I was browsing a gardening store online, and I came across a berry that it advertised as 'deer resistant' (the purple beautyberry). This made me laugh (gladly; not mockingly), because nothing seems to deter deer from what I've heard, and I've never seen a fruiting plant (or any plant) marketed as deer resistant before. We don't have deer problems where I live, but just for the record, what are some more deer resistant edible plants? (Some might not consider the beautyberry berries to be edible, but they technically are supposed to be, and I've read they make great jelly. It should be noted that beautyberry is not squirrel or mockingbird resistant, however, but it's supposed to repel mosquitos and the leaves may stun fish.)

  • I think the edible varieties of viburnums might be deer resistant, but I'm not sure: eattheweeds.com/valuable-viburnums (Some viburnums, at least are said to be deer resistant). Note that at least one of those marked as edible in that link is said to be mildly toxic. Commented Oct 17, 2014 at 22:53
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    FYI Deer eat quite a few viburnum species here where I am.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Oct 17, 2014 at 22:55

3 Answers 3


Garlic has done OK outside the fence, as have chives. Neighboring garden had apparent success with potatoes outside the fence (makes sense, the plant is poisonous.) Raspberries (and other bramble fruit) are generally OK. They have not hassled my blueberries as far as I recall, though plenty of smaller beasties go for the fruit. I've had no noticeable trouble with currants.

  • On eastern Long Island the deer are browsing blueberry bushes.
    – That Idiot
    Commented Oct 28, 2014 at 19:24
  • Time to take up bowhunting and/or encourage everyone else to. I seem to recall that years ago there were already places in downstate where you could take as many as 3 deer in a season bowhunting because they were so desperately under-hunted.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Oct 28, 2014 at 19:42
  • Now they give you another tag whenever you turn in a deer head. I know guys that take dozens of deer legally each year. And it still isn't enough. We've got some properties (less than 5 acres) where nuisance control hunters will take more than 10 deer in a winter and still leave a strong breeding population in the neighborhood.
    – That Idiot
    Commented Oct 28, 2014 at 19:47

Many varieties of pepper plants (excluding bell peppers) are deer resistant and generally the hotter the pepper, the more the resistance. The capsaicin chemical that gives peppers their spice are also present in the leaves and stems and deer do not care for it.

It's always worth remembering this about deer resistance/rabbit resistance etc: It's all dependent on how hungry the critters are. If the plant isn't downright poisonous and the animal is hungry enough, it will eat it. Most things marketed as deer resistant are simply whatever is low enough on the menu that a deer will walk past it to eat something else.


You might try standard-sized fruit trees. The fruit height probably makes a difference. I have a hard time imagining deer climbing trees, or jumping super high just to snatch the fruit/leaves. Of course, you may need a big ladder.

You might try horseradish. Even if the deer eat it, it'll just just grow back in short order, and I'm sure they won't dig up the roots to eat those (which are what you're after, anyway). Of course, you might need to get your plant established first. Horseradish is said to be deer-resistant, but hungry deer are still said to eat it (especially young plants, which is what you would need to protect the most).

I've read that they don't bother black raspberries much (including wild ones).

Herbs like catnip are said not to be bothered much, but they're herbs (not salad greens).

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