How to Stop Rabbits From Eating Hostas

, also known as plantain lilies, thrive throughout U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9. Gardeners prize this plant for its showy, richly hued foliage that comes in various leaf shapes such as hearts and elongated ovals. If you find your hosta plant's young, tender leaves and stems suddenly start to go missing, you likely have a rabbit invasion. Defend hostas before the rabbits completely wipe out the ornamental bed.

Clear Space Around Hostas

Rabbits don't like wide-open spaces. Those areas leave them vulnerable to predators such as hawks and dogs. Create an invisible barrier around a hosta bed by clearing away dense shrubs, stacks of wood or rocks, tall grass, weeds and other potential hiding spots. The more space you can clear around hosta plants, the better. This encourages rabbits to seek out other food sources closer to shelter.

Deter with Smell

Rabbits have sensitive noses. Use their sharp sense of smell to repel them with strong odors and protect hosta from the hungry animals. Give these scent-based home remedies a try:

  • Sprinkle dried blood meal around each individual hosta plant. The scent frightens away rabbits and other pests low on the food chain.
  • Soak cotton balls in apple cider vinegar and place one every couple of feet around a hosta bed. The stench of vinegar upsets rabbits.
  • Stuff a mesh bag with human hair or dog hair and hang the bag from the hosta plant with a piece of twine. The hair makes rabbits wary of a predator nearby and scares them away.

Scare with Physical Tactics

Rabbits are frightened easily, and a wide range of physical deterrents can keep them away from hosta plants. Examples you can try at home include:

  • Motion-activated water sprinklers. When a rabbit scurries close to a plant, the noise and jet of water the sprinkler produces can startle the rabbit and keep it at bay.
  • Owl or hawk decoys. Perch a fake predatory bird above the plants. Move the decoy's position every week so rabbits don't get used to its presence in any specific spot.
  • Mylar foil tape. Erect two posts on either side of the hosta garden and tie a piece of twine or string between them. Tie strips of reflective Mylar foil tape to the string. The fluttering tape scares away rabbits and other pests.

Erect Fence

If all other methods of protecting hosta plants from hungry rabbits fail, set up a . This is the most successful way to keep keeping rabbits out of a garden.

Select a 4-foot-tall piece of chicken wire or wire mesh that has openings 1 inch wide or smaller. Bury the bottom 6 inches of mesh into the ground, angled outward. This keeps rabbits from jumping over the fence and digging under the fence.