Do Rabbits Eat Dahlias?

Rabbits are common garden pests that can cause significant damage to plants and flowers. One plant that rabbits are known to enjoy is the dahlia. In this guide, we will explore the relationship between rabbits and dahlias, including the rabbits’ eating habits and the nutritional value of dahlias. We will also discuss methods for protecting dahlias from rabbits.

Rabbits Eating Habits

Understanding rabbits’ eating habits is essential in managing their impact on gardens and other outdoor spaces.

Preferred food sources

Rabbits have a preference for tender young plants, such as seedlings and emerging shoots. They also enjoy a variety of vegetables and fruits, including lettuce, spinach, carrots, and strawberries.

Occasional nibbles

Rabbits may also occasionally nibble on other plants, including flowers and ornamental plants, such as dahlias. Although rabbits are known to eat dahlias, they are not a preferred food source.

Dahlias as Rabbit Food

Although dahlias are not a preferred food source for rabbits, they can still be attractive to rabbits for a few reasons.

Nutritional value

Dahlias contain certain nutrients that rabbits need, such as protein and fiber. This can make them appealing to rabbits, especially if they are not finding enough of these nutrients in their preferred food sources.

Potential risks

Eating dahlias can be harmful to rabbits as they contain toxic compounds called sesquiterpene lactones, which can cause digestive upset and other health issues.

Protecting Dahlias

There are several methods for protecting dahlias from rabbits, including:

Fencing options

Fencing is an effective way to keep rabbits out of gardens and away from dahlias. Some fencing options include:

  • Chicken wire or hardware cloth: These materials can be used to create a physical barrier around gardens and other outdoor spaces.
  • Electric fencing: Electric fencing can be an effective way to keep rabbits away from plants. It is important to make sure that the fencing is installed correctly and that it is not a danger to other animals or humans.


Repellents can be used to deter rabbits from eating dahlias. Some natural repellents include:

  • Human hair: Rabbits are known to avoid areas where human hair is present. Hair clippings or fur from a pet can be spread around gardens and other outdoor spaces to deter rabbits.
  • Garlic or hot pepper spray: A mixture of garlic or hot peppers and water can be sprayed on plants to make them less appealing to rabbits.

Companion planting

Planting other plants around dahlias that rabbits do not like can help to deter them from eating the dahlias. Some companion plants that rabbits do not like include:

  • Marigolds: Marigolds have a strong smell that rabbits do not like.
  • Lavender: Lavender has a strong scent that can be unappealing to rabbits.


Rabbits can be a significant problem for gardens, and dahlias are not immune to their appetite. While dahlias are not a preferred food source for rabbits, they can still be appealing to them. Protecting dahlias from rabbits can be done in a variety of ways, including fencing, repellents, and companion planting. Understanding rabbits’ eating habits and implementing appropriate protective measures can help to keep dahlias and other plants safe from


  • Nathan Collins

    Having spent years working in the landscaping industry, Nathan Collins has cultivated a wealth of knowledge about the natural world. He is committed to helping others appreciate the beauty in their backyards, whether it's through identifying rare rocks and minerals or crafting the perfect landscape.

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