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Cornucopia - Rabbit resistant plants?

Rabbit resistant plants?
Val White

To quote from an Australian gardening website “Rabbits are very effective plant destroying machines”. Last year in Stannington the rabbit population exploded. It was nothing to see half a dozen bunnies at various stages of growth cavorting in the garden when we opened our bedroom curtains. They burrowed in the vegetable patch, sited their latrines in the most obvious areas of the lawn and either grazed or dug up virtually every plant showing new growth. I was driven to distraction by the tenacity of the little beggars. No amount of chasing, banging on the window or frantic hand clapping had any effect. In fact after half-heartedly scattering for the first few days and returning within five minutes, they just took to looking up tolerantly at our antics and paused temporarily, flower held cutely in mouth, before continuing with their feast.

I asked Ian, our local farmer for advice and he did offer a solution - a hungry cat and two Jack Russells!

So a bit more research ensued. Very few plants I find are really rabbit proof though in general they are discouraged (note how carefully I’m choosing my words) by very aromatic plants, plants with prickles and spines or those with tough leathery leaves.

Here’s a selection of allegedly rabbit resistant perennials...

Abutilon vitifolium
Acanthus
Aconitum
Agapanthus
Ajuga reptans
Alcea
Astilbe
Amsonia
Anchusa
Artemesia
Aruncus
Aster
Bergenia
Campanula lactiflora
Colchicum
Crocosmia
Cyclamen
Digitalis
Dryopteris
Echinops
Dicentra
Eryngium
Euphorbia
Fritillaria
Epimedium
Geum
Helianthus
Helleborus
Erodium pelagoniflorum
Heuchera
Hosta
Hydrangea
Geranium sanguineum
Kniphofia
Lamium
Lavandula
Hemerocallis
Liriope
Lysimachia clethroides
Malva moschata
Iris
Leucanthemum
Miscanthus
Nepeta
Nicotiana
Osteospermum
Paeonia
Penstemon
Persicaria
Pulmonaria saccharata
Veronica
Vinca
Zinnia

It would be interesting to hear if you agree with the above, or if you have any additions. To conclude here’s a pointless rabbit fact: the Romans experienced great difficulty when introducing the rabbit to Britain. They kept dying off and had to be pampered for decades to get them established!

First published in the North East Group Newsletter, April 2010
and subsequently in Cornucopia Issue 28.
© Copyright for this article: Val White

This article was taken from a copy of Cornucopia that was published in 2011. You could be reading these articles as they are published to a national audience, by subscribing to Cornucopia.


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