The very first thing you need to do is find out who or what is eating on the potted plants. Many critters come into your yard or garden area at night or early in the morning, so this is the best time to be on watch. If you think it may even be your beloved pets, there are steps that you can take to discourage them from continuing. You can find digging holes or nibbled leaves. Either way you need to do something about it!
Birds: Mostly birds are a added bonus to your garden and something that you try to attract with a bird bath, feeder or house. They love to eat on garden pests and insects which is also beneficial but, some will eat newly planted seeds or seedlings. The most humane way to protect that from happening is to cover the top of the pot with chicken wire. Once the plants start to grow birds tend to back off and not go for them as much. Of course the main exception is if you grow your own fruit. If the fruit bushes are potted you can cover them with netting materials found at most garden centers.
Cats & Dogs: Unfortunately outside pets tend to use larger containers as potty spots, especially cats. If the soil you use is aromatic with fertilizers dogs will dig in them. We suggest using chicken wire again or some repellent sprays available on the market. Covering the soil with rocks or decorative glass will stop cats because they don't like the feel but dogs don't seem to mind digging in them.
Deer: These types of animals have become accustomed to humans being around so they are entering more backyards and garden areas. Of course the best way to stop them is with a tall fence or spraying with repellents that are available on the market. Make sure if you use a repellent on a pot that is close to the house - it isn't one that smells bad.
Rabbits: They like to nibble on many types of plant materials so the best thing to do is to use a chicken wire cage over the plants that you can remove when you are in the backyard. Try elevating your container so that they can't get to the plants to eat them.
Squirrels: These little guys are really annoying because they love to dig in the loose potting soil mixes and bury their nuts. They won't hesitate to uproot newly plants flowers or plants. Once your plants become more established they will tend to stay away but until then go back to the chicken wire mesh or repellent sprays.