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Can Rabbits Eat Carnations?

Updated February 21, 2017

Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus) are garden staples with tall stems, colourful fringed petals and a delicious clove-like scent. It is not clear whether they are always a food of choice for rabbits, as some lists include them as "rabbit resistant" and others do not.

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Rabbits are often attracted to young, tender, well-fertilised plants. While a hungry animal will eat almost any plant, animals are usually repelled by plants with tough, leathery leaves, toxic parts or milky sap. Extremely aromatic or prickly plants are also less attractive. Of those qualities, carnations have only intense fragrance.

Geography Matters

Predators' food choices vary, to some degree, according to location.The best way to find out whether rabbits in your area eat carnations is to ask avid gardeners or your local County Extension Agency.

Deterring Rabits

Rabbit and other pest repellents can be sprayed on carnations, but must be reapplied after rain. Experienced gardeners protect vulnerable plants with wire mesh fencing which should be at least 2 1/2 feet high with another 6 inches buried under the ground to prevent burrowing.

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About the Author

Elisabeth Ginsburg, a writer with over 20 years' experience, earned an M.A. from Northwestern University and has done advanced study in horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden. Her work has been published in the "New York Times," "Christian Science Monitor," "Horticulture Magazine" and other national and regional publications.

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