2023 has arrived and it’s the year of the Rabbit. As gardeners, this might be more a cause of angst than cause for celebration. Bunnies can be oh so cute, and oh so destructive too.
If you have a lot of rabbit pressure in your neighborhood, one way to avoid the munching is to plant flowers that bunnies are more likely to pass by. There are a lot of beauties to choose from too!
Here’s a list of 27 varieties that you’ll love … and rabbits don’t.
Catmint has a scent to the leaves that bunnies pass by. You can go big with Walker’s Low, or more compact with Purrsian Blue (pictured). Full sun.
Ornamental Onion adds fun balls of color in early spring or late summer. Both types are turn-offs for browsing bunnies because of their oniony flavor. Full to part sun.
Red Hot Poker is a sun-loving, brightly colored option. I don’t know why bunnies don’t like it, but I sure do!
English Lavender’s amazing scent is a deterrent for hungry rabbits. It likes drier locations and 6 or more hours of sunshine.
Yarrow is another plant that has a slight scent to the foliage that makes bunnies turn up their noses. Good thing, because it’s one the easiest plants to grow. Full sun.
Monkshood is toxic if eaten and rabbits know this. It creates an attractive clump of foliage during spring and summer, then blooms in late fall. Drier locations in full sun.
Japanese Anemone is a great way to add fall color to a bed. Rabbits leave it alone all season so you can enjoy the color come September.
Thank goodness Delphinium is off the menu for rabbits! You can grow both the tall candle larkspur (pictured) and the shorter, clumping Siberian larkspur without fear of munching.
It’s probably the fuzzy texture of the leaves on Lady’s Mantle that makes it unpalatable to rabbits. Try it as a beautiful border option in sun or part sun.
Cranesbill is one of the best plants you can add for native bees … and to turn off bunnies. Enjoy a long-bloomer like Rozanne (pictured) all summer long.
Thank you, Peter Cottontail for not eating the Hellebores. Early spring would not be the same without their nodding blooms. Part sun to shade.
Astilbe is extra adaptable, growing in full sun to shade. Its flowers are extra showy and the foliage is super attractive, unless you’re a rabbit!
Salvia is another variety that has a slight scent to the leaves which takes it off the menu as far as rabbits are concerned. However, it’s on the menu for pollinators of all kinds.
Munching rabbits aren’t interested in the sword-like foliage of irises. You can grow bearded iris, Siberian iris (pictured) and native irises without fear of chomping.
Thank goodness for fuzzy leaves! Deer and rabbits both leave Lungwort alone. Springtime it’s full of clusters of bell-shaped flowers that bees adore. Summertime, its foliage adds a nice texture.
Betony is easy to grow and looks great along a border or as an accent within a bed. It likes full or part sun. And hummingbirds, bees and butterflies like it! Bunnies … not so much.
Asters of all kinds are a great addition to a bunny-proof garden. Compact sizes like Wood’s Pink or round domes of color like Grape Crush (pictured) work great in a full sun bed.
The irritating sap, or 'milk', inside milkweed causes stomach distress to browsers like rabbits and deer. It’s also one of the reasons why Monarchs lay their eggs on it. As the caterpillars eat more and more of the milkweed, they become less palatable for birds to feed to chicks.
Colorful greens in the diet is a healthy thing, thankfully, the rabbits haven’t heard of this and they skip all the amazing reds, purples, limes and oranges of coral bells.
Part sun to shade gardens look amazing with a spread of Solomon’s Seal. They emerge as tender shoots - which the rabbits ignore - before shooting up in graceful arcs.
Easy to grow tickseed adds so much color to a summer garden. Keep on moving BunBun, you don’t like it!
Low and creeping, like Perfecta, or tall with glorious blue spikes, like hastata (pictured), vervain’s appeal is for gardeners and pollinators, not rabbits or deer.
Candytuft grows with a woody stem into a low, compact ground cover. Use it in a border, in a pot, or wherever you want spring color the bunnies will leave alone. Full sun.
What’s not to love about Veronica? It’s colorful, easy to grow, comes in fabulous colors, and blooms for a long time. The bunnies don’t know what they’re missing. But I’m glad they skip this one.
The anise scent of the leaves is what keeps the rabbits away from the Agastache. Good thing, because varieties like Blue Fortune (pictured) are one of the best additions to a pollinator garden. Full sun.
When bunnies are going hippity hoppity through your garden, they will keep on going past your wild Indigo. A beautiful native option for full sun.
A spiced aroma protects Bee Balm from munching. Both deer and rabbits leave it alone. You can go tall with Cambridge Scarlet, or compact with Petite Delight (pictured).
Nepeta 'Purrsian Blue': Walters Gardens
Allium 'Blue Eddy’: Walters Gardens
Kniphofia 'Fire Dance:' Walters Gardens
Lavandula 'Hidcote’: Walters Gardens
Achillea ’Strawberry Seduction’: Walters Gardens
Aconitum napellus: "Alex Tschentscher", CC4, via Wikimedia Commons
Anemone 'Red Riding Hood': Plants Nouveau
Delphinium 'Cobalt Dreams': Walters Gardens
Alchemilla 'Thriller': © Pstedrak | dreamstime.com
Geranium 'Rozanne’: © Wit’s End Gardens
Helleborus 'French Kiss': Walters Gardens
Astilbe 'Little Vision in Pink': Walters Gardens
Salvia 'Evening Attire': Walters Gardens
Iris s. 'Sunfisher': Walters Gardens
Pulmonaria 'Shrimps on the Barbie: TerraNova® Nurseries, Inc.
Stachys 'Hummelo': © Wit’s End Gardens
Aster 'Grape Crush': Walters Gardens
Asclepias i. 'Soulmate': Ball Horticultural Co.
Heuchera 'Northern Exposure Purple': TerraNova® Nurseries, Inc.
Polygonatum variegatum: © Wit’s End Gardens
Coreopsis 'Cream & Red': Walters Gardens
Verbena hastata: © Antwon Mcmullen | dreamstime.com
Iberis 'Snowflake': Walters Gardens
Veronica 'Aspire': TerraNova® Nurseries, Inc.
Agastache 'Blue Fortune': © Wit’s End Gardens
Baptisia 'American Goldfinch': Walters Gardens
Monarda 'Petite Delight': Walters Gardens