Repel Rabbits with Plants

Another nice thing about marigolds is they stay blooming well into the fall.

Another nice thing about marigolds is they stay blooming well into the fall.

I’ve had a mess of garden troubles with critters, most of which are of the burrowing variety. But over the past couple of years, my number one garden enemy has been the rabbit. Or rather, rabbits, since I seem to have an endless supply of them eating vegetables, pulling up bean plants and doing lots of unauthorized shrub pruning.

Last year, I put a low fence around my main vegetable area and that certainly slowed them down. But my goal this year is to make peace with the bunnies even more, and a couple of recent garden talks I’ve attended have given me some new ideas. This past weekend, I combined a trip to the Chicago Flower and Garden with a visit to my daughter who lives in the city. Shawna Coronado, noted blogger, author and urban gardener, gave a talk on planting sustainable containers, but also offered a bunch of tips on front yard garden design, composting and growing vegetables in shade.

According to Shawna, you can repel rabbits with plants by growing spicy globe basil combined with marigolds. She particularly recommends ‘Taishon’ marigolds. Both plants have a strong scent and make lists of “rabbit resistant” plants. Will the two together provide extra protection? Generally bunnies don’t care for stinky stuff, so it makes sense that combining two smells might be extra effective.  I’m not sure, but I plan to try the combination this summer.

I already plant parsley for caterpillars/butterflies, so why not a few more plants for the bunnies.

I already plant parsley for caterpillars/butterflies, so why not a few more plants for the bunnies.

Earlier this winter, I reviewed The Wildlife Friendly Vegetable Gardener, a helpful book by Tammi Hartung, who is a big advocate of “decoy plants.” These are plants pests like that you plant somewhere you don’t care about. For bunnies, that means ample parsley planted away from the vegetable garden.

For more ideas on making peace with rabbits, check out the article by Samantha Johnson from the latest issue of Northern Gardener.

This entry was posted in Critters, Fruits and Vegetables, Gardening Know-How and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Repel Rabbits with Plants

  1. commonweeder says:

    I’m going to try it too. Thanks for the tip. I’ve got a lot of deer resistant plants, but no deer – rabbit repellants.

  2. Teresa Marie says:

    I really appreciate the power of plants to deter or attract other animals and insects. I do plant a ring of marigolds that work well. I just posted a blog on deer – and keeping them out of the garden, unfortunately no really good plants for that.
    Happy Gardening.
    Teresa Marie

  3. Thanks for the mention – I so appreciate it. And the tip certainly works for me! I wish you the best of luck in the garden fighting off those rabbits! :-)

    Shawna

  4. Rachel says:

    I’ve tried making my own special spray to keep the bunnies from my garden. It consists of Tabasco sauce from the grocery store and red hot chili pepper to make it extra hot, I mix it with warm water and spray it on the grass where I usually see them feed. So far bunny visits were lessen.

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