Lisa's Landscape & Design

Saving the Planet One Yard at a Time

Deer Resistant Plants for Austin and Central Texas!

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. You need to know what plants to use to prevent them from turning your yard into a salad bar.

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.

Agaves and grasses of all kinds are deer resistant.

Start by using deer resistant plants The best plants that are stinky, spikey or stabby. There is a pretty great list so let’s goer right to it.


Texas Lantana

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

White Salvia is also a great choice for deer issues, low water low maintenance. (sun to part sun)

White Salvia is also a great choice for deer issues, low water low maintenance, sun to part sun. All Sages are good deer resistant plants.

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 pungent then it’s a good choice.


Both the native butterfly weed and milkweed are deer resistant and feed our migrating butterflies.

Squid Agave, (full to part sun)

Squid Agave, evergreen, full to part sun.


Any plant with spikey margins, spines or thorns will help deter deers but they will eat roses so be cautious of those.

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

Greggs Mist is an excellent choice because it almost glows in the dark at dusk.

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 are so crazy about it. That makes this an excellent choice for any gardener. 

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

Paprika Yarrow is an excellent plant for Central Texas, evergreen, colorful and medicinal.

Paprika Yarrow 

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


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. 


Oregano, evergreen, full to part sun, edible, medicinal.

Many herbs such as basil, mint, rosemary and oregano are for the most part are deer resistant, though some can be exceptions.


Mexican Bush Sage, semi evergreen, Full to part sun.

Mexican bush sage is a beautiful specimen for mass planting. This perennial provides months of flowers for bees wildlife. Super low water and deer resistant. 

upright rosemary

Upright Rosemary, evergreen, full sun, edible

Both upright and trailing rosemary are great choices for full sun beds with deer. Low water and little to no maintenance. 

Trailing Rosemary

Trailing Rosemary, evergreen,full to part sun, edible 8 x 8’

Not only is this plant fabulous with its 24 inch bright red flower spikes, but it’s also low water and deer resistant. 

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 can about growing your own fruit. 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.

Texas evergreen Wisteria is a flowering vine that’s as fragrant as it is beautiful. Growing to 25’ it’s great for a trellis or fence line. 

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

Jerusalem sage has a really fabulous flower form that looks like a crown of yellow petals. This evergreen plant can thrive in sun to shade. It has beautiful sage colored leaves with silver fur on the lower epidermis.

Incredibly fragrant, evergreen and beautiful.

Confederate Jasmine (or Star) vine is an Incredibly fragrant, evergreen and beautiful. Full to part sun. 15 x 15 spread

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

The pineapple guava is a flowering shrub with edible fruit that does very well in part sun. 


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.

Pink Salvia is the most common, bright pink and a great hummingbird and butterfly attraction.

Pink Salvia, full sun 3 x 3

While pink salvia is one of the most common you will see, there are a multitude of colors and varieties and they are all the resistant, low water and low maintenance.


Echinacia, Purple Cone Flower. Deciduous, medicinal. 2 x 1

This is another plant that comes in many colors that does beautifully in our landscape. I encourage you to try some new varieties and see what works best for you.

Firecracker fern

Firecracker fern, semi evergreen, full to part sun. 2 x 2

I am a big fan of the Firecracker Fern For its profuse coral bloom cycles and interesting texture.

Mexican Honey Suckle

Mexican Honey Suckle, semi evergreen full to part sun. 3 x 3



Flax Lily in the front and Cordiline (the purple leaves) in the back. both are full sun to shade and are awesome evergreen plants for contrast. 2 x 2


knife Acacia, evergreen full to part sun. 6 x 5


Twist Leaf Yucca, evergreen, full to part sun. 2.5 x 2.5


Gulf Muhly full to part sun. Low water and little maintained. Trim back to about 1′ after the last frost to encourage growth.


Pigeonberry, shade, deciduous. 2 x 3


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.


Paddle Cactus, Agave and Palms are all deer resistant, evergreen and very low water/ just be sure not to place them near cars or people like these guys did.


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


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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