Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - July 03, 2014

From: Plano, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Pests
Title: Rabbit-proof Plants for Texas
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

Do you have a list of flowers that rabbits will eat or will not eat so I know what to plant or avoid? I have a year-round rabbit population in my neighborhood and wish to co-exist with them without them eating anything other than the grass.

ANSWER:

Best wishes with your wildlife garden plans. Hopefully living/coexisting with nature will be an effective strategy instead of trying to fence your garden and keep the rabbits out.

Looking online, Maria Iannotti has a good list of plants that rabbits like to eat and some they usually avoid in her article Rabbit Proof Plants on the web.


First, a few interesting points that she writes about rabbits. Rabbits forage for food year round. Apparently you can tell the difference between deer and rabbit browsing because rabbits produce a clean cut. Deer must tear off their food leaving a ragged stem. But when food is scarce, just like deer, rabbits will eat just about anything. So there is no absolute list of rabbit-proof plants.

Rabbits love many vegetable plants, fruits and berries.
Rabbits prefer the succulent new growth of trees and shrubs.
Plants with a strong scent or fuzzy leaves are not preferred.

Jeff Schalau at the Arizona Cooperative Extension has grouped deer and rabbits together for his list of Deer and Rabbit Resistant Plants.

In Texas, Howard Garrett, The Dirt Doctor has a Rabbit Resistant Plants article on his website. He also writes about a natural organic granular repellant.


Lastly, Barbara Medford has answered a previous Mr. Smarty Plants question also from Plano, Texas about sun tolerant plants that are rabbit resistant.  She says, “To start with, there are no truly deer or rabbit proof plants. And sometimes rabbits, like people, will be choosy and make different choices in one yard than another right down the street. If they are hungry enough, they will eat any of these plants, and even when they're not terribly hungry, will nibble the fresh new growth on plants they would ordinarily avoid. Most browsing animals prefer not to eat plants that are aromatic or prickly but, again, in times of drought or bad weather, they'll eat what they can get.”

 

More Pests Questions

Use of saltwater to kill weeds in gravel in Hamilton Co. TX
May 26, 2010 - I want to get rid of weeds and grasses in our gravel driveway and parking areas. Which would be less harmful to the adjacent native plants and trees: saltwater or herbicide?
view the full question and answer

Long term effects of pesticide from Lubbock TX
March 20, 2013 - I have 9 western pecan trees about 20 years old. Trunk sizes is from 18" to 39". I used a product Bayer Tree and Shrub, applied to the trees. I wonder what it will do to the trees. I talkd to Bayer ...
view the full question and answer

White sticky stuff on muscadine grape vines from Chappells SC
August 17, 2013 - Muscadine vine has white sticky substance on leaves and vines, what is it?
view the full question and answer

Help for Collapsing Tradescantia
August 14, 2013 - My tradescantia has completely collapsed at the crown. The stems are yellowish. This happened once before when I had it planted in full sun and I just had to discard it. This time I have one plante...
view the full question and answer

Cupressaceae dying in Suffolk Co.NY
October 20, 2012 - I have noticed that all of my Cupressaceae (& others I see in my area) are dying. They turn yellow, then rust & brown til they are everbrowns. what is going on?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.