How to stop rabbits from eating your plants?

How to stop rabbits from eating your plants?

Rabbits might look cute and fluffy, but they’re not a welcome sight for gardeners. They’re a menace to seedlings and young leaves, and they’re not fussy about what they eat, munching happily on a wide variety of garden plants. Luckily, there are steps you can take to stop rabbits from eating your plants.


Rabbit-proof fences

The best way to keep rabbits out of your garden is to put up a rabbit-proof wire-mesh fence with a maximum mesh size of 2.5cm (1in). The fence should be at least 1.2m (4ft) high, with a further 30cm (12in) of fencing buried below ground level. Bend the lower 15cm (6in) of the below-ground section outward so that it forms an ‘L’-shape underground – this will stop rabbits tunnelling underneath the fence. Make sure any gates are also rabbit-proof and able to be closed securely.

Rabbits are curious creatures, so they’re likely to nibble any new plants in your garden just to find out what they are. It’s a good idea to protect new plants until they get big enough to be less attractive to rabbits (remembering that rabbits can reach up to 50cm (20in) high by standing on their hind legs). Rabbits have a tendency to gnaw the bark of young trees and shrubs, so protect new plantings by placing wire or plastic guards around their trunks, and surround individual plants with wire mesh to a height of 90cm (3ft).


Scents and sprays that repel rabbits

Chemical repellents containing aluminium ammonium sulphate, such as Vitax Stay Off, have some effect in stopping rabbits eating plants. However, they do need to be reapplied regularly, especially while the plant is growing fast or after rainy weather.

If you’d rather use natural products, you can try soaking cotton wool buds with peppermint oil or vinegar and leaving them about the garden. Again, they need to be reapplied frequently to be effective.


Rabbit-proof plants

Sadly, there’s no such thing as a guaranteed rabbit-proof plant. However, there are a few plants that rabbits seem to find less appealing, particularly plants with thick or prickly leaves, and plants with very strong scents. If you have a problem with rabbits in your garden it’s worth experimenting with these: 

  • Euphorbia (spurge)
  • Helleborus x hybridus (hellebore, Christmas rose)
  • Digitalis (foxglove)
  • Allium (ornamental onion)
  • Tagetes patula and T. erecta (French and African marigolds)
  • Agapanthus (African lily)
  • Acanthus (bear’s breeches)
  • Bergenia (elephant’s ears)
  • Eryngium (sea holly)
  • Salvia x superba (sage)

For more advice on how to protect your plants from rabbits and keep your garden looking good, visit our garden centre, where we're happy to help! 

You might also be interested in:

Home trends: sustainability in interior design

It’s important to consider sustainability in interior design, as we all become far more aware of our environment and the need to live a life where we are responsible for everything we do that impacts our planet. This extends to inside the home as well as our gardens and outside spaces. When we design and decorate it is very important to think about all aspects inside our home and not just that it needs to be aesthetically pleasing but also good for the environment. Think about implementing the below into your interior design projects and you will be putting sustainability at the fore of your home. 

How to encourage late summer flowers?

It is easy to encourage late summer flowers for as long as possible, all year round, and whilst it can be a little more tricky during the cold winter months, there are definitely ways to extend the flowering season in your garden to as late in the year as possible. We’ve put together these ideas to help you encourage those last summer flowers to enjoy for as long as you can. 

Top vegetable growing tips for July

 ‘In July the sun is hot / Is it shining / No, it’s not!’ As musical comedy duo Flanders and Swann pointed out back in the sixties, the weather in July can be chancy, but nevertheless, it’s a great month for gardeners. The days are long, and you can start to really enjoy the fruits of your labours in the veg patch. To make this year your best harvest ever, here are a few tips on what to do now, as well as how to get the better of plant pests and diseases.

Garden plant of the moment: Anemone

Late in summer, as other flowers start to fade, Japanese anemones come into their own. With their elegant sculpted flowers on long graceful stems and their bold maple-like leaves, they’re an unmissable presence in the border well into autumn. Happiest in partial shade, they’re ideal for brightening up dull spots in the garden, and once they’re settled they’ll spread and come back year after year. Here’s how to make sure your Japanese anemones grow and flourish.