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 as resistant will remain free from damage in all conditions. Recent plantings and soft growth in the spring can sometimes be eaten, even if the plants are not susceptible at other times. Gardeners in rabbit-infested areas may get some additional ideas by seeing what plants survive in neighbouring gardens.

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

Soft wooded

Trees and shrubs

Advertise here

Video exclusive for RHS members: expert advice on dealing with slugs and snails

Sign into the RHS website to watch video Sign in

Sign in

Did you find the advice you needed?

RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.

Join the RHS now

Discuss this

for the site or to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.