Pet rabbits are hungry and curious little animals so will munch anything they can get their teeth into. However, not all plants are safe for pet rabbits to eat, so if you’re looking to keep your garden safe for rabbits, this is how to do it.
Hop to it
Bear in mind that although some plants are safe for rabbits, doesn’t mean they should be given free rein to eat it all! You’ll still want to ensure that hay is the main proportion of their diet, the rest being fresh veg and rabbit pellets.
It’s also important to remember that the chemicals and pesticides that are being used on the plants can be toxic to rabbits and other pets too. Miracle-Gro®’s Performance Organics range is 100% natural, and is child, pet, and bee friendly.
Rabbit-proofing your garden
Firstly, ensure your garden is escape-proof. Rabbits will find any gaps or holes and escape if they can, so be one step ahead and ensure there aren’t any gaps in the fencing for them to escape from.
It’s a good idea to check regularly that there aren’t any gaps that they’ve started to burrow too.
Not only should you ensure rabbits are kept in, but you’ll want to keep predators out. If your rabbits have run of the garden take steps so cats, foxes and birds of prey can’t get into the garden. Suitable fencing that is tall and angled at the top and nettings are some ways to protect your pet.
Plants safe for rabbits
The leaves, stems and flowers or roses are safe for rabbits to munch on, in fact they enjoy them a lot.
The prickly stems don’t deter them either as they will happily eat their way through those too.
Again, the whole plant is safe for rabbits, although they won’t provide your pets with much nutrition.
The stem, leaves, flowers, and roots are all non-toxic, so you don’t need to worry about daisies popping up in your garden lawn.
Next is another plant that are often thought of as weeds, however they are a nutritious snack for pet rabbits. The flower and stem are edible and the leaves are a good source of vitamin A.
As long as you use rabbit-safe lawn fertiliser, the dandelions that pop up in your lawn can be given to rabbits to munch on.
Although you’d probably prefer a luscious lawn, it’s great to know that it’s safe for your pet to snack on grass as much as they want. High in fibre, it’s similar to hay that makes up the majority of their diet.
If you don’t have a lawn, you can still grow grass in a container or tray so you can have a miniature lawn that can be put in with your rabbits or cut and placed into a bowl.
It’s not only us who enjoy the herb garden. Rabbits like mint including spearmint, peppermint, and chocolate mint – all of which are safe for them to eat. All parts of the plants are edible, however the leaves are the more beneficial parts.
Bear in mind that there is another species of mint called Perilla frutescens (perilla mint or Japanese basil) which is toxic to rabbits.
The vibrant orange flowers are a great addition to the garden. They are edible for us as well as rabbits and have the added use of being a great companion plant.
They act as a sacrificial crop in the veg plot because the caterpillars will feast on the flowers rather than cabbages and other brassicas. Rabbits can eat the flowers, leaves and stems without you having to worry.
Commonly seen in cottage gardens, hollyhocks are tall plants that bring great structure to the borders. You can still enjoy their beauty if you have rabbits too because the flowers are safe for them to chew on.
Although you may want to enjoy your flowers in the border, it’s good to know that you can grow them without putting your playful pet in danger.
A must-have in the garden because of its versatility, lavender suits every garden style from contemporary courtyard spaces to Mediterranean style spots. Whatever your garden design, your rabbits can roam and enjoy a snack of lavender because the plant is completely safe.
Some research shows that lavender can even help to relax rabbits – so it’s an all round winner.
Violets are safe for rabbits to eat, although there seems to be a split with bunnies as some will love to consume these pretty plants, whilst others will steer clear.
Whether your pet likes them or not, you can grow them without worrying.
Lastly is another contender that’s great for us as well as rabbits. It’s well known that chamomile has medicinal purposes with chamomile tea being thought to help with relaxation and sleep.
It’s also believed that chamomile has similar calming properties for rabbits too.
So, there’s no need to compromise on plants when you have a pet rabbit. Instead, take steps to ensure the plants you choose are safe for rabbits to munch on because they are curious and hungry creatures.
David Domoney is a Chartered Horticulturalist, Broadcaster, and Author. David has worked with a number of the UK's leading garden retailers as a plant buyer and strategic consultant. With more than 30 years experience, in horticulture, David is as passionate about plants now as he was when he bought his first plant at a village fete.