We live in a semi-rural area where the houses are on big blocks and there’s plenty of native bushland. The upside to that is we enjoy seeing plenty of native birds and animals. The downside is that we also have to deal with pests such as rabbits. They don’t live on our property, they have they’re burrows in a bush block behind ours, but they like to venture into our garden to eat and dig!
I love animals but I’m not a big fan of rabbits at the moment. The damage they do to our garden, especially over summer, is very disheartening. I look forward to summer and being able to enjoy the garden and plant a few annuals. But the warmer weather is spoiled a bit because we have rabbits coming around nibbling on our plants!
This spring and summer have been particularly bad because until recently it has been very dry. The rabbits don’t have a lot of grass to eat so they have been giving our plants a very hard time. This year we have seen them eating some plants that they have never eaten before.
So I’ve decided to compile a list of the plants that we have in the garden that the rabbits will and won’t eat. That way I can plan my future garden plantings to minimise rabbit damage!
Plants Rabbits Will Eat In My Garden
Below is a list of the plants that I have had growing in my garden which the rabbits have seemed to enjoy eating.
These were one of the worst hit in the garden. We have to be very careful where we plant petunias.
- Tree dahlias
Our tree dahlias are only a few inches tall at the moment; they should be a few feet high by this time of year! As fast as they shoot up the rabbits just eat them off – so annoying!
We had to put wire barriers around our sedum last summer. The only variety that the rabbits don’t seem to eat is the ‘Autumn Joy’.
Smaller, less thorny rose bushes have been popular with the rabbits this summer.
We have a couple of large shrubs that are okay but a small, newly planted cotoneaster, was popular with the bunnies!
If you look online you will read that potato plants are toxic to rabbits. That doesn’t seem to be the case with the ones that visit our garden though. We have a raised bed with potatoes in it and I’ve seen rabbits jump up onto the bed to eat the leaves! They have done some damage without eating all the plants so perhaps the potato plants gave them a belly ache!
- Plum Tree
This is another plant that is supposed to be toxic to rabbits but they were hungry enough to eat the leaves from low hanging branches. I don’t think they suffered any ill effects from eating plum leaves because it only stopped when we netted the tree!
Our main vegetable garden has a rabbit proof fence so thankfully most of our veggies are safe. I’m sure they’d love to get at our lettuce, beans, carrots, radishes, strawberries, sunflowers, zinnias, etc.
However we do have pumpkins and zucchini growing in raised beds outside the main vegetable garden. The rabbits had a bit of a nibble on the tender small plants but seemed to give up as the plants matured. They’re also nibbling on our watermelon plants but haven’t done too much damage as yet.
Plants Rabbits Won’t Eat in my Garden
The list below shows the plants in our garden that the rabbits have left alone.
- California Lilac
- Marguerite daisy (large bush)
- Nandina (sacred bamboo)
- Rock rose
- Butterfly grass
- Primrose Jasmine
Deterring Rabbits in Our Garden
I have tried using spray on rabbit deterrents but I haven’t had a lot of success. Mainly because we have quite a large garden and it’s hard to spray everything that might be possible rabbit food. Also if you water overhead or if you get some rain then the sprays just wash off and you have to reapply them.
We have placed wire guards around some of our vulnerable plants but unfortunately they don’t look very attractive.
Having a dog, in your yard might also be a good rabbit deterrent. We don’t have a dog at the moment and our cats are confined to a cat enclosure so the rabbits feel fairly safe in our yard! Maybe we might have to get a dog!
In the mean time we’ll just have to stick to planting more of the plants that the rabbits won’t eat!