What Herbs Repel Deer?
By: Jessie Keith
“I read that Thyme can repel deer from your veggie garden. Is it true?” Question from Sylvia of Belle Plaine, Minnesota
Answer: Thyme is a mint, and on the whole, deer dislike the strong smell of many plants in the mint family (Lamiaceae), so mints, like thyme, can repel deer. But, I cannot say whether repellent mints would keep deer away from vegetables that they really love, like sweet potato vine. I recommend experimenting with a few to see if they help.
Here is a list of seven great minty perennial garden plants–both herbal flowers and culinary herbs– known to repel deer.
- Hyssop (Agastache spp.): These sun-lovers have pretty flowers that bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds will visit. The pretty ‘Blue Fortune‘ will survive to zone 4.
- Mints (Mentha spp.): Hardy peppermint, spearmint, and pineapple mint are all great options, but these fast-spreading plants must be grown in large pots (never the ground!) to keep them from taking over.
- Monarda (Monarda hybrids): These beautiful summer flowers for pollinators have a strong smell that deer cannot stand. Plant them alongside your vegetables.
- Catmint (Nepeta hybrids): The blue flowers of these hardy, bushy perennials (Zones 3-8) add great color to gardens. Proven Winners’ ‘Cat’s Pajamas‘ is especially pretty.
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): For northern gardeners to successfully grow this favorite Mediterranean herb, I always recommend the hardier variety ‘Arp’ (Zones 6-10). If you live in a colder zone, bring it indoors in winter.
- Sage (Salvia officinalis): Pots of hardy sage (Zones 4-10) should help protect your vegetable garden and help flavor your favorite winter dishes.
- Thyme (Thymus spp.): All thymes are repellent to deer, so plant away.
I hope that they do keep deer out of your vegetable garden!
Black Gold Horticulturist
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