Do Rabbits Eat Hydrangeas? & 7 Ways to Keep Them Out of the Garden

do rabbits eat hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are one of the more popular bushes in home gardens and backyards. But what’s also a popular fixture in backyards? Rabbits.

And unfortunately, one of those is a hungry animal that likes to the eat the other one.

Do Rabbits Eat Hydrangeas?

Unfortunately, rabbits do like to eat hydrangeas, and can do some decent damage to the plants.

Rabbits graze throughout their lives and will eat a decent variety of food, and while rabbits won’t seek out hydrangeas as their favorite food, they will absolutely take a bite if they are hungry enough and smell one nearby.

In early spring, they are on the hunt for lots of food to feed the mom and eventual babies. They’re looking for quite a bit of food, so their diets are widened a bit.

Will Rabbits Eat the Whole Hydrangea Plant?

Hungry rabbits will eat a few flowers buds, hydrangea leaves, and even the bark of hydrangea plants.

While they aren’t tall enough to eat whole plants, rabbits can eat a decent amount of the plant, especially if it’s a younger plant.

What Do Rabbits Generally Eat?

As herbivores, rabbits like to eat like to snack on clover, dandelion, carrots, celery, vegetables, plants, and other flowers and leafy greens.

Hydrangeas are one type of flower that rabbits enjoy eating, but they eat many others including pansies, petunias, marigolds, and more.

How to Keep Rabbits From Eating Your Hydrangeas

While it can be difficult to find the thing that repels rabbits from eating your hydrangeas, there are some options, including using fencing or repellents.

1. Grow Oakleaf Hydrangea Instead

While no hydrangeas are rabbit proof, oakleaf and climbing hydrangeas are not as exciting to rabbits, so growing these varieties can help save your plants.

Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) is one of the rabbit resistant (again, not rabbit proof!) hydrangea varieties. They are just as visually appealing as many other varieties, with their white flowers, but rabbits prefer other types when looking for a meal.

2. Fencing

A fence is one of the best ways to keep rabbits away from your hydrangeas. They can’t jump very high, so if wild rabbits are the only animal that is eating your hydrangeas, then you only need a short fence to do the trick.

However rabbits are just one animal eats hydrangeas. Deer like to eat hydrangeas as well, so putting a short fence around your hydrangeas isn’t going to do much good to protect against deer.

You can get chicken wire at your local garden center, or you may even have some laying around.

Placing wire fencing around your plants may help keep rabbits at bay, but you will need a way to secure the bottom of it so they can’t burrow under it. Another option is to use chicken wire with a lattice-style bottom to keep them out.

Things to Keep in mind:

  • Make sure the bottom of the fence is grounded and doesn’t have small spaces underneath that rabbits can dig underneath and still get through
  • Don’t just use pickets, make sure to cover the bottom foot or two with chicken wire or welded wire

Rabbits are smart and stubborn creatures, so they may try to find other ways around your fence. One of their favorite tricks is going through the pickets in fences made from wood.

fence around garden
The fence I had around my garden to keep rabbits out

3. Motion Activated Sprinkler

Rabbits do not like getting wet unexpectedly. A motion-activated sprinkler will be a great option for keeping rabbits, and also deer, squirrels, raccoons, and more out of your garden and away from your bushes.

This sprinkler is great and will do just what it sounds like it does – turn on when it senses motion. I also highly recommend getting a trail camera to catch this action on video because it’s quite hilarious.

Pro Tip: Make sure to turn the sprinkler off if you are going near your hydrangeas. And if you forget to turn it off, please send me the video 🙂 Sorry, but that’s some funny stuff.

The Garden Enforcer - Motion Activated Sprinkler

A motion activated sprinkler works wonders for keeping animals (and people!) out of your yard. It sprays intermittently as it detects continuous motion so animals won't get used to the timing of it.


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4. Predator Scents

Rabbits won’t go near a spot that smells like a predator is nearby. Planting predator urine or their scent can be a great option. Blood is another you can use to keep rabbits away.

5. Red Pepper Spray

Rabbits also hate the smell of crushed red peppers or garlic, so creating a spray that incorporates both is a great option. Deer also hate this scent, so you can kill two birds with one stone here.

I like to sprinkle some dried cayenne pepper on the plants and it seems to keep rabbits from eating plants I don’t want them to eat.

Rabbits sniff a lot, so once they smell these scents they’ll be unlikely to hang around for long.

6. Rabbit Repellents

If you don’t want to use a commercial repellent or spray mixture of any kind, then there is still hope for keeping your garden rabbit-free.

Use a spray that is safe for plants and place it around the outside perimeter of your garden to keep rabbits away. Liquid fence is a great option for helping repel rabbits and deer.

Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent, Natural
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This rabbit repellent contains garlic, egg solids, and thyme, which will save you from having to create the spray yourself.

7. Decoy Garden

What do rabbits love to eat more than hydrangeas? Clover.

Clover provides a lot of the nutrition they need during the summer months, so it’s a staple for them.

So I left a patch of clover that was on the other side of the yard to give them something to munch on that wasn’t something I wanted to munch on.

This has worked quite well for me. I just don’t mow that patch of the lawn often, and I always see the rabbits over there instead of in my garden.

They’re going to be here anyway, might as well give them something to eat!

8. Companion Planting

Companion planting is the practice of planting certain plants in close proximity to each other that will benefit from one another. Generally, this is thought of for keeping worms and pests away, but planting certain crops near your tomatoes can help keep rabbits away from your tomatoes.

Garlic is the best companion plant for keeping rabbits (and deer!) away from your bushes and plants. It might seem weird to plant garlic near your hydrangeas, but if you have to space I would recommend it.

Alternatively, you can plant some rabbit resistant plants that even domestic rabbits tend to avoid.

Rabbit Resistant Plants

There are some plants and flowers that rabbits tend to stay away from:

  • Pot marigold
  • Geraniums
  • Salvia
  • Strawflower
  • Begonias

You can try planting some of these visually appealing flowers near your hydrangeas to help keep the bunnies from roaming around there.

Are Hydrangeas Rabbit Resistant?

Most hydrangea species are a nice snack for a rabbit. While they won’t attract rabbit populations by themselves, rabbits are always looking for a snack and hydrangea flowers.

You can protect plants with strong scents, a wire fence to protect freestanding plants, and even plant a decoy garden.

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