How to Plant Flowers That Rabbits & Deer Won't Eat


Many people consider deer and rabbits to be cute and endearing animals. People often think of "Bambi" and "Thumper" when these two animals come to mind, but both kinds of animals can wreak havoc on your garden by eating fruit from your trees, vegetables from your garden and flowers from your border beds. If you don't like the idea of using commercial repellent products or more extreme measures such as traps, you can plant a large number of flowering plants in and around the border of your garden that can help to keep these creatures away.

Planting Flowers That Repel Rabbits and Deer

Step 1

Prepare flower beds around the border of your entire property or around areas where you know deer or rabbits often graze. Build raised beds by laying flattened cardboard boxes on the ground where you want your flower bed to be located. Make beds long and narrow; for example, 2 feet wide by 10 feet long. Raised beds can be as shallow as 2 or 3 inches or as tall as 12 inches or more.

Step 2

Stack layers of organic materials such as compost, topsoil, peat moss, fallen leaves, sawdust, wood chips and any other chopped-up plant parts on top of your cardboard.

Step 3

Plant bedding plants of deer- and rabbit-resistant flowering plants in your raised beds. Using your trowel, make holes large enough for the root systems of your plants and then set them into the holes and fill in with the soil-compost mixture you dug out.

Step 4

Soak the newly planted area well by running a sprinkler or soaker hose for about 30 minutes over the entire area. Most flowering plants need their soil to dry out a bit between watering, so don't kill them by watering too often.

Step 5

Fertilize once each month during the growing season with a standard plant food designed for flowering plants, being sure to follow label instructions.

Tips and Warnings

  • Although the rabbit- and deer-resistant plants are said to have repellent properties against rabbits and deer, they might not keep all animals away from your garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard
  • Compost
  • Peat moss
  • Shovel
  • Trowel
  • Flowering plant fertilizer


  • Deer Repellent Plants: Deer Repellent Plants to Save Your Garden From Destruction
  • Northern Gardening: Deer Resistant Plants
  • Lewis Gardens: Deer and Rabbit Resistant Plants
  • Lasagna Gardening; Patricia Lanza; 1998
Keywords: rabbit deer, repellent plants, animal control gardens

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.