Deer & rabbit resistant plants

Deer and rabbits are usually a lovely sight to behold in the landscape. Who doesn't pause while drinking their morning coffee to watch a rabbit or a deer bound across their lawn? But when you see the same deer or rabbit devouring your newly planted vegetable garden or your blooming tulips, then you need to take action. Many plants are not appealing to deer and rabbits. Planting them around your other plants can keep the deer and rabbits from eating their fill.


Deer will not chew on ash, beech, birch, hemlock or spruce trees. Rabbits also do not like birch trees and will stay away from alder and dogwood. Cedar, Japanese maple and most pine varieties will resist them both.


Rabbits and deer will stay away from many shrubs, including barberry, boxwood, lilac, spiraea, forsythia, rhododendrons and cotoneaster.

Perennials and Bulbs

Sage and lavender are two perennials that will repel both deer and rabbits. Peonies, beebalm, astilbe, soapwart, columbine, thyme and lamb's ears are not deer-friendly. Rabbits also don't like ferns, poppies, dahlias and crocuses.

Flowers and Herbs

Ornamental onions or other alliums are not favoured by either rabbits or deer. Deer do not like basil, catmint, chives, dill, sage, oregano and rosemary. Some rabbits will eat some of the above, but others are repelled by them, so trying a variety may work to repel rabbits.

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About the Author

Michelle Hogan is a writer and the author of 13 books including the 2005 bestselling memoir, "Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (With Kids) in America." Hogan studied English at American University and has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times," "Redbook," "Family Circle" and many other publications.