How to Keep Rabbits Away from Flowers

How to Keep Rabbits Away from Flowers
How to Keep Rabbits Away from Flowers

The roses are in full bloom, the perennials are finally beginning to bloom, and the rabbits are out in full force.  Nothing is as disappointing as to look out at your garden only to see the rabbits have mowed down your colorful flowers.  Thankfully, there are several solutions to be able to live in harmony with the local cottontail wildlife.

A multitude of remedies exists to save your colorful flowers from the ravenous fluffy locusts that descend on flora everywhere.  Trying things like decorative fences, rabbit repellents, humane traps, or home remedies can restore the peace between you and the neighborhood rabbits.

Many solutions available can be used effectively together.  Choosing the right rabbit repellent is dependent on the location of the flowers.

What Solutions are Available for Keeping Rabbits Away from my Flowers?

  • Fencing – Works best for flowers in contained areas, also it is an excellent chemical free method.  However, if fencing does not compliment your landscaping, this may not be an option.
  • Electronic – Is a practical choice for large areas  
  • Store Bought Spray – Can be used on any flowers regardless of where they have been planted and can be applied on both small and large flowers gardens.
  • Granular Repellent – Provides a potent chemical that can hold up in against most weather condition.
  • Clip-On Repellent – Good for both large and small gardens
  • Home Remedies – An abundance of choices that are ecologically friendly, humane, and typically cost-effective
  • Hanging Flower Pots or Window Boxes– Flowers planted in containers raised to heights rabbits cannot reach is another great chemical-free method to keep flowers safe.
  • Live Traps – Environmentally friendly and humane.

How Effective is Fencing Keeping Rabbits Out of Flower Gardens?

Fencing can be an effective solution for keeping rabbits from devouring your flowers. 

Fencing needs to be at least 36-48 inches in height and must also be buried 3-6 inches below ground.  Also, when burying fencing it is best to bend it away from the garden to deter rabbits from digging under it.  When choosing which style of fencing it is best to choose a style that has no greater than 3-inch spaces to keep the rabbits from going through it.

Pros:

  • Chemical free
  • Safe for use around children, pets, and local wildlife
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Low maintenance
  • Humane
  • Maybe aesthetically pleasing 

Cons:

  • Cost
  • May not be aesthetically pleasing
  • Installation can involve significant manual labor

Best Used For: Fencing is best for contained small to medium sized gardens.

Will Electronic Repellents Keep Rabbits from Eating my Flowers?

There are different styles of electronic rabbit repellents.  Most electronic rabbit repellents use motion detection systems to deter rabbits from entering specific areas of the yard.  

Ultrasonic – This style of repellent releases an ultrasonic sound that drives rabbits away from your yard.   Most ultrasonic devices also use flashing lights along with the sound to scare rabbits away from your flowers.

Light Repellent – Light repellents have a red strobe-like light to imitate fire.  There are two drawbacks in using this method.  First, it does not deter rabbits during the day, and second, it is always on after dark.

Water Repellent – Water repellents use motion detection to trigger streams of water shoot in the direction motion was sensed.  Some water repellent systems also use light to scare rabbits away.

Pros:

  • Chemical free
  • Doesn’t change the appearance of the garden
  • Safe for use around children and local wildlife
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Low maintenance
  • Humane
  • Easy to install
  • Effective for large areas

Cons:

  • Cost
  • Doesn’t work well around pets as it the noise, light, and water can scare domestic animals as well as wild animals

Best Used For:

Electronic deterrents are perfect for any size of yard or garden, but is a particularly good choice for large areas.  

Are Store-Bought Options Helpful at Keeping Rabbits out of Flower Gardens?

There are several store-bought rabbit repellents available.  Many commercial style deterrents are chemical based, but many are still environmentally friendly.

Liquid Repellents – Liquid repellents use odor to deter rabbits from eating the plants.  These deterrents are sprayed directly to the plant and are made up of gross ingredients such as putrescent whole egg solids or predator urine.  After the liquid has been applied and has dried, the odor is no longer noticeable to humans.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Humane
  • Sprays – Protects the whole flower

Cons:

  • Smaller range than other deterrents
  • Require several reapplications
  • Cost
  • Weather and Temperature Restrictions

Best Used For:

Spay repellents are best for individual flowers, small to medium sized gardens, and tall plants.

Granular Repellent – Granular repellent is another odor-based deterrent.  The granules are spread on the ground near the flowers to create an invisible scent wall around the flowers.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Humane
  • Does not require reapplication
  • No temperature restrictions

Cons:

  • Smaller range than other deterrents
  • Will not protect the higher areas on taller plants

Best Used For:

Granule repellents are great for any size garden. 

Bone Meal – Bone meal has a unique unpleasant odor that keeps rabbits and other prey animals away from specific areas.  To increase effectiveness, add black pepper to the bone meal.    As an added bonus, bone meal adds vital nutrients to the soil.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Humane
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Adds nutrients to the soil
  • Does not require reapplication
  • No weather or temperature restrictions

Cons:

  • Can attract unwanted guests such as coyotes, dogs, and raccoons

Best Used For:

Bone meal perfect for any sized areas and especially with soil that needs a boost of nutrients

Clip-on – Clip-on deterrents are also an odor-based repellent.  Thy are narrow tubes that clip directly onto the flower or nearby structure.    

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Humane
  • Safe to be used around children, wildlife, and pets.
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Will last up to 8 months
  • Does not require reapplication
  • No weather or temperature restrictions

Cons:

  • Smaller range than other deterrents
  • Not aesthetically pleasing
  • Is time consuming, after they have lost their effectiveness you have to collect and dispose of them
  • Cost

Best Used For:

Clip-Ons are best for small gardens or individual plants that are spread out.

Will Home Remedies Keep Rabbits from Eating my Flowers?

Home remedies are an appealing option to many people.  These solutions can be economical, easy to use, humane, and environmentally friendly.

Hair – Any kind of predator hair, human, cat, and dog are the most common. If scattered amongst the flowers, the smell acts as a deterrent to hungry rabbits.

Pros:

  • Cost
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Safe to be used around children, pets, and wildlife

Cons:

  • Visually unappealing
  • Requires reapplication

Best Used For:

Dense flower beds so that the hair can be hidden amongst the plants.

Predator Urine – Dog or cat urine can repel rabbits, as they are common predators to rabbits.

Pros:

  • Cost
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Safe to be used around children, pets, and wildlife

Cons:

  • Requires reapplication, especially after rain
  • Difficult to apply in specific locations

Best Used For:

The perimeter of the yard to deter rabbits from entering an area frequented by predators. 

Sharp-Edged Gravel – Sharp-edged gravel aids in the prevention of unwanted digging.  Due to the gravels jagged texture, animals tend to avoid digging in areas that may cause them physical discomfort or harm.

Pros:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Safe to be used around children
  • Chemical Free
  • Easy to maintain
  • Humane

Cons:

  • Cost
  • Can harm other animals such as your pet’s paws
  • Application, gravel is heavy

Best Used For:

Sharp-edged gravel works best in combination with fencing or in gardens.

Clover and Alfalfa – Creating a rabbit friendly garden of clover and alfalfa can give rabbits something tasty to eat instead of them eating your garden. 

Pros:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Safe to be used around children, pets, and wildlife
  • Chemical Free
  • Humane

Cons:

  • Rabbits may eat the garden you planted for them in addition to your flowers
  • Requires space
  • Not aesthetically pleasing

Best Used For:

Best to use this in addition to other preventative measures.

Rabbit Resistant Plants – Believe it or not but not all plants attract rabbits.  There are some plants that rabbits will either completely avoid or rarely eat.  Rabbits tend to shy away from the smell of marigolds, garlic, catnip, lavender, and onions.  Including these plants to your garden can be enough to keep more appealing flowers safe.

Pros:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Safe to be used around children, pets, and wildlife
  • Chemical Free
  • Humane

Cons:

  • Takes up space where more desirable plants could be planted

Best Used For:

Best used in gardens where rabbit deterrent plants can easily blend in.  

Garlic and Capsaicin Spray – Homemade sprays are easy and inexpensive to make. Here is an easy recipe to make:

3 Tbsp red pepper flakes or 2 Tbsp cayenne pepper

1 Gallon of water

2 Cloves of garlic crushed

Mix all ingredients together in a pot and bring to a simmer.  Allow the mixture to simmer about 15 minutes.  Let it cool, then strain into a spray bottle.  It is best to let everything meld for 24 hours before straining.

Pros:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Safe to be used around children, pets, and wildlife
  • Chemical Free
  • Will deter other animals such as deer
  • Easy to apply
  • Inexpensive
  • Humane

Cons:

  • Requires reapplication
  • Weather sensitive

Best Used For:

Works well for individual flowers or gardens, for larger gardens use a tank sprayer.

Will Hanging Baskets, Tall Pots (Flower Pot Stands) or Window Boxes Work to Keep Rabbits from Eating my Flowers?

If the rabbits can’t reach your flowers, they can’t eat your flowers.  Hanging baskets, tall flower pots, and window boxes can be a lovely addition to your home.

Pros:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Safe to be used around children, pets, and wildlife
  • Chemical Free
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Humane
  • Doesn’t require additional maintenance

Cons:

  • Cost
  • Space
  • Restricts the types of flowers that can be planted

Best Used For:

Window boxes and hanging plants are great if you have a place for them.  Another option would be using flower pots that are closer to the house. Rabbits typically prefer to stay further from the house if possible, so placing a pot on your front step can help deter rabbits.

Will Live Traps Keep Rabbits Out of My Flower Garden?

Live traps may work to keep rabbits from eating your flowers, but often once one rabbit is removed a new one will take its place. 

Pros:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Safe to be used around children, pets, and wildlife
  • Chemical Free
  • Humane

Cons:

  • Cost
  • Finding a place to bring the rabbit

Best Used For:

The catch and release program would work if you believe you have a small rabbit population, otherwise you will be constantly releasing rabbits into other rabbit friendly areas. 

Related Questions:

What are the Most Common Flowers Rabbits Eat? Rabbits prefer fruit and vegetable plants but also enjoy most flowers, especially coneflowers, dahlia, sunflowers, tulips, and pansies.

What are Rabbit Resistant Flowers? These are flowers that rabbits will usually not eat unless absolutely desperate, in fact many rabbit resistant flowers are quite unappetizing to rabbits.  Some of these flowers include geraniums, straw flowers, azalea, and daffodils.

What Smells Deter Rabbits from Flowers? Anything that smells like a predator, blood, capsaicin, garlic, mint, basil, vinegar (do not use too close to plants as it may kill them), and eggs.