If you have deer visit your garden and want some color in partial shade or sun, consider planting Calycanthus floridus.
A wonderful, easy-to-grow shrub, Carolina Sweet Shrub features strongly fragrant dark red flowers in early summer. The show doesn’t stop there; the leaves often turn a nice shade of yellow in the fall.
Carolina Sweet Shrub or also know as Carolina Allspice, is totally left alone by deer, probably thanks to its clove-scent foliage. The shrub thrives in full sun or part shade and in moist, well-drained soil. It’s native to areas of North America and hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9.
‘Hartlage Wine’ is the prettiest cultivar of this native, with much larger fragrant flowers than the species. The flowers can be up to 3 inches wide and make great fresh cuts for arrangements.
I am a sucker for green flowers and I enjoy the cultivar ‘Athens’ which has a very different flowering habit, but still has the glossy green scented leaves.
This deciduous shrub has a dense, rounded habit, growing 6 to 9 feet tall and as wide, so give it some room. Suckers will spring up around the shrub and you can control it by removing them or let it naturalize. Its unusual, waterlily-like, fragrant flowers combine the scent of strawberries, banana, and pineapple. Flowers appear in May and continuing blooming on and off into June and July. The dark green leaves and bark release a clove or camphor-like scent when crushed. The entire plant is fragrant and that is why deer hate it.
Growing quickly, I like to keep it in bounds by chopping the branches back right after it flowers, but keep some long branches for making fall arrangements when the foliage turns yellow.
Completely avoided by deer, probably because of the fragrance and the fuzzy leaves, I use it often in woodland settings. Also very tolerant of wet soggy soils, Carolina Sweet Shrub can be planted in areas that are difficult to plant in because of drainage issues.