If you have a rabbit problem, you understand how challenging it can be to keep your plants and shrubs healthy, growing, and keep the rabbits away so they don’t make a meal out of them. Did you know that there are plants that repel rabbits? What’s even better, many of them produce beautiful flowers that can bloom from the spring to the summer months to add a welcome splash of color and fragrance to your garden or landscape. However, knowing which plants that repel rabbits and which don’t do the job is important. The last thing you want to do is spend money, sweat, tears, and time planting these flowers and finding that the rabbits came in and destroyed them.
This is why I’m going to outline a host of plants that repel rabbits in this post. You can use it to figure out which ones work best for your environment, and you can space them around your yard. They work for traditional landscaping, xeriscaping, edging, and more. I’ll show pictures of each plant or flower so you can get a good idea on where you would incorporate them into your landscape design, and I’ll outline helpful tips to ensure they grow and thrive once you plant them.
1. Sweet Alyssum
The first plant that repels rabbits is Sweet Alyssum. You’ll get tiny clusters of pink, violet, lavender, or white flowers starting in the early spring and going well into the summer months. You’ll want to grow this plant in full sun to partial shade, and it grows well in almost any type of soil. It’s drought-resistant and heat tolerant, and this makes it excellent for beginners. You can sow them from seed as soon as the last frost threat is gone, and you’ll get a very dense flower carpet. If you live in warmer climates, you’ll get blooms all year round, and it works very well in mixed beds, rock gardens, and borders.
2. Pot Marigold
Pot Marigold is on the list of plants that repel rabbits because they hate how it smells. Also called English marigolds, these plants are direct relations to the African and French marigolds. They produce larger orange or yellow blooms that look very similar to chrysanthemums or daisies, and they start to bloom in the middle of June and continue on until the first frost hits to provide cheerful pops of color. Marigolds also have a very bitter taste that rabbits don’t like, so they tend to avoid it. You’ll want to plant these flowers in a location that gets full sun in a rich but well-drained soil.
This is a sun-loving plant that repels rabbits, and it produces clusters of flowers that look like bright and cheerful confetti pieces. You can overwinter them if you live in southern regions, but they’re typically grown as annuals in colder climates. The leaves have a very strong scent associated with them, and this can help to keep the rabbits away from the flowers. The foliage will produce small berries that are toxic if you ingest them. Hummingbirds and butterflies love this plant, and you want to put it in an area that gets full sun to partial shade with a soil that drains well.
If you’re looking for a plant that repels rabbits and mosquitoes, Ageratum is the one for you. Also known as Floss Flower, this is one of the few annual plants that will bloom very well in light shade. It does like to have at least six hours of direct sunlight per day, and it’ll produce bright white, blue, or pink flowers. The blooms are fringed and fuzzy, and this is what is believed to keep the rabbits away. They’ll start to flower in the early summer months and go to the fall if you deadhead the plants to encourage repeat blooming. They’re a low-growing plant that works well as edging for orders, beds, or walkways with rich but well-drained soil.
Cleome is one plant that repels rabbits that you’ll either like the smell of or hate. Some gardeners claim that it has a light mint smell, but other people claim that it has a catty or skunk-like odor associated with it. It also has prickly stems that can poke you if you get too close, so plant it with care. This plant is native to South American and to the southern United States. It grows large flower clusters from the middle of summer until the first frost rolls in, and it needs partial shade to full sun with rich but well-drained soil and medium moisture.
It may surprise many people that Geraniums are one plant that repels rabbits, but it does have a strong scent associated with it. You can get varieties of this plant that have rose, citrus, or other appealing fragrances. These are bushy plants that usually produce rounded, soft leaves that have a dark band in them. You should keep them in an area that gets full sun, and you can remove any flowers that fade to encourage them to bloom again. You can bring them inside and overwinter them, and they’ll bloom all year-round if you do. The soil should be rich, and you can add fertilizer in the spring.
If you live in zones 8 to 11, this is a short-lived plant that repels rabbits. However, other zones treat these plants like annuals. They have very stiff petals that look like daisies, but they’re leaves better known as bracts. Since these leaves are papery and stiff, they can turn rabbits away because they’re not comfortable to eat. The flowers come in cream, yellow, orange, purple, and pink shades. They like sandy or rocky soil instead of rich soil, and they need good drainage. Plant them in an area that gets between four and six hours of sun a day to keep them blooming from spring until fall.
This plant that repels rabbits also attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Salvia is one plant that rabbits and deer usually won’t eat due to the strong scent associated with it. Your Saliva can bloom in shades of blue, purple, pink, red, cream, lavender, or orange, and it also produces green-grey, green, or silver-tinged leaves. Most varieties of this plant are very tolerant to drought, and they need partial shade to full sun to grow the best. You should put them in slightly-rich soil that drains very well between watering sessions, and they’ll add height with spiked flowers to your garden or landscape.
Anyone looking for a tough groundcover plant that repels rabbits can consider adding Vinca to their yard. This plant will produce pretty blue or white flowers in the early spring until the end of summer. It likes shaded areas in your yard. This plant does tend to spread very fast if you leave it unchecked, and it can easily take over areas of your yard. This is why it’s considered to be invasive in some areas. Plant it in an area that has rich soil that drains very well, and make a point to prune it if you notice it starting to grow out of control a few times during the summer months.
Begonias are a pretty plant that repels rabbits, but it’s hit and miss for how effective it is because some rabbits seem to enjoy it. This plant also works very well in companion planting. They’re very easy to grow because they’ll accept sun or shade without a problem, but this plant is one that doesn’t like heat and it prefers cooler temperatures. You can get begonias with foliage that is maroon, bronze, or green, and the flowers come in a huge range of colors. Make sure the soil drains very well, but keep it slightly moist at all times. Shield them from the direct sunlight in the afternoon.
Many people like snapdragons because you can gently squeeze the small flowers to make them snap open, but this is one plant that repels rabbits because they find them unpalatable. Snapdragons have many parts that are toxic to rabbits if they ingest them, so rabbits give them wide berth. You can get miniature varieties to larger ones that grow up to four feet tall. Plant them in a sunny space in your yard or garden in a rich but well-draining soil. If you want to enjoy the colorful blooms longer in the summer, deadhead them when they start to fade to encourage new growth.
This is a shade plant that repels rabbits, and they produce a milky sap with a strong smell that many rabbits tend to avoid. This is a very drought-tolerant and forgiving annual that comes in a bright red color that is instantly recognizable to many people. They love cool weather, but they can’t survive if you live in an area that gets very humid or hot. They need cooler weather with full sun, and you should plant them in a well-drained garden soil. They’ll bloom into the early summer months, and then come in other colors like violet, orange, white, and yellow with gray-green, fern-like foliage.
Although sunflowers are plants that repel rabbits and they do tend to avoid the blooms, rabbits do like to eat this plant’s leaves and seeds. You could get away with sprinkling cow manure, blood meal, fox urine, or other repellants around them to keep the rabbits away. They love to be in the full sun, and the bright yellow flowers will turn toward the light. They do well with sandy soil that you keep relatively moist, but they’re also tolerant of drought, and this makes them good for new gardeners. They can grow over six feet high, and they’ll produce a lot of seeds in the fall.
Butterflies will flock to Milkweed, but it produces a very milky and sticky sap that turns it into an effective plant that repels rabbits. The milky sap is actually poisonous to rabbits and other animals, so you should keep it away from any pets you have at your home. This plant can easily grow up to three feet tall, and it’ll produce large blooms in the summer months that come in yellow, red, pink, cream, and two-toned varieties. It requires full sun to grow the best and you can get away with a slightly sandy or rocky soil as long as it drains very well between watering sessions.
Did you know that your common variety of garden peppers are one plant that repels rabbits? Spicy peppers have a strong scent that rabbits tend to avoid. Almost any pepper variety you choose to grow will have to have full sunlight and hotter weather to help them develop their signature flavors. As the pepper ripens, the colors and flavor will change. If you’re looking to keep the peppers as hot as possible, try reducing how much you water it by up to 50%. Most peppers do like a rich but sandy soil, and you should be careful when you pick them. Use gloves to stop the oils from irritating your skin.
Thai Peppers by VasenkaPhotography / CC BY 2.0
No matter if you grow your tomatoes indoors or outdoors, this is a plant that repels rabbits due to their unique scent. This plant traditionally loves to be in direct sunlight for four to six hours a day, and they really like higher levels of heat. You can start your tomato plants early indoors with a rich but well-draining potting soil mix, and this will help them grow a very strong root system. After the final frost of the season passes, you can transfer them outside and plant them deeply in the ground and water them thoroughly. They produce tomatoes you can pick in the late summer months.
Tomatoes by Bjorn Rudberg / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
17. Globe Thistle
This plant produces a spray of hairy, spiny green-grey leaves to make it a plant that repels rabbits. It also has slightly wooly grey stems, and it has blue, spherical-like flowers that bloom throughout the summer months. Both the foliage and the blooms can last for weeks at a time, and this makes them very popular for cut flowers or bouquets. You’ll want to plant them in an area of your yard that gets sunlight for four to six hours every day, and they like a slightly sandy soil mix that drains very well. Make a habit to water them routinely to keep the soil moderately moist.
Catnip is popular for both people and felines, and it’ll start to produce lavender-blue hued flowers in the late spring months that go well into the fall. When you brush against the foliage on this plant, it’ll produce a very strong floral scent. Additionally, it’ll attract cats to the area, and rabbits see them as a threat so they’ll stay far away. This plant grows in a bush-like formation in rich but well-draining soil, and it needs full sun to partial shade. As a bonus, you can easily dry the flowers out and periodically crush them to encourage them to release the strong scent.
catnip by Samantha Forsberg / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
19. Crown of Thorns
Better known as Euphorbia Milli, this plant gives you a huge advantage over common garden pests. This is a wonderful plant that repels rabbits because it has spiny stems and branches, but it also produces a sticky sap that is toxic to rabbits and other animals. So, keep it away from your pets. This plant is native to Madagascar, and it’s an evergreen perennial in zones 10 and 11. It works as a patio or houseplant in cooler zones, and it’s related to the Poinsettia. Plant it in a rich soil that drains well, and give it a place that gets partial shade to full sun each day.
Wormwood is one plant that repels rabbits and ticks. While you may adore having this plant in your yard or garden due to the silver, fragrant foliage, rabbits and ticks can’t stand the smell. Also, every part of this plant is very poisonous, so this wards pests off. However, this also means that you have to keep it away from children and pets. It produces bright yellow blooms, and it’s a compact shrub that will grow up to three feet high at full maturity. Put it in a rich soil and in a place that gets a decent amount of sunlight. You can easily grow it in containers as well as in the ground.
wormwood by Joan / CC BY-NC 2.0
This plant that repels rabbits is better known as the Bugleweed plant, and it works wonderfully as a groundcover in your yard. This is a great plant for beginners to grow because it does very well in every lighting condition, from full sun to partial shade. Don’t plant it in full shade. This is a very hardy plant that is drought-tolerant, but it does like routine watering sessions. Plant it in a rich soil that drains well, and it’ll produce waxy, small leaves that have gently rounded edges. They look maroon or dark green, and it has blue-purple spikes for flowers that bloom throughout the summer.
ajuga by Storm / CC BY-SA 2.0
22. Bee Balm
Bee Balm is better known to many people as horsemint. This plant will attract pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds, but it’s an excellent plant that repels rabbits. It’s very easy to grow in a variety of environments, and it will give you showy blooms in violet, red, white, or pink coloring in the early spring through the summer months. It is best planted in zones three to nine, and it does best in full sun. Sunlight is what encourages the plant to release the scent that keeps rabbits away. The soil should drain well and be very rich, and the flowers and leaves on this plant are edible.
Bergamot by John Munt / CC BY-NC 2.0
Juniper is a creepy plant that repels rabbits, and this is excellent news for your garden. The leaves on this plant are very needle-like. When you plant them in partial shade or in a place that gets at least four hours of sunlight a day, they can thrive. These plants love moist soil that drains very well, but giving them too much water can encourage rot. Keep the plant away from constant water sources. This is a compact shrub that also produces blue-colored berries. It has a pleasant scent that rabbits don’t like since it’s so strong, and it’ll stay green year-round.
Juniper by Dan Keck / CC0 1.0
It won’t surprise many people that Lavender is on the list of plants that repel rabbits. It produces purple flower spikes with silver-green foliage in a small clump that looks great. Also, it has a very strong floral fragrance that it’ll release each time you brush past it or crush it. This fragrance will help attract butterflies to your garden or yard, and it likes slightly sandy soil that drains well. It has an extreme drought tolerance that is very nice for arid climates, and it needs full sun to grow well. If the soil is very heavy, you’ll have to mix in things like peat moss to help lighten it up.
Lavender by Elena Savelyeva / CC BY-NC 2.0
25. Red Hot Poker
If you’re trying to add drama and a vibrant color to your space while looking for plants that repel rabbits and other pests, try the Red Hot Poker plant. It has a very strong odor that rabbits hate, and it gets stronger when the plants are in full bloom in the middle of the summer months. It produces red flowers on tall spikes that fade to yellow or orange on the bottom. They need very little water but full sun exposure to grow and thrive, and they’ll attract a host of butterflies to your garden. The soil should be well-drained and on the dry side, and they’re very drought-tolerant.
Red Hot Poker Kniphofia species by Brenda Dobbs / CC BY-NC 2.0
Yarrow is a perennial flower that comes back every year, and it’s also the perfect plant that repels rabbits. This plant has a very nice fragrance that rabbits don’t like, but butterflies will flock to this plant when it blooms. It’ll produce tiny clusters of flowers in white, pink, yellow, cream, purple, and more during the summer months, and it’ll keep blooming well into the fall until the first frost. They like to be in an area that has a soil that drains very well, and you must put them in full sun to encourage healthy growth.
Yarrow by Kerttu / CC0 1.0
27. Lenten Rose
This pretty plant that repels rabbits is the Lenten Rose. Every part of this plant is highly toxic, and this can be enough to keep rabbits far away from any area you plant it in. This plant is also excellent for a beginner gardener because it doesn’t need much attention to thrive and do very well once you plant it. Plant it in an area in your yard that has a well-drained soil, and it’s not picky if it’s rich or not. It’ll scorch in the full sun, so try to find an area in your yard that is at least partial shade. You’ll get dark green foliage with soft peach roses that bloom all summer long.
Lenten Rose by Pauline Rosenberg / CC BY-NC 2.0
These 27 plants that repel rabbits are all excellent additions to your yard or garden, and you can put most of them in containers to move them around on your porch or patio if you have a severe rabbit problem. You can mix and match several of these plants that repel rabbits throughout your landscape design to make them more effective, and I invite you to choose the ones that will work best for your environment.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.