Deer-resistant Bulbs

Although I always intend to do it earlier in the season, I'm still busy planting bulbs in my garden.

by Jessica Walliser
Daffodils and Scilla are two deer-reistant bulbs you can plant in your garden. Photo by Jessica Walliser (
Photo by Jessica Walliser
Daffodils and Scilla are two of the deer-resistant bulbs I plant in my garden in the fall.

Although I always intend to do it earlier in the season, I’m still busy planting bulbs in my garden. Here in Pennsylvania, we can plant spring-blooming bulbs anytime between early September and late December. And, though bulbs aren’t a case for “instant satisfaction”, the time it takes to plan and plant them now is well worth it come spring.

The biggest problem we face here in deciding what types of bulbs to grow is the deer. Tulips are one of their favorites, so we avoid them like the plague. Instead we plant varieties known to be deer-resistant. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Daffodils
The most common deer-resistant bulbs are daffodils. Although they’ll give you a limited color palette, they’re nearly guaranteed to be critter-proof. I love the miniature daffodils for our smaller gardens and along the pathways where their petite stature can be appreciated. Sir Winston Churchill, Fragrant Breeze and Geranium are my favorite tall daffodil varieties for their fragrance, and Mount Hood, Pistachio and Fortissimo are my favorite daffodils for their lovely coloration.

2. Alliums
Alliums are deer-resistant, and they’re also real eye-catchers in the garden. These bulbs are relatives of onions and have an unappealing taste to deer, chipmunks and voles. Purple Sensation has a baseball-sized cluster of purple flowers on a 2-foot-tall stem, and Christophii is a variety with a large ball of loose, star-shaped flowers atop an 18-inch-tall stem. Alliums come in a wide range of heights and you can find varieties that are yellow, white, pink, purple and lavender.

3. Other Bulbs
Other deer-resistant bulbs include Glory of the Snow (Chinodoxia), with its white-and-blue, star-shaped flowers and 4-inch height; Puschkinia, with its demure powder-blue flowers in early spring; and Siberian squill (Scilla) with its tiny, brilliant-blue blooms.

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