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Rabbit Resistant Annuals for North Texas

“Are there any plants rabbits won’t eat?”

That’s a question we hear a lot at the nursery, and the answer is YES! There are plenty of plants rabbits tend to avoid and this Shades of Green Shopping Guide lists 50 of them - and these are just the perennials, plants that come back each year. We'll be making separate Shopping Guides for rabbit resistant annuals and shrubs.

eastern cottontail 4

If you’re losing plants to rabbits, the culprit is most likely the Eastern Cottontail - Sylvilagus floridanus. They are the most common rabbit species in North America, and the most prolific of rabbits in Texas.

How prolific? They can begin reproducing as early as two months old and generally have three to four litters a year, but they can have up to six or seven!

They tend to be 15 inches long and weigh 2.5 pounds. They’re active year-round and usually stay close to their original homes, which can be costly if their home is your yard.

Collin County and North Texas have experienced a tremendous amount of growth over the last 20 years. All those new homes, businesses and roads have pushed the rabbits’ natural predators – namely, coyotes and bobcats – out of the area while the cottontails remain. The combination of fewer predators and their predilection to bred like rabbits leaves a lot of bunnies looking for food.

With their natural habits gone to make way for humans, their only choice is to use your landscape as their salad bar! So, what can you plant that they won’t eat? Rabbits tend to avoid plants whose leaves are aromatic, fuzzy, prickly or leathery. All the plants on this list have one of those traits and some have 2 or more.

That said, we want to stress that this is a list of rabbit RESISTANT plants, not rabbit proof!

If they are hungry enough, they might eat plants they’d otherwise avoid. For a third of the plants on this list, we’ve had customers swear rabbits ate them. Maybe they did. But in general, these are the annuals least likely to be eaten by rabbits in North Texas.

As a reminder, annuals are plants that live their entire lifecycle in a single year or season. Think, "one and done" as opposed to perennials, which are plants that come back year after year.

The list is alphabetical by the name most commonly used in these parts, but the Latin is provided for each one to avoid any confusion.

Click here for a downloadable PDF, or scroll to the bottom for video.

Rabbit Resistant Annuals for North Texas:

SG-African Daisy

African Daisy - Osteospermum spp.
• Plant in full to part sun
• 8-24 inches tall x 1-2 feet wide
• Heat tolerant plants with colorful flowers that bloom spring through fall

SG-Ageratum

Ageratum - Ageratum houstonianum
• Plant in full sun to part shade
• Grows 8-12 inches tall & wide
• Clusters of fuzzy flowers bloom summer through fall

SG-Alyssum

Alyssum / Sweet Alyssum - Lobularia maritima
• Plant in full sun to part shade
• 4-6 inches tall x 6-9 inches wide
• Masses of fragrant blooms spring to fall that attract bees

SG-Angelonia

Angelonia - Angelonia angustifolia & hybrids
• Plant in full sun
• Heat tolerant
• Grows 12-18 inches tall & wide
• Upright flower spikes in white, pink, purple or lavender from summer to fall

SG-Cleome

Cleome - Cleome hassleriana
• Plant in full to part sun
• 2-4 feet tall x 18-24 inches wide
• Large, loose balls of sweetly fragrant flowers bloom summer to frost

SG-Cyclamen

Cyclamen - Cyclamen persicum
• Plant in full sun or part sun
• 8-10 inches tall x 10-18 inches wide
• Fall & Winter bloomer
• Will not survive freezing temperatures

SG-Dahlberg Daisy

Dahlberg Daisy - Thymophylla tenuiloba
• Plant in full sun
• Texas native
• 6-8 inches tall x 10-12 inches wide
• Mass of yellow blooms late spring to early fall
• Leaves have distinct scent

SG-Euphorbia

Euphorbia - Euphorbia hypericifolia & hybrids
• Plant in full to part sun
• Grows 12-18 inches tall & wide
• Heat & drought tolerant
• Clouds of white flowers spring to frost

SG-Fan Flower

Fan Flower - Scaevola aemula
• Plant in full sun to part shade
• 6-12 inches tall x 24-30 inches wide
• Blooms all summer
• Excellent in containers or hanging baskets

SG-French Marigold

French Marigolds - Tagetes patula
• Plant in full sun
• 6-24 inches tall x 6-12 inches wide
• Bright blooms from spring to summer
• Deadhead to prolong blooming

SG-Geranium

Geranium - Pelargonium spp.
• Plant in full sun to part shade (most varieties benefit from a bit of afternoon shade in the Texas heat)
• Grows 1-3 feet tall & wide depending on species & cultivar
• Showy flowers look great in containers

SG-West Indian Lantana

Lantana / West Indian Lantana - Lantana camara & hybrids
• Plant in full sun. Heat tolerant.
• Averages 2-4 feet tall & wide
• Masses of colorful flowers on bushy plant from spring through fall
• An annual or tender perennial in North Texas, it typically will not survive cold winters

SG-Tropical Milkweed

Tropical Milkweed - Asclepia curassavica
• 2-3 feet tall x 12-18 inches wide
• Full sun to part shade
• Red, orange, yellow blooms in summer
• Monarch butterflies lay eggs on this plant and the resulting caterpillars use the plant leaves as a food source
• If planting for Monarchs, it is best to plant Texas natives (which are all perennial)

SG-Nasturtium

Nasturtium - Tropaeolum majus
• Plant in morning sun, afternoon shade
• 8-12 inches tall x 6-12 inches wide
• Beautiful, fragrant, edible (spicy) flowers bloom in spring

SG-Pentas

Penta - Pentas lanceolata
• Plant in full sun to part shade
• 12-15 inches tall x 10-14 inches wide
• Flower clusters bloom from summer through fall and attract butterflies

SG-Sweet William

Sweet William - Dianthus barbatus
• Plant in full sun
• 4-18 inches tall x 12-18 inches wide
• Fragrant flowers bloom in spring, occasionally through summer into fall

SG-Vinca

Vinca / Periwinkle - Catharanthus roseus
• Plant in full sun
• Thrives in Texas heat
• 8-12 inches tall & wide
• Prolific blooms in shades of pink, rose and white until fall.
• Trailing Vinca (also called Cascading Vinca) grows 6-8 inches tall x 18-24 inches wide

SG-Wax begonias

Wax Begonias - Begonia semperflorens, Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum
• Plant in full shade to part shade
• 6-12 inches tall & wide
• Nonstop display of flowers in shades of red, pink & white spring to frost
• Bronze leaf varieties can take more sun than green leaf varieties

SG-Zinnia

Zinnia - Zinnia spp.
• Plant in full sun
• 1-3 feet tall x 8-18 inches wide depending on cultivar
• Heat tolerant with non-stop blooms spring through fall
• Attracts butterflies

Click here for a downloadable PDF.

Videos

The Shades of Green Show: Rabbit Resistant Annuals video coming soon!