How to Get Rabbits and Deer to Stop Eating Your Plants in Downriver, Michigan

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Although rabbits and deer are cute animals that are fun to watch in movies, they aren’t so fun to have in your garden.  These animals can devastate Michigan gardens.  

So, what can you do to stop these voracious eaters? What brings rabbits and deer to southern Michigan gardens and what makes them stay away?  We’re glad you asked.

Why are Rabbits and Deer Eating My Plants?

There are numerous reasons why rabbits and deer are eating the plants in your southern Michigan garden.  The main reasons are:

  1. Humans moving into rural and suburban areas means that they’re sharing more space with the local wildlife–deer and rabbits included.
  2. The deer and rabbit populations have boomed, because they are hunted less nowadays.
  3. Hunting and firearms have been increasingly restricted in suburban areas

Another reason is because as humans plant more flowers and plants, the more available food there is for rabbits and deer.  Deer and rabbits love a good buffet.  Some of their favorite plants to eat are the following.

  • Tulips
  • Small deciduous trees
  • Ornamental shrubs
  • Rhododendrons
  • Hostas
  • Daylilies
  • Pansies

A rabbit eyeing a plant he should not be eating in a Downriver, Michigan garden.Deer and Rabbit-Resistant Flowers for Michigan Gardens

To be clear, there are no totally deer-proof or rabbit-proof plants.  Still, deer and rabbits don’t like plants that are bitter, aromatic, spiny, coarse, or fuzzy.  Deer are a little more brave when exploring plants than rabbits are.  However, if their natural food sources are scarce, then deer and rabbits will try just about anything.

Nevertheless, you can plant several animal-resistant plants to discourage deer and rabbits from hopping into your Downriver, Michigan garden.  Here are some suggestions.


Lupines are beautiful, dense spires of pea-shaped flowers, and they have green foliage. They are commonly called bluebonnets, and they are great for adding color to a garden without attracting deer or rabbits.

Purple Coneflower

Not only are purple coneflowers native plants to southern Michigan, but these purple flowers are also great cut flowers and they thrive in hot, dry, and full sun conditions.


Think of onions, garlic, and chives when you think of alliums.  These plants usually have balls of white or purple tiny flowers, and they often have a faint smell of onions.  You can use alliums in your cooking, for ornamental purposes, and to ward away rabbits and deer.  Alliums have a taste and smell that rabbits and deer simply don’t like, yet these allium flowers attract butterflies.  So, use alliums to attract pollinators in Downriver, Michigan, add color to your garden, and ward away rabbits and deer.

Purple lavender flowers, which help repel rabbits and deer in southern Michigan gardens.Lavender

Rabbits and deer simply don’t like smelly plants.  Luckily, lavender smells quite nice and it attracts pollinators in southern Michigan including butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.  Plus, lavender is easy to grow and makes for wonderful dried flowers.


Rabbits and deer stay away from foxgloves because all parts of foxglove plants are poisonous to these animals and they know it.  Foxgloves are also poisonous to dogs, cats, and humans, so no munching on the foxgloves!  Foxgloves do, however, make for pretty cut flowers.

Other Methods for Repelling Rabbits and Deer in Michigan

In addition to planting animal-resistant plants, you can repel rabbits and deer from your Downriver, Michigan garden in two main ways.

Liquid Repellents

Liquid repellents are blends of oils and scents that aren’t pleasant to deer or rabbits, and they must be periodically reapplied (especially after rain) to your plants.  Some common scents in liquid repellents are peppermint, hot pepper, putrescent eggs (think a mix of rotting egg and malt), and garlic. These scents usually don’t hurt plants, and if you can stand the smell, then you can enjoy a relatively deer-and-rabbit-free garden.


One of the best ways to keep deer and rabbits out of your Downriver, Michigan garden is to never let them gain entrance to your garden in the first place.  Yet, fencing can be costly, especially when deer can jump six-foot tall fences!  So, consider only fencing off your most prized plants (such as your vegetable garden and roses) until you can fully fence-off your entire garden.

Visit us at Schwartz’s Greenhouse!

We have the supplies, knowledge, and high-quality plants to help you protect your Michigan garden from pesky critters.  Simply stop by our greenhouse in Romulus, Michigan, or give us a call.  We’d love to help you!  We’re Michigan proud, and we want to make everyone else green with envy over your Michigan garden.

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