Osteospermum (African Daisy or Cape Daisy) is deer resistant
One of the things I most look forward to in late Spring is getting my hanging baskets planted up. Of course, with my deer population I have to think about what annual flowers deer don’t like
The good news
First, the good news: there are some annual flowers that deer don’t eat. Anything in the daisy family will be fine. A good choice is osteospermum (African daisy), which is pictured here. Other deer-proof annuals include marigolds, mimulus (commonly known as Monkey Flower), ageratum, calenduala, dusty miller, poppies, black-eyed susan, and nicotiana (flowering tobacco).
All herbs are deer proof
All herbs are fine, and lavender, sage and thyme make lovely additions to hanging baskets. Sage has many different varieties – just look for the latin name ‘salvia’ in the plant name and you know that you’ve got a sage. For planting in hanging baskets, be sure to get the dwarf variety of plants such as sage and nicotiana that come in different heights.
Geraniums are borderline. Depending on the year, sometimes my geraniums make it through, other times they don’t. the stronger scented geraniums are safest, as deer don’t like a strong herbal smell.
The bad news
Next, the bad news: deer do eat many, many annual flowers.
Hanging basket flowers that deer love to eat include pretty much everthing that isn’t listed above as deer-safe. In particular, deer love to eat the hanging basket favorites lobelia, petunias, allyssum, snapdragon, and begonia.
The good thing about hanging baskets is by definition, they hang. You can have anything in your hanging baskets if you hang them high enough that the deer can’t reach them. But be aware that deer have been known to stand on their hind legs to reach tasty morsels!
Another preventative measure is to spray your hanging basket flowers with something that is unpalatable to deer. Common sprays include Bobbex (which actually works), cayenne pepper sprays and PlantSkyd.
A big disadvantage of sprays is that they wash off with water. So if your hanging baskets are in a place where they get rained on, you’ll have to reapply the spray after every rain. This may or may not be an issue for you, depending on how often you get rain in your area. And if your hanging baskets are under cover – such as on a porch or under the eaves – you may not need to reapply the spray as often.
As far as PlantSkyd goes – I absolutely detest the smell. Honestly, it smells like an abbatoir and nothing would make me spray that on my plants.