Top 10 Rabbit and Deer Resistant Perennials
Many of you already know the devastating results of having your newly planted garden gobbled up overnight by some wild creature. Whether it is deer or rabbits, it can be both costly and extremely frustrating while trying to garden. This has been a banner year for rabbit complaints at the nursery so here are a few suggestions for perennials that they generally leave alone.
- Allium ‘Summer Beauty’ is an ornamental onion with beautiful globe shaped lilac purple flowers that begin in July and will remain on the plant until deadheaded. The flowers are high in pollen and nectar and will draw all types of pollinators while repelling any rabbits and deer with its pungent foliage if eaten. The seeds are sterile so no need to worry about it becoming invasive. It has a clumping habit with a mature height of 20”. Alliums are great in full sun or part shade, prefer well-drained soil and are drought tolerant once established. Other Alliums available: ‘Medusa’, ‘Pink Planet’, ‘Sugar Malt’ and more Giant Alliums available in bulb form late summer.
- Anemones are also left alone by rabbits and deer. These durable plants are easy to grow in part sun with a late summer
bloom that cannot be beat! Ranging in shades of pink and whites, and a variety of heights with single or double blooms, they will delight any garden. They can also be used as ground cover with their interesting grape leaf like foliage and vigorous habit (try a variety such as ‘Robustissima’). The height of taller varieties are suitable as a backdrop to a perennial border or woodland garden (such as ‘Whirlwind’) This year we have 10 varieties available! ‘September Charm’, ‘Honerine Jobert’ , ‘Pamina’, Wild Swan’, ‘Lucky Charm’, ‘Lorelie’, ‘Robustissima’ ‘Madonna’, ‘Whilrwind’, and Anemone sylvestris (spring-early summer bloom)which is a great cover for hiding bulb foliage of past flowers.
- Speaking of which…Daffodils are another deer and bunny proof flower that you can never have enough of!!! Plant these bulbs in the fall and you will not have to worry about anyone eating them. A full sun location is ideal and many varieties will be available soon.
- Digitalis (Foxglove) are completely poisonous and these critters are too smart to eat these. Most varieties are a biennial meaning their life cycle takes two years with foliage the first year and flowers the second year. Don’t let that dissuade you though, ‘Dalmatian Peach’ and ‘Dalmatian Purple’ have been reliable in their perennial claim producing flowers every year. The other varieties are worth the wait and once you get them going, the many seeds they drop will keep them going for many years in the garden.
- Lavender is the perfect rabbit-proof perennial with various shades of purple flowers in summer. These plants need full sun and a well-drained soil. The fragrant foliage is attractive and larger varieties can be used as a hedge or small shrub to border in other more enticing perennials, annuals and vegetables.
- Nepeta (Catmint) is as popular as it gets for the long seasonality it brings into the garden. The blue flowers begin in early
summer and last for many weeks attracting many pollinators, but no rabbits! After the blooms have passed, cut back the plant to reform into a mound that will set up more flowers towards the mid to end of August. Many new, more compact varieties are now available which won’t flop as the season progresses. These will grow best in full to part sun and in well-drained soil.
- Geranium (Cranesbill) is another great choice for a long season bloom and pest proof perennial. ‘Rozanne’ being the most popular with a 12” height and 3’ spread and purple/ blue flowers almost all season. Grown best in full sun to part sun, it is a great border plant if you need to fill a large area. Other varieties are available with red fall color and various heights.
- Helleborus (Lenten Rose) are gaining popularity at a rapid pace and for good reason. These hardy thick leaved perennials will keep their foliage throughout the winter and will not be touched by any critter you could think of. They bloom in late winter or very early spring and will hold the flowers for many months after. A shade lover that will naturalize and provide winter interest is a fantastic addition to any garden.
- Sedum (Stonecrop) is the perfect perennial for a low maintenance garden. Grown best in full sun and poor but well-drained soil, these are a must have for every garden. They are available in many different shapes and sizes that will generally bloom summer into fall. These are great additions to rock gardens and difficult hot spots in the garden since they are a succulent, and once established only require watering in times of drought. Although rabbits may try a bite or two, they are usually left alone and will grow back easily.
- Stokesia (Stokes Aster) has a fabulous showy flower in shades of purple, blue, yellow or white that blooms mid-late summer. These full sun to dappled sun perennials are 18-20” high and have 2-3” flowers that butterflies absolutely love. ‘Peachie’s Pick’ is a favorite variety that will bloom for an extended time if deadheaded, and looks great as a border plant.
There are many more plants that are unpalatable to animal pests such as ornamental grasses and ferns, and we can assist you in finding something perfect for your yard.