The most deer-resistant shrubs include barberry, sweet box, Russian sage, fragrant sumac and Japanese plum yew, according to the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University. Experts place these shrubs in the "rarely damaged" category, which is the highest category for deer-resistant plants.
These shrubs are fragrant, and deer generally stay away from fragrant plants. No plant completely repels deer, though. If deer are hungry enough, they will eat any plant rather than starve. People who live in areas that are prone to deer should consider placing fencing around their plants and using deer repellents. Hanging bars of fragrant soap on shrubs helps repel deer.