Let's hear it for rotten eggs!
According to a University of Nebraska study comparing commercial deer repellents,* potions crafted with rotten eggs as their active ingredient are the most effective. You may think they keep deer away because they taste and smell so bad. But the sulfur odor actually promotes a fear response in deer and other herbivores. In the deer brain, the smell of rotting eggs is associated with predator activity. So, put a clothespin on your nose and apply a sulphur-based product (like Liquid Fence or Deer Off) every 4 weeks or so to plants targeted by your local deer herd.
Perennials That Deer Kinda Hate
Although no plant is immune to the mouth of a really hungry deer, look to the mint or onion family if you want to plant perennials that deer will leave until last. Try nodding pink or prairie onion in your full-sun garden if you want a splash of pink and white during mid-summer. The mint family, although sometimes a bit boisterous, will also thrive in a full-sun to partial-shade garden. Use the white hairy mountain mint or slender mountain mint in medium soils with fairly good drainage, and mountain mint (no adjective for this one) for a section of your garden that harbors poorly drained soils. If your garden, or a portion thereof, only gets a few hours of sun, add some lavender hyssop perennials and enjoy purple, licorice-scented blooms from June through September. Two added bonuses of the featured onions and mints: They’re native to the U.S., and they’re edible. Toss a few chopped stalks of onion into your morning omelet or brew up some licorice tea with hyssop leaves – while you watch the deer eat your neighbor’s perennials. Both deer-proofing articles by Jennifer Baker, www.sparrowlandplanning.com. *Trent, Andy; Nolte, Dale; and Wagner, Kimberly, “Comparison of Commercial Deer Repellents” (2001). USDA National Wildlife Research Center – Staff Publications. Paper 572.