6 Flowers That Rabbits Don’t Like To Eat

In honor of Easter, I want to talk about rabbits.

Rabbit

I’m not really clear on the link between Easter and rabbits. It’s interesting that rabbits do not figure in the observation of another seasonal holiday:Passover. Lambs play a notable role in the Passover story, though. And chickens have an indirect presence in the form of boiled eggs. But I digress.

DSC_0908

Before going further, let’s pause to admire these lovely cream-colored Crocuses blooming in the Sidewalk Border. Oh, you don’t see any flowers? That’s because of rabbits. Rabbits love Crocuses. In our garden, they also have a particular fondness for Tulips and Phlox, especially Woodland Phlox (Phlox divaritica). They also like certain ornamental grasses, like Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa).

Of course, rabbits will eat lots of things depending on how hungry they are and what else is available. But there are some plants that they really avoid if at all possible.

Allium Purple Sen
These Purple Sensation alliums grow well in the part shade of my back yard.

Anything in the genus Allium is pretty rabbit-resistant. If you don’t have any, check them out. There are many wonderful Allium species and varieities.

2014-04-20 18.36.12 bicolored daffodils
Bicolored daffodils, variety unknown.

Daffodils are actually quite toxic, so rabbits and other varmints leave them alone.

Snowdrops, Galanthus
Snowdrops blooming among the Hydrangea stems.

They also stay away from Snowdrops (Galanthus).

Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis
Wild Columbine

I’ve never had a problem with rabbits eating our Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis).

DSC_0902 monarda

They don’t seem to like plants in the genus Monarda, either. Above are some ‘Raspberry Wine’ Bee Balm (M. didyma) with Wild Bergamot (M. fistulosa) in the lower right.

Anise Hyssop
Anise Hyssop

As a general rule, rabbits avoid plants with leaves that are rough, hairy, or highly fragrant. For instance, they don’t seem to like Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum).

In our area we suffer from rabbit overpopulation (though the rabbits here may say the same thing about people). Hunting is prohibited, and there is a shortage of predators. So gardeners must practice passive resistance through their choice of plants. I do sometimes use rabbit repellents, but the smell tends to be pretty unpleasant.

2014-05-03 16.51.32 tulip walk

I do find that Tulips and Crocuses are less vulnerable when grown in containers, the taller the better.

Do rabbits drive you to despair in your garden? Have you found any favorite plants that are rabbit resistant?

 

64 Comments on “6 Flowers That Rabbits Don’t Like To Eat

  1. There are too many cats in the town where I live – both feral and pets let outdoors – so to see a rabbit in my yard draws delight rather than despair. Last year one ate all of my lettuce but I didn’t care beyond the first five minutes. They always eat the gazanias too – which can be fun to watch. They start by biting the flower off low on the stem and then nibble their way up the stem to the fully opened flower. For a moment they hold the opened flower right up against their nose which always makes me laugh. Then it’s gone – icing on the cake I imagine. Most of my plants they don’t bother so I don’t mind sharing the few they eat.

    • Maybe Animal Control does a better job where we live, but we see very few outdoor cats, feral or otherwise. I let white clover grow in my lawn and the rabbits like to munch on that, which is fine with me.

  2. Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos of flowers in your garden. I’ve never had a rabbit in my garden and when I recently saw two in the grass of a yard a mile away I didn’t think anything beyond how cute they were!
    My biggest problems come from slugs, snails and my own chickens flying the coop.

    I always enjoy seeing your garden through your beautiful photos.

    • No chickens here (no live ones, anyway). Slugs and snails are not much of a problem, either. I guess wherever you go, something is going to be a problem, just not necessarily the same thing.

  3. Luckily we don’t have rabbits here, but friends who live in country towns and farms have very big problems with rabbits. I was interested to see they don’t eat daffodils, because farms in our area always seem to have daffodils and now I know why…a plant that won’t be eaten!!

  4. Last year the rabbits were eating the chives. I went online to discover that if you are raising rabbits do not let them eat chives as they are toxic. Tell that to the creatures running around my garden. I wish we had more cats and coyotes.

  5. So sorry about your crocuses! I have problems with rabbits and groundhogs eating young seedlings each spring and late last summer I came out one morning to find my beautiful love-lies-bleeding plants completely stripped. I spray the leaves of vulnerable plants with cayenne and water, but that has to be re-done after every rain shower so its time consuming.

  6. Well, you know my rabbit story and it ain’t pretty. I’m hoping that this year is better, although I’ve already seen hoppy hanging out near the birdfeeders. You are right though, as how vulnerable any particular plant is depends on so many variables, not the least of which is how hungry they are. I haven’t had any issues with tulips yet and we have dozens of them along our front border – hopefully I’m not jinxing it!

  7. Rabbits are just the shock troops for the deer in these parts

  8. I’ve never had issues with rabbits, but I know they can certainly be destructive bunnies.

  9. I’ve pretty much stopped planting tulips and crocuses between the rabbits, deer, squirrels, voles, woodchucks, and who knows what else! For awhile there we didn’t have any bunnies or voles, thanks to a harsh winter and a very large local snake named George. I haven’t seen George in a long time, but the bunnies and voles are moving in, so I’m afraid poor George has moved on… 😦

  10. You gave us such a cute photo of a bunny; it’s hard to be cross with them. I had one eat a yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea) sapling down to the ground for two years in a row. But the yellowwood has prevailed and is now about 12 feet tall. I wish they’d eat Japanese honeysuckle!

  11. Oh did you ever hit a sore spot with this subject. I will try not to complain much more but…I could go on and on. I do think the fox got the largest of our rabbits. At least I haven’t seen it since I found big tufts of fur in the garden. Foxes are the best repellents. The rabbits ate the tops off of the tulip foliage when it first came up but so far they haven’t eaten any of the blooms. I am hoping that by the time the tulips actually open there will be other things in and around the garden that the rabbits will like better.

    • I would love to have some foxes around here. I haven’t seen any, but I’d be happy to offer incentives for them to relocate!

  12. Rabbits eat anything and everything given half a chance. At the garden where I work, surrounded by fields, the rabbits will munch even supposed rabbit proof plants including alliums. Pesky critters.

  13. The most vulnerable are the plants you just planted. They watch you doing it and then pounce. At the moment I am rabbit -free as my son in law has fenced in the vulnerable places to keep the granddog in. It seems to be keeping the rabbits out so far. Yippee!

  14. Hahaha, this is always so funny for me when I hear that people in the big city of Chicago have rabbits in their gardens! I remember that I also have seen them in my brother-in-law’s garden in Naperville.
    I live in a tiny little German village located in the countryside surrounded by woods and fields, but I see never rabbits here, not inside and not outside of my garden fence. The rabbit population is very low here. People are happy when they see rabbits once and a while.
    But we have a huge wild boar population here. They even appear in cities sometimes, get crazy and cause a lot of damage.

  15. I was lucky in that my previous garden was right next to a fox’s den in a neighbor’s overgrown brush, so the rabbits stayed away. House was sold -> new owners cleared property -> fox departed -> rabbits appeared like magic. This was about a year before I sold the house but they managed to damage most things that Superstorm Sandy had spared. I do have rabbits here, so am going to be careful about what I plant in TGGR. I’d read that rabbits don’t like Crocus tommasianus, so I tried some in the last garden; none came up. Hmm. I am sad to hear that Hakonechloa is on their dessert menu, because I was planning on putting the golden variety here. Dang it. 😦

  16. Arrrgggh! I’ve occasionally had them eat my Crocuses, but I’ve definitely given up on Tulips–a rabbit favorite. I keep meaning to try Tulips surrounded by Daffodils, but I never seem to get around to it. My Tulips in pots have not performed well, but maybe I should bring them into the sunroom for the winter. Rabbit repellents do not work for me. The only deterrents that work for me are fencing and lava rocks (even so, with limited success!). This explains why our plant lists are similar. 😉 (Oh, and I planted 100s of Alliums last fall. If the brutal cold-with-no-snow January didn’t kill them, I should have a nice Allium show by late spring/early summer.)

  17. Oh, your poor crocus! I imagine that’s rather heartbreaking to see. We don’t have rabbits here thankfully. I did enjoy these pictures, a little colour goes a long way at this time of the year, looking back is good for the soul! Marvelous snowdrops, I missed all mine…..xxx

  18. We have lots of rabbits but to my knowledge they don’t bother gardens much. That job is left to woodchucks, which I’ve seen clean out an entire perennial garden in one night.
    Have you ever thought about sacrificial planting? Maybe if you planted something they liked they’d leave what you like alone.

  19. I’ve had more trouble with rabbits damaging shrubs over the winter than them eating plants in the spring and summer, so I use a lot of poultry netting and hardware cloth. I also have an indoor-outdoor cat who does his best to keep the rabbit population in check.

    • Yes, I’ve had that same problem. They’ve girdled Serviceberries and Chokeberries or just chewed them to the ground if the stems were small enough.

  20. My nemesis in the garden is the cute chipmunk…The have dug up and eaten all my Crocus Tommies! Rabbits munch on hostas and daylilies.

    • We do have some chipmunks but I can’t tell if they’re doing much damage – though they do eat the tomatoes when they get a chance.

  21. As for repellents, I’ve had good results with Deer Out rabbit repellent, and it smells nice.

  22. Hello Jason, it’s awful to take time to plant something, have the patience to wait, only to have them eaten by vermin! We thankfully don’t have rabbits on the loose as the local foxes would son have them but we can have deer wandering about the garden in Spring and Autumn looking for the fresh new shoots of emerging plants, though they’ve been less of a problem since I put up some mesh wire fencing. Squirrels have been a problem with stealing the bird seed and digging up newly planted bulbs at the bottom of the garden under the trees.

  23. We see very few rabbits here, but we are in a rural area with many foxes, coyotes and cougar. Our man problem is deer.

  24. We have coyotes here, but there still seems to be an endless supply of rabbits…they leave alone my eastern bluestars, yarrow, shasta daisies and penstemon, but I am having trouble getting an aster garden going thanks to these hungry critters. They also ate a half dozen chokeberries down to the ground that I ordered by mail. I bought more mature shrubs this year and so far so good. Gave up on growing woodland phlox, they decimated every single pink bloom!

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