Deer control is now one of the biggest challenges for home gardeners. Deer are North America's largest garden pest and they can wreak havoc in the garden. Deer feast on vegetable gardens, flowerbeds, shrubs, and trees. They will graze on leaves, grass, bark, acorns, fruits, nuts, berries, lichens and fungi. On average a single deer can consume 5 to 10 pounds of plant material a day. They are efficient and clever at accessing food sources.
Some of their favorites include apples, yews, rhododendrons, roses and hostas. Highly-scented deer-resistant plants, including boxwood, rosemary and lemon thyme, can be planted among plants deer like. Other deterrents include a homemade spray made of a beaten egg, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, dish soap and cooking oil mixed in water. The foliage of the plants must be sprayed every couple of weeks, and, if it rains, the substance must be reapplied.
There are always plants that deer generally do not eat. Try planting annuals such as marigolds, sweet alyssum, and salvia. Perennials that deer tend not to eat include: daffodils, hyacinths, columbine, ferns, epimedium, yarrow, monkshood, foxglove, lavender, peonies, and iris. Trees and shrubs that deer usually avoid include: bottlebrush buckeye, sweetshrub, Virginia sweetspire, Japanese kerria, and rugosa rose.
We keep Laminated Lists of Deer Resistant Plants at our location to aide you when shopping. However if you like to plan ahead, below is a nice reference from Penn State Ag.