Daylilies are amongst the most popular perennials in the world and are known for their showy flowers, which last only a day. Even though they are hardy plants, they are easygoing and relatively pest free. They are not picky about soil, which is why they are grown virtually anywhere.
But despite their robustness and not requiring much care, the plant can sometimes fall victim to pesky garden pests. If you have a rabbit population in your area, you might be wondering whether rabbits find daylilies as appetizing as you find them beautiful.
In this blog post, we’ll focus on how rabbits react to daylilies and what you can do to protect them.
Do Rabbits Like Daylilies?
Rabbits are known for their voracious appetites and can consume a wide range of plants. Unfortunately, these include daylilies.
When food is scarce, rabbits might turn to your daylilies to sustain themselves. However, their preference for daylilies can vary depending on factors such as local vegetation and seasonal changes.
Having said that, daylilies have bright flowers, which not only add accents to the garden but are also edible and tend to attract bees and rabbits. As implied by the name, the flowers typically last for a day and are replaced by new blooms, which keep them looking fresh all the time.
Do Rabbits Eat Daylily Buds?
Yes, rabbits are known to munch on daylily buds. In fact, one of the first signs of rabbit activity around daylilies is the disappearance of the buds.
Rabbits have a keen eye for spotting tender, succulent buds and will eagerly munch on them.
If a rabbit nibbles on a few leaves or buds, it might not cause any serious damage to the plant. However, if it constantly feeds on it, that can stunt the growth and reduce its photosynthesis, affecting the overall health and ability of the plant to produce new flowers.
Do Rabbits Eat Daylily Leaves?
Yes, they do! Rabbits are known for their love of young, tender foliage. Daylily has succulent leaves, which makes them very attractive to rabbits.
Young, emerging daylily leaves are particularly vulnerable to rabbit feeding. As the plant begins to sprout in the spring, rabbits often take advantage of the fresh, tender foliage, which is more palatable compared to older, tougher leaves.
If you see irregularly shaped, ragged edges on daylily leaves or find portions of the leaves completely missing, there’s a clear sign of rabbit presence.
Do Rabbits Eat Daylily Flowers?
As earlier indicated, all parts of daylilies are edible, which include the buds, shoots, tuber, and flowers. So, rabbits also eat daylily flowers, but they tend to avoid the green bases because of the bitter taste.
Having said that, rabbits generally don’t seek out daylilies, especially if they find soft foliage around.
Are Daylilies Rabbit Resistant?
Yes, daylilies are considered rabbit-resistant. So, you don’t have to worry too much if you live in an area where deer and rabbits are common.
Besides being hardy plants, rabbits tend to avoid daylilies because of the unpleasant taste of the flower bases. The flowers themselves are slightly sweet and may be eaten if the rabbit is hungry enough.
As earlier indicated, rabbits generally leave daylilies alone, except there are no other food options.
Are Daylilies Poisonous to Rabbits?
While daylilies are not considered toxic to rabbits, it’s essential to differentiate them from true lilies (Lilium species). True lilies are highly toxic to rabbits and can cause severe health issues, including kidney failure if ingested. If there are true lilies present in your garden, you would want to take immediate action to prevent rabbits from accessing them.
Do Rabbits Eat Stella d’Oro Daylilies?
Stella d’Oro daylilies, known for their golden-yellow blooms and extended flowering period, are just as appealing to rabbits as other versions of daylilies. Rabbits will consume Stella d’Oro daylilies if hungry enough, so it’s essential to protect them as well.
Here are some other daylilies worth mentioning:
- ‘Stella de Oro’: This cultivar is known for reblooming all season and has many yellow flowers per scape.
- ‘Little Grapette’: As the name suggests, this variety features a deep purple flower color. It has an early-summer bloom time and grows up to 12 inches tall.
- ‘Ruby Spider’: This variety has scarlet flowers with golden throats. The flowers grow up to nine inches wide.
- ‘Catherine Woodbury’: Blooming from mid to late summer, this daylily has fragrant, pastel pink flowers.
- ‘Siloam Double Classic’: This type got its name because each flower typically blossoms twice, producing flowers within flowers from early to mid-summer. The double blossoms have the fragrance and color of salmon.
What Happens If a Rabbit Eats Lilies?
If a rabbit accidentally consumes true lilies (Lilium species), it can be extremely harmful or even fatal. True lilies are highly toxic to rabbits and can cause severe gastrointestinal issues, kidney failure, and other health problems. Immediate veterinary attention is crucial if you suspect a rabbit has ingested true lilies.
How to Keep Rabbits from Eating Your Daylilies
Protecting your daylilies from rabbits often requires a combination of methods.
Installing a Fence
Installing a sturdy fence around your garden is one of the most reliable ways to keep rabbits out. You want to choose a fence that is made up of metal or hardware cloth, with openings no larger than 1 inch to prevent rabbits from squeezing through.
The fence should be at least two to three feet high and extend several inches below the ground to prevent burrowing. One of the best options we recommend is the YARDGARD Garden Rabbit Fence.
Commercial rabbit repellents are available online or in local stores. These products use scent or taste to deter rabbits from getting near your daylilies. You can either make your own repellent using readily available home products such as cayenne pepper, or you can buy one online.
For homemade repellent, mix water, cayenne pepper, and a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle and apply it to your daylilies regularly.
For commercial repellent, which is usually more effective, consider the Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent.
Plant Companion Crops
Strategically plant herbs, flowers, or other crops that rabbits find unappealing around your daylilies. Some plants known to deter rabbits include lavender, marigold, sage, catmint, and garlic. This creates a natural barrier and makes it less enticing for rabbits to come close to the daylilies.
How Do You Make Homemade Rabbit Spray for Daylilies?
To create a homemade rabbit spray, you’ll need:
- 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
- 1 cup of water
- A few drops of dish soap
INSTRUCTION: Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray the mixture on and around your daylilies, reapplying after rain or watering.
Conclusion: Do Rabbits Eat Daylilies?
While daylilies might not be a rabbit’s favorite food, they can still be eaten if the rabbit is hungry enough or when there are no other food options. To keep your daylilies from possible rabbit invasion, you will need to take preventative measures such as fencing, repellents, and companion planting.
By combining these methods, you can ensure your daylilies continue to thrive without worrying about them getting destroyed by hungry critters.