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  • Dana Tutela

Deer Resistant Perennials for the Cut Flower Garden

Updated: 5 days ago

A deer resistant perennial flower garden can supplement your annual cut flower garden with incredible blooms and foliage. Bonus: they will return each year and save you money in the long run!



deer resistant perennial cut flower garden

Nothing frustrates me more as a gardener than to work tirelessly in the garden only to find it chowed down the next morning by the deer. Living in the country means constantly fighting this battle and making choices based on their presence. The kitchen garden is completely fenced and gated to keep the little stinkers out. The small orchard has electric deer fencing (sorry, Bambi!). However, we can't deer proof our entire property; it's not practical. Therefore, everything I plant has to be deer resistant or planted in deer proof gardens.


deer proof enclosed kitchen garden

In my previous post, Beginner Cut Flower Garden, I provided an easy plan for growing annuals directly in the ground after your last frost. I included a free printable for a 4' x 8' cut flower garden layout complete with flower varieties and spacing in each row.

For the deer resistant perennial cut flower garden, I am focusing on a few classic plants that can help round out your annuals and supplement your homemade bouquets. Add them to your landscaped beds, or extend the 4' x 8' annual bed and include a couple there.


All of the perennials listed here are deer resistant. This means in most cases, deer will leave them alone. Deer tend to avoid fuzzy, prickly, heavily scented and bitter plants. However, if they are hungry enough and food is scarce, they might take a nibble. My experience is that the following perennials bloom in the summer when tastier food sources are plentiful, and deer pass them over.


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shasta daisies in cut flower garden

Shasta Daisy


Let's begin with one of my favorites: the Shasta daisy. This reliable flower makes me so happy every summer. The simple white blooms are the Golden Retrievers of flower gardens: carefree and content in the full sunshine. Give them some water and they'll be wagging their tails all summer long.


They are perfect for cutting and they transplant easily. I love them in a mason jar all on their own and used in bouquets as accent flowers.


At the end of the season, remove spent daisies and stems, but leave the lowest sets of leaves. This makes a lovely fall ground cover in the garden bed.


pink peony in vase

Peony

One of my all time favorites is the peony. The romantic blooms are filled with a heavenly scent and are absolutely stunning in bouquets. Thankfully the scent is not appealing to deer!


I've grown both the classic full petal variety and also a single petal peony that is quite beautiful. Peonies can be fussy about their site; choose full sun with rich well-draining soil.


Sarah Bernhardt is an iconic pink peony. Her classic ruffly form shines as the center of attention in a bouquet of flowers. See her pictured above.


Below is Krinkled White which in contrast to densely petaled peonies offers a single petal shape with a dense yellow center.



white peony flowers

Here in the south, peonies appreciate a little afternoon shade to take a break from our intense heat (don't we all?). Add a sturdy support ring to keep the blooms from falling over. Once you have them in the right spot, let them do their thing and enjoy the most beautiful blooms ever!


To cut peony blooms for the vase, look for what flower farmers call the 'marshmallow stage'. The peony bloom is still closed and the green sepal petals have broken away from it. It feels like a squishy stale marshmallow. Cut the stem at an angle about 18" below the blossom with sharp clippers. Remove the lower leaves and immediately place in water. It will open up in 24-48 hours.


rudbeckia for cut flower garden

Rudbeckia


Another favorite in our yard is rudbeckia or black eyed Susans. Rudbeckia is a vigorous bloomer that really puts on a show all summer long. Give them full sun and water as needed to get them started. Sit back and let Mother Nature do the rest. They will spread and add that warm sunny yellow to your flower garden. Like miniature sunflowers, they are beautiful on their own in flower arrangements or combined with white cosmos, purple cornflowers, and sunset colored zinnias. Black eyed Susans are a favorite for us, but not the deer! Watch them walk on by Rudbeckias.


purple coneflower perennial cut flower

Purple Coneflower


I don't know what it is about purple coneflowers (or echinacea) and their slightly drooping petals that make my heart melt. I've grown them in every garden I have ever had and I love the vibrant color they provide. Coneflowers thrive in full sun to part shade and are drought resistant. The deer leave mine alone, but the pollinators LOVE them.


They also have different color varieties now. Look at this sunshine yellow echinacea I planted last year.


yellow coneflowers for cut flower perennial garden

orange coneflower

white coneflower

rose colored coneflower

Purple coneflowers make a fantastic cut flower for your floral arrangements and add texture with their interesting centers. I've even used the 'ugly' blooms by stripping off all the petals and adding only the seed head and stem to bouquets as an accent piece.


Keep cutting coneflower blooms to encourage production all summer. However, when the season ends, leave the seed heads for the birds over the winter! My sister taught me this a few years ago, and she was right. The birds went crazy for them!



lavender bouquet cut flower perennial

Lavender


Two years ago I would NOT have added this to my list of favorite perennials for the cut flower garden. I couldn't get it to survive in any of my gardens. Then I figured it out: lavender is originally from the Mediterranean and likes hot sun and dry rocky soil. Our South Carolina clay was not draining fast enough and I was definitely over attentive with the water supply. The minute I planted some in a raised bed with good drainage and left it alone, it thrived!


bumble bee pollinating lavender

For me, I find the French hyrbid variety, Grosso, grows well in my raised bed with regular garden soil. Bonus: it's a culinary variety of lavender. I grow it in my kitchen garden and harvest blooms for cutting, drying and cooking. When cutting the blooms for a bouquet, cut between the first and second sets of leaves. The second set of leaves will be a bigger cluster than the first single set and will provide the next blooms on your lavender!


When I walk past the lavender, I always take time to drag my hand across the leaves and then smell my fingers. It instantly lowers my blood pressure. Lavender is another deer resistant plant. Fortunately, the pollinators love love love lavender and so do I.



white anemone cut flower garden

Japanese Anemones


I discovered the beauty of anemones in the moon garden at our last house and have been obsessed with them ever since. They are wonderful cut flowers that produce long thin stems and delicate blossoms. They last for over a week in the vase and come in a variety of colors. Plant them in the partly shaded portion of your garden in rich well drained soil. Mine do well with morning sun and afternoon shade.


red anemone

When my husband and I visited Ireland, I was enamored with the anemones overflowing in their gardens. They were everywhere! I appreciate their blooms in the fall when other bloomers are slowing down.


Tips for Growing your Perennial Flowers


With any new garden, a soil test is recommended to determine which amendments are needed and what type of fertilizer should be applied. In general, perennials do well with an early spring and early fall application of Flower-Tone 3-4-5. Be wary of fertilizers with a high nitrogen level; that's the first number. Higher nitrogen means good green foliage, but less blooms. That's the second number (phosphorus). The last number, potassium, is for overall growth. If you're not sure what to use, go with a gentle organic product like worm castings or fish emulsion.


Prepare beds with soaker hoses or drip irrigation to provide regular watering schedules.


Once your perennials are producing blooms, start cutting for bouquets! Bring a bucket of fresh clean water to hydrate the freshly cut flowers.


Cut the perennials early in the day before the hot summer sun is taking its toll.


Deadhead spent blooms regularly to encourage new growth and avoid seed setting.


Use sharp clean clippers and cut stems at an angle for maximum water uptake.


Remove lower leaves on stems to prevent decaying in the vase water.


Arranging Your Perennial Cut Flowers


Create a simple arrangement of your prepared flowers by making uniform cluster bouquets. Place multiple blooms of the same flower in a container and let them stand on their own.


pink cut flower peonies in vase

Another option is to combine the perennials together. The peonies look incredible surrounded by daisies and lavender sprigs. This would be lovely for a romantic dinner or perhaps a baby shower. Create a casual arrangement with Rudbeckias and Shasta daisies. Imagine sitting on a screen porch while sipping a glass of sweet tea with these on the table next to you. Aaahhh summer bliss.


Add greenery to your arrangements for a professional look. I like to collect pieces from my yard and landscaped beds. Silver leaf ferns, ornamental grasses, and even rosemary from my kitchen garden add texture and interest to the overall design.


Finally, take these deer resistant perennials and supplement the bouquets from your Easy Cut Flower Garden. The sunflowers and daisies with lavender accents have summertime written all over them. The zinnias and cosmos would be stunning with the peonies. Dare I say bridal bouquet?



cut flower garden zinnias

Have fun and get creative with your bounty of gorgeous deer resistant cut perennial flowers!


For more help on deer proofing your garden, read about my Enclosed Kitchen Garden.



black fenced deer proof garden

For more flower garden ideas, read How to Create an Enchanting Moon Garden.



moon garden flowers







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otutela
21. März

Love the photos of all the flowers! Good post Mom!

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