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Is Basil Deer Resistant? (Answered)

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Last updated on September 26th, 2022 at 09:27 am

Herbivore animals such as Deer and rabbits have over the years been a significant threat to Gardner’s or farmers, significantly when growing herbs and mints in an environment with such animals around.

Therefore, when rearing animals like rabbits in your garden or having such animals around the garden, the plants resistant to such animals are considered before growing certain plants.

So, is basil deer resistant? Basil plants are Deer resistant. Basil has a strong scent because of its aromatic nature that keeps deer away. It possesses a strong scent(odor) due to highly concentrated compounds that make up the essential oils in this aromatic herb.

Is Basil Deer and Rabbit Resistant?

Basil plants are strong-smelling and tasting herbs that deer hate. So most times, when planting herbs that are Deer resistant, you are also planting a rabbit-resistant herb.

Even though Basil is a tasteful herb, deer and rabbits dislike them just like any aromatic herb. They keep their distance from these delicious herbs because of the plant’s strong-smelling essential oils and the foliage’s intense aroma.

Although there is a disagreement about Basil, some authors claim that it keeps rabbits away. At the same time, some say rabbits dislike all aromatic plants except Basil, thus getting everyone confused on Basil being rabbit-resistant or not.

The thing here is, since Basil is aromatic, the pungent smell keeps them off. Of course, they might also try to snack on them but not for long. Still, animals can become adaptable sometimes.

These animals have their favorite vegetables and herbs and also have those they hate to eat. Out of all the herbs that are Deer resistant, Basil is one of the top-rated herbs disliked by Deer.

Unlike the rabbit, deer hate Basil and will stay away from them because of the bad taste they get from it.

Will Deer Eat Parsley and Basil?

 Naturally, Basil and parsley are aromatic, having an aroma and a strong taste that makes Deer hate them and want to avoid them. So parsley and Basil are Deer resistant.

However, An experienced Gardener can tell you that vegetables or herbs classified as Deer resistant aren’t completely deer-resistant but slightly resistant, while very few are Deer resistant.

Although there are not many Deer resistant vegetables, because they also eat most things we humans like, herbs and vegetables like parsley and Basil are said to be moderately Deer resistant.

However, deer may eat them sometimes when they are starving. Remember, deer can be considered indiscriminate eaters.

Ruminant animals are known for their ability to eat a wide range of plants because of their digestive mechanism that allows them to digest various plant materials.

When Deer are hungry, they can taste almost anything available, they can take a bite of anything, and if it tastes terrible to them, they will spit it out and leave the plant. All the same, even though they don’t eat everything, they could damage a lot more.

What Herbs Keep Deer Away?

Sometimes growing plants in environments with wildlife like Deer without properly fencing your garden is like opening a food haven for animals to graze on when hungry. Notwithstanding, some herbs which are Deer resistant can keep Deer away!

Herbs might vary in their strong smell and taste that keep Deer away. The ones with more of these contents are more capable of keeping Deer away.

As tasteful and pleasant as these herbs are to us, many of these herbs have opposite effects on deer and other animals that find them unpleasant or intolerable. So these herbs are the best plants to keep away Deer.

Below are some herbs that are capable of keeping these Deer away from our gardens;

  • Thyme
  • Anise
  • Chives
  • Sage
  • Horseradish
  • Lavender
  • Lungwort
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Dill
  • Tarragon
  • Lemon Balm
  • Greek oregano
  • Mints

According to Ruth Rogers Clausen‘s book ’50 beautiful deer resistant plants’, five(5) safe herbs were listed. These top five rated herbs, according to the book, include Basil, Greek oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme.

What Plants do Deer Hate the Most?

Deer do not like herbs that emit fragrant blooms such as lavender. They also dislike sweet-smelling flowers like peonies. They will also stay away from such plants as well as toxic and poisonous plants. Other plants deer hate and avoid are foxgloves, Daffodils, and poppies.

Deer also tend to turn their noses away at plants with fragrant solid scents. Herbs such as ornamental salvias, sages, lavender, and more, as well as flowers like peonies and bearded irises, with strong scents, are appalled by them.

As humans won’t eat stinky plants, deer won’t. Therefore, the plants mentioned above are not on the preferred menu for this animal, except they are starving.

Below is a list of some plants that deer hate the most.

  • Oriental poppies
  • Purple coneflowers
  • Bearded iris
  • Lamb’s ear
  • Salvia
  • Peonies
  • Zinnias
  • Lavender
  • Mints
  • Bleeding hearts
  • Daffodils
  • Heliotrope
  • Foxgloves
  • Aster
  • Sunflowers.
  • Pot marigold
  • Butterfly bush

In general, deer hate any plant that will disrupt their sense of smell because sometimes, when this scent gets to them, it’s hard to perceive predators around, so they try their best to stay off such plants.


With the damages deer and other animals like rabbits cause to herbs and other plants in the garden, it is essential to know how to protect the garden from being invaded by these animals.

Basil, as we have seen, is a deer-resistant crop that Deer dislike due to its aromatic features and strong scent it possesses that keeps deer away.

On the other hand, deer are highly adaptable in feeding. This feature makes Basil moderately Deer resistant. However, deers sometimes might eat Basil as a last resort when they are starving.

For this reason, it is also a good idea to know other plants that deer won’t eat and hate the most to have a protected garden.

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