Top 5 Deer Resistant, Mid-Spring Bulbs

The deer in our neighborhood of Victoria (the Mt. Tolmie black-tailed deer) have shown no interest in these spring blooms.

An added bonus is that all 5 picks have proven themselves drought tolerant through our long dry summers (even 100 days without rain).

1- Glory of Snow (Chiondoxa forbesii) show their cheery faces in mid-March.

Glory of Snow, chionodoxa in Royal Oak at the Fireside Grill garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest february
photo by SVSeekins
  • 6 inches high
  • naturalizing
  • Full Sun – Part Shade
  • zone 3

special notes
– A true naturaliser!  Some great places to view mass patches of them are Camosun College Lansdown Campus, Metchosin Church graveyard, and Summit Park.
– see also
Meadow Blooms 2 – Chiondoxa

2- Fawn Lily (Erythronium oregonum) is often called the Easter Lily because it shows itself around Easter time – whether that’s in late March or mid-April.

white fawn lily bloom Erythronium oregonum garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins
  • 6 inches high
  • naturalizing
  • Full Sun – Part Shade
  • zone 7

special notes
– see also
Meadow Blooms 4 – Fawn Lily
Fawn Lily at Easter
Spring Wildflower Walk

3- Mini Botanical Tulip adds to the spring celebration of blooms in April.

Tulipa saxatilis, mini botanical tulip garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins
  • 4-10 inches high, depending on the variety
  • naturalizing
  • Full Sun – Part Shade
  • zone 3

    species tulip Tulipa praestans unicum garden Victoria, BC Vancouver Island, Pacific Northwest
    photo by SVSeekins

special notes

– Botanical Tulips are the only variety of tulips, in my experience, that deer leave alone.  Simply because I can, I DO… plant lots of them.
– Tulips prefer summer drought, so if you’re irrigating your garden, the tulips are better kept in pots & set elsewhere when their show is done.
– My current fave is Species Tulipa Praestans Unicum (4 in.) because it has multiple, bright red flowers on each stem AND  has variegated foliage.

4- Grape Hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum) turn our Gary Oak Meadow to a sweep of blue when they bloom in mid-April.

grape hyacinth, Muscari armeniacum garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins
  • 6 inches high
  • naturalizing
  • Full Sun – Part Shade
  • zone 4

    grape hyacinth, Muscari armeniacum garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
    photo by SVSeekins

special notes
– The leaves show up early in the autumn & are often grazed by the deer through the winter.  For whatever reason, shortly before the buds show, the deer lose interest.
– I was stunned when I heard a fellow gardener say that he regretted planting grape hyacinth.  They naturalize around here so well that they grow out of cracks along the edge of the driveway.  ‘That is determined’, granted, but I still enjoy them.
– see also
Looking Forward to Sunshine

5- Daffodils (Narcissus)  are bursts of sunshine in the March & April gardens.

daffodils Narcissus at Camosun College garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins
  • 4- 24 inches high depending on the variety
  • naturalizing
  • Full Sun – Part Shade
  • zone 3 or 4 depending on the variety
Narcissus Daffodil, jonquil, daffadowndilly, meadow at HCP garden Victoria BC Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

special notes
– Daffodils are perhaps the best know bulb for deer resistance.  Here’s a quick list of my faves:
early – – Dwarf  narcissi ( with multi blooms per stem)
–– Tete a Tete (6 in.), Jetfire (10), Jack Snipe (10), Toto (8), Velocity (8)
early – mid – – Rock garden narcissi

–– Suzy (16 in.), Feb Gold + Quail (10),
mid – Late – – -Mini narcissi

— Baby Moon (10 in.) Canalaculatis (5) Golden Bells (4)

Bonus Pick

Fritillaria meleagris, checkered lily, snake head lily, chequered daffodil garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

6- Fritillaria also bloom in Victoria in mid-spring.
Chocolate Lily (Fritillaria michailovskyi) 8 inches, zone 5
Checkered Lily (Fritillaria meleagris) 8 inches, zone 3
special notes
– I can’t totally swear by these because I haven’t grown them in our garden, but I have seen them locally.

All of the Top 5 picks have been drought tolerant in our garden.  Fritillaria might need more moisture than I use in the summer, but I’m like most gardeners — coveting the plant on the other side of the fence.
🙂

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