Susceptibility of Plants to Rabbit Damage

Care and How To

Rabbits can cause extensive damage to flowers and vegetables in the home garden. Fortunately, some plants are usually ignored by browsing rabbits. No plant is guaranteed to not be browsed on by rabbits, but they tend to avoid plants with strong aromas or dense hairy leaves.  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.

The most effective way to prevent damage from rabbit browsing is to exclude them from the garden.  More information about rabbit management can be found in this website: Rabbits: Damage Management

The lists below are compiled from several sources across the Midwest based on surveys and observations.  Use these lists to select annuals, perennials, trees, and shrubs that are less likely to be damaged by rabbits. 

Jump to... Plants Often Damaged by Rabbits | Plants Seldom Damaged by Rabbits


Plants Moderately to Severely Damaged by Rabbits

Annuals | Perennials | BulbsFruits, Vegetables, & Herbs | Shrubs & Young Trees

Annuals Moderately to Severely Damaged by Rabbits

  • Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)
  • Celosia argentea var. cristata (Cockscomb)
  • Centaurea cyanus (Bachelor’s Button)
  • Cosmos bipinnatus (Cosmos)
  • Gazania rigens (Gazania)
  • Helianthus annuus (Sunflower)
  • Impatiens walleriana (Impatiens)
  • Lathyrus latifolius (Sweet Pea)
  • Petunia × hybrida (Petunia)
  • Portulaca grandiflora (Moss Rose)
  • Tagetes spp. (Marigold)
  • Tithonia rotundifolia (Mexican Sunflower)
  • Torenia fournieri (Wishbone Flower)
  • Tropaeolum majus (Nasturtium)
  • Verbena ×​​​​​​​ hybrida (Garden Verbena)
  • Viola ×​​​​​​​ wittrockiana (Pansy)
  • Zinnia elegans (Zinnia)

Jump to... Plants Often Damaged | Plants Seldom Damaged

Perennials Moderately to Severely Damaged by Rabbits

  • Adiantum pedatum (Northern Maidenhair Fern)
  • Anemone ×​​​​​​​ hybrida (Japanese Anemone)
  • Astrantia major (Great Masterwort)
  • Campanula spp. (Bellflower)
  • Centaurea montana (Mountain Bluet)
  • Coreopsis verticillata (Threadleaf Coreopsis)
  • Dianthus spp. (Pinks)
  • Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
  • Galium odoratum (Sweet Woodruff)
  • Gypsophila paniculata (Baby's Breath)
  • Hosta spp. (Hosta)
  • Liatris spicata (Spike Gayfeather)
  • Paeonia suffruticosa (Tree Peony)
  • Papaver nudicaule (Iceland Poppy)
  • Papaver orientale (Oriental Poppy)
  • Phlox divaricata (Woodland Phlox)
  • Phlox paniculata (Garden Phlox)
  • Phlox stolonifera (Creeping Phlox)
  • Platycodon grandiflorus (Balloon Flower)
  • Rudbeckia spp. (Black-eyed Susan)
  • Scabiosa caucasica (Pincushion Flower)
  • Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster)
  • Symphyotrichum novi-belgii (New York Aster)

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Bulbs Moderately to Severely Damaged by Rabbits

  • Crocus spp. (Crocus)
  • Gladiolus spp. (Gladiolus)
  • Iris hybrids (Dutch Iris)
  • Lilium spp. (Lily)
  • Muscari spp. (Grape Hyacinth)
  • Tulipa spp. (Tulip)

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Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs Moderately to Severely Damaged by Rabbits

  • Beta vulgaris (Beets)
  • Beta vulgaris var. cicla (Swiss Chard)
  • Brassica oleracea (Broccoli)
  • Capsicum annuum (Pepper)
  • Fragaria ×​​​​​​​ ananassa (Strawberry)
  • Lactuca sativa (Lettuce)
  • Malus spp. (Apple)
  • Phaseolus vulgaris (Bean)
  • Pisum sativum (Pea)
  • Prunus spp. (Cherry, Plum, Peach)
  • Pyrus spp. (Pear)
  • Rubus spp. (Raspberry)
  • Spinacia oleracea (Spinach)
  • Vaccinium spp. (Blueberry)

Jump to... Plants Often Damaged | Plants Seldom Damaged

Shrubs and Young Trees Moderately to Severely Damaged by Rabbits

  • Acer spp. (Maple)
  • Amelanchier spp. (Serviceberry)
  • Aronia spp. (Chokeberry)
  • Berberis spp. (Barberry)
  • Carpinus spp. (Hop Hornbeam)
  • Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud)
  • Chaenomeles spp. (Flowering Quince)
  • Clematis spp. (Clematis)
  • Cornus sericea (Redtwig Dogwood)
  • Cotinus spp. (Smokebush)
  • Crataegus spp. (Hawthorn)
  • Deutzia spp. (Deutzia)
  • Euonymous alata (Burning Bush, Winged Euonymous)
  • Forsythia spp. (Forsythia)
  • Fothergilla spp. (Fothergilla)
  • Gleditsia spp. (Honeylocust)
  • Hamamelis virginiana (Witch Hazel)
  • Hibiscus syriacus (Rose of Sharon)
  • Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea)
  • Malus spp. (Crabapple)
  • Pinus strobus (Eastern White Pine)
  • Populus spp. (Willow, Polar, Cottonwood)
  • Prunus spp. (Flowering Cherry, Sand Cherry)
  • Quercus spp. (Oak)
  • Rhus spp. (Sumac)
  • Rosa spp. (Rose)
  • Sorbus spp. (Moutain Ash)
  • Spiraea spp. (Spirea)
  • Syringa patula (Korean Lilac)
  • Taxodium distichum (Bald Cypress)
  • Tilia spp. (Linden)
  • Viburnum carlesii (Koreanspice Viburnum)
  • Viburnum plicatum (Doublefile Viburnum)
  • Viburnum ×​​​​​​​ juddii (Judd Viburnum)

Jump to... Plants Often Damaged | Plants Seldom Damaged


Plants Seldom Damaged by Rabbits

Annuals | Perennials | BulbsFruits, Vegetables, & Herbs | Shrubs & Young Trees

Annuals Seldom Damaged by Rabbits

  • Ageratum houstonianum (Ageratum)
  • Begonia semperflorens-cultorum (Wax Begonia)
  • Calendula officinalis (Pot Marigold)
  • Catharanthus roseus (Vinca)
  • Cleome hasslerana (Spider Flower)
  • Mirabilis jalapa (Four-O'Clock)
  • Pelargonium ×​​​​​​​ hortorum (Geranium)

Jump to... Plants Often Damaged | Plants Seldom Damaged

Perennials Seldom Damaged by Rabbits

  • Aconitum napellus (Monkshood)
  • Adenophora lilifolia (Ladybells)
  • Ajuga reptans (Bugleweed)
  • Alchemilla mollis (Lady's Mantle)
  • Allium giganteum (Giant Onion)
  • Aquilegia spp. (Columbine)
  • Artemisia spp. (Wormwood)
  • Aruncus dioicus (Goat's Beard)
  • Asarum europaeum (European Wild Ginger)
  • Astilbe spp. (Astilbe)
  • Baptisia australis (False Indigo)
  • Bergenia cordifolia (Bergenia, Pig Squeak)
  • Brunnera macrophylla (Heartleaf Brunnera)
  • Chrysanthemum ×​​​​​​​ morifolium (Garden Mum)
  • Cimicifuga racemosa (Bugbane)
  • Convallaria majalis (Lily-of-the-Valley)
  • Dicentra spp. (Bleeding Heart)
  • Digitalis purpurea (Foxglove)
  • Echinops ritro (Small Globe Thistle)
  • Epimedium spp. (Barrenwort)
  • Eupatorium coelestinum (Hardy Ageratum)
  • Euphorbia spp. (Euphorbia)
  • Filipendula spp. (Queen of the Prairie)
  • Gaillardia ×​​​​​​​ grandiflora (Blanket Flower)
  • Geranium spp. (Hardy Geranium)
  • Hemerocallis spp. (Daylily)
  • Hylotelephium spp. (Tall Sedum)
  • Iberis sempervirens (Evergreen Candytuft)
  • Iris sibirica (Siberian Iris)
  • Kniphofia spp. (Red-Hot Poker)
  • Lamprocapnos spp. (Bleeding Heart)
  • Leucanthemum ×​​​​​​​ superba (Shasta Daisy)
  • Liriope spicata (Creeping Lily-Turf)
  • Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal Flower)
  • Lysimachia clethroides (Gooseneck Loosestrife)
  • Malva alcea (Hollyhock Mallow)
  • Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebells)
  • Monarda didyma (Bee Balm)
  • Myosotis sylvatica (Perennial Forget-Me-Not)
  • Pachysandra terminalis (Japanese Pachysandra)
  • Paeonia hybrids (Peony)
  • Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)
  • Phlox subulata (Moss Phlox)
  • Primula spp. (Primrose)
  • Pulsatilla vulgaris (Pasque Flower)
  • Salvia × superba (Perennial Salvia)
  • Sedum spp. (Stonecrop)
  • Stachys byzantina (Lamb's Ear)
  • Stokesia laevis (Stoke's Aster)
  • Thalictrum spp.  (Meadow Rue)
  • Tiarella cordifolia (Foam Flower)
  • Veronica spp. (Speedwell)
  • Yucca filamentosa (Adam's Needle)

Jump to... Plants Often Damaged | Plants Seldom Damaged

Bulbs Seldom Damaged by Rabbits

  • Allium spp. (Ornamental Onion)
  • Hyacinthus orientalis (Dutch Hyacinth)
  • Narcissus spp. (Daffodil)

Jump to... Plants Often Damaged | Plants Seldom Damaged

Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs Seldom Damaged by Rabbits

  • Allium cepa (Onion)
  • Artemisia dracunculus (Tarragon)
  • Asparagus officinalis (Asparagus)
  • Cucurbita pepo (Summer Squash)
  • Mentha spp. (Mint)
  • Ocimum basilicum (Basil)
  • Origanum laevigatum (Marjoram)
  • Origanum vulgare (Oregano)
  • Petroselinum crispum (Parsley)
  • Rheum spp. (Rhubarb)
  • Ribes spp. (Currant, Gooseberry)
  • Satureja hortensis (Savory)
  • Solanum lycopersicum (Tomato)
  • Solanum tuberosum (Potato)
  • Vitis spp. (Grape)

Jump to... Plants Often Damaged | Plants Seldom Damaged

Shrubs and Young Trees Seldom Damaged by Rabbits

  • Aesculus glabra (Buckeye)
  • Aesculus hippocastanum (Horsechestnut)
  • Aesculus parviflora (Bottlebrush Buckeye)
  • Buddleia davidii (Butterfly Bush)
  • Buxus spp. (Boxwood)
  • Cornus alba (Tatarian Dogwood)
  • Cotoneaster spp. (Cotoneaster)
  • Hydrangea anomala petiolaris (Climbing Hydrangea)
  • Hydrangea arborescens (Smooth Hydrangea)
  • Ilex glabra (Inkberry)
  • Juglans cinerea (Butternut)
  • Juglans nigra (Black Walnut)
  • Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweet Gum)
  • Liriodendron tulipfera (Tulip Tree, Tulip Poplar)
  • Picea pungens (Colorado spruce)
  • Potentilla fruticosa (Bush Cinquefoil)
  • Rhododendron spp. (Azalea, Rhododendron)
  • Taxus spp. (Yew)

Jump to... Plants Often Damaged | Plants Seldom Damaged


Sources: University of Illinois, University of Nebraska, Missouri Botanical Garden, Ohio State University

 

Updated from an article that originally appeared in the June 28, 2002 issue of Horticulture and Home Pest News, pp. 92-93.

Last Reviewed: 
June, 2022