At the time of writing this article, for the last ten days, spring has played tag with winter here, and it’s snowed four times between 70-degree days. Yet, garden centers are brimming with bedding plants, and the calendar says I should be planting. Hopefully, next week I can load up the cart at the nursery and get into the garden. Meanwhile, I’m evaluating the pest-resistant plants available and drawing a planting map.
Deer, rabbits, chipmunks and wild turkeys roam free, as I’m out in the country. They do damage to everything green. The trick is finding plants they avoid. I like flowers that I don’t have to deadhead, too. A confession: I’m really a lazy gardener!
Below is my list of perennials and annuals that solve my problems—ones that I hope to be planting in a week or two.
Pest-Resistant Plants List
Most munchers usually avoid plants with thorny or fuzzy foliage and those with strong aromas, like lavender. To save your most valued flowers, situate them in the center of beds closest to the house or against the house. Why? Deer and rabbits nibble on the outside edges of plantings furthest away from buildings.
Deer steer clear of ageratum, begonias, chrysanthemums, columbines, coreopsis, cosmos, foxglove, iris, lavender, monarda, purple coneflower, rudbeckia, salvia, Shasta daisies, verbena, vinca, yarrow, zinnias. See more deer-resistant plants.
Surround your favorite blooms with ones deer and rabbits hate to protect them. Photo courtesy of the National Garden Bureau.
No or Low Maintenance Plants
Begonia, ageratum, lobelia, coleus, and alyssum need no deadheading. Neither do Flower Carpet and Knock-Out roses.
“Pow Wow” echinacea or coneflower is a tough, reliable bloomer in almost every climate. Photo courtesty of Ball Seed Co.
Plants That Grow in Any Climate
Cleome, impatiens, petunias, marigolds, and zinnias are annuals that perform well everywhere. Perennials that are guaranteed to bloom all over the country include ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum, coneflowers, coreopsis, rudbeckia, and yarrow.
Two of my favorite flowers also grow everywhere and are tough. ‘Silver Tidal Wave’ petunia is one of the first in the Tidal Waves series. Its lavender-white flowers deadhead themselves, they need no pinching to grow lushly, and the plants spread themselves. Stems grow a couple of inches each day, creating three-foot-tall hedges ablaze with blooms.
My favorite perennial is ‘Mardi Gras’ helenium, a plant-and-forget perennial covered with orange flowers from July until frost. Hummingbirds, butterflies, and yellow finches love this punch of powerful color.
I’m on my way to my favorite garden center to buy. Tell me what you are planting this spring below!