Rabbit-resistant plants

Rabbits graze a wide range of plants and can cause sufficient damage to kill young trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. This page provides some choices of plants that are relatively resistant to rabbits. There is no guarantee that any of the plants listed will remain free from damage in all conditions. Recent plantings and soft growth in the spring can be eaten, even if the plants are not susceptible at other times. Gardeners  may get some additional ideas by seeing what plants survive rabbit damage in neighbouring gardens.

Dahlias are less troubled by rabbits.

Dahlias are less troubled by rabbits.

Quick facts

Five usually rabbit-resistant plants for:
Shade: Hellebores
Full sun: Sunflowers
Containers: Impatiens (busy Lizzie)
Small tree: Laurus nobilis (bay tree)
Shrub: Buddleja davidii (butterfly bush)

Introduction

Rabbits tend to be inquisitive feeders and are often attracted to new plantings, so some protective netting is advisable until the plants are established.

Practical considerations

Where feasible, rabbit-proof fencing can be installed around the garden to exclude rabbits. Individual woody plants may be fitted with tree guards or spirals (biodegradable tree spirals made from potato starch are available).

Suitable plants

Perennials

Trees and shrubs


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