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10 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Annual Flowers

It is beyond frustrating to look outside and see your flowers gone — completely mowed down by deer. Fill in those gaps with deer resistant annual flowers. These beautiful, long-blooming plants are rarely damaged by deer, making them perfect for a garden that’s beginning to feel more like a deer buffet.

red, white and pink poppies.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

1. Annual vinca (Catharanthus roseus)

Catharanthus rosea, annual vinca flowers.
Image credit: Depositphotos.

From early summer until the first frost, annual vinca blooms profusely in shades of pink or white, sometimes with a contrasting eye. The glossy green foliage is also attractive, featuring a distinctive pale midrib. A low-maintenance plant does not require deadheading or pinching and will bloom even in high heat.

Though tolerant of drought, annual vinca prefers moist, well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade.

2. Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)

deep pink and white snapdragon flowers.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

Named for the resemblance of its flowers to a dragon snout, snapdragon produces full spikes of these colorful, two-lipped blossoms throughout the summer. A variety of cultivars provide many color combinations and heights.

Snapdragon does not tolerate heat and needs moist, rich, well-drained soil in full to part sun. Learn more about growing snapdragons.

3. Sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima)

white sweet alyssum flowers.
Image Credit: Depositphotos

Fragrant, domed clusters of tiny, white to lavender flowers cover sweet alyssum in spring and fall, typically petering off in the hot summer months. The gray-green, lance-shaped to ovate leaves provide a lovely backdrop to the dainty blooms.

Sweet alyssum likes moist soil with good drainage in full to part sun. It may self-sow.

4. Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

calendula flowers.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

Equally at home in the herb garden and flower bed, calendula produces rays of orange petals that make a lovely golden dye. Some flowers come in yellow or burgundy hues, and some have a dark center. The hairy, oblong leaves have a pleasant fragrance.

Calendula needs good drainage and full sun, though it may appreciate some shade in hot summers. It often reseeds.

5. Spider flower (Cleome spp.)

pink spider flower.
Image credit: Depositphotos.

The long, wispy stamens emerging from airy flower clusters give spider flower its name. It blooms all summer in shades of pink, purple, or white. A surprisingly tall annual, it can reach six feet high, though dwarf varieties are also available.

Spider flower tolerates some drought but prefers moist, well-drained soil and full sun. Too much water or fertilizer can result in leggy growth.

6. Floss flower (Ageratum houstonianum)

purple floss flowers.
Image credit: Depositphotos.

Floss flower blooms from spring until frost, sending up clusters of fluffy, white to blue flowers held just above the ovate to deltoid foliage. It has a mounding habit, growing six inches to a foot tall, and the stems sometimes have an attractive reddish tint.

Moderately drought tolerant, floss flower thrives in rich, moist soil with good drainage in full sun.

7. Poppy (Papaver spp.)

red and orange poppies.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

Known for their papery, cup-shaped flowers, poppies come in a range of warm hues, often with a contrasting eye. The individual flowers bloom on long, spindly stems above ferny foliage in spring and early summer.

Poppies tend to prefer cooler climates and will grow best with full to part sun and good drainage.

8. Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens)

deep purple Heliotropium arborescens.
Image credit: Depositphotos.

Heliotrope features showy clusters of purple flowers with a strong fragrance reminiscent of vanilla. This shrubby tropical plant also has beautiful rough, dark green leaves with prominent veins. Though it can reach six feet in its native habitat, heliotrope averages 12 to 18 inches tall as an annual.

Heliotrope likes full to part sun and well-drained soil high in organic matter.

9. Strawflower (Xerochrysum bracteatum)

red strawflowers.
Image credit: Depositphotos.

However you choose to enjoy them, strawflowers last a long time. In the garden, they bloom from spring until frost, the straw-like petals opening to reveal a golden center. They also last a long time as cut flowers, and even when dried, these unique blooms retain their shape and color (white, yellow, orange, pink, or red).

Strawflower prefers average to dry soil and full to part sun. Though not essential, deadheading will encourage reblooming.

10. Flowering tobacco (Nicotiana alata)

Flowering tobacco.
Image credit: Depositphotos.

A nighttime bloomer, flowering tobacco attracts moths and other nocturnal pollinators. The showy, trumpet-shaped flowers open in the evening in shades of white, yellow, or red and bloom from early summer until frost. Plant flowering tobacco where its strong fragrance can be enjoyed.

Flowering tobacco likes moist, rich, well-drained soil in full sun to partial shade.

Beautiful and Aromatic, Deer Resistant Perennials

a collage of deer resistant perennial plants.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

Annual flowers are beautiful, but I would like to add a few perennials that come up year after year without me having to do anything other than enjoy them.

Here are ten deer-resistant perennial flowers.

How To Stop Deer From Eating Hydrangeas (Other Plants Too)

A deer peeking from behind a large hydrangea bush.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

It’s heartbreaking when you take up to disaster in your hydrangea garden. I should know: we planted 40 hydrangeas at the bottom of our front yard, only to find out the deer loved our hydrangeas even more than we did.

Here’s what I learned about how to stop deer from eating hydrangeas.

5 Deer Resistant Shrubs to Bambi-Proof Your Yard

pink butterfly bush.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

Are you tired of losing your shrubs to deer? Plant these shrubs around your front yard, and they’ll likely leave them alone.

While no plant is ever 100% safe from deer, they’ll turn their noses at these 5 Bambi-proof shrubs.

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Serena Manickam is a freelance editor and writer and sustainable market gardener in rural Virginia. She holds a BA in environmental science and runs Fairydiddle Farm, a small market garden in which she grows no-spray produce and herbs to sell at a local farmer’s market.

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