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The Best Rabbit-Resistant Plants for Your Garden


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Gardening season is upon us. With longer days and warmer weather, chances are you're spending a lot more time outdoors and with your hands in the dirt. The joy of playing in the soil is an unmatched feeling, but it can be tempered by one thing; The feeling of discovering that pests have entered your green space and turned your soil topsy-turvy. Small pests are a nuisance, but it's the largest (and cutest) ones that often cause the most trouble. This is why filling your garden with rabbit-resistant plants is such a good idea.

Creating a garden space costs a lot of time, money, and action. You deserve to enjoy the rewards of that effort. But, having a bunny chomp up the fruits of your labor as if you built it just for them? Well, let's just say that garden life doesn't have to be like that. There are an abundance of flowers, herbs, and plants that can deter rabbits from viewing them as a snack. Despite what seems to be a voracious appetite, rabbits are actually pretty choosy when it comes to their diet. In particular, the best-suited plants to resist rabbits are ones with highly sticky saps, exceptionally strong smells, or prickly, leathery leaves and spines. This, fortunately, leaves a wide variety of vegetation that can brighten up your garden and enhance your meals. All while saving you the headache of cleaning up after an animal that has helped itself to your hard work. So, prepare your outdoor space with these plants, and know that you'll enjoy a bit of sunshine with peace of mind, and no pesky rabbits in sight.

1. Butterfly Bush

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Lo and Behold 'Blue Chip Jr.' Butterfly Bush (1 Gal. Live Shrub) - Home Depot, $28.85

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Hardiness Zone: 5-9

Sun level: Full sun

Soil type: Well-drained, slightly dry

Butterfly bushes bloom with many advantages for your garden. For one, the woody stems are not a rabbit's preferred food. The blossoming flowers will attract pollinators and butterflies to your garden, and although plants will die in cold weather, new shoots await warm temperatures to rebloom.

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2. Elephant Ear

Caladium Red Flash Elephant Ear (10 Bulbs) - Amazon, $15.96

Hardiness Zone: 8-12

Sun level: Full sun

Soil type: Well-drained, moist

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While caladiums, or elephant ears, don't bloom in flowers, the large and often colorful leaves provide a nice, lush feel to your outdoor space. Simply dig the bulbs up at the end of the season and store them until next year for a repeatable rabbit-resistant plant.

3. Boxwood Bush

Sprinter Boxwood, Live Evergreen Shrub (4.5 in. Qt) - Home Depot, $14.12

Hardiness Zone: 5-8

Sun level: Partial sun

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Soil type: Well-drained, sandy loamy

Similar to butterfly bushes, boxwoods do not make a good meal for rabbits. The tough stems and spiny bristles of these rabbit-resistant plants look less like a snack and more like the garden greenery they are. These shrubs are also easy to maintain.

4. Aster

Aster, Raydon's Favorite (1 plant) - Burpee, $14.12

Hardiness Zone: 3-8

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Sun level: Full sun

Soil type: Well-drained, loamy

The internet has mixed opinions on whether or not rabbits actually like asters or not, but in our experience, these flowers provide a beautiful pop of color across the landscape but have a strong enough scent to deter dangerous nibbling. 

5. Oregano

Oregano, Greek (3 plants) - Burpee, $24.95

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Hardiness Zone: 3-9

Sun level: Full sun

Soil type: Well-drained, rocky

Oregano is an especially good herb for both the garden floor and the dinner plate, so this suggestion comes with multiple benefits. Near the end of the season, oregano plants can blossom into tiny flowers and create an especially herbal aroma. Oregano is easy to grow and makes a better meal addition for humans than it does for rabbits.

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6. Snapdragon

Grande Angelface Perfectly Pink Summer Snapdragon (4 plants) - Home Depot, $36.84

Hardiness Zone: Annual, except in zones 10-11

Sun level: Full to partially shady 

Soil type: Well-drained, rich

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While snapdragon flowers may look appetizing, the overall flavor of these rabbit-resistant plants is bitter enough to make any bunny back off. Best of all, snapdragons are frost-resistant too, so planting them gives you the maximum amount of time to enjoy bright foliage in your garden.

7. Chives

Organic Chives (675 seeds) - Burpee, $5.95

Hardiness Zone: 3-10

Sun level: Full sun

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Soil type: Well-drained, rich

Like oregano, chives are an ingredient that rabbits would prefer to leave off the menu. The pungent flavor gets a hard pass from grazing mammals but will make your next meal burst with fresh flavors. Some varieties offer garlic notes, which are especially delicious to anyone not named Bugs Bunny.

8. Yew Shrub

Dense Spreading Yew Shrub (1 Gal.) - Home Depot, $32.09

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Hardiness Zone: 4-8

Sun level: Full to partial sun

Soil type: Well-drained, moist

Yew shrubs have the right sort of characteristics to resist rabbits, with an added advantage over box shrubs. As the weather cools, yews will produce a bright red berry that attracts pollinators and birds, without beckoning any rabbits to the dinner table. 

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Don't Forget These Additional Must-Haves

Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent Ready-to-Use - Amazon, $11.99

Creating a landscape that is inedible to rabbits takes the right consideration, but if you've already got most of your garden planted and are still fighting against all your plants becoming "snack time," consider liquid repellent. The ingredients are plant-safe but create an undesirable scent for even the hungriest eaters. This particular blend is rain-resistant as well, making it perfect to use year-round in nearly any climate.

YARDGARD Garden Rabbit Fence - Amazon, $33

Amazon

Finally, the best offense is a good defense. Secure the parameters of your fields with a low fence, and you can keep a lot of plants safe -- even if they fit a rabbit's preferred dining options. This galvanized fence is easy to install, and tall enough to prevent any crafty creatures from leaping overtop. Just because your vegetation looks appetizing doesn't mean that it shouldn't be safe to grow to its full potential.

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READ MORE: The Best Deer-Resistant Plants To Finally Keep Them Away