If wild rabbits have ever found their way into your garden, you’ll be well aware that bunnies can develop quite a taste for those flowers you’ve spent months growing.
But what about pet rabbits? Are flowers safe for rabbits to eat?
The answer: yes and no. Some flowers, such as daisies and sunflowers, are perfectly safe for rabbits to eat. Unfortunately, there are plenty of other popular flowers and plants that are toxic for rabbits, including lilies and rhododendron.
With this in mind, it’s essential to know exactly what flowers are growing in your yard before letting your bunny loose in your garden.
Why Do Rabbits Chew Flowers?
You feed your rabbit a balanced diet of hay, leafy greens and pellets, so why does he feel the need to chew on everything he finds?
Well, your bunny’s teeth grow continuously throughout the course of his life. Chewing helps trim the teeth down and maintain proper dental health, so it’s a necessary and very satisfying behavior for your pet.
And eating flowers can also be quite a rewarding pastime for your furry friend. There are plenty of common flowers that taste delicious to rabbits, so don’t be surprised if your bunny tries to forage for a tasty snack in your garden.
However, not all flowers and plants are safe for rabbits to eat — in fact, some are highly toxic — so it’s essential to be aware of what flowers rabbits can eat.
Let’s take a closer look at some popular flower varieties to find out whether they’re safe for your pet to nibble on.
Can Rabbits Eat Roses?
The world’s most famous flower is a popular choice with gardeners around the world, and it’s also perfectly safe for your rabbit to eat. Bunnies can eat rose petals and all parts of the rose bush, so if you’ve got a rose garden you’d like to keep pristine, keep your rabbit well away from it.
Can Rabbits Eat Marigolds?
It depends on the type of marigold. Pot marigolds are considered safe for bunnies to eat, so it’s OK for your bunny to munch on these vibrantly colored flowers. However, some sources list French and African marigolds as unsafe for bunnies, so it’s best to steer clear of these varieties.
Can Rabbits Eat Daisies?
Yes. Daisies are regularly listed as safe flowers for bunnies to eat. So if you catch your bunny munching on a daisy or two while exploring your yard, there’s nothing to worry about.
Can Rabbits Eat Dandelions?
Most people consider dandelion to be a weed, but did you know that many parts of the dandelion plant are used in herbal medicine and cooking?
Dandelion flowers are also safe for your rabbit to eat, as are the leaves. In fact, many rabbits seem to love the taste of dandelions, so don’t worry if your bunny starts chowing down on one of these pretty little flowers.
Can Rabbits Eat Sunflowers?
Many keen gardeners will attest that sunflowers are a common target for wild rabbits, so it should come as no surprise to find out that these gorgeous yellow flowers are safe for your pet to eat. However, it’s best to avoid giving your bunny any sunflower seeds — seeds of any kind can be difficult for your bunny to digest, so should never be included in your rabbit’s diet.
Can Rabbits Eat Lavender?
Pretty and fragrant, lavender is used in humans to relieve anxiety, stress and more. Happily, it’s also a safe herb for your beautiful bunny to snack on as it’s not toxic to bunnies.
However, not all rabbits like the taste and smell of lavender, so don’t be surprised if your pet turns their nose up at this particular garden treat.
Can Rabbits Eat Pansies?
With compact plants and flowers that come in a huge range of colors, pansies are a popular addition to gardens in many countries. They’re also a favorite snack for wild rabbits, and another flower your domesticated bunny will love to eat.
Can Rabbits Eat Carnations?
No. Carnations are toxic to rabbits, so don’t ever let your bunny nibble on any of these beautiful flowers. And if you insist on planting some carnations in your garden, make sure to keep your pet well away from the area.
Can Rabbits Eat Petunias?
Low-maintenance plants that sport flowers in a huge variety of colors, petunias are much loved by garden enthusiasts the world over. And if your bunny is given a chance to graze in your garden, there’s a good chance they’ll love nibbling on petunia petals.
Happily, petunias are perfectly safe for rabbits to eat.
Can Rabbits Eat Buttercups?
If you’ve got buttercups growing in your yard, make sure your bunny doesn’t get a chance to eat them. Buttercups are regularly included on lists of plants that are poisonous to bunnies, so don’t let your pet nibble on them.
While some sources indicate that small amounts of buttercup within dried hay won’t harm your bunny, the safest option is to steer clear of these particular flowers altogether.
List of Flowers Poisonous to Rabbits
There are some flowers that are poisonous to rabbits or that aren’t safe for bunnies to eat. Some of the flowers rabbits should never eat include:
However, please note that this is not a complete list of flowers that are not safe for rabbits to eat. If you’re in doubt about whether or not a particular flower is OK for your pet to eat, the safest choice is to avoid feeding it to your bunny.
Finally, please note that you should never give your bunny flowers that have been treated with pesticides as the nasty chemicals they contain can be harmful to bunnies. As a result, you should never let your rabbit eat flowers or plants that you’ve purchased from a florist.
What Should I Do If My Rabbit Eats a Poisonous Plant?
If you’re at all worried that your rabbit has eaten something poisonous, the safest thing you can do is seek veterinary attention straight away. Your vet will then be able to assess your rabbit and determine whether they require treatment or not.
The good news is that in many cases, if your bunny has a small nibble on some of the flowers listed as unsafe for rabbits, it’s unlikely to do them any major harm. That said, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so don’t hesitate to take your bun to the vet if you’re concerned.
How Do I Keep Rabbits From Eating My Flowers?
If you want to prevent your bunny or wild rabbits from eating your flowers, there are a few different strategies to try. One is to plant your garden with varieties commonly classed as being rabbit-repellent; however, these won’t necessarily repel all wild rabbits.
You’ll also find a range of taste repellents at gardening stores, or you might want to try concocting your own recipe at home (only using rabbit-safe ingredients, of course). However, these repellents will need to be re-applied regularly.
This leaves one remaining option as the safest choice: restricting your rabbit’s access to certain areas of the garden altogether. If there are particular flowers in your garden you don’t want your pet to get to, build a fence to keep them out. Alternatively, supervise them closely whenever they’re allowed out to explore, and redirect them towards safer chewing options if they start targeting your much-loved flowers.
Rabbits can eat some flowers, and there are several common flower varieties that they can safely consume. However, there are also many flowers and plants that are dangerous and even toxic to bunnies, so make sure you’re fully aware of everything growing in your garden before letting your bunny out to forage.