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These Plants Will Keep Rabbits Out Of Your Garden

Harvesting your garden is the bountiful payoff for all of that hard work. But if the area you live in is home to many greenery-munching rabbits, you may want to rethink what you’ve planted. Here are some common plants and flowers that repel rabbits, almost guaranteeing you’ll have one less pest to deal with this year.

Small gray rabbit eating garden flowers. iStock

What Do Rabbits Like to Eat?

Rabbits are herbivores and tend to eat all parts of a plant—from the roots and the stems to soft, tender leaves and flowers—preferring new growth over old.

And while Looney Tunes showed Bugs Bunny perpetually chomping on a carrot, in reality, rabbits don’t typically spend time digging up root vegetables (and if they do eat a root vegetable, it’s most likely because another animal dug up the vegetable for them). Instead, they usually opt to nibble on the green tops, which still ruins the crop just the same.

How to Keep Rabbits From Eating Your Garden Plants

The simplest way to make your garden less appetizing for these little critters is to avoid the varieties that they love the most. The plants that rabbits prefer to eat are grasses, roses, clovers, daisies, dandelions, kale, spinach, broccoli, beans, and lettuce.

But if you still want to include these plants, there are also a few other tricks for making rabbits disappear from your garden. Consider adding plants with a strong scent—a rabbit’s sense of smell is much stronger than a human’s.

They are also not crazy about anything with a bitter taste, prickles, thorns, fuzzy foliage, tough leathery leaves, or woody stems. So you could create a border using these plants to surround your other more susceptible crops to help deter rabbits and keep them out. Of course, a hungry rabbit will eat just about anything, but making your garden less tempting will hopefully have them scurrying to look for a tastier meal elsewhere.

Rabbit-Resistant Flowers, Plants, & Ground Covers

Daffodil

A group of yellow daffofils growing in a field iStock
  • Where Daffodils Grow Best: Hardy to Zones 3-9
  • Maintenance of Daffodils: Easy to grow, these flowers flourish in full and partial sun, and well-drained soil makes a great natural border—potentially protecting your growing garden.

English Ivy

  • Where English Ivy Grows Best: Hardy to Zones 4-8
  • Maintenance of English Ivy: Partial to full shade. Prefers well-drained, slightly dry soil.

Garlic

  • Where Garlic Grows Best: All hardy zones, depending on frost and cold temperatures
  • Maintenance of Garlic: Easy to grow, garlic prefers full sun and well-drained soil with regular watering initially and then reducing its water mid-summer.

Geranium (Cranesbill)

  • Where Cranesbill Grow Best: Hardy to Zones 4-8
  • Maintenance of Cranesbill: A low-maintenance plant, these geraniums adapt to full sun to partial shade and need to be watered once their soil is dry to the touch.

Geranium (Pelargonium)

Red Geranium (Pelargonium) iStock
  • Where Geranium Grows Best: Hardy to Zones 9-12
  • Maintenance of Geraniums: Plant in full sun to partial shade. Geraniums are easy to grow, and prefer well-drained soil and regular watering.

Lavender

  • Where Lavender Grows Best: Hardy to Zones 5-10
  • Maintenance of Lavender: Full sun, well-drained soil, lavender plants do particularly well in drought-like conditions.

Marigold

  • Where Marigold Grows Best: Hardy to Zones 2-11
  • Maintenance of Marigold: Plant in the spring. These flowers thrive in full sun and require little maintenance. Allow the soil to become dry between waterings.

Mint

  • Where Mint Grows Best: Hardy to Zones 3-8
  • Maintenance of Mint: This low-maintenance plant prefers well-drained soil and grows well in sun or partial shade. Be careful with this prolific grower; this plant may take over your garden if left alone.

Onion

  • Where Onions Grow Best: All hardy zones, depending on the variety
  • Maintenance of Onions: Full sun and water regularly (about once a week) unless it’s dry, then water more often.

Oregano

  • Where Oregano Grows Best: Hardy to Zones 4-10
  • Maintenance of Oregano: This quick grower prefers dry soil and full sun. Plant as a border or a ground cover—deterring rabbits as they approach your garden.

Rhododendron

  • Where Rhododendron Grows Best: Hardy to Zones 4-8
  • Maintenance of Rhododendron: Avoid full sun and full shade. These plants prefer moist soil—add mulch to prevent moisture loss.

Sage

Sage in a garden iStock
  • Where Sage Grows Best: Hardy to Zones 4-10
  • Maintenance of Sage: This plant prefers full sun and well-drained soil.