How Do I Stop Rabbits From Eating My Plants?

The idea that all rabbits are cute, fluffy little bunnies who subsist on a diet of carrots and lettuce is adorable and well-meant, but it’s far from true. Rabbits aren’t worried about whether they’re late or not, they don’t spend their days hanging out with Winnie the Pooh and they’re not as high-spirited and jovial as Beatrix Potter wanted the world to think they were.

Pet bunnies can admittedly be adorable, but they’re a breed apart (even though they’re the same species) from their feral cousins who can, and often do, make the lives of gardeners everywhere infinitely more difficult than they already are.

The problem with rabbits is that they get everywhere and they eat everything. Nothing is safe from their voracious appetites and as they breed like, well like rabbits, even if you do manage to keep them at bay and stop the first wave of Leporidae destruction, there are always going to be far more of them waiting in the wings to pick up the floppy-eared baton that their predecessors dropped.

There are, fortunately, a number of ways to lessen the impact that rabbits can have on your garden and to stop them from eating your plants. And because we’ve been held hostage by them before and our plants have fallen victim to their never-ending hunger, we found out the hard way how to protect our plants from them, and because we don’t want you to suffer the way that we did, we’re going to share what we learned with you.

  • Rabbit-Proof Fence 

On paper, it sounds easy, and while it isn’t difficult to build a rabbit-proof fence there are a number of rules that you’ll need to follow if you want to keep your plants safe and free from the attention of the local bunny population. 

Any fence that you build needs to be at least four feet high, as rabbits don’t just hop they also jump, and to prevent them burrowing under it, you’ll need to make sure that there are at least another twelve inches of fence buried under the ground.

You’ll need to get in and out of the area that you’ve fenced in, and off, so when you are building your fence, don’t forget to include a gate, which needs to conform to the same height specifications as the rest of the fence, but doesn’t need to be buried underground.

If you bury your fence, you’re not going to be able to open it and get in to tend to your plants, so make sure the fence is completely above ground.

And to be on the safe side the bottom of the fence that you bury needs to curve outward in a J shape like the handle of an umbrella. It’s a lot to take in, we know, but it’s the best way to protect your plants and keep them safe and secure.

It’s also a good idea to surround the bottom half of any trees and larger plants that might not be within the perimeter of the fence with a plastic protector to stop rabbits from gnawing on and damaging them.

  • Spray The Bunnies Away 

Another proven way to keep the furry little miscreants away from your plants is with a natural deterrent spray. We’re not fans of chemical sprays as they can be harmful to the environment and other animals whose sole purpose for existing doesn’t revolve around eating our, or your plants.

You can always use a homemade deterrent, which can be just as effective as the spray but is a little more labor-intensive. To make your own deterrent you’ll need to soak cotton wool balls in peppermint or mint oil and place them throughout the area that your plants are growing in.

It can be a pain though, as you’ll need to replace the cotton wool buds every couple of days to maintain their effectiveness, which is why we prefer to use a spray. It’s easier and lasts longer than cotton wool buds do.

  • Strange But True 

A friend of ours swears by this method that he calls “the illusion of fear”, which basically involves planting a rabbit scarecrow among your plants. The idea is that the rabbit sees the fox, gets spooked, and runs away before it can do any damage.

Does it work? Our friend seems to think that it does, but other gardeners tend to disagree and have claimed that the rabbits just ignore the “fox” and get on with doing what they came to do. Eating any and all plants that they can, whenever they can.

Whether you want to try it for yourself is entirely up to you, but we can’t assure you that it will or won’t work and that it will definitely keep your plants safe.

Do Moth Balls Keep Rabbits Away?

The old wives tale says that they will if you use enough of them, but we’d strongly advise you against using them.

Mothballs can be toxic, and while they’re incredibly annoying and frustrating, we wouldn’t advocate attempting to kill any rabbits that ventured into your garden or yard, after all, they’re just doing what rabbits do and following their biological imperative. We’re not interested in doing away with rabbits, we just want to prevent them from damaging your garden..

Besides, it isn’t just rabbits that the mothballs can hurt, it’s other wildlife too. And they’re also poisonous to cats and dogs, so if you do lay mothballs down, you might end up accidentally killing your family pet or murdering your neighbor’s cat and that’s something that no one wants to have on their conscience when they’re trying to drift off to sleep at night.

Does Cinnamon Keep Rabbits Away?

That’s a tricky question, which has two answers, yes and no. It’s hard to judge the amount of cinnamon that you’ll need to be an effective deterrent against rabbits. Too little might not do anything at all and too much could be dangerous to them.

So if you are insistent on pursuing the cinnamon path, the best course of action to take is to use a natural repellent that’s been formulated with cinnamon and designed to keep all manner of pests and critters away from your garden, flowers, vegetables, and anything else that you’ve planted that a rabbit might consider to be lunch or dinner.

How Do I Keep Rabbits Off My Vegetable Patch?

The rules that apply to keeping rabbits away from your plants, also apply to keeping them away from, and off your vegetable patch. The easiest and most effective (and the only one that has any sort of one hundred percent guaranteed success rate) is by building a physical barrier that can prevent a rabbit from gaining access to your vegetable patch. In other words, build a rabbit-proof fence around it.

It’s also a good idea to spray your vegetable patch with a natural rabbit repellent, that should stop them from entering or being interested in it by stimulating their fight or flight response. And when that response is triggered in rabbits, their default setting is always the same. Without fail, they always flee.

What Can I Spray On My Plants To Keep Rabbits Away?

While we’re tempted to take the lazy route and refer you to any and all antiviral pest and rabbit deterrents, there’s another method that’s been proven to work time and time again, and doesn’t have any lasting effects on the health of a rabbit.

As they love to sniff and are primarily guided by their noses if you sprinkle a red pepper and talcum powder mixture on your plants, as soon as a rabbit sniffs it and gets a couple of nostrils full of pepper, they’ll turn tail and run away and the chances of them returning for another dose of pepper nose are slim to zero at best.

What Can You Put On Hostas To Keep Rabbits Away?

Rabbits love to get stuck into hostas and if there was one menu item that they’d never turn down it would be this plant. Luckily, there are two ways that you can keep your hostas safe from the ever-wandering eyes of rabbits.

You can either spray them with a rabbit repellent which should send the bunnies packing or you can lightly sprinkle them with either baby powder, which will put them off nibbling your hostas for good, or use the same pepper and powder mix that’s guaranteed to keep the rest of your plants safe from a rabbits unwavering appetite.