeat bloom in spring, summer, and fall, they are also compact and highly disease resistant and come in pink and purple varieties.
Abelias are small flowering shrubs with dense, colorful foliage and delicate white to pink flowers that bloom from summer to fall. Abelias are hardy and versatile in the landscape. We love the colorful variegated varieties like Kaleidoscope, Mardi Gras, Radiance, and Confetti, but you can’t beat the classics, like Little Richard, Ed Goucher, and Rose Creek.
Viburnum is a vast group of blooming bushes that are stunning and easy to grow. Snowball Bush Viburnums have white pom-pom blooms and grow from 10 to 15 feet tall in sun or shade. Choose sterile varieties to avoid messy fruits and invasive spreading. If you want an absolutely gorgeous evergreen flowering shrub choose the Spring Bouquet Viburnum.
Perennial Herbs, like Rosemary, Lavender, and Catmint, can actually help keep deer away. Those scents that we love seem to have the opposite effect on deer. These perennial flowering shrubs are easy to care for and great for containers.
Barberry bushes are hardy and adaptable flowering shrubs that deer avoid at all costs. These tough shrubs are surprisingly beautiful and add a lot of color to the landscape. The newer varieties, like Crimson Pygmy, Orange Rocket, Rose Glow, and the Sunjoy series, are not invasive and come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. The downside to most Barberries are the thorns, but this is also what keeps the deer and other pests away and makes these flowering bushes great borders and screens.
Depending on your climate the Butterfly Bush (Buddleja or Buddleia) can be a deciduous shrub or a perennial. They tend to stay on the more compact side in the north and grow larger in the south. But either way these flowering shrubs are beautiful, colorful, and they definitely stand up to their name. Butterflies and hummingbirds love them...and equally as important deer HATE them! Butterfly Bushes are easy to grow and our favorite Deer Resistant Flowering Shrub! Browse our large selection of Butterfly Bushes.
View all of our Flowering Shrubs here