Deer and Rabbit Resistant Plants

Cute Fawn or Garden Pest?

Cute Fawn or Garden Pest?

Having kept two outdoor pet rabbits for 13 years, I found the need to research what plants are rabbit resistant. I discovered that these same plants are also not favoured by deer.

There are few plants that are deer and rabbit proof. The best a gardener can hope for is a deer and rabbit resistant garden. Deer and rabbits generally avoid strongly scented plants, prickly or fuzzy foliage, and leathery leaves. They also prefer new growth over old growth. I noticed that astilbes, daylilies, ferns, and kinnikinnick were never eaten by my rabbits. Sadly, many of my other plants did not fare as well.

It is unfortunate that most deer and rabbits will try eating a plant before deciding it is not tasty – this means that new growth might be torn off only to be rejected and dropped. The following deer and rabbit resistant plants will likely survive such nibbling. The following plants are only eaten by deer and rabbits when other more desirable plants are not available.

Bulbs:
Crocus
Daffodil
Hyacinth
Ornamental Onion
Scilla
Snowdrop
Perennials:
Astilbe
Black-eyed Susan
Bleeding Heart
Brunnera
Bugleweed
Candytuft
California Poppy
Catnip
Columbine
Coral Bells
Daylilies
False Salvia
Ferns
Forget-me-not
Foam Flower
Foxglove
Geranium
Hens and Chicks
Jacob’s Ladder
Lamb’s Ears
Lavender
Lily of the Valley
Lupine
Meadow Rue
Peony
Shasta Daisy
Solomon’s Seal
Speedwell
Shrubs and Trees:
Ash
Barberry
Birch
Boxwood
Butterfly Bush
Chokeberry
Flowering Quince
Forsythia
Heather
Heavenly Bamboo
Hemlock
Holly
Japanese Snowbell
Kinnikinnick
Lavender
Lilac
Mahonia
Mock Orange
Periwinkle
Pine
Red Flowering Currant
Rosemary
Salal
Serviceberry
Skimmia
Spirea
Sweetgum
Thyme
Tree Peony

It is also important to know what plants are attractive to these creatures. Both deer and rabbits are enticed by vegetables, roses, grasses, tulips, annuals, fruit trees, and berry bushes. You can avoid luring deer and rabbits into your garden by not including these plants in your design.

A question to seriously consider is, “Do you really want to eliminate deer and rabbits from your garden?” They are enjoyable and relaxing to watch, as are other wildlife. By choosing to welcome these guests, you eliminate a source of stress and you might find you enjoy your garden even more.

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