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Herbs Rabbits Won't Eat

By Edited Feb 9, 2014 2 7

While it can’t be said that there are rabbit proof herbs, there are some herbs rabbits won’t eat-usually. The more competition there is for food, the more likely the local rabbit population will invade your landscape. A female rabbit can produce three or four litters every year. The new rabbits usually make their appearance from early spring until fall. That’s a lot of new rabbits running around. But, have heart, there are some rabbit resistant herbs.

Catmint
Rather than grow rabbit resistant herbs like regular catmint, try Walker’s Low Catmint (Nepeta faassenii 'Walkers Low'). This variety is also called Faassen’s Catmint or Ornamental Catmint. Hardy in the United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) zones 4a through 9b, this perennial thrives in full sun but is also happy in areas that receive some evening shade. It tolerates most soil types as long as they are well-draining soils. The fast growing, low-maintenance herb doesn’t require a lot of water and is heat and drought resistant. With a low growing, mounding growth habit, Walker’s Low catmint can grow to a height of 1 foot with a spread of 2 feet. The aromatic herb has silvery-grey foliage and blue blooms. The blooms attract butterflies and hummingbirds from spring until fall. It is one of the rabbit resistant herbs that prefers soil with a pH level ranging from 6 to 8.

Mint(86914)


Paprika Yarrow
Paprika Yarrow (Achillea millefolium 'Paprika') sounds like it would be one of the truly rabbit proof herbs, but don’t let the spicy name fool you. While it might be one of the herbs rabbits don’t eat, the colorful name refers to the vivid red blooms this herb produces from spring until fall. It is also known as Red Yarrow, Milfoil, Sanguinary, Thousandleaf, Staunchweed and Soldier’s Woundwort. OK, the last two names really make this plant sound like one of the rabbit proof herbs. Hardy in USDA zones 3a through 8b, this perennial thrives in full sun. It tolerates most soil types as long as they are well-draining soils. The moderately growing, low-maintenance herb doesn’t require a lot of water and is heat and drought resistant. It has a clumping, yet spreading, growth habit that can reach up to 2 feet in height and have a similar spread. The foliage is a medium green shade and it produces deep red flowers with yellow centers. The bloom attract butterflies. Paprika yarrow prefers soils with a pH level ranging from 5.5 to 6.5.

Red-Yarrow


Lavender
Lavender is one of the herbs rabbits won’t eat. The most common lavenders are French Lavender and Spanish Lavender. Hardy in USDA zones 8a through 11, this perennial should be grown as an annual or protected throughout the winter months. It performs best in full sun but is also happy in areas that receive dappled shade. It tolerates most soil types as long as they are well-draining soils. The fast growing, low-maintenance herb doesn’t require a lot of water and tolerates heat, drought and salt. With a dense, spreading growth habit, lavender can grow to a height of 3 feet with a spread of 6 feet. The foliage of these herbs rabbits won’t eat is silvery-grey and it produces fragrant lavender to purple blooms. The blooms attract butterflies and hummingbirds in spring. It prefers soil with a pH level ranging from 6 to 7.5.

Lavender(86917)


Sweet Woodruff
Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum), also called Our Lady’s Lace or Sweetscented Bedstraw, is one of the perennial rabbit resistant herbs hardy in USDA zones 4a through 8b. It thrives in full shade but tolerates dappled shade or areas that receive some morning sun and evening shade. It requires sandy, or loamy, soils that do not drain well. It requires a lot of water but very little other care and has a moderate growth rate. This deer resistant herb grows to a height of 1 foot and has a similar width. It has fragrant, dark-green foliage and produces white flowers early in the summer. It needs soils with a pH level ranging from 5.5 to 7.5.

Sweet-Woodruff


Chives
Chives (Allium schnoenoprasum) sounds like they should be considered one of the rabbit proof herbs, but they aren’t truly rabbit proof. This perennial herb is hardy in USDA zones 5a through 8b. The low-maintenance herb grows in most soil types as long as they are well-draining and located in full sun. It’s a shame it can’t be considered one of the rabbit proof herbs because it is so easy to grow, even heat and drought tolerant. The low-maintenance herb has a clumping growth habit and can grow up to 1 foot in height and 2 feet in width. Chives have dark-green foliage and produce purple flowers during the spring that attract butterflies. It prefers soils with a pH level ranging from 6 to 8.

Chives(86918)


Mints
The various mints (Mentha spp) count amongst the herbs deer won’t eat. To make life more interesting, grow chocolate mint (Mentha piperita ‘Chocolate’). Hardy in USDA zones 4a through 11, this perennial herb actually holds it’s own in whatever zone it decides to grow. Grow it in a shady area or one that receives morning sun and evening shade. Chocolate mint is one of the herbs rabbits won’t eat that grow rapidly. It can become invasive but is heat and drought tolerant. A single plant can grow up to 2-feet tall and 4-feet wide. It tolerates all soil types as long as they are moderately-draining to well-draining. The fragrant foliage is dark green. Butterflies are attracted to the soft purple flowers during the summer. This is one of the herbs rabbit won’t eat that require soil pH levels ranging from 6 to 7.

Mints

Commonly grown rabbit resistant herbs include rosemary, oregano and sage. It sounds like lemon thyme and lemon balm might be rabbit proof herbs, but they are typically only among the herbs rabbits won’t eat if the rabbits don’t feel pressured due to overpopulation or poor growing conditions. Herbs are inexpensive, so it wouldn’t hurt to try out a few varieties to determine which plants work best in your yard. Rabbits have been known to leave plants alone in one yard, but devour the exact same plants in the neighbor’s yard.

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Comments

Feb 27, 2012 9:34am
Lynsuz
Good to know about the herbs that rabbits won't eat.
Feb 27, 2012 6:04pm
Tom_Carver
Lavender is so beautiful and aromatic. I didn't know it kept rabbits at bay (kinda) so I shall have to plant all my lettuces behind a screen of lavendar. Nice helpful article, thumbs up!
Feb 27, 2012 6:06pm
DebDavies
Thanks, Tom. Also, the lavender would provide some shade for the lettuce and extend it's growing season a little bit. Helps if you planted the lettuce seed a few days late! ;-)
Feb 27, 2012 6:26pm
Uniasus
I guess I usually see rabbits sorta as goats, that they'll eat anything green. It's good that they don't like mint, I'm planning on growing some next season.
Feb 28, 2012 9:48pm
eileen
I didn't realize that rabbits were so fussy, like Uniasus I thought they eat everything.
I think I would prefer rabbits at the moment as we have mice that keep coming in from two vacant blocks next to us.
Feb 28, 2012 10:05pm
DebDavies
There are some things they avoid as long as they aren't really desperate for food.

Mice apparently don't like mints, maybe you can try to plant some by the spot the little beasts are coming in? That and seal the area (if you can).
Mar 25, 2012 5:09pm
Ascentive
Great article and very informative. I added the herbs to my garden shopping list!


~Anja~
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Bibliography

  1. "Editors' Picks: Top Rabbit-Resistant Plants." Better Homes and Gardens. 25/02/2012 <Web >
  2. "Keeping Rabbits Away from Desirable Plants in Your Garden and Landscape." Rutgers. 26/04/2007. 25/02/2012 <Web >
  3. "Controlling Nuisance: Cottontail Rabbits." University of Missouri Extension. 25/02/2012 <Web >
  4. Sandra Mason "Plants Not Favored by Deer and Rabbits." University of Illinois Extension. 27/12/1997. 25/02/2012 <Web >
  5. L. Potts and I. Shonle "Ground Covers and Rock Garden Plants for Mountain Communities." Colorado State University Extension. 25/02/2012 <Web >
  6. Linda Wiles "Rabbit Resistant Garden and Landscape Plants." Penn State Extension. 25/02/2012 <Web >

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