Do Deer Eat Coreopsis? Deer and Rabbit Resistant Plants for Your Garden

I am passionate about nature and especially love learning about deer. Recently, I’ve been researching about plants that are not only beautiful, but also resistant to animals like deer and rabbits. One such plant is coreopsis. But do deer eat coreopsis? Let’s find out.

Coreopsis is a herbaceous plant species that belongs to the Asteraceae family, commonly cultivated as ornamental plants in gardens. While deer do not typically feed on coreopsis, they may occasionally browse on it if food is scarce or other vegetation is limited. In areas with high deer populations, it is recommended to take preventive measures to protect coreopsis, such as using deer-resistant plant varieties, fencing or using repellent sprays to deter deer.

Do Deer Eat Coreopsis?

Coreopsis plants are not the preferred food for deer, but they may resort to eating them if there is a shortage of their usual food sources. This is more likely to happen in areas with large deer populations or during the winter months when food is scarce. However, it is important to note that deer will not completely destroy coreopsis plants, and the damage they cause is usually minimal and not fatal to the plant.

Types of Deer-Resistant Coreopsis Varieties

If you are concerned about deer eating your coreopsis plants, there are several deer-resistant coreopsis varieties that you can plant in your garden. These varieties are less attractive to deer and are more likely to survive if deer do decide to nibble on them. Here are some of the most popular deer-resistant coreopsis varieties:

Coreopsis grandiflora ‘Early Sunrise’

This variety of coreopsis is also known as tickseed and is highly resistant to both deer and rabbits. It has beautiful yellow blooms that open early in the morning and fade to a warm shade of orange as the day progresses. ‘Early Sunrise’ is easy to grow and thrives in full sunlight and well-drained soil.

Coreopsis grandiflora ‘Sunray’

Another tickseed variety, ‘Sunray’ is a compact plant that produces bright yellow flowers with dark centers. It is highly drought-tolerant and can thrive in a variety of soil types, including sandy or rocky soil. ‘Sunray’ grows to a height of around 18 inches and is perfect for borders or containers.

Coreopsis grandiflora ‘Presto’

‘Presto’ is a tickseed variety that blooms in early summer and continues to produce new flowers throughout the season. It has a compact growth habit and reaches a height of around 18 inches. The bright yellow flowers with dark centers attract bees and butterflies to your garden. ‘Presto’ thrives in full sunlight and well-drained soil.

Coreopsis lanceolata Lanceleaf Coreopsis

Lanceleaf coreopsis is native to North America and is highly resistant to both deer and rabbits. It produces bright yellow flowers with a distinctive red eye and grows to a height of around 2 feet. Lanceleaf coreopsis is easy to grow and requires minimal maintenance. It is perfect for borders or as a specimen plant.

Coreopsis Verticillata ‘Moonbeam’

‘Moonbeam’ is a threadleaf coreopsis variety that produces soft yellow flowers with a white center. It is highly drought-tolerant and can thrive in poor soil or full sunlight. ‘Moonbeam’ grows to a height of around 18 inches and is perfect for rock gardens or as a ground cover.

Coreopsis Verticillata ‘Zagreb’

‘Zagreb’ is another threadleaf coreopsis variety that produces bright yellow flowers with a dark center. It is highly resistant to deer and rabbits and grows to a height of around 24 inches. ‘Zagreb’ thrives in full sunlight and well-drained soil and is perfect for borders or as a specimen plant.

How to Protect Coreopsis from Deer

If you want to ensure the survival of your coreopsis plants, there are several steps you can take to protect them from deer. Here are some of the most effective methods:

Use Deer Deterrents and Repellents

Deer deterrents and repellents are a useful tool to protect Coreopsis from deer damage. You can use natural repellents like garlic, cloves, and hot pepper sprays, which are effective deterrents for deer. Alternatively, you can choose from commercially available deer repellent sprays and granules. These products contain natural ingredients like blood meal, bone meal, and dried blood that give off an unpleasant odor to deer, which makes them stay away from your garden.

Install a Fence or Physical Barrier

A fence or physical barrier is an effective way to keep deer off your Coreopsis plants. You can either install a DIY version or use commercial products like electric fencing. Electric fences can electrify deer, making them afraid to approach your garden. If you want to create a DIY version of a fence, consider using materials like chicken wire or deer netting. These materials can be easily placed around your garden and serve as a physical barrier to prevent deer from entering.

Plant in Areas with Heavy Foot Traffic

Planting your Coreopsis in areas with heavy foot traffic can deter deer from approaching your garden. Deer are shy and prefer staying away from areas with human activities, so planting your Coreopsis near the porch or patio could discourage them from approaching your garden. If you have a dog, consider planting Coreopsis near your dog’s house or sleep area. Dogs are natural predators, and their scent can keep deer away from your garden.

Choose the Right Plant for Your Area

Choosing the right plant variety for your area is crucial to protecting your Coreopsis from deer browsing. Some Coreopsis varieties are more attractive to deer than others, so it’s essential to choose those that are less appealing to deer. Consider planting deer-resistant varieties like Coreopsis grandiflora ‘Early Sunrise’ or Coreopsis lanceolata Lanceleaf Coreopsis. These varieties are less attractive to deer and have a better chance of surviving deer browsing.

Companion Planting with Coreopsis

Companion planting is a useful tool to deter deer from your Coreopsis plants. Certain plant varieties, like Catmint (Nepeta), Garden Sage, and Shasta Daisy, are natural deer deterrents. Planting these varieties near your Coreopsis can help mask the scent and taste of the plant, making it less appealing to deer. Consider planting Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica), which is both deer-resistant and visually appealing, making it an ideal companion plant for Coreopsis. By incorporating these plants in your garden, you can effectively protect your Coreopsis from deer browsing.

Catmint (Nepeta)

If you’re looking for a plant that will repel rabbits and deer, catmint (Nepeta) should definitely be on your list. Not only does it emit a scent that these pesky animals find repulsive, it also attracts beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies to your garden. Plus, with its beautiful purple blooms and low maintenance requirements, catmint is a great addition to any garden. Try planting it alongside your coreopsis for an even stronger defense against unwanted wildlife.

Garden Sage (Salvia nemorosa)

If you’re looking for a plant that’s both beautiful and practical, garden sage is an excellent choice. Not only does it have striking purple flowers and silvery-green leaves, but it’s also deer and rabbit resistant. Plus, garden sage is a culinary herb that’s perfect for seasoning poultry and other dishes. When planting your sage, make sure to give it plenty of space to grow, as it can reach up to two feet tall and three feet wide. And don’t forget to prune it regularly to keep it healthy and compact.

Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)

Looking for a beautiful and hardy addition to your garden? Look no further than the Russian Sage! With its silvery foliage and stunning purple flowers, this plant is sure to catch the eye of any passerby. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it’s also resistant to both deer and rabbits. Plus, it acts as a great companion plant for coreopsis, creating a beautiful and functional garden space. Don’t just take our word for it, give Russian Sage a try and watch your garden thrive!

Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum)

Looking for a hardy and reliable plant to add to your garden? Look no further than the Shasta Daisy! With its cheerful white petals, this flower is perfect for adding a pop of brightness to any landscape design. Plus, it’s deer and rabbit-resistant, meaning you won’t have to worry about unwanted pests munching on your beautiful blooms. Whether you plant it as a solo specimen or as part of a larger arrangement, the Shasta Daisy is sure to impress.

Speedwell (Veronica spicata)

Veronica spicata, commonly known as Speedwell, is a repetitive perennial herb that belongs to the Plantaginaceae family. Thriving in full sun, this plant requires adequate moisture due to its comparatively shallow roots. Its lavish pink flowers growing upward from the foliage exhibit remarkable natural beauty in the garden. Pruning the spent flower spikes is essential to ensure optimal blooming, and at the end of the season, each plant must be reduced to a small clump. Speedwell is highly compatible with Coreopsis as it’s effective in preventing damages caused by deer and rabbits.

Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica)

Iris sibirica, commonly known as Siberian Iris, is a perennial herb that belongs to the Iridaceae family. It flourishes in areas with ample sunlight, but it may produce fewer flowers when exposed to excessive shade. The plant can thrive in various soil types, with moist, rich soil being the most optimal. ‘Caesar’s Brother’ is a highly sought-after Siberian Iris variety that attracts pollinators to one’s garden. When grown alongside Coreopsis, this plant acts as a natural repellent to deer and rabbits, making it an excellent choice for those who don’t want these animals damaging their plants.

Blue Star (Amsonia hubrichtii)

Blue Star, also known as Amsonia hubrichtii, is a clump-forming herbaceous perennial that grows well in full sun and well-draining soil. This plant species produces beautiful blue star-like flowers that attract butterflies and other pollinators. It can also offer an excellent contrast with bold-textured foliage plants such as canna. Blue Star does well in containers and, when planted in masses, makes an excellent specimen plant. It is highly advisable to plant Blue Star with Coreopsis since it is also deer and rabbit resistant.

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

Black-eyed Susan, also known as Rudbeckia hirta, is a popular variety of herbaceous perennial that belongs to the Asteraceae family. This plant variety produces beautiful yellow and red flowers, attracting butterflies, and has an extended bloom time. Goldsturm Rudbeckia is a popular variety of Black-eyed Susan that can add a vibrant splash of color to any garden. Black-eyed Susan offers heat and drought tolerance, making it an ideal plant for gardeners looking for low maintenance plants that are also deer and rabbit resistant.

Maintenance Tips for Growing Deer and Rabbit Resistant Plants

Growing deer and rabbit-resistant plants is an excellent way to beautify your garden, attract pollinators, and avoid the devastating effects of deer and rabbit damage. Here are a few maintenance tips to help you ensure that your plants remain healthy:

Water Requirements

Water your plants properly, making sure that they receive the right amount of water. Plants require enough water, but excessive watering can cause root rot and other diseases. Therefore, make sure that the soil is moist but not water-logged.

Soil Nutrient Requirements

Check your soil nutrient requirements before planting, and make sure you add sufficient nutrients such as compost or manure to the soil. Providing adequate nutrients will help your plant develop strong roots and foliage, increasing their resistance to diseases and pests.

Avoid Excess Pruning

Avoid excessive pruning, removing only the dead or damaged parts of a plant. Pruning a plant excessively can cause it to become stressed, making it more susceptible to diseases and pest attacks.

Regularly Monitor for Damage

Regularly monitor your plants for any signs of damage, including holes in foliage or damage to stems. If you notice any signs of damage, take the necessary steps to prevent further damage, such as applying repellents or installing physical barriers. You can also attract natural predators such as birds, snakes, and spiders, as well as beneficial insects such as ladybugs and praying mantises, to help you control pests.


So, do deer eat coreopsis? While it’s not their preferred snack, these pesky garden intruders may still take a nibble if they’re hungry enough. Luckily, there are plenty of deer-resistant plant varieties out there that can help protect your beloved coreopsis from becoming a snack.

Whether you opt for a sturdy fence, a few well-placed sprays, or some carefully selected deer-resistant plants, protecting your garden from these hungry herbivores is crucial if you want to keep your coreopsis looking beautiful all season long. So get out there and start planting – your coreopsis (and your sanity) will thank you!

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