Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

Deer Resistant Plants, Austin

Deer are a big problem for those who live among them. While they may be cute and fun to watch, they can wreak havoc on a landscape. Deer resistant plants for Austin and Central Texas are what you have to look for. Otherwise, you’re planting a salad bar.

Start by using deer resistant plants that belong in Austin and the surrounding area. The best plants that are stinky, spikey or stabby.

Choose “Spikey” Plants

Texas Sotol

Texas Sotol, drought and deer resistant

The good news is that there are many deer resistant plants, the bad news is that even deer resistant plants can be nibbled on if the deer are hungry enough. It is recommended that you do not feed deer to discourage them from eating in your yard as it can have the reverse affect.

Blue Agave

Agaves of all kinds are great for deer resistance.

Dwarf Burford Holly


Dwarf Burford Holly, 8x 8’

Yucca Rosrata

Yucca Rostrada 3 x 8’


Agarita, 4 x 4’

Choose Highly Scented Plants 

Texas Lantana

Texas Lantana

There are a variety of beautiful lantana in an array of colors that do very well in the Texas landscape. They are also very low water, low-maintenance and deer resistant

White Salvia

White Mealy Sage

All salvia’s and sages are deer resistant, drought tolerant and low maintenance. Look for members of the mint family and you can’t go wrong. Remember Deers don’t like stinky stuff so if the leaves are pungently you, then it’s a good choice.

Pink Salvia Greggi

Pink Salvia Greggi

Mexican Mint Merigold

Mexican Mint Merigold

Walkers Low Catmint

Walkers low Catmint

Echinacea purple coneflower


Look For A Selection Of Plants

The spikier the better. Plants that are unpleasant for you to touch are unpleasant for them to eat.  

Greggs Blue Mistflower

Greggs Mist, almost glows in the dark at dusk. deciduous, full to part sun

Gregg’s Blue Mistflower is a butterfly magnet but the deers aren’t so crazy about it. That makes this an excellent choice for any gardener. 

Moonflower Datura

Moonflower is a stunning dusk and night blooming flower that is fragrant and deer resistant. 

Paprika Yarrow

Pink or paprika Yarrow are excellent plants for Central Texas, Evergreen colorful and medicinal. Plant in full to part sun. 

Find Them in Nature

if you see them in the wild or by the side of the on road, commercial properties or in neighbors yards, you know those are good selections for deer resistant plants.


Mint, paddle cactus and bluebonnet.

Mint, seasonal bluebonnets and cactus of all kinds are deer resistant, though deer will eat cactus fruits. They like full to part sun. 

Twistleaf Yucca


Native Milkweed

Don’t Be Afraid Of Color

Fireman's Cap / Helmet Coral Bean-Full Sun

Fireman’s Cap Coral Bean

Golden Showers Thryallis

Golden Showers Thryallis, semi-evergreen, full to part sun 4 x 3

Thryallis is a grossly underestimated plant in the Central Texas Landscape. It’s a profusion of yellow flowers all summer long and love the heat. 

Wonderful Pomegranate

Wonderful Pomegranate, full to part sun, edible fruit 8 x 8

What can you say about growing your own fruit while enjoying spring flowers? While you might have to keep the squirrels at bay, the deer shouldn’t be a problem. 

Yellow Bells Esperanza-beautiful and drought tolerant.

Yellow Bells Esperanza-beautiful and drought tolerant. deciduous, full sun. 8 x 6

This is one of those plants you never forget. Like a ray of sunshine, it blooms all summer long. 

Pride of Barbados-super drought tolerant. Full sun.

Pride of Barbados-super drought tolerant. Deciduous, full sun. 8 x 6

Right out of tropics, this butterfly attraction is a gift of flower and unusual leaves that stand out in any landscape. 


Bearded Iris, Evergreen, full to part sun 2 x 2

Bearded Iris are one of my personal favorites for obvious reasons. Evergreen, low water and low maintenance.

Texas flowery Senna tree

Texas flowery Senna tree, semi evergreen, full to part sun 8 x 8

Spectacular Bloom!

Evergreen Wysteria, Spectacular Bloom! Full sun.

The Jerusalem Sage has a really fabulous flower form and a beautiful true sage color to the leaf.

Jerusalem Sage, 2.5 x 2.5

Incredibly fragrant, evergreen and beautiful.

Confederate Jasmine (or Star) vine is Incredibly fragrant

While most of what I would say about this plant is a positive, it can be cold sensitive. So don’t plant this where you need privacy because you may be looking at your neighbors if you’re counting on this one sustaining a deep freeze.

Desert Willow Tree

Desert Willow Tree, deciduous, full sun. 20 x 20

This heat loving flower bomb has a “Willowee” structure with long narrow leaves and fragrant flowers. You can enjoy them but the deers won’t.

Lisa LaPaso-Pineaple Guava

Pineapple Guava, Lg. evergreen shrub, full to part sun. 8 x 6

Mexican Bush Sage 4 x 5’

Mexican Honeysuckle Bush, 3 x 3’

Grass is a Great Way to Go


Mexican Feather Grass, evergreen, full to part sun. 2 x 2

Mexican feather grass and all grasses are deer resistant so look for varieties for your son conditions and you will be pleasantly surprised by the varieties you have to choose from.

Gulf Muhly, 3 x 3’

Lemon Grass, 2.5 x 3’

Textural Interest


Foxtail Fern, evergreen, shade to sun. 2 x 2

Ferns of all kinds are great deer resistant plants. Be sure you are choosing the right fern for your light requirements. Kimberly Queen, Wavy Cloak and Asparagus ferns are great for light and river, holly and wood ferns are great for shade and low light.


Kidneywood Tree, Deciduous, sun to part shade. Super fragrant when it blooms. 10 x 10

Compact Cherry laurel


Compact Cherry Laurel, 6 x 12”

Firecracker Fern, 2 x 2’

Powis Castle Artimesia 

Leatherleaf Mahonia

Leather Leaf Mahonia, both spikey and textural. 

These are just some of the plants I love to use in problem areas to deter deer from inviting thier friends to your buffet. With many colors, textures and light requirements you can find an array of plants to choose from. Plant strategically and send those pesky deer over to the neighbors house for lunch.

Lisa LaPaso

Lisa’s Landscape & Design (“like” me on facebook!)

“Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time”


  1. Vernon Berger

    Your pigeon berry looks like Poke weed to me. Also, I did see a name for: incredibly fragrant __________. What is it. Great info. Thanks

    • Poke weed has purple berries but they look a lot alike, and the fragrant vine is Confederate or Star Jasmine, thanks for the heads up.

  2. Tanya Davison

    Wow this a great list, especially with size and light requirements. My neighbors and I really need a similar list for free ranging Longhorns. I haven’t found anyone to address this problem yet.

    • Glad it is helpful Tanya, I worked a lot in Westalke and Lakeway where the deer are a real problem. I don’t have any experience with longhorn resistant plants and just Googled that and found nothing.

  3. After 19 years of not being bothered the deer population discovered my Pittosporums last summer. They went through my hedge row like Sherman through Atlanta. The dwarfs that I had perfectly shaped into round balls now look like a large kitchen scrubbies. They gave my Acanthus a good working over as well. They didn’t bother anything else many of which are on your list. Live and learn

    • Gerald, first of all your comment is hysterical, so thanks for the laugh. Though I know having your landscaped desecrated by deer is no laughing matter. I learned about them when I designed and planted an entire landscape for an event in Westlake and came back the next morning to stems. I have been on a mission ever since.

  4. Doris Buhr

    Pictures — about 5th from the bottom looks like some sort of feather grass plant and not a lantana. I think that somehow the wrong picture was added. Love your site and pictures. I am house bound but still want to garden — so I look out my windows, dream, and look at beautiful gardening sites on the Internet. Your site has given me a great mental boost. Best wishes and many blessings, plus many happy days while gardening!

    • Thank you for the heads up and I’m so happy you enjoyed it. Be well, and hope you’re back in the garden very soon.

  5. Melinda Smith

    Hi Lisa, We just purchased an Oakleaf Hydrangea from Lowes. We were told it was deer
    proof, but just had a deer today eating away at it. I plan on using some the plants you mentioned – very helpful.
    Thank You, Melinda
    Killeen, Tx

    • Hi Melinda, I am so glad you found it helpful. Happy gardening , fingers crossed.

    • Hi Melinda, I am so happy that helped. They re voracious to be sure, but planting the right flora can make a big difference.

  6. Christia Nealy

    Excellent source of information.

  7. Robin Fox

    Thank you for the information.

  8. Andrea Westcott

    Hi Lisa,
    I spent 15 years fighting the deer population in Copperas Cove. Some of the plants on your list are highly edible to them. Let’s just say they were eating my neighbor’s prickly pear cactus during the dry summer months. After years of trial and error, I had a beautiful landscape. We had to move to Georgetown last fall, and planted landscape plants I used before. The deer here are much more aggressive. They seem to challenge the cars on the roads. Anyway, they are even eating my salvia. I hope it stops when the salvia becomes more woody with age. Two plants they have never touched are the Mexican Bush Sage and Copper Canyon Daisy. The latter is my favorite.

    • Hi Andrea, you’re so right! This is a brutal drought and I don’t know if people are noticing the damage. Deer are especially compromised right now because there is no water available because of the mosquitoes and drought, they have no ground cover because it’s all burnt and even the trees are closing up shop. The only true way to keep deer from your beds is to create a barrier. When they’re starving, I’ve seen them eat Aloe and other Spiney plants to the ground. Youch!
      You might also try a liquid deer repellent. It’s real stinky at first then it goes away but the deer can smell it. It has to be done weekly to be effective. Others have tried water spray, spotlights and such, but once they figure it out, their laughing at ya.


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