Do critters eat Butterly weed?

Asked June 27, 2017, 9:40 AM EDT

Rabbits and deer are becoming more frequent in our neighborhood. They sure do like the phlox and liatris, to my dismay. I'm searching for hardy, pollinator and butterly friendly perennials to plant in those places. Are they deer and/or rabbit resistant? How about astilbe as well? Do you have any other recommendations? Thank you.

Dakota County Minnesota nuisance wildlife plants attractive to pollinators horticulture

1 Response

Thank you for the question. Animals that are hungry enough will eat any plants you have. There are lists of plants that rabbits and deer tend to avoid, but no guarantees! Planting perennials that bloom early, mid, and late season are key to helping pollinators complete their life cycles and get through the winter. Native plants are best but as you learned, a native like liatris, is a favorite snack! I put small fences around my liatris and this year I have so many that I can afford to share with the rabbits.
A list of rabbit resistant plants is listed here:

http://extension.psu.edu/plants/master-gardener/counties/pike/publications/list-of-rabbit-resistance-plants

Another source for deer and rabbit resistant plants can be found at:

http://extension.arizona.edu/sites/extension.arizona.edu/files/pubs/az1237.pdf Most plants listed will work for Minnesota even though the list is created by Arizona Extension.

A list of deer resistant plants can be found here:

https://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/landscaping/best-plants-for-tough-sites/docs/08464-deer-resistant-plants.pdf

Read our publication on how to make your landscape more deer resistant: https://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/wildlife/deer-in-the-home-landscape/

Here is a list of pollinator friendly plants for Minnesota: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/master-gardener/volunteers/continuing-education/lunchtime-webinars/2017/docs/pollinator-design-plant-list.pdf You will have to cross reference this list with the deer and rabbit resistant plants to pick out the native plants that might work best for you.

On a personal note, rabbits have never touched my astilbe but I don't know if deer find them attractive. I have had good luck with products made with putrescent egg and spices Applied frequently, they keep the wildlife away with varying success.


Thank you for contacting Extension.