How to Plant Flowers that Rabbits Do Not Like

Written by tom king | 13/05/2017
How to Plant Flowers that Rabbits Do Not Like
Aromatic flowers like lilacs make rabbits turn up their fuzzy noses. (lilacs image by Lena Grönwall from

If you live in the country, near wooded areas or even in the city, rabbits can be a problem in your yard and garden. If rabbits are a problem, you probably have something yummy for them to eat in your garden. As you're outnumbered, it's not likely that you're going to win any wars with them. One way to combat these furry bandits is to plant items in your yard that they dislike to mask the things they do.

Talk to the staff at your local nursery about what types of rabbit-resistant plants grow well locally. There are four types of plants you can add to your yard and garden to ward off local bunnies. Prickly plants with thorns or thistles are an obvious choice, as are foul-tasting plants. Highly aromatic plants also tend to repulse rabbits but attract hummingbirds and honeybees. Finally, rough, thick-skinned plants discourage rabbits from nibbling. Any combination of these plant types scattered through your garden will help discourage furry friends.

Defend your borders. Plan your rabbit defence by first placing repugnant obstacles in the natural pathways of the local wildlife. If you have a nearby woody area or meadow, consider putting up a barrier of smelly shrubs like Chinese, white or purple lilacs between your yard and the wildwood. Choose a shrub that fits your landscape from one of dozens of varieties that rabbits dislike.

Plant anti-rabbit plants individually in your beds. If you plant thistles or foul-tasting flowers here and there throughout your flowerbeds, you can discourage inquisitive rabbits. Milkweed in a butterfly garden not only attracts the butterflies but, due to its taste, is repulsive to rabbits. Don't use only one variety. Hedge your bets by choosing several varieties of flowers that taste nasty and smell bad to rabbits. As a positive, many of these plants smell fine to humans. When rabbit-repelling plants are interspersed in a flower bed, the rabbits will have trouble identifying which plants are unattractive and leave your garden alone.

Protect your garden with borders and strips of rabbit-resistant flowers. Several short rows of prickly plants like globe thistle, sea holly or crown of thorns and a thick border of Shasta daisies, coreopsis, foxglove, periwinkles, yarrow or sage will enable your garden to grow in peace.

Watch your garden for evidence of rabbit intrusions and add a few more rabbit-repelling plants in that area to reduce its attractiveness.

Things you need

  • Garden tools
  • Prickly flowering plants
  • Highly aromatic flowers
  • Bad-tasting flowers
  • Tough-skinned flowering plants

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