How to Keep Rabbits from Eating Hostas

How to Keep Rabbits from Eating Hostas
How to Keep Rabbits from Eating Hostas

As a type of plant, hostas will undoubtedly appeal to wild rabbits and even curious domestic ones playing outside. If your garden features hostas, you may go out one day and heartbreakingly realize that your plants have holes and chunks missing from a hungry bunny. How can you ward off rabbits from doing this?

To prevent rabbits from eating your hostas, try the following methods:

  • Install fencing along your garden’s perimeter that rabbits can’t climb over or under
  • Grow wormwood and garlic, since the smells of both plants upset rabbits
  • Add sweet gum seed pods near your hosta seeds, as sweet gum is spiky and will deter rabbits
  • Dust garlic salt around your garden; again, they hate the smell
  • Coat the garden in baby powder, as rabbits won’t want to eat the hostas after this

If you want more information on the above five tips, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll provide detailed steps to safeguard your hostas. Whether one method works or you have to combine a few, you can finally grow your hostas without rabbits snacking on them.

What Is a Hosta?

Plantain lilies or hostas are a type of plant with sprouting flowers. They grow in parts of the world like the Russian Far East, Korea, Japan, and China. In fact, the plant is called giboshi in Japan.

With their oversized green leaves in a variety of shades, it’s no wonder that wild rabbits with a big appetite would gravitate towards hostas. The plant is edible to us people, too, but not animals like horses, cats, and dogs. That’s due to the hosta’s saponins, which can induce diarrhea and vomiting. This surprisingly does not happen in rabbits, even with their notoriously sensitive stomachs.

How to Keep Rabbits from Eating Hostas: Five Great Tips to Follow

Although you don’t ever see them do it, you suspect you have wild rabbits eating your hostas. Anytime you go outside to tend to your garden, you notice holes or chunks in your hosta leaves. Soon, the plants even die. You grow new ones and the same thing happens all over again. It’s extremely frustrating.

The reason you don’t catch the wild rabbits in the act is because they tend to hide in burrows during the day. They only forage in minimal daylight, like early in the morning or at night. You’re probably indoors at those times.

If you believe wild rabbits are your main hosta-eating culprits, then try these five means of getting rid of the bunnies humanely but for good.

1. Erect a Fence Rabbits Can’t Climb Over (or Under)

Make your hostas (and the rest of the garden, for that matter) inaccessible by fencing off the perimeter. You might choose chicken wire for his job. Rabbits can’t fit through the holes, nor can they climb over the chicken wire since it’s so flimsy. Do make sure you reinforce the underside of the fence. This way, a rabbit can’t dig their way in from under.

2. Fill Your Garden with Wormwood and Garlic Plants

Certain smells make rabbits turn their noses up. Wormwood is one of them, and garlic’s another. Plant both around your garden, especially your hostas, and let these plants blossom. When the smells become poignant enough, rabbits will go to someone else’s garden for a snack.

3. Toss Some Sweet Gum Seed Pods with Your Growing Hostas

Another option you have is to rely on sweet gum seed pods. These can protect growing hosta seedlings. You want to arrange the sweet gum seed pods so they surround the hostas completely. Touch sweet gum seed pods carefully, as the spikes might hurt your fingers. Those same spikes will keep rabbits from trying to eat your plants.  

If you have any pointy sticks or branches, such as evergreen holly, you can use these in lieu of sweet gum seed pods.

4. Cover Your Plants in Garlic Salt

For a faster option that works in a pinch, garlic salt will become your new best friend. Buy this seasoning if you don’t already have it and then cover hostas and other surrounding plants. Don’t drown your garden in garlic salt, but do use vigorously.

Like with garlic plants, the odor of garlic salt will have any wild rabbit vacating your yard ASAP. Although this method requires less effort than the others, it’s not a one-and-done solution. If it rains, you need to reapply the garlic salt. The same goes for anytime you replenish your garden with water.

5. Dust the Garden with Baby Powder

If you by chance don’t have any garlic salt handy, then maybe you have baby powder instead. This works just as well to repel ravenous rabbits, but in a different way. When you cover the hosta leaves in baby powder, it ruins the eating experience for the bunnies. They will thus leave your garden alone.

Like with the garlic salt, when it rains or you water your plants, you’ll have to dump a coating of baby powder on your garden once again. This shouldn’t hurt any of your plants, by the way, so sprinkle away!


Wild rabbits enjoy nibbling on many plants and greens, hostas among them. These plantain lilies with their oversized leaves look like an especially big jackpot to a hungry bunny. If you plant hostas in your garden, you put yourself at risk of a rabbit invasion. Not only will they eat the hostas, but the animals might move on to other plants in your garden as well. It’s like a big bunny buffet to them.

Luckily, it’s easy enough to keep wild rabbits out of your garden and away from your hostas. By fencing your yard, growing garlic, using baby powder, or surrounding the plants with spiky pods, the rabbits will find someone else’s garden to eat. These methods are all humane, too, so there’s no need to worry about the health of the wild rabbits. They will find their next meal.

Good luck!