The Q&A Archives: container plants

Question: I live in the mountains at about 6500 feet and the deer and elk destroy most everything planted in the ground. I do most of my garden on the deck in planters. It gets about 90 in the summer. What grows well in pots that hummingbirds like. Also with lots of flowers and it hardy.

Do you know of any plants the elk or deer won't eat.
I have about 30 plants in the house. Coralee Cox

Answer: I'm afraid fencing is the only way to keep elk from dining on your plants. Deer can sometimes be frightened off, but if they are hungry they will eat anything available. I'm afraid that container gardening is your best course of action. A group of containers massed in a bright, sunny area can be very beautiful and also attract butterflies. Petunias, lobelia, and sweet alyssum have a wonderful scent as well as color. Other nectar flowers to consider are ageratum, cosmos, daylily, and rudbeckia daisies. Shrubs such as butterfly bush and hibiscus also grow well in containers, and vines such as wisteria, trumpet vine, or passion vine make a beautiful backdrop. I like to plant scarlet runner beans from seeds each spring. They will grow 8-10 feet high and will be full of bright red flowers all summer long. The herbs fennel, dill and parsley will attract butterflies for feeding and serve as host plants for laying eggs. In shadier areas, on trellis ends, or in gazebos, consider using hanging baskets of impatiens. Enjoy your garden!

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