Pests & Diseases

How to Repel Rabbits from Plants

That cute bunny is eating your vegetables. Here are natural methods you can use to repel rabbits from plants in your garden.

Rabbits are the most adorable little critters. They twitch their little noses and hop around, making the world around them seem like an idyllic meadow, even if you’re in an urban or suburban setting. That’s all lovely – unless they’re eating your garden. 

I remember watching my almost ripe strawberries slowly disappear one year. Just when I’d get excited that they were just about ripe, they’d disappear or be chewed. So I asked the same question you’re asking now. How do you repel rabbits from plants? Especially the sweet juicy ones?

Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing them in the yard, and I’m happy to let them eat all the dandelions they want, but I’d like to keep the fresh garden cucumbers for myself, thank you very much. So I did what any gardener would do, and turned to my gardening community for tips on how I could repel rabbits from plants in my garden without scaring them away completely. 

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10 Easy ways to repel rabbits from plants without breaking the bank

As it turns out there are plenty of natural ways to repel rabbits from plants, and at least a few of them will give you a tasty addition to your garden. 

  1. Garlic. Aside from being an incredibly easy plant to grow, some gardeners swear that garlic is a natural rabbit repellent. 
  2. Onions. As with garlic, the strong scent of the onion is said to deter rabbits. 
  3. Mint. You guessed it. I love the smell of mint, but it is almost guaranteed to repel rabbits from plants around it in your garden. They just don’t seem to like those strong scents. As a bonus, mint is a perennial herb that you probably couldn’t kill if you tried, so this is kind of a three-for-one: repels rabbits, easy to grow, you only have to plant it once. Catmint is my personal favorite because it has pretty purple blossoms pretty much all summer.
  4. Oregano. I think you get the point by now. Plants and herbs that smell amazing in the kitchen aren’t really on the list of favorites for rabbits. Plant enough of these and I’m pretty sure your garden would get a one-star review on Yelp, if rabbits could write. 
  5. Fencing. Rabbits and other critters can get through, under, or over fencing, but it will take some effort. Chicken wire fencing is inexpensive and easy enough to install, but to work, you’ll need to bury it at least six inches into the ground with another two feet or so above ground. 
  6. Raised bed. I can’t promise using raised beds will repel rabbits from plants in your garden, but some gardeners believe it helps. I suppose it depends how raised they are.
  7. Rabbit repellent. You can buy commercial sprays that repel rabbits, or you can make your own. There are several recipes, but they all tend to use a strong scent or flavor like garlic, onion, hot peppers, or even hot sauce. Just steep them in a gallon of water overnight, then spray the mixture on your plants. 
  8. Black pepper. Some gardeners swear that spreading ground black pepper throughout your garden will keep rabbits away. It also happens to keep other pests away, like ants and other insects. And it acts as an antibacterial agent, so you can’t really go wrong with this one. 
  9. Keep your garden tidy. Rabbits don’t like to be out in the open too much. If you’ve ever watched a nature documentary about hawks, you know why. By leaving a lot of open space around your garden, you make it a less inviting place. 
  10. Be at peace with nature. There is always the option to just accept the fact that rabbits are part of gardening. But I’d go through tips 1-9 before resigning to that one.

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Here’s the good news. These are all natural deterrents, so you won’t harm your plants or the wildlife by trying any of them.

What do you think? Have you tried any of these methods of keeping rabbits out of your garden? I’d love to read about your experience in the comments below.


By Amanda MacArthur

Amanda MacArthur is Senior Editor & Producer for Food Gardening Network and GreenPrints. She is responsible for generating all daily content and managing distribution across web, email, and social. In her producer role, she plans, edits, and deploys all video content for guides, magazine issues, and daily tips. As a best-selling cookbook author, Amanda cooks using ingredients from her outdoor gardens in the summer and from her indoor hydroponic garden in the winter.

14 replies on “How to Repel Rabbits from Plants”

The rabbit(s) in my garden love chive and onion tops. I have 17″ raised metal beds and they chill out under the tomato, cucumber, and corn leaves for shade. I didn’t think they could get into my 24″ raised beds but I was so wrong. If I hadn’t seen it myself, I wouldn’t have believed it. I saw it sniffing around my bean bed and while my husband and I were watching from inside, a rabbit jumped into my high bed and ate bean plants leaves. Hubby chased it out but it did significant damage, leaving a few sticks coming out of the soil. Then later we saw it inside again and it had dug a huge hole in the bed.

Nothing stopped the voracious rabbits in my area from eating everything in my gardens, even vegetables they typically will not eat, until I used chicken wire. Didn’t even have to bury the chicken wire 6 inches deep, just used sod nails. Its worth the time and attention.

I get human hair from our stylist and surround fruit trees and the garden.
Rabbits ate the tops of my onions but never bother garlic.

What do you suggest to keep the rabbits out of my flower beds from eating the plants.

Ground pepper is best, it’s the smell that deters them so ground is a little more potent though a mix of whole and ground works too for longevity!

There must be SOME way to deter Deer! Our area is saturated with them. They are beautiful creatures, but I would prefer that they NOT eat all my flowers!!!

Netting and fencing are your best bets but some people say mint, rosemary and lavender are good deer repellents!

I hung suet cages with chunks of Irish Spring soap in them to keep them out of my dads tomatoes.

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