how to get rid of ants from potted plants
Organic Gardening Pest Control

How to Get Rid of Ants from Potted Plants: A Gardener’s Guide

So how do you get rid of ants from your potted plants?

Ants are industrious creatures that can sometimes find their way into our beloved potted plants (or anywhere in the garden!), causing frustration for gardeners. Not only can they disrupt the aesthetics of our carefully tended containers, but they can also harm the plants themselves. There are effective and eco-friendly ways to bid farewell to these unwanted visitors and restore harmony to your potted garden.

Before applying any of these methods, keep in mind that ants are in fact pollinators. A few ants are generally not anything to worry about. So I would only use these methods if there truly was an issue and you have an infestation of ants.

Another thing to keep in mind: read up on these methods and use them wisely. The below can affect other pollinators in the garden.

This post is all about how to get rid of ants from potted plants.

Organic Gardening Pest Control: Identifying the Problem

Before diving into solutions, it’s crucial to identify whether you’re dealing with a harmless presence of ants or a more significant issue. Sometimes, ants are simply attracted to the sweet nectar produced by certain plants and pose no threat. However, if you notice extensive tunneling, damage to plant roots, or an explosion in ant numbers, action is warranted.

Here’s How to Get Rid of Ants Naturally Outside

Natural Solution 1: Diatomaceous Earth

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Diatomaceous earth is a natural substance derived from fossilized algae. It’s effective at controlling ants without harming plants or other beneficial insects. Simply sprinkle a thin layer of diatomaceous earth on the soil surface of your potted plants. When ants come into contact with it, the fine powder absorbs the oils and fats from their exoskeletons, ultimately leading to their demise. Reapply as needed, especially after watering.

[RELATED POST: How to Use Diatomaceous Earth in the Garden]

Natural Solution 2: Cinnamon

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Cinnamon isn’t just a flavorful spice in your kitchen; it’s also a potent ant deterrent. Sprinkle ground cinnamon around the base of your potted plants or create a barrier on the rim of the container. Ants dislike the scent of cinnamon and will typically avoid areas treated with it. 

Natural Solution 3: Vinegar Solution

A simple solution of water and white vinegar can effectively repel ants from your potted plants. Mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle and mist the soil surface. Be sure to avoid saturating the soil excessively, as vinegar can alter the pH levels. Reapply the solution regularly, especially after rain or watering. I would also not apply this directly to your plants.

Natural Solution 4: Borax Homemade Recipe 

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The Borax recipe is super simple to make and very effective. These may be ingredients that you have around the house. Here’s what you need:

  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1.5 tablespoons of Borax
  • 1.5 cup of warm water

Mix the ingredients together well. Soak some cotton balls in the mixture and then leave it in a spot to attract ants.

How it works:

Note: This will attract a lot of ants! So be sure to put the mixture in a spot that you won’t mind attracting a lot of ants. The sugar attracts the ants and they carry the Borax back to the nest. Eating the Borax kills the ants. 

When to use this method:

I would only use this method if you have an infestation.

Natural Solution 5: Essential Oils

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Certain essential oils, such as peppermint, tea tree, and citrus oils, are known for their ant-repelling properties. Dilute a few drops of your chosen essential oil in water and spray it on the soil and plant surfaces. Not only will this help deter ants, but it will also leave your garden smelling delightful.

[RELATED POST: How to Get Rid of Pests: A Natural Bug Repellent for Plants]


Maintaining a pest-free environment for your potted plants is essential for their health and vitality. By employing these natural and effective methods, you can bid farewell to unwanted ants and create a thriving garden sanctuary. Remember to monitor your plants regularly and address any ant infestations promptly to prevent further damage. With a little diligence and the right techniques, you can enjoy a pest-free potted garden all season long.

This post was all about how to get rid of ants from potted plants.

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