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25 (Almost) Deer-Proof Perennials for Zone 3 Gardeners


Dealing with deer in your garden is no fun. These graceful creatures can easily make a lunch out of your beautiful perennial garden, destroying all of your hard work. A deer will eat anything if it’s hungry enough, but there are some perennial flowers you can grow in zone 3 that they will generally leave alone. In this post I’m sharing a list with pictures of some of the flowers that deer will not eat.

Once you’re done reading up on these deer resistant flowers, you can read more about creating a low maintenance perennial garden

1. Allium

Deer are turned off by the onion-y smell. Plant these spring bloomers in the back for some height and interest in the perennial bed.

2. Anemone

Grow the woodland variety of anemone for a longer-blooming ground cover, or other varieties for early spring cut flowers.

3. Aster

Asters are very drought tolerant and attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

4. Beardstongue

5. Beebalm (Mordana)

Bee balm is attractive to bees, as the name suggests, and is one of the longer blooming plants on this list. Use it as a border plant in the perennial garden.

6. Blanketflower

Another native plant for prairie gardeners that’s also drought resistant. Plant it as a border plant for summer blooms.

7. Bleeding Heart

Bleeding hearts come in shades of pink and white, and are a staple of the shade garden. They’re an extremely easy to grow plant on the prairies–perfect for beginners.

8. Catmint

Catmint is a favourite of cats and pollinators, but the deer don’t like it.

9. Daylily

Daylilies come in a wide range of colours, and are great for the full sun or part shade garden. The orange ones in this picture below can be invasive, but there are many other lovely varieties that are not.

10. Delphinium

Delphiniums are very tall–so plant them at the back of the garden and consider staking them with extra tomato cages, so they can withstand a summer storm.

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    11. False Sunflower (Heliopsis)

    Heliopsis are long blooming flowers that provide a bright dash of yellow in the late summer garden.

    12. Foxglove

    Foxglove can be poisonous for kids and pets, so consider skipping this one if you have toddlers or an animal that gets into everything.

    13. Iris

    A spring classic, that comes in many shades of purple, yellow, and even some less common colours like pink, blue and red.

    14. Ladies Mantle

    Lady’s mantle is a perfect supporting cut flower to have in the perennial garden. Want to know more about cut flowers? You’ll love these posts.

    Ladys mantle – Latin name – Alchemilla colorata (Alchemilla cinerea)

    15. Lamium

    Lamium is a wonderful shade plant that works perfectly as a ground cover underneath a tree.

    16. Lungwort

    An earlier spring blooming perennial that bees love and deer don’t.

    17. Lupine

    Lupine comes in so many colours, and looks beautiful in cut flower arrangements.

    18. Meadowsweet (Spiraea)

    A classic shrub with delicate, white blooms in the spring.

    bushes blooming white spiraea in garden

    19. Monkshood

    Monkshood looks similar to a delphinium, but can also be poisonous to kids and pets. Avoid this plant if you have either.

    Close-up image of violet high altitude wildflowers (Aconitum napellus) against a rocky background in the Cirque de Troumouse, Pyrenees National Park, France

    20. Narcissus (Daffodil)

    Daffodils are an ideal spring perennial. They are the earliest to bloom, they come in so many beautiful variations of white, cream, yellow, peach, orange, and pink, and they multiply over the years.

    21. Peonies

    Possibly my favourite late-spring blooming flower. Did you know that peony bushes can last upwards of 80 years? Here’s some tips on planting peonies so you get blooms.

    22. Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susan)

    You don’t have to grow the same-old black eyed susan’s that everyone has. I love these Prairie Sun ones (pictured below) as well as Cherry Brandy and Sahara. Just cover them with a thick layer of leaves in the fall in zone 3 and lower.

    23. Sage (Salvia)

    A long-blooming summer annual that adds some height and interest in the perennial flower garden.

    24. Verbena

    Fantastic ground cover underneath a tree that provides cheerful spring colour.

    Garden flowers Verbena on the first powerful rays of spring sunshine.

    25. Yarrow

    Many consider yarrow an invasive weed, and while I’ll admit that it’s no fun when it’s in your lawn, I love it in the perennial garden and as a cut flower.

    Are there any of these choices that surprised you? Any perennials that you’d add to the list? Please remember that I’m writing from zone 3 in Saskatchewan, Canada, so if you’re from somewhere warmer, please also include your zone and what general area you’re in.

    Want to Create a Perennial Garden that Constantly Blooms from Spring to Fall, without Constant Work? Here’s how. . . 

    Kristen Raney

    Kristen Raney

    Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

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    Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

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