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Home > Rabbits > Can Rabbits Eat Marigolds? Facts & FAQ

Can Rabbits Eat Marigolds? Facts & FAQ

Can Rabbits Eat marigolds

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Rabbits love to eat a wide variety of foliage. You have probably seen plants and flowers at your local garden center labeled “rabbit resistant” because wild rabbits are notorious for destroying gardens. Gardeners will often plant these rabbit-resistant plants as they’re supposed to deter critters from gnawing at their gardens.

If you are a rabbit owner, you should know that there are several plants and flowers that rabbits can safely eat. Are marigolds one of them? The answer is both yes and no, depending on the type of marigold you’re growing. Keep reading to learn more.

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Marigold Varieties

Before we delve deep into rabbits and marigold safety, let’s learn a bit about this beautiful flower first.

Marigolds are bright and hardy flowers that many gardeners choose for their stunning blooms and low maintenance.

There are several types of marigolds.
  • Pot marigolds (Calendula officinalis) are sometimes known as Mary bud, gold bloom, or garden marigolds. They are actually part of the Asteraceae family alongside daisies and chrysanthemums. Pot marigolds have a daisy-like look and come in colors like yellow, orange, red, white, and pink.
  • French and African marigolds (Tagetes) are so similar in appearance that many people use French and African interchangeably. The main difference is that the French variety tends to be more ruffled and is available in more color options. African marigolds come in yellow and orange shades, while the French type is also available in mahogany red shades.
  • Marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris) are succulent plants that look nothing like the pot or French/African varieties. Instead, they belong to the buttercup family and are marked by glossy leaves and 1-inch yellow blossoms.

Can Rabbits Eat Marigolds?

As we alluded to in our introduction, rabbits can eat marigolds but only a particular variety.

Pot marigolds are safe for your bunny to eat. However, they may favor the petals over the bitter leaves. African, French, and Marsh marigolds contain toxic compounds and should not be consumed by a rabbit.

pot marigold
Image Credit: sarangib, Pixabay

What Do I Do If My Rabbit Ate a Marigold?

No variety of marigolds seems to be life-threatening if ingested by rabbits. Still, you may want to monitor your pet for any signs of illness if it got into your non-rabbit-friendly  marigolds. As you can see, it is especially important to know the variety that you’re growing.

Do Rabbits Like to Eat Marigolds?

Don’t be surprised if you offer your bunny a taste of your pot marigold, and it turns its nose up at it. Some rabbits don’t like to eat this type of flower because it has a powerful fragrance and a bitter taste.

What Other Flowers Can I Offer My Rabbit?

If you don’t want to risk feeding your bunny marigolds, there are plenty of edible flowers and petals your pet might enjoy instead.

Here are some tasty rabbit-friendly flowers your bunny might like to try sometime:
  • Cornflower
  • Common daisy
  • Dahlia
  • Sunflower
  • Rose
  • Lavender
  • Nasturtiums
  • Pansy
  • Dandelions
  • Bellflower
  • Jasmine
  • Hollyhock
flemish giant rabbit on wooden floor
Image Credit: mariesacha, Shutterstock

One thing to remember when offering flowers to your bunny is that many potted or cut plants sold in stores were designed to be used only as decoration. They may have been treated with chemicals. We don’t recommend feeding your bunny any flower that isn’t also labeled as “edible” on the tag. Better yet, grow your own rabbit-friendly flowers so you know that they’re entirely safe.

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Final Thoughts

While any type of marigold is unlikely to be fatally toxic for your rabbit, certain varieties can cause irritation if ingested. In addition, some bunnies don’t even like the taste of marigold in the first place, and there are many other less pungent and bitter-tasting flowers and other plants your pet might prefer instead.

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