What Perennials Do Rabbits Not Like: Rabbit-Resistant Plants

HomeBehaviorWhat Perennials Do Rabbits Not Like: Rabbit-Resistant Plants

Rabbits dislike perennials such as lavender, catmint, and Russian sage. These plants have strong scents that rabbits dislike. Other plants that deter rabbits include marigolds, geraniums, and peonies.

Rabbits as Garden Pests

Rabbits can be pesky garden pests, but knowing which plants they don’t like can help keep them away! Rabbits are most active at dawn and dusk, so it’s important to observe their behavior in the garden during these times.

They mostly eat grasses and other low-growing vegetation like clovers and alfalfa. However, if they become desperate for food or if they’re exposed to more appealing foliage, they may start nibbling on larger plants. To deter rabbits from your garden, you’ll want to choose perennials that aren’t attractive to them.

Lavender, catmint, and Russian sage are all good examples of perennials that rabbits generally do not enjoy eating.

To further protect your garden from hungry rabbits, employ some physical barriers such as fencing or netting around prized plants. A two-foot fence should be enough to keep out most small mammals; however taller fences may be necessary for larger species of bunnies.

Additionally, you can add a layer of chicken wire beneath the soil surface around smaller plants as an extra precaution against burrowing critters. Sprinkling ground black pepper or cayenne pepper around the perimeter of your garden is also known to work nicely as a natural repellent – just make sure not to use too much as it could potentially harm non-target animals in the area!

You can also install motion activated sprinklers in sensitive areas of your garden which will spray water when triggered by movement – this usually works well for keeping pesky bunnies away without any negative effects on surrounding wildlife populations.

Finally, consider planting some crops known to repel rabbits such as garlic or onions nearby in order to provide an additional deterrent factor against voracious rabbit appetites!

What Makes Rabbits Dislike Certain Perennials?

You may be wondering why rabbits avoid certain perennials. The answer lies in the plant’s ability to defend itself against herbivores, such as rabbits, through chemical and physical defense mechanisms.

Chemical defenses are compounds that ward off predators by making plants taste bad or even poisoning them. Physical defenses are structural features of the plant, like thorns or waxy coatings, that make it harder for animals to eat them.

Chemical Defense

You’ll be glad to know that many perennials have a chemical defense against rabbits, like lavender, catmint and russian sage! These plants produce compounds in their leaves and flowers which act as natural deterrents to ward off browsing animals. The exact mechanism for this is still unknown but it has been observed that rabbits avoid them. Herbal repellents can also be used to keep rabbits away from other perennials such as cilantro, chives and oregano.

Compound Function
Linalool Repellent/deterrent
Pulegone Toxic/irritant
Thymol Repels fleas

These compounds have been identified in the leaves of these perennials and they are believed to work by either repelling or deterring the rabbit from eating them. In addition, some of these compounds may also act as toxins or irritants when ingested. For example, linalool is a compound found in lavender that acts as a repellent or deterrent, while pulegone is a toxic compound found in catmint that causes irritation if eaten. Lastly, thymol is an organic compound found in russian sage that repels fleas.

Physical Defenses

Many plants have physical defenses in place to protect themselves from rabbits, such as thorns and prickles that they don’t particularly care for. For example, roses are a common perennial that has sharp thorns on its stems, which is an effective defense against rabbits.

Some gardeners also use companion planting to help keep rabbits away; this involves planting certain natural repellent plants next to or near those that the rabbits may otherwise try to eat. Lavender, catmint, russian sage and other similar perennials are known as natural rabbit repellents due to their strong fragrances, so if you want to protect your garden from rabbits then these might be good options for you.


Lavender deters rabbits, so planting it around your garden is an effective way to keep them away. It’s a natural repellent and companion plant that can be used to protect other plants from rabbit damage. Lavender has the unique ability to repel rabbits due to its strong scent. This powerful scent also helps deter other pests like deer and rodents, making it a great choice for any garden.

It may also be beneficial in attracting helpful pollinators like bees and butterflies. The flowers of lavender are edible and can be used to make tea or added as flavorings in recipes. The leaves can also be harvested for their essential oils which have many uses such as aromatherapy or skin care products.

When planted close together in mass plantings, this perennial will create a beautiful hedge-like barrier against rabbits while still providing lovely color and texture to your landscape. Planting lavender requires well-drained soil with plenty of sun exposure for best growth results. While hardy in USDA zones 5-8, it may need some winter protection if planted too early in the season or if you live in an area prone to extreme cold temperatures during the winter months.

Additionally, lavender should not be overwatered as too much moisture can cause root rot and disease issues. Whether you choose English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) cultivars or French interspecific varieties (Lavandin) such as ‘Grosso’ or ‘Provence’, these fragrant perennials will bring beauty and practicality all at once!


Catmint is a great choice for your garden if you’re looking for something that will keep rabbits away, as they don’t care much for its strong scent. A member of the mint family, catmint is a wonderful perennial to consider when rabbit proofing your garden.

Its tall stalks and large leaves emit an aroma that’s too strong even for the hungry herbivore. Not only does the scent deter rabbits, but it also repels other pests like flea beetles and ants.

The purple/blue flowers of catmint are beautiful additions to any flower bed or landscape bed, providing a background of color that helps set off other plants in your design. The plant blooms from early summer through early fall and attracts butterflies and bees with its sweet nectar.

After it finishes blooming it can be cut back to encourage another flush of growth before winter sets in. Catmint is hardy enough to survive cold temperatures and drought-like conditions making it ideal in areas where water conservation is important.

It grows well without much fussing over so once it’s established all you need to do is enjoy the show! In addition, this low-maintenance variety requires very little pruning; just an occasional trim after flowering season will do the trick – no special tools required!

When planting catmint make sure to give it plenty of room to grow since some varieties have an aggressive spread habit which could crowd out other nearby plants if not given enough space. As long as you provide full sun or partial shade along with regular watering your catmint should thrive while keeping those pesky rabbits away from your prized perennials!

Russian Sage

Russian Sage is a fragrant and beautiful addition to any garden, providing a low-maintenance solution that won’t be disliked by local wildlife. The leaves are deep green with silver undersides, giving it an attractive look in the garden. Its flowers are delicate purple blooms that will appear during the summer months. It’s also drought tolerant and can survive in full sun or part shade conditions.

Here are five reasons why Russian Sage is great for rabbit proofing your garden:

  • It has an intense aroma which encourages predators away from your plants
  • The strong root system makes it hard for rabbits to dig up and eat
  • Its height makes it difficult for rabbits to reach
  • It produces nectar which overwhelms the taste of other nearby plants
  • Its foliage acts as a natural shield against rabbits trying to get at other plants nearby.

In short, Russian Sage is a great choice if you want to keep rabbits out of your garden while still having an aesthetically pleasing display. This perennial not only looks great but provides an extra layer of protection against pesky visitors, making it ideal for those wishing to have both beauty and peace of mind when gardening.

Planting Tips for a Rabbit-Free Garden

Planting fragrant and lush perennials like lavender and catmint can create a beautiful garden that rabbits won’t be able to resist.

But if you want to keep the pesky critters out of your garden, there are some things you should keep in mind when planting.

One way is to practice companion planting, meaning growing plants together that typically don’t attract each other’s predators. For instance, marigolds have been known to deter rabbits with their strong scent, so pairing them with lavender or rosemary can help protect your plantings from rabbit damage.

Another tip is to consider raised beds for all of your perennials. Raised beds make it more difficult for rabbits to access the plants since they will be higher off the ground and thus less accessible.

Planting a border of prickly shrubs around your garden beds may also prove helpful in keeping rabbits away as they will not want to risk getting scratched by thorns or spines.

Finally, adding a motion-activated sprinkler system near the perimeter of your garden may startle any bunny visitors, helping keep them away from your flowers and veggies!

Bryan Moore
Bryan Moorehttps://perfectrabbit.com
I am Bryan, owner of PerfectRabbit.com. I love all animals but find myself especially drawn to rabbits. I have been very lucky to be able to turn my passion into my profession, and I am grateful every day that I get to do what I love. It is my hope that through this website, I can help others learn more about these wonderful creatures and provide them with all the information they need to care for their own rabbit. View my Full Author Page Here

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