Agastache and Nepeta – Deer Repellents

  • Post published:01/09/2012
  • Post comments:5 Comments
Photo courtesy of Fine Gardening

Fine Gardening’s photo of Agastache ‘Cana’ has got me all excited. Recently I read somewhere (I wish I could remember where) that some plants were not only deer resistant, they were deer repellent. Deer have a sensitive sense of smell and some plants have such a strong scent that deer are actually repelled and avoid them. I am thinking of strategically planting some attractive deer repellant plants among my garden beds in the hope this will discourage deer – and bunnies.

The family of Agastaches, otherwise known as hyssop or hummingbird mint, has the advantage of including many attractive cultivars, like ‘Cana’ and attracting many insects as well as butterflies, hummingbirds and other birds who relish the seeds. It needs a good rich soil, sun and good drainage, but is not really difficult to grow.

Photo courtesy of Kentucky University

Nepeta Walker’s Low is just one of the catmints that is welcome in the perennial garden. Like the agastaches it is a deer and rabbit repellent plant and like them it needs soil with organic matter, lots of sun, and good drainage.  In the past I planted catmints that my cats have loved to death. Now the cats are older and my vegetable garden, which suffered considerably from deer noshing last year, is a small distance from the house so I am counting on the cats being less venturesome and staying nearer the house in their old age. I can hope.

The University of Michigan has a good list of deer resistant plants here.

I wrote about Ruth Rogers Clausen’s great book 50 Beautiful Deer Resistant Plants: The Prettiest Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs and Shrubs that Deer Don’t Eat here. We all have to remember that the power of the repellent or resistance may vary when deer get really really hungry, but I am hoping that including more of these plants in my garden, especially near the vegetable garden, will keep me happier, and better fed myself.


This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Rose

    I’ve been lucky not to have too many problems with deer in my garden, but I’d recommend both of these plants anyway. I have fallen in love with agastache! I planted another cultivar–‘Heat Wave’–this past spring, and it was a beauty, not to mention drought and heat tolerant. It really is a bee, butterfly, and hummingbird magnet.

  2. Pat

    Rose – That’s a lot of benefit from one plant!

  3. Cyndy

    Pat, I always thought I was lucky not to have deer in my CT garden, but I grew lots of nepeta and agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ so maybe I stumbled into some good plant choices. Interesting post for sure.

  4. Cally

    I only discovered agastache last year and will be growing from seed for the first time this year. It always looks so beautiful online. Fingers crossed my Scottish garden will allow enough sun this year.

    (my garden is logged here: )

  5. Pat

    Cyndy – You got lucky – and I’m hoping I’ll be lucky too.
    Cally – I’ve got my fingers crossed for you, too.

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