Susceptibility of Plants to Rabbit Damage

News Article

Rabbits can cause extensive damage to flowers and vegetables in the home garden. Fortunately,
some plants are usually ignored by browsing rabbits. In 1994, a survey of the feeding habits of rabbits was
conducted by Master Gardeners and extension agents in Ohio. From this survey, preliminary lists of plants
that are moderately to severely damaged by rabbits and those plants seldom damaged were developed.
Home gardeners should be aware that the feeding habits of rabbits may vary due to fluctuations in the
rabbit population, availability of alternate foods, and other factors. However, the lists can be used to select
annuals and perennials that are less likely to be damaged by rabbits. The following lists were obtained from
the Ohio State University Fact Sheet Controlling Rabbits in the Landscape by Susan R. Metzger
and Judy Weisberg.

Plants Moderately to Severely Damaged by Rabbits

Annuals

Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) Portulaca grandiflora (Moss Rose)
Celosia argentea var. cristata (Cockscomb) Tagetes spp. (Marigold)
Cosmos bipinnatus (Cosmos) Torenia fournieri (Wishbone Flower)
Gazania rigens (Gazania) Tropaeolum majus (Nasturtium)
Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) Viola x wittrockiana (Pansy)
Impatiens walleriana (Impatiens) Zinnia elegans (Zinnia)
Petunia x hybrida (Petunia)

Perennials

Anemone x hybrida (Japanese Anemone) Liatris spicata (Spike Gayfeather)
Aster novae-angliae (New England Aster) Lilium spp. (Lily)
Aster novi-belgii (New York Aster) Muscari spp. (Grape Hyacinth)
Astrantia major (Great Masterwort) Papaver nudicaule (Iceland Poppy)
Campanula spp. (Bellflower) Papaver orientale (Oriental Poppy)
Centaurea montana (Mountain Bluet) Phlox divaricata (Woodland Phlox)*
Coreopsis verticillata (Threadleaf Coreopsis) Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)
Crocus spp. (Crocus) Phlox stolonifera (Creeping Phlox)*
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) Platycodon grandiflorus (Balloon Flower)
Galium odoratum (Sweet Woodruff) Rudbeckia ÎGoldsturmâ(Black-eyed Susan)
Gypsophila paniculata (Babyâs Breath) Scabiosa caucasica (Pincushion Flower)
Hosta spp. (Hosta) Tulipa spp. (Tulip)

Vegetables

Beta vulgaris (Beets) Lactuca sativa (Lettuce)
Beta vulgaris var. flavescens (Swiss Chard) Phaseolus vulgaris (Bean)
Brassica oleracea (Broccoli) Pisum sativum (Pea)
Capsicum annuum (Pepper) Spinacia oleracea (Spinach)

Plants Seldom Damaged by Rabbits

Annuals

Ageratum houstonianum (Ageratum) Cleome hasslerana (Spider Flower)
Begonia semperflorens-cultorum (Wax Begonia) Mirabilis jalapa (Four-OâClock)
Catharanthus roseus (Vinca) Pelargonium x hortorum (Geranium)

Perennials

Aconitum napellus (Monkshood) Geranium spp. (Hardy Geranium)
Adenophora lilifolia (Ladybells) Hemerocallis spp. (Daylily)
Ajuga reptans (Bugleweed) Hyacinthus orientalis (Dutch Hyacinth)
Alchemilla mollis (Ladyâs Mantle) Iberis sempervirens (Evergreen Candytuft)
Allium giganteum (Giant Onion) Iris sibirica (Siberian Iris)
Aquilegia spp. (Columbine) Liriope spicata (Creeping Lily-Turf)
Artemisia spp. (Wormwood) Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal Flower)
Aruncus dioicus (Goatâs Beard) Lysimachia clethroides (Gooseneck Loosestrife)
Asarum europaeum (European Wild Ginger) Malva alcea (Hollyhock Mallow)
Astilbe spp. (Astilbe) Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebells)
Baptisia australis (False Indigo) Monarda didyma (Bee Balm)
Bergenia cordifolia (Bergenia) Narcissus spp. (Daffodil)
Brunnera macrophylla (Heartleaf Brunnera) Paeonia hybrids (Peony)
Chrysanthemum x morifolium (Garden Mum) Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)
Cimicifuga racemosa (Bugbane) Phlox subulata (Moss Phlox)
Convallaria majalis (Lily-of-the-Valley) Pulsatilla vulgaris (Pasque Flower)
Dicentra spp. (Bleeding Heart) Salvia x superba (Perennial Salvia)
Echinops ritro (Small Globe Thistle) Sedum ÎAutumn Joyâ (Autumn Joy Sedum)
Epimedium spp. (Barrenwort) Stachys byzantina (Lambâs Ear)
Eupatorium coelestinum (Hardy Ageratum) Tiarella cordifolia (Foam Flower)
Euphorbia spp. (Euphorbia) Veronica spp. (Speedwell)
Gaillardia x grandiflora (Blanket Flower)

Vegetables

Allium cepa (Onion) Lycopersicon esculentum (Tomato)
Asparagus officinalis (Asparagus) Rheum x cultorum (Rhubarb)
Cucurbita pepo (Summer Squash) Solanum tuberosum (Potato)

Those plants denoted by an * are based on personal observation.

This article originally appeared in the June 28, 2002 issue, pp. 92-93.

Category: