Wrestling with Those Rascally Rabbits

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This year we've noticed that the rabbits have been especially voracious. The only bunny we like to see at The Growing Place is Peter Rabbit hiding out in our mini garden. Here are some tips to help deter those hungry bunnies.

Our employees have tried all sorts of ways keep bunnies at bay. Mary S. places 16”-18” sticks around her hostas to create a barrier. You can also weave string in and out of the sticks for extra protection. The sticks blend in well to the natural surroundings but you could also use green stakes and chicken wire. Bird netting can also be used as an overlay.

Any plants 18” and lower are best fenced off for the strongest protection against reaching rabbits. The Growing Place in Aurora has a Learning Garden that has been heavily attacked by bunnies this year. To test the wit of those rascally rabbits, plastic fork fortresses were built around the Echinacea and they seem to be keeping the bunnies at bay. Rabbits tend to avoid Monarda, but even it has been nibbled on. The fencing around the Clethera is sunk a few inches into the ground as well as around the plant for best protection.

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In the Aurora Annuals department, Kathi T. noticed the sharp edges of the Little Ruby Alternanthera dentata stems nibbled to the ground, but the Celosia planted beside it was left alone. Other annuals not favored by rabbits include Angelonia and Petunias.

A good general rule of thumb is that rabbits tend to avoid plants with fuzzy leaves or fragrant foliage. But, a hungry rabbit will eat anything. If you are looking for rabbit resistant flowers that come up year after year, try these Top 10 perennials for sun and shade.

Top 10 Rabbit Resistant Sun Perennials
Allium
Calamintha
Lamb’s Ear
Yarrow
Sage, annual or perennial
Salvias, annual or perennial
Sedum
Chelone Turtlehead
Baptisia
Peonies

Top 10 Rabbit Resistant Shade Perennials
Brunnera
Bergenia
Ligularia
Actaea
Some ferns
Bleeding heart
Violets
Hellebore
Jacob’s Ladder
Astilbe

Keep in mind, if you buy a plant that says it is rabbit resistant, bunnies don’t always read the signs (tee hee). Baby bunnies will taste test, taking a little bite of each stem. It may work one year and the next year you may have more aggressive rabbits. Kyle, The Growing Place’s Perennial Manager in Aurora says the physical barrier is usually the most effective, whether it is chicken wire or something more attractive. Be creative when protecting a favorite plant and add garden art to your landscape design by using an old birdcage with the bottom removed.

You can also try Liquid Fence Rabbit Repellant or Plantskydd Granular Repellant but there are downsides. First, the rabbits will eventually get used to the product so you will have to rotate products and you will also have to reapply after rain because it will wash away the repellant.

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Having a wide assortment of plants in a larger garden is not as appetite appealing as a bed of hosta standing out from your lawn. You can intersperse some rabbit resistant plants that also attract pollinators, like Calamintha. The scent of Thyme deters rabbits, making this a good herb to incorporate into your garden design. You can always just leave it to nature and encourage your neighbors to plant more. When there is a smorgasbord for the rabbits to choose from, the chewed down stems are less easy to spot. Stop in to pick up our Rabbits in the Home Garden handout for a full list of plants that rabbits typically don't eat.

Aurora Location

2000 Montgomery Road,

Aurora, IL 60504

Phone. 630-820-8088

Naperville Location

25w471 Plank Road,

Naperville, IL 60563

Phone. 630-355-4000

Fall Hours

September 1 - October 31

Monday - Friday: 9am-6pm

Saturday: 9am-5pm

Sunday: 11am-5pm

Growing for the future with
right plantsĀ in right places.