The season is upon us, and it’s time to decide how much of our landscapes we want to share with increasingly larger rabbit families. These furry visitors are looking for food and water sources, as well as soft, newly cultivated soil for easy burrowing.
Spring’s tender, fresh green foliage is usually rabbit-preferred. Plants with a strong scent or those containing sap are rarely favored. Following is a partial list of rabbit-resistant plants to consider when landscaping.
• Agaves as a group are quite fibrous and tough for chewing. After experiencing this, these plants are usually ignored by rabbits.
• Aloe and Gopher Spurge, though unrelated, both contain bitter sap. Often mature, skilled rabbits are seen rushing past these plants.
• Asparagus Ferns, either Sprengeri or Myer, have prickly leaves and random sharp spines that discourage gnawing. Also in this group are Prickly Pear, Pyracantha, and most Cactus varieties.
• Lantana and Salvia are welcome hosts to butterflies and hummingbirds; however, their pungent foliage is not bunny-friendly.
• Chives, Marigolds, Mint, and Rosemary all have strong fragrance and therefore are on the rabbit list of undesirables. With their handsome greenery and colorful flowers, these evergreen perennials are favorites in the garden.
When contemplating your landscaping options, first keep in mind that “rabbit-resistant” does not mean “rabbit proof”!
Mary Kidnocker is a University of Arizona Master Gardener who lives in the Green Valley area. Her articles are featured weekly.