Have deer? Residents in the Los Altos Hills area of California have found that deer are constant visitors to their gardens and can devour most of a day's work in one scrumptious night. After setting the late night buffet several times, and very successfully (ask our rotund deer-friends) using many plants labeled as Deer Resistant, we've whittled down our list of truly deer resistant perennials and shrubs (listed below) for use in the Los Altos Hills area with no browsing, even at a just-installed 1 gallon size!
As a caveat with any plant; although deer and other foraging animals may not be naturally attracted to browse on specific plants, if you place any plants in the deer's natural path, they will kindly gnash and trample them as a sign that you've made a bad choice in placement which could hold up evening traffic. Deers and other night feeding animals are more or less consistent in using well worn pathways and are not likely to change for convenience.
As well as being almost indestructible, with the plants listed below, we turned off the drip irrigation 6 months after installation and only hand watered once every month/as needed. The plants performed very well in summer and winter alike, decisively exceeding our expectations in growth & durability and lacked any of the common water-related diseases.
List as follows:
Achillea sp. (Yarrow)
Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon)
Lavandula sp. (Lavender)
Mimulus sp. (Shrubby Monkeyflower)
Myrica californica (Pacific Wax Myrtle)
Penstemon sp. (Penstemon)
Pyracantha sp. (Firethorn)
Rosmarinus sp. (Rosemary)
Salvia apiana (White Sage)
Salvia clevelandii (Cleveland Sage)
We suggest continuous experimentation as every garden, every micro-climate and every midnight browser has different...tastes!