Artemisia, lantana and euryops create lush summer desert pots.

We used to be able to say: “These plants will not be eaten by rabbits or deer or any other four-legged creature.”

But after years of drought conditions in the desert, we can no longer say that. Thirsty animals are now looking for any source of water—including new leaves, fleshy cactus pads (between the thorns) and water-rich roots.

The potted plants in the picture above fare pretty well against the animals. Sharp flavors and somewhat stinky foliage deter most of our desert creatures, most of the time. (Note the double use of the word most.)

Other plants that are more critter-resistant in the summer sun are ornamental garlic, both green and variegated; vinca; golden fleece; rosemary; and trailing gazania.

Marylee is the desert’s potted garden expert. Email her with comments and questions at