Rabbit-Resistant Annuals

Rabbits treating your garden like a salad bar? Try adding one of these colorful, bunny-proof annuals to keep them at bay.

Eastern Cottontail Rabbit

Eastern Cottontail Rabbit

Photo by: Image courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Image courtesy of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Though rabbits are known to eat practically anything, they tend to avoid plants that are super-fragrant, have a peppery taste or have thorns or a prickly texture.

Poor Mr. McGregor. The fictional gardener in The Tale of Peter Rabbit couldn’t keep rabbits out of his vegetable patch, and most of us have trouble keeping them out of our flowers and edibles, too.

Unfortunately, few plants are completely rabbit-proof, because bunnies will eat almost anything if they’re hungry, or if there aren’t a lot of plant choices available, as in periods of drought. Rabbit tastes also vary from season to season. In the spring and summer, flowers and vegetables are their favorite foods. By fall and winter, they’ve moved on to trees, shrubs and other woody plants. Researchers say that cottontail snacks vary by region, too, and may even differ from one neighborhood to another.

While we can’t make any hard-and-fast guarantees, try our list of rabbit-resistant annuals if your garden is under attack. In general, you’ll fare best with spiny, hairy or rough-textured plants. Bunnies also dislike leathery, thick foliage and plants with bitter or spicy stems and leaves. Experiment to see what works best for you.

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