En EspaŅol

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?


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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
1 rating

Friday - May 07, 2010

From: Pearland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Discouraging rabbit snacking in the garden in Pearland TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I planted winecups and pink evening primrose in my new landscape beds amongst other native grasses and shrubs. Rabbits have been eating these wildflowers down to the ground. I want to attract wildlife, but I also prefer flowers to green stems. Are there any good ways to discourage the rabbits from eating my native flowers.


We Googled "keeping rabbits out of the garden," and got all kinds of suggestions, some of them fairly sensible, some of them not too attractive and a few flat disgusting. Most of the suggestions included chicken wire fences at least 2 ft tall, which we didn't think would look too good around a flower garden. There were ideas for sprinkling blood meal or bone meal or (ick) fox urine around the beds. Human hair was supposed to be a deterrent, and will eventually decompose into the soil. Planting onions in front of the plants was brought up, as well as moth balls in a mesh bag. A few people recommended a dog, even fewer a gun. Peter Rabbit they are not, and they leave little piles of rabbit poop everywhere. We don't have a rabbit-resistant list for native plants. We looked at "rabbit resistant plants" on the Internet; most of the sites were area-specific, meaning we don't think a list of agaves and yuccas that deer and rabbits don't like (from Arizona) would do you much good with your winecups and pink evening primroses. We found one from Pennsylvania-Penn State Cooperative Extension Rabbit Resistant Plants by Laurie Bishow, Penn State Master Gardener. These lists are not all going to be native plants, but will help as a guide as you try to select plants.

Recommendation: Do the same thing we did, and try to find some solutions that work for you, and are pleasing to the eye for a wildflower garden, and if that doesn't work, plant some cactus. 



More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Stem canker or leaf fungus in Morella cerifera
June 14, 2007 - Dear Mr.Smarty Pants: The upper half of our wax myrtle, which we had allowed (with artful pruning) to reach about ten feet suddenly died this spring (it dropped most of its leaves and didn't sprout...
view the full question and answer

Catalpa and maple with dying branches in Wisconsin
July 07, 2008 - We have a northern catalpa in our front yard. It's been there for about three years now and is probably 25' high. This year it appeared to be doing great. It flowered and then all of sudden last ...
view the full question and answer

Care and fruiting time of pumpkins
October 06, 2007 - This is my first year growing pumpkin. I have a good vine with flowers now & then, but I still don't see a little pumpkin forming. What am I doing wrong?
view the full question and answer

Incorrectly planted anacua from San Antonio
November 22, 2013 - I purchased a 12' anacua tree from a local nursery about 18 months ago. It was not planted correctly (root bound, rolled into a hole about 3" larger than the pot) but is still alive with the number...
view the full question and answer

Problem with non-native Houttuynia cordata (chameleon)
January 30, 2012 - I have a Houttuynia cordata chameleon plant in a clay pot. My zone is 9b and my yard is partial sun. Up until January, it was thriving. Now, it is dead. I think the cold killed it. I kept it moist at ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center