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Friday - November 07, 2008

From: Plano, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Sun tolerant, rabbit-resistant plants in Plano, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I live in Plano, Texas and am trying to identify sun tolerant plants for my landscape that are also rabbit resistant. The rabbits have taken over and destroy pansies, marigolds, etc. I am looking for both summer and winter annuals. Thanks! Jan


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.

Another thing we would like to point out about these lists is that the listed plants are not necessarily native to North America. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is all about choosing plants native to North America and to the area in which they are being grown, because they will already be adapted and will require less water, fertilizer and maintenance to do well. Many of the annuals, including the pansies and marigolds you mentioned, are not natives and we wouldn't recommend them anyway.

University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Deer and Rabbit Resistant Plants

Better Homes and Gardens Top Rabbit-Resistant Plants (this is a slide show of photographs, with information about each plant)

Lewis Gardens Deer and Rabbit Resistant Plants

So, we're really answering your question in two parts. We've given you lists of (hopefully) rabbit resistant plants, with no guarantees. Now, we're going to list some annual and perennial plants native to North America and to North Central Texas, where you are gardening. Most of the native plants we recommend are perennials; that is, they grow back in the Spring, after dying back in the Winter. Most of the winter annuals you see are non-native, and have to be replanted every year. We will select flowering plants that can tolerate 6 hours or more of sun. Since deer resistance and rabbit resistance seem often to be the same plant, we have chosen plants that are listed as deer resistant. We're afraid our Native Plant Database does not go so far as to identify rabbit-resistant plants. 

You can select for yourself by going to Recommended Species, clicking on North Central Texas on the map, using the NARROW YOUR SEARCH function, checking on Herb (herbaceous plants) under Habit , 6 hours or more a day of sun and any other of the characteristics, like soil moisture, etc. that you want. Then click on the Narrow Your Search button at the bottom, and you will get a list of 35 species that fit those characteristics. These plants are all commercially available, and you can find sources for them by going to our Native Plant Suppliers list, typing your town and state in the Enter Search Location box, and it will give you a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape consultants in your general area.

Here are some of our choices:

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed) - perennial

Callirhoe digitata (winecup) - perennial

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower) - perennial

Coreopsis tinctoria (golden tickseed) - annual

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower) - perennial

Eryngium leavenworthii (Leavenworth's eryngo) - annual

Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel) - annual

Liatris elegans (pinkscale blazing star) - perennial

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot) - perennial

Monarda citriodora (lemon beebalm) - annual

Ratibida columnifera (upright prairie coneflower) - perennial

Salvia farinacea (mealycup sage) - perennial

Asclepias tuberosa

Callirhoe digitata

Conoclinium coelestinum

Coreopsis tinctoria

Echinacea purpurea

Eryngium leavenworthii

Gaillardia pulchella

Liatris elegans

Melampodium leucanthum

Monarda citriodora

Ratibida columnifera

Salvia farinacea





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