Deer-resistant perennials include catmint, Dutchman's breeches, foxglove, ornamental salvia, lavender and lamb's ear. Deer also avoid peonies, Montauk daisies and most other plants with strong fragrances. Other options include perennial herbs, such as dill, chives and oregano.
The most effective way to keep deer out of a garden or yard is to include a variety of plants that repel them. In addition to perennials, annual blooms, such as dahlias, morning glories, pansies, nasturtiums, dusty millers and verbena, are unappealing to deer. Unless they are starving, deer also avoid trees such as cedar, ginkgo, hawthorn, false cypress, magnolia, oak and black locust.
Shrubs are another important component of deer-resistant landscaping plans. The most powerful deer-repellent shrubs include boxwood, heath, holly, lilac, St. John's wort, sumac and yucca.
Many natural, safe deer repellents are unappealing scents that dissuade the animals from coming to eat a garden. For example, concentrated coyote urine is extremely effective against deer. This is only a viable solution in rural areas, however, because the odor is very strong and offensive to humans. Gardeners who prefer subtler alternatives often hang bar soap or mesh sacks of unwashed human hair throughout their property. Rags soaked in essential oils of cinnamon, garlic, mint, citrus and cloves also keep deer at bay without bothering people.