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Rabbit-Resistant Plants and Flowers

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Rabbit damage can be a serious problem. However, many people don’t have the time or the inclination to use repellents or keep the pests at arm’s reach with chicken-wire fencing. Or relocate them after they are captured using a Havahart live trap. You might want to re-do your backyard and plant rabbit-resistant plants.

They are often deer-resistant, which gives you twice the protection against common pests. Some of these flowers can be poisonous so it is important to avoid planting them near children or pets.

These are generally the characteristics in foliage and flowers that deter rabbits.

  • Leaves that are jagged or prickly like yucca
  • Toxic flowers, such as Lenten roses or Foxgloves
  • Strong-scented flowers and leaves, such as mint, lavender and yarrow
  • Fuzzy or leathery leaves
  • Sappy stems for plants

Like humans, rabbits have different preferences in food. Most rabbits will avoid the following flowers, but your mileage may differ.

Shrubs and sub-Shrubs

  • Viburnum
  • The sub-shrub Buddleia is the butterfly bush. It can be an invasive plant in certain regions.
  • Lantana is an invasive plant that thrives in humid and warm climates.
  • Adam’s needle (a type Yucca)
  • Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia, sub-shrub)
  • Cotoneaster
  • Flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)
  • Boxwood (Buxus)
  • Blue Star juniper (Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’)
  • Chinese juniper (Juniperus chinensis)
  • Holly (Ilex).
  • Japanese rose (Kerria japonica)
  • Lavender plant (Lavandula) (sub-shrub)


  • Salvia
  • Montauk daisy (Nipponanthemum nipponicum)
  • Avens (Geum)
  • Rodgersia Rodgers flower
  • Columbine (Aquilegia).
  • Delphinium
  • Yarrow (Achillea).
  • New England aster (Symphyotrichum Novae-angliae).
  • Coreopsis
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis)
  • Poppy (Papaver).
  • Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum)
  • Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens)
  • Perennial bachelor’s buttons (Centaurea montana).
  • Bleeding hearts (Dicentra spectabilis; newer genus name, Lamprocapnos)
  • Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)
  • Monkhood (Aconitum).
  • Bee balm (Monarda doyma).
  • Torch lily (Kniphofia uvaria)
  • ‘Silver Mound’ artemisia (Artemisia schmidtiana)

Bulb Plants

  • Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica)
  • Alliums (including A. atropurpureum)
  • Reticulated Iris (Iris.reticulata).
  • Daffodil (Narcissus).
  • Siberian squill (Scilla siberica)


  • Sweet alyssum, Lobularia maritima
  • Flossflower, Ageratum
  • Wax begonias (Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum)
  • Geranium (Pelargonium).
  • Calendula (pot marigold)


  • Japanese maples (Acer palmatum, etc.)
  • Hawthorn (Crataegus).
  • Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis).
  • Maidenhair (Ginkgo biloba)
  • Ash (Fraxinus).
  • Magnolia (Magnoliaceae).

Vines and/or ground covers

  • Ajuga (Ajuga reptans)
  • Wisteria (Wisteria).
  • Creeping myrtle, Vinca minor
  • Aurinia jaxatilis – Yellow alyssum
  • Convallaria majoralis (Lily-of-the-valley; invasive in certain regions)
  • Creeping junipers (Juniperus horizontalis; Blue Rug, etc.)
  • Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
  • Catmint (Nepeta)
  • Japanese spurge (Pachysandra terminalis)
  • Spotted dead nettle (Lamium maculatum)

Foliage plants

Although the Vinca minor produces a blue flower in spring (see above), many people prefer its shiny green leaves. If you are looking for a plant with more stunning foliage than a flowering display, these plants might be worth your consideration:

  • ‘Silver Mound’ artemisia (Artemisia schmidtiana)
  • Blue fescue ornamental grass (Festuca glauca)
  • Lamb’s ear (Stachys Byzantina).

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