A Guide to Protecting Roses from Rabbits

Rabbits are cute and fun to see along a wood line or out in a field. But it can be almost dreadful when you see them in your rose garden. They will eat your roses and make a mess of the whole thing.

In this article I will share with you ways that you can keep those furry friends away from your roses without hurting them.

Use natural repellents

Rabbits love rose bushes because it’s easy for them to hide if they feel frightened and they can feed on the leaves at the same time.

Now, if you’ve been noticing a growing number of rabbits in your rose garden, you don’t have to look far to create natural repellents to keep them from destroying your precious roses.

Here are some natural repellents that really work to deter rabbits from bedding down in or eating your roses.

Crushed garlic cloves

Rabbits hate the smell of garlic. You can take advantage of that by filling satchels with crushed garlic cloves to hang strategically around your rose garden so that rabbits can smell them.

Natural repellent solution

If the crushed garlic alone isn’t working, you can create a natural repellent solution with chili peppers, onions, and garlic. Blend or grind these ingredients together and place them in a glass or metal dish.

Add some water to the solution and allow it to sit overnight. Then add more water to make one gallon of natural repellent solution. Transfer some of this repellent into a spray bottle. Then spray it on your plants at a level where rabbits can easily sniff it.

The strong smell of the garlic, onion, and peppers combined can easily send rabbits running away from your garden.

Taste barrier

Aside from bad smell, rabbits are sensitive to bad taste. If they’ve been munching on your rose leaves, you can cover them with egg or chili powder or create a solution using these raw ingredients with some water.

Bone meal

Rabbits are known herbivores. They do not like the smell or taste of anything associated with meat. You can use blood or crushed bone meal to spread around the perimeter of your rose garden.

Some homeowners even add crushed black pepper on top of the bone meal to make it more repulsive to rabbits.

Grow plants that can help deter rabbits

Some plants can also serve as natural repellents against rabbits because of their strong smell.

Here are some plants and flowers that you can grow in your garden to serve as a natural barrier against rabbits while adding more beauty to your rose garden:

Ageratum

This plant produces floss-like flowers that bloom in the early summer and are perfect to use as edging to borders and plant beds.

Rabbits especially hate the blue ageratums because of their fringed blooms and rough texture that they don’t want to rub against their bodies.

Cleome

Rabbits don’t like cleome for several reasons. For one, it has prickly stems that rabbits cannot bear eating. The plant itself has a catty, minty odor that easily keeps rabbits away from your garden.

Pot marigold

Also called English marigolds, these plants produce beautiful orange and yellow flowers that will surely add more vibrance to your garden. But they also serve as excellent rabbit deterrents because of their strong odor and bitter taste This makes them perfect for planting around your garden.

Strawflower

Strawflower is a colorful plant that produces what looks like stiff daises. But these petals are actually just modified leaves called bracts that are rough and papery. This is why rabbits absolutely hate to go near them.

Snapdragon

Most gardens have snapdragons because of their beautiful little blooms that snap open when touched. But for rabbits, snapdragons are bitter and even toxic to some extent. This is why they’re ideal as a deterrent if you’re having rabbit infestation problems in your garden.

Milkweed

Milkweed is an effective rabbit deterrent because it produces a milky sap that’s actually poisonous to them. But you should only plant milkweed in your garden if you don’t have any other animals around since the sap is also poisonous to dogs, cats, and other animals.

Install a fence

If rabbit infestation is becoming a huge problem and the natural repellents and deterrents don't work, it’s time for you to invest in a fence that will keep them away.

Barrier fence

A traditional wire fence is an almost foolproof way to protect your precious roses from rabbits. You just need to make it high enough that even jackrabbits won’t be able to jump over them. Most wire fences are 30-36 inches high with a one-inch mesh to keep the rabbits away.

You should also extend your barrier slightly under the ground by burying your mesh at least 6 inches to keep the rabbits from digging under your fence. If done properly, a wire fence can protect your rose garden for three to five years. It's a smart investment if you want to keep rabbits from munching on your roses.

Electric fence

Now, if you’re willing to invest in a more efficient barrier against rabbits and other animals that destroy your rose garden, you can go with electric fencing.

Aside from effectively keeping rabbits away, an electric fence is also portable. You can remove it easily if you see a decrease in rabbit activity in your garden or if you need to use it somewhere else.

Make raised garden beds

Another practical option for keeping rabbits away from your garden is to create raised garden beds that are high enough for rabbits to not be able to reach your plants.

A raised garden bed also makes planting, watering, and harvesting easier. It allows you full control over the quality of your soil for your garden.

To make a raised garden bed for your roses, you need to measure the area where you’ll be placing the bed. Also, make sure that it’s in an area where there’s adequate sunlight.

Most raised garden beds are four feet wide since it would be hard to reach the middle of the garden if you make it too big. You can either use timber or bricks to build your raised garden. It depends on your budget and preferences.

You should also create the right mix of topsoil, compost, and other organic materials which will help make your garden bed perfect for planting roses. Raised garden beds are very easy to maintain and they can last for a very long time if you make them properly.

Conclusion

Rabbits don't have to be a nuisance to your roses. Take some simple steps to repel them. If necessary, build a fence that will keep them out and your roses looking beautiful.