Which Plants Are Rabbit- and Possum-Proof?

Watching wildlife can be very rewarding and relaxing - except when they demolish your newly planted garden looking for a snack.
Our Nursery Sales Manager recently planted a line of new grasses along her driveway. They established well and put out new fresh growth which looked great.
And of course these beautiful young plants were a vegetable magnet to the local hare population, who turned up for a midnight feast!

Physical barriers like tree guards are the best prevention for stopping your new plants getting nibbled. Just like keeping the fridge door shut, it stops random snacking by passing wildlife.
Tree guards are not always the most attractive addition to a garden, it's true. So if you don't want to look out on a garden of plastic forever, there are other options.

Selecting plants that rabbits, hares (and other cheeky browsers like possums, kangaroos and wallabies) dislike, will go some way to helping you establish a lush thriving garden space.

It's unlikely any plant will be 100% rabbit/possum/roo-proof...but here's some that we believe will stand up to the toothy attack! They might also be resistant to munching deer too.

Let us know if they work for you - or if you have any tried-and-tested plants we haven't included.

Munch Proof Plants - a selection

Acanthus - oyster plant - Dark green lobed leaves, shiny and light-reflecting. Very useful foliage in shade, and in sun will shoot up purple and white flower spikes.


Agapanthus - Such a tough plant, and such a beautiful one in summer flower. Lovely fountains of broad strappy leaves.


Buddleia - Buddleias will regrow from stumps if coppiced, so even if your plant gets chomped it can regrow.


Buxus - box - It's an attractive all-round low hedge - and maybe the first line of defence against smaller nibblers who can't jump over it!


Crinum - Bold waterside plant with large starry white flowerheads and broad strappy leaves


Dietes - wild iris - Bearded iris are often recommended as a rabbit-proof plant, so why not try dietes? They're tough as old boots in most situations, and very low maintenance


Escallonia - It thrives in salt-spray coastal sites and windswept locations. Rabbits hold no fears for this shrub.


Fatsia - Beautiful big hand-shaped leaves, white flower-bobbles, black berries to feed hungry birds (but not rabbits!)


Holly - this smart plant responds to animal attack by growing pricklier leaves. The ones at the top of the shrub will have smoother edges than the ones in browsing reach


Ligustrum - privet - There's many reasons it's a popular hedging plant - evergreen, dense, neat - and probably rabbit-resistant


Liriope - Grassy groundcover, evergreen and dense, with spires of purple bobbly flowers.


Mangave - Big bold agave hybrids, the leaf-edge spines should deter even the largest potential munchers.


Myoporum - we have good reports that the Yareena™ variety in particular stands up to possum predators, as well as drought, frost, clay soils and other challenges


Nepeta - this ornamental catmint is the cat's pyjamas to a cat, but the strong aromatic scent puts deer off their lunch. Try cat thyme, and lemon thyme too


Phormium - NZ flax - A fountain of firm leaves with rich dark colouring all year round. Give it space to shine.


Rosemary - Furry nibblers apparently don't find it as delicious as we do! It makes a good low hedge in informal gardens.


Spiraea - May bush - Cool-climate shrub also happy in the sub-tropics, pretty white flowers in Summer-Autumn, and more resilient than it looks


Viburnum tinus - Hedging for sheltered and subtropical gardens. White flowers might be delicious to animals, but the leaves will be a challenge


Yucca - Well, would you want to eat a yucca? We like Bright Edge, for its green-and-gold patriotism, but they all make dramatic additions to a garden space


Sowing seeds of flowering plants is a good way to get some fast colour in your garden. It might distract the rabbits away from choicer plants and shrubs, and if the seed-grown flowers get eaten, it hasn't cost you too much!
These are reportedly not tasty to rabbits and hares, so plant away : aquilegia, astilbe, foxglove, echinops (globe thistle), impatiens (busy lizzie), lupin and sunflower.