Rabbit and Deer Resistant Plants, Flowers, Shrubs and Trees in Colorado

Landscaping problems in Parker and Douglas County often come from three sources.

Rabbits, deer and bad soil.

blue flax rabbit and deer resistant flowers for colorado
Blue Flax

Unless you live in an older neighborhood in the area chances are good your garden consists of either clay, sand or a combination of the two which when wet turns into…you guessed it cement.

Most plants you buy at Home Depot or Tagawa are not going to survive so do yourself a favor and start composting now and while that rich soil is “cooking” amend your garden with rich garden soil and peat moss from your favorite lawn and garden store. You can either make a raised garden just using your rich new soil or for a more budget friendly method work the good soil into the native soil. This does take years to get this to work so it’s your choice.

As far as plants the lists below have been shown to be less attractive to these always hungry visitors that frequent the yards in Parker and all of Colorado. They aren’t of course guaranteed to work but have been shown to be more hearty than other’s. Let us know in the comments if you have another other favorites. (* =  xeriscape plants)


  • Moonshine Yarrow (Achillea ‘Moonshine’) *
  • Pink Yarrow (Achillea millefolium ‘Rosea’) *
  • Yellow Yarrow (Achillea filipendulina) *
  • Ajuga (Ajuga reptans)
  • Snow Drop Anemone (Anemone sylvestris) *
  • Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) *
  • Sea Pink (Armeria maritime) *
  • Silver Mound Sage (Artemisia schmidtiana) *
  • Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium f. x niponicum ‘Pictum’)
  • Basket of Gold (Aurinia saxatilis) *
  • Snow-in-Summer (Cerastium tomentosum) *
  • Shasta Daisy (Chrysanthemum maximum) *
  • Clematis (Clematis spp.)
  • Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria majalis)
  • Moonbeam Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’) *
  • Zagreb Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata ‘Zagreb’) *
  • Black Knight Delphinium (Delphinium Giant Pacific ‘Black Knight’)
  • Dwarf Butterfly Blue Delphinium (Delphinium grandiflorum ‘Butterfly Compacta’)
  • Dwarf Bleeding Heart (Dicentra x ‘Luxuriant’)
  • Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis)
  • Foxglove (Digitalis spp.)
  • Male Fern (Dryopteris filix-mas ‘Undulata Robusta’)
  • Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) *
  • Cushion Spurge (Euphorbia polychrome) *
  • English Ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.) *
  • Golden Tiara Hosta (Hosta fortunei ‘Golden Tiara’)
  • Blue Giant Hosta (Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’)
  • Frances Williams Hosta (Hosta sieboldiana ‘Frances Williams’)
  • Japanese Iris (Iris ensata)
  • German Bearded Iris (Iris germanica var.) *
  • Variegated Iris (Iris pallida ‘Variegata’)
  • Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica)
  • English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’) *
  • Blue Flax (Linum perenne) *
  • Lupine (Lupinus spp.)
  • Creeping Oregon Grape Holly (Mahonia repens) *
  • Peony (Paeonia lactiflora)
  • Iceland Poppy (Papaver nudicaule)
  • Engleman Ivy (Virginia Creeper) (Parthenocissus quinquefolia engelmannii) *
  • Penstemon (Penstemon spp.) *
  • Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata) *
  • Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium caeruleum)
  • Mexican Hat (Ratibida columnifera ‘Red’) *
  • Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’)
  • Silver Sage Salvia (Salvia argentea) *
  • Purple Flowering Sage (Salvia nemorosa) *
  • May Night Salvia (Salvia sylvestris x ‘Mainacht’) *
  • Lavender Cotton (Santolina chamaecyphrissus) *
  • Soapwort (Saponaria ocymoides) *
  • Gold Moss Sedum (Sedum floriferum) *
  • Stone crop Sedum (Sedum hybridum) *
  • Blue Spruce Sedum (Sedum pinifolium ‘Blue Spruce’) *
  • Autumn Joy Sedum (Sedum spectabile ‘Autumn Joy’) *
  • Dragon’s Blood Sedum (Sedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood’) *
  • Elfin Thyme (Thymus spp.)
  • Lemon Thyme (Thymus serpyllum citroides ) *
  • Wooly Thyme (Thymus praecox pseudolanuginosus) *
  • Periwinkle (Vinca minor ‘Bowles’)
  • Hummingbird Flower (Zauschneria garrettii) *


  • Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis arundinacea ‘Karl Foerster’)
  • Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium)
  • Pampas Grass (Erianthus ravennae)
  • Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’) *
  • Blue Avena Oat Grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens) *
  • Blood Grass (Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’)
  • Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’)
  • Purple Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Purpurescens’)
  • Variegated Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis variegates)
  • Dwarf Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Yaku Jima’)
  • Zebra Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Zebrinus’)
  • Hardy Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’) *



  • Tall Western Sage (Artemisia tridentata) *
  • Mentor Barberry (Berberis x mentorensis)
  • Red Barberry (Berberis thunbergii ‘Atropurpurea’)
  • Crimson Pygmy Barberry (Berberis thunbergii ‘Atropurpurea Nana’) *
  • Golden Barberry (Berberis thunbergii ‘Aurea’)
  • Golden Nugget Barberry (Berberis thunbergii ‘Monlers’)
  • Rosy Glow Barberry (Berberis thunbergii ‘Rosy Glow’)
  • Green Barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
  • Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)
  • Blue Mist Spirea (Caryopteris x clandonensis) *
  • Curl Leaf Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius) *
  • Red Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles japonica)
  • Fernbush (Chamaebatiara millefolium) *
  • Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus) *
  • Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea “Baileyi’)
  • Cardinal Dogwood (Cornus sericea ‘Cardinal’)
  • Purple Smoke Tree (Cotinus coggygria)
  • Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus)
  • Dwarf Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus ‘Compacta’)
  • Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa) *
  • Rose-of-Sharon (Althea) (Hibiscus syriacus)
  • St. Johnswort (Hypericum kalmianum var.) *
  • Cheyenne Privet (Ligustrum vulgare ‘Cheyenne’) *
  • Arnold Red Honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica ‘Arnold Red’) *
  • Russian Sage (Perovskia artiplicifolia) *
  • Potentilla (Potentilla spp.)
  • Nanking Cherry (Prunus tomentosa)
  • Gambel Oak (Quercus gambelii) *
  • Alpine Current (Ribes alpinum)
  • Yellow Flowering Current (Ribes aureum) *
  • Pixwell Gooseberry (Ribes hirtellum pixwell)
  • Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica) *
  • Gro-Low Sumac (Rhus aromatica ‘Gro-Low’) *
  • Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra) *
  • Cutleaf Sumac (Rhus glabra ‘Laciniata’) *
  • Three Leaf Sumac (Rhus trilobata) *
  • Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) *
  • Boulder Raspberry (Rubus delicious) *
  • Anthony Waterer Spirea (Spirea japonica ‘Anthony Waterer)
  • VanHoutte Spirea (Spiraea x vanhouttei) *
  • Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)
  • Hancock Coral berry (Symphoricarpus x chenault ‘Hancock’) *
  • Chinese Lilac (Syringa x chinensis)
  • Korean Dwarf Lilac (Syringa meyeri)
  • Miss Kim Lilac (Syringa patula ‘Miss Kim’)
  • Persian Lilac (Syringa x persica)
  • Common Purple Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) *
  • Common White Lilac (Syringa vulgaris alba) *
  • Korean Spice Viburnum (Viburnum carlesii)
  • Wayfaring Viburnum (Viburnum lantana) *
  • Mohican Viburnum (Viburnum lantana ‘Mohican’) *
  • Alleghany Viburnum (Viburnum x rhytidophylloides ‘Alleghany’)




  • Boxwood (Buxus spp.)
  • Lilac Time Broom (Cytisus x ‘Lilac Time’) *
  • Minstead Broom (Cytisus x ‘Minstead’) *
  • Allgold Warminster Broom (Cytisus x praecox ‘Allgold’) *
  • Spanish Gold Broom (Cytisus purgan ‘Spanish Gold’) *
  • Moonlight Broom (Cytisus scoparius ‘Moonlight’) *
  • Holly (Ilex x meserveae)
  • Oregon Grape Holly (Mahonia aquifolium) *
  • Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica)
  • Pyracantha (Pyracantha spp.)
  • Yucca (Yucca spp.) *



  • Armstrong Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Armstrongii’) *
  • Holbert Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Holbert’) *
  • Effusa Juniper (Juniperus communis depressa ‘Effusa)’ *
  • Bar Harbor Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Bar Harbor’) *
  • Blue Chip Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Blue Chip’) *
  • Hughes Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Hughes’) *
  • Icee Blue™ Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Monber’) *
  • Prince of Wales Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Prince of Wales’) *
  • Wiltoni/Blue Rug Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Wiltonii’) *
  • Andorra Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Youngstown’) *
  • Hetz Blue Juniper (Juniperus x media ‘Hetzii Glauca’) *
  • Sea Green/Mint Julep™ Juniper (Juniperus x media ‘Sea Green’) *
  • Old Gold/Gold Coast™ Juniper (Juniperus x media ‘Old Gold’) *
  • Green Mound Juniper (Juniperus procumbens ‘Green Mound’) *
  • Arcadia Juniper (Juniperus sabina ‘Arcadia’) *
  • Broadmoor Juniper (Juniperus sabina ‘Broadmoor’) *
  • Buffalo Juniper (Juniperus sabina ‘Buffalo’) *
  • Calgary Carpet Juniper (Juniperus sabina ‘Monna’) *
  • Scandia Juniper (Juniperus sabina ‘Scandia’) *
  • Sierra Spreader Juniper (Juniperus sabina ‘Sierra Spreader’) *
  • Tammy Juniper (Juniperus sabina ‘Tamariscifolia’) *
  • Table Top Blue Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Table Top Blue’) *
  • Blue Star Juniper (Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’) *
  • Grey Owl Juniper (Juniperus virginiana ‘Grey Owl’) *



  • Blue Point Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’) *
  • Hetzi Upright Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Hetzi Columnaris’) *
  • Spartan/Spearmint Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Spartan’) *
  • One Seed Juniper (Juniperus monosperma) *
  • Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) *
  • Cologreen Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Cologreen’) *
  • Gray Gleam Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Gray Gleam’) *
  • Moonglow Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Moonglow’) *
  • Pathfinder Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Pathfinder’) *
  • Wichita Blue Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum ‘Wichita Blue’) *
  • Burk Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana ‘Burkii’) *
  • Skyrocket Juniper (Juniperus virginiana ‘Skyrocket’) *


  • Concolor Fir (Abies concolor)
  • Colorado Spruce (Picea pungens) *
  • Pinyon Pine (Pinus edulis) *
  • Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) *



  • Common Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis) *
  • Imperial Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis ‘Impcole’ Imperial®) *
  • Shademaster Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis ‘PNI2835’ Shademaster®)*
  • Skyline Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis ‘Skycole’ Skyline®) *

Our favorite place in Douglas County to buy anything for the garden is Tagawa Gardens which lies on the border of Centennial and Parker on Parker Road. Other local places are the Walmart and Home Depot. Tagawa and Home Depot have a one-year guarantee on their plants, shrubs and trees if you keep the receipt and the container. We usually lose them but maybe you are one of those well organized sorts. At any rate this list will get you started.

This is another list of Deer Resistant and Deer Barrier plantings

Barrier plants- strongly aromatic plants that create an invisible barrier for your garden.
Rarely eaten plants- plants that have a bitter taste or strange texture to deer.

*Create a scent barrier for your gardens by using lots (70%) of plants from the Barrier list. These
plants are strongly aromatic. Use them throughout your garden.

*Add plants from the Rarely Eaten list. This causes further confusion to deer. These plants have a
bitter taste, coarse texture or milky sap. They are rarely eaten by deer. Use these plants throughout
your garden.

Barrier Plants

  • Artemisia frigida, Fringed Sage Perennial
  • Artemisia ludoviciana, Silver King/Queen Prairie Sage Perennial
  • Artemisia filifolia, Silver Sagebrush Deciduous shrub
  • Monarda fistulosa, Bee Balm Perennial
  • Nepeta grandiflora, ‘Dawn to Dusk’ Catmint Perennial
  • Nepeta subsessilis,Catmint Perennial
  • Nepeta sibirica, Siberian Catmint Perennial
  • Matricaria tecutita, German Chamomile Annual
  • Helichrysum angustifolium, Curry Plant Perennial
  • Tagetes lemmonii, Copper Canyon Daisy Annual
  • Fallopia paradoxia, Apache Plume Deciduous Shrub
  • Anthemis tinctoria, Golden Marguerite Daisy Perennial
  • Tanacetum parthenium, Feverfew Perennial
  • Dictamnus albus, Gas Plant Annual
  • Pelargonium, Scented Geranium Annual
  • Teucreum canadense, Germander Perennial
  • Teucreum chamaedrys, Germander Perennial
  • Agastache, Hyssop Perennial
  • Lantana Annual
  • Lavender angustifolia, English Lavender Perennial
  • Lavender stoechas, Spanish Lavender Annual
  • Origanum vulgare, Golden Oregano Annual
  • Vinca rosea, Periwinkle Annual
  • Rosemary officinalis, Rosemary Annual
  • Ruta graveolens, Rue Perennial
  • Salvia sclarea, Clary Sage Annual
  • Salvia officialis, Garden Sage Perennial
  • Salvia ‘Indigo Spires’ Annual
  • Salvia guaranitica, Majestic Sage Annual
  • Thymus vulgaris, Common Thyme Perennial
  • Thymus serphyllum, Mother of Thyme Perennial
  • Thymus pseudolanuginous, Woolly Thyme Perennial
  • Verbena bipinnatifida, Wild Verbena Perennial
  • Achillea ptarmica, Dwarf Yarrow Perennial
  • Achillea millefolium, Moonshine Yarrow, Paprika Yarrow Perennial

Rarely Eaten Plants

  • Fallugia paradoxia, Apache Plume Deciduous shrub
  • Artemisia, Silver Brocade Perennial
  • Artemisia, Seafoam Perennial
  • Artemisia, Silver Mound Perennial
  • Barberry, ‘Aurea’, ‘Crimson Pygmy’, ‘Rosy Glow’ Deciduous shrub
  • Broom, Cystus ‘Moonlight’, ‘Warminster Evergreeen shrub
  • Cosmos Annual
  • Feverfew Daisy, Tanacetum parthenium Biennial
  • Snow Daisy, Tanacetum niveum Perennial
  • Datura ‘Purple Petticoat’ Annual
  • Dusty Miller Annual
  • Globe Thistle, Echinops Perennial
  • Foxglove Biennial
  • Scented Geranium Annual
  • Germander, Teucreum Perennial
  • Goldenrod, Solidago Perennial
  • Ornamental Grasses
  • Big Blue Stem
  • Blue Fescue
  • Indian Grass
  • Blue Oat Grass
  • Feather Reed Grass
  • Switch Grass
  • Little Blue Stem Perennial
  • Maiden Grass
  • Northern Sea Oats
  • Fountain Grass
  • Hardy Pampas Grass
  • Sideoats Grama
  • Tufted Hair Grass
  • Pink Crystals Ruby Grass Annual
  • Purple Fountain Grass Annual
  • Ornamental Horehound Perennial
  • Hyssop, Agastache Perennial
  • Iris Perennial
  • Jerusalem Sage Perennial
  • Lamb’s ear Perennial
  • Lantana Annual
  • Oregano Annual & Perennial
  • Periwinkle Annual
  • Poppy, Oriental Perennial
  • Sweet Potato Vine Annual
  • Red Hot Poker Perennial
  • Black Eyed Susan Perennial
  • Salvia nemorosa, Garden Sage Perennial
  • Blue Mist Spirea Deciduous shrub
  • Spirea Deciduous shrub
  • Thyme Perennial
  • Mullen, Verbascum Perennial
  • Verbena Canadensis, Homestead Purple Perennial
  • Yarrow Perennial

Additional Notes:
• When a deer’s sense of smell is confused, it will generally leave the area. If several senses are
involved (taste, smell), it will leave more quickly.
• Until trees are mature, surround them with a wire cage so that tender new growth is not
browsed. A wire cage also prevents marking of the trunks by bucks, especially in winter.
• Spray all emerging and recently purchased plants with a deer repellant spray for at least 3
weeks. Change sprays from year to year if the one you’re using becomes less effective.
• Plant all plants in soil amended with compost and if fertilizing, use organic or slow release
fertilizers only occasionally. Constant fertilization produces lush growth that is very tasty to

List Source: Town of Parker & Tagawa Gardens

The Humane Society also has some great ideas for each type of wild animal you would like to keep from visiting your garden here.