How to Get Rid of Ants in Your Outdoor Plant Containers?

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Ants prefer to nest in outdoor plant containers. I finally found a way to get rid of them. How to get rid of ants in your outdoor plant containers? Ants can disturb the environment of your plants and also the surrounding area. Thus, it is necessary to get rid of them as soon as possible. Plant containers provide warmth, shelter, and a worry-free environment for the ants.

If the weather becomes too chill for them, the ants may even go underground in your pots for the winter. This would make it harder to get rid of them. In this article, I’ll share how I have tried to get rid of ants from the outdoor plant containers.

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How to get rid of ants in your outdoor plant containers?

Ants generally like to eat the plant’s leaves, so a potted plant with edible stuff on it is a fantastic site for them to feed on. Here are some of the ways that you could get rid of ants.

Ant bait or chemical sprays

If you have a large ant infestation that needs to be dealt with promptly, ant baits or chemical sprays are the most effective options to drive ants away. There are a lot of them on the market, and they’re not too expensive.

However, as with any household chemical product or toxin, it’s necessary to be cautious while using them. You can also use a soap spray instead of chemicals.

how to get rid of ants in your outdoor plant containers

Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth is a white, rock-like powder produced from the fossilized remains of tiny sea creatures. When sprinkled over the soil in a pot, it kills ants by absorbing the fats and oils in their bodies, dehydrating them, and causing them to die.

Sprinkle the diatomaceous earth on the soil in your pots, or use the powder duster that comes with some of these products.

Diatomaceous Earth in an earthenware bowl against a wooden background

Natural Ant repellents

Citrus works well as an ant repellant. You can try spritzing freshly squeezed orange or lemon juice straight on your plants to see if it repels them.

Hymenoptera, Ant, Head, Rossa, Macro

Ants hate white vinegar, so it’s a great way to get rid of them. On the other hand, you should use vinegar with caution because it is highly acidic and may harm your plants.

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Soak your soil in water

Ants generally prefer dry soil to live in. If you don’t want to re-pot your plants, soak them for 30 minutes in water. A small bit of insecticide mixed into the water can also assist in getting rid of ants in the soil. 

Check to see what kind of plant you’re watering first. Some plants can’t withstand soaking in water for as long as it takes to get rid of ants (about 30 minutes).

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Why Should You Get Rid of Ants in plant containers?

You may be wondering why there is such a big deal about ants in the plant pots. A couple of ants in your plant container might be ideal, but ants reproduce rapidly, so there’s no limit to how many there will be in a short time.

They can eat your plants and wreak havoc in the container. They can clear out your plants’, leaving nothing but pieces of leaves, fruits, and broken stems behind.

Ant nesting is also an unappealing sight in your plant containers, with some of them emitting an offensive odor that stinks up the entire area. That’s not all; ants cause even more havoc, this time on humans and pets.

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How do I kill ants without killing my plants?

It is necessary to opt for a natural way to eliminate ants without killing the plants. The ways mentioned earlier include chemicals that could cause many issues for the plant. Chemicals that are used to get rid of ants aren’t safe for your plants. They might cause wilting and damage to roots and stems when used often.

Natural ways like spraying citrus and vinegar kill ants without causing any harm to the natural environment of the plants. Flower pots are the safest place for ants infestations.

Why ants nest in potted plants?

If you’ve noticed ants running around your plant containers, it could be due to honeydew-like excretions in the soil or aphids and mealybugs in potted plants. Ants, particularly in the summer, increase in large numbers, suffocating plant growth.

They get attracted to these secretions and reproduce at a higher rate. Plant containers are the safest place for their breeding. It has readily available food and shelter for their living.

Herbs that Repel Ants

Some natural herbs also help to prevent ants without killing the plants. Catnip, penny-royal, peppermint, sage, and spearmint are some of the herbs that repel ants. A peppermint soap spray can also prevent ants. You can add these herbs to a potting mix to enhance its repellent action.

Ant control is a tedious process that involves regular inspection. Scattering the leaves of these plants in the plant containers where you’ve noticed ants may keep them at bay.

How to prevent ants from reaching the plant containers?

One of the simplest ways to prevent ants from reaching the plant containers is to make an ant repellent with a soap solution. Combine a teaspoon of dishwater liquid or any soap liquid with lukewarm water.

You should spray it on and around the plants’ potsIf you have peppermint oil, add a few drops of this highly effective oil.

Why do ants like climbing plant containers?

The primary reason for this is nectar. Ants feed on honeydew, which is sweet, sticky, and abundant on your flowering plants

Furthermore, the ants may be looking for a safe place with readily available food. Because your plant is in a pot, it is protected from soil-burrowing predators. 

However, you should not immediately kill the ants. The presence of sap-sucking insects is another reason for the ants in your pots. Furthermore, ants enjoy feeding on these sap-sucking insects because of their sweet teeth.

Leafcutter ants carry a snippet of leaf over a patch of moss. Carmelita, Belize.

Ants are a sign of another problem

Ants not only destroy the plant but also pose significant harm to you. When you happen to roam around the plant containers, the ants might bite you, which might sting. This might cause discomfort for us. Thus, you should get rid of ants from the plant containers as soon as possible.

How to get rid of under soil infestations?

Ants that live in the soil might penetrate deep when they have an unpleasant environment. Especially in winter, ants go deep into the soil and reproduce rapidly, causing infestations.

To get rid of the infestations, you should consider changing the soil thoroughly. This is the only way to prevent the ants from lodging in the soil of the flower pot.

Do ants harm your plant?

Aside from their stingy bite, ants can cause various problems in the plant container. Ants enjoy the sweet sap of their host plant. A swarm of ants chewing on a plant’s stem or trunk has the potential to wrap and even kill a garden plant. 

Furthermore, ants will cultivate and protect other harmful garden pests. Thus it is your choice whether to get rid of the ants completely.

About the author

A biotechnologist by profession and a passionate pest researcher. I have been one of those people who used to run away from cockroaches and rats due to their pesky features, but then we all get that turn in life when we have to face something.