Do Rabbits Eat Zinnias? (All You Need To Know)

Do you have zinnias in your garden? If so, you have reason to be worried about them getting eaten by rabbits. But even then rabbits don’t eat everything in their path, even though they are herbivores. In the case of zinnias, it’s not exactly clear if they feed on them. 

So, do rabbits eat zinnias?

Not really. Among the numerous plants rabbits like to nibble on, zinnias aren’t one of them. This doesn’t mean they will never eat the flower. Instead, it’s something they will only resort to as a last option if no other food is available.

It’s not exactly clear why rabbits avoid zinnias but it’s commonly believed that it’s due to their overpowering aroma and prickly centers. In this article, we’ll expose in detail how rabbits react to a garden filled with zinnias and other related topics. Without further ado, let’s dive in.


Are zinnias rabbit resistant?

Yes, zinnias are rabbit resistant. This means that it’s very unlikely for them to munch on zinnias unless they can’t find something more palatable to eat. 

Specific zinnias species such as Zinnias elegans and Zinnias angustifolia are the most rabbit resistant. Rabbits completely avoid feeding on them. 

Rabbits are not the only animals that detest zinnias; deer do too. It is often believed that the thorny blossoms and strong scents of zinnias could be responsible for deterring rabbits and deer.

Do rabbits like zinnias?

Rabbits generally do not like zinnias, so they tend not to eat it, especially when there are other sources of food around. Rabbits mostly avoid zinnia elegans (i.e., common zinnias) and zinnia augustifolia (i.e, lower-growing creeping zinnia). 

Some explanations put forward regarding this is that zinnias have a strong fragrance that puts off rabbits, even from a distance. The smell is so overpowering that you can perceive it from 20 feet away. Not only rabbits, birds, and other animals don’t like something smelling that strong. 

Zinnias also have prickly centers and are hardy flowers. Rabbits prefer to eat plants with smooth skin as they are easier to chew and bite and are better for their digestive system. 

In addition, I believe that the color of the zinnias also discourages the rabbits from eating them. 

Having said that, I won’t be surprised to see rabbits munching on a foliage of zinnias, especially if there’s nothing else to eat. This is more common with baby rabbits.

It is worth mentioning that zinnias are not necessarily harmful to rabbits. 

If you’re enjoying this article, you may also like: do rabbits eat dahlias?

Why do rabbits eat zinnias?

Although it has been mentioned earlier that zinnias are rabbit resistant, this doesn’t mean that rabbits can’t eat zinnias, they just tend to avoid them.

Rabbits only nibble on zinnias when it’s the only food available. This shouldn’t come much as a surprise considering the fact that they eat nearly any plant they come across. So, occasionally, they may nibble on Zinnia blossoms or leaves when hungry and have no other thing to eat. 

In addition, juvenile rabbits tend to eat zinnias because and that is because they seemingly don’t have the strong sensation of smell like the adults.  

Another reason why some rabbits may eat zinnias has to do with “adaptation”. Some farmers or rabbit breeders expose their rabbit pets to a limited variety of food at an early stage. Sometimes, these will include a lot of zinnias. Consequently, as the rabbits grow into adults, they adapt and may continue with this diet, even when they are moved into a new home.

How to keep rabbits from eating zinnias 

If you have a rabbit problem and want to keep your zinnias safe from them, you have to do at least one of these:

Use a rabbit repellent

Just like humans, rabbits are very sensitive to smell and when they sense a foul odor or an odor not pleasant to them, they tend to avoid that area. This is the concept used in the production of rabbit repellents. These substances produce a smell that is not pleasant to rabbits when sprayed in gardens. 

One of the very popular rabbit repellents is “Liquid fence deer and rabbits repellent“. This works great for a garden and will keep the rabbits away. 

Install a fence

Fencing is a great way to protect your garden from rabbits and other small animals. Rabbits typically can’t jump more than 2 ft. This means that if you can install a fence that is higher than 2 ft., you will be able to keep rabbits and other nuisance pests away from your garden and flowers. 

A good example of such a fence is the YARDGARD Garden Rabbit Fence

Plant rabbit-resistant crops

Just like vegetarians generally resist eating meats, there are certain plants that rabbits tend to avoid. Some of these include:

  • Ageratum
  • Lantana
  • Sweet alyssum
  • Cleome 
  • Marigolds
  • Lavender
  • Forsythia
  • Snapdragons
  • Daffodils
  • Etc.

These plants are greatly disliked by rabbits and deer. Besides keeping rabbits away, these plants can also add color and charm to your garden. 

If you prefer home alternatives, consider using spray spices, blood meal or talcum powder. 

Do wild rabbits eat zinnias?

Wild rabbits are rabbits that live in their natural habitat. These rabbits have a wide variety of food choices and can nibble on literally anything green they stumble upon. Although wild rabbits can eat zinnias if they want to, they tend to prefer other plants. They may only eat zinnias during drought and cold seasons when other natural food sources dry up. 

We can say the same thing about domestic rabbits. They normally don’t eat zinnias unless there’s nothing else to eat. 

In Conclusion

Zinnias are not a regular meal for rabbits but you may find them eating it on a few occasions. This is common with younger bunnies since their senses are not as sharp or developed as the adults. There’s no specific reason why rabbits dislike zinnias but it’s strongly believed that smell, taste, and texture play a role. 

The best thing you can do is to take drastic steps to protect the zinnias in your garden. There are several ways to do this. You can install an electric fence, use a rabbit repellent or grow rabbit-resistant plants around the zinnias. 

I hope I was able to answer all your questions about rabbits eating zinnias. Let me know if I missed anything. 

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