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How to Plant Flowers that Rabbits Hate

By Elton Dunn ; Updated September 21, 2017
Keep rabbits out of your garden the natural way.
rabbit image by Han van Vonno from Fotolia.com

Rabbits are a garden pest, munching on both vegetables and flowers and creating havoc in your garden bed. To keep rabbits out of your garden without introducing fences, consider planting flowers that rabbits hate. Gardeners who plant geranium, hosta, yarrow, columbine, flax or black-eyed susan will receive no rabbit damage. Strong-smelling herbs like Russian sage, pineapple sage, verbena, nasturtium, golden sage and thyme will also repel rabbits.

Choose a location at the front of your garden bed, so that more attractive plants and flowers will be hidden behind those varieties that rabbits hate.

Dig a hole for your flower starts that's twice as wide and just as deep as the flower's root ball. Remove any weeds from the hole.

Pull your flower start from its plastic container. Break apart its root ball, and untangle circled roots. Then place the plant in the prepared hole at the same depth as it was planted in the container. Fill in the soil with soil without pressing the soil down. Plant all flower starts in this manner.

Water the newly planted flowers or herbs thoroughly, until the soil becomes saturated and compresses around the plant.

Water the newly planted flowers regularly for the first two weeks after planting, so that the soil never dries out. After that time, decrease the frequency of watering until you are watering them every few days or once a week, depending on the season. Hot summer weather requires more frequent watering.

Monitor your garden for signs of rabbit traffic. The pungent smell of most herbs and flowers will be enough to keep most rabbits away. Some rabbits may bite the new plants, but after realizing what they've tasted, they generally won't be back.


Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • Flower starts


  • Planting from starts provides faster protection than planting from seed, since seeds take a long time to grow, and rabbits will continue to eat plants in the meantime.


  • Planting flowers to repel rabbits is a mild rabbit control strategy. Some gardeners may need to combine this with a second strategy, such as planting a fence or placing piles of hot spices like cayenne around the garden bed.

About the Author


A successful website writer since 1998, Elton Dunn has demonstrated experience with technology, information retrieval, usability and user experience, social media, cloud computing, and small business needs. Dunn holds a degree from UCSF and formerly worked as professional chef. Dunn has ghostwritten thousands of blog posts, newsletter articles, website copy, press releases and product descriptions. He specializes in developing informational articles on topics including food, nutrition, fitness, health and pets.