There's nothing more distressing to a gardener than plants chewed down to the ground by rabbits. These furry creatures love to eat flowers and vegetables, particularly tulips, peas, roses and young trees. The easiest way to tell if it's a rabbit (as opposed to a slug, deer or other pest) eating your plants, Sandra Mason of the Illinois Extension says to look for a cleanly cut surface, chopped off at a 45-degree angle. Fortunately, there are some plants that grow well in shade and that rabbits generally avoid.
Annuals and Bulbs
Plant columbine, lobelia, elephant's ears, impatiens, cyclamen and daffodils to keep rabbits away. These can handle part to full shade, depending on the cultivar.
Rabbits will avoid lamb's ear, ajuga, Solomon's seal, astilbe, dogtooth violet, hellebore, aquilegia, ferns and day lilies. All of these plants will grow well in partial shade, while some cultivars will thrive in full shade, too.
To keep rabbits out of your garden, first start with metal 4-foot fencing that extends at least 18 inches underground. There also are repellents designed to deter rabbits, but they must be used before the damage is done. They also must be reapplied after heavy rain or snow. Other natural repellents, used with mixed results, include moth balls, human hair, blood meal and bars of strong-scented soap hung on trees.