It’s not too late to plant hardy bulbs for some spring color. Before planting however, consider the conditions of the environment in which you are planting, specifically any animals that may feast on your attempts at beautifying the landscape.
In the online link at the end of this column are some recommended spring-flowering bulbs that can be planted now and are considered “deer-resistant.” Deer resistant plants are those plants that aren’t typically preferred by deer. It is certainly possible that in cases of limited food supply or stress they may eat the second best option available to them, however.
To date, there are more than 650 known plant species in our area that deer like, many of which are desirable ornamental plants. Planting resistant species is one method that can be used to minimize frustration with deer in the garden.
In most circumstances, deer prefer palatable (meaning smooth rather than textured) broadleaved herbaceous plants, but may also eat various features of woody ornamental plants since those are available year-round.
They prefer to feed near forest edges, but may venture into landscaped spaces when tempted by new spring growth, and also in winter when snow has limited much of their normal food supply. Their feeding habits vary from region to region based on food supply, stress and other factors so those plants considered deer resistant may still be consumed to ensure survival.
What may be considered resistant in one region may vary from another. That being said, while the plants in the list below are considered by researchers to be “deer-resistant,” keep in mind that deer may in certain circumstances still consume them.
Deer dinner often involves tasty tulips. So, to keep pretty bulbs that are lower on the menu for deer diets, try some ornamental Allium species, Lily-of-the-Valley, hyacinths, and/or daffodils. Some sources suggest that you are not necessarily limited to these plants however.
Experiment with your landscape and outwit deer by integrating deer-resistant species with less resistant species. It has been found effective in some cases.
For more information on deer resistant plants, contact the Franklin County Extension Service, 101 Lakeview Ct., 502-695-9305 and/or check out the following online resources: