Let’s face it: Ants are beneficial insects, and it’s worth having them around, but an increasing population can be a menace to both your house and garden.

I need not mention the irritating little tickles on your leg and the ugly sight of their stream crawling across your patio.

There are several ways to repel ants using chemicals, but most gardeners opt for more eco-friendly and natural ways. One natural method is the use of plants that deter ants.

This article offers you a selection of plants to grow in your house or garden to repel the troubling insects and have some serenity around. 

Plants That Keep Ants Away

Ants communicate through scent when looking for food around your house or garden. Having plants with a pungent smell is a sure way to break that communication and deter them from spreading further.

Let’s get down to the list of plants that ants hate. 

1. Mint

mint-gardeningThere are multiple Mint varieties out there, and you may be wondering what mint type solves your problem best. Peppermint, also called spearmint, is one of the common varieties.

However, you could also go for apple, pineapple, or Chocolate Mint. For the record, all these mint varieties can also serve you a good cup of tea. But when it comes to repelling ants, you want to choose the type with the most potent scent.

To get started, ensure your garden has the right conditions for growing mint. The ideal environment is always well-drained soil and an area with sufficient indirect sunlight that lasts up to 6 hours.

You can plant it from seed or cut a piece from the mother plant. The downside to growing mint in your garden is its tendency to colonize other plants in your garden.

And that’s why most gardeners prefer planting them in pots. This way, it has little room to grow and spread.

Mint’s strong scent will repel ants on the go. A suitable place to plant it is underneath the window or near the doors. 

2. Lavender


Lavender is handy for repelling ants because of its strong scent and oily nature. Most gardeners find it relaxing in their homes thanks to its aroma.

Ants hate the potent-smelling oil it carries. Lavender is not only efficient in repelling ants alone but repels other flies in the house as well.

The heavy scent of lavender causes a communication breakdown in the ants, making it difficult for them to scavenge for food. You can grow lavender in both the indoor and outdoor environment.

However, the plant can get large indoors. If it gets to this, consider splitting or repotting it because it’s a perennial plant and will continue to grow big with each passing year.

Lavender requires well-drained soils, with some amount of gravel. Regular airflow with minimum watering is also necessary to maintain its growth. 

3. Rosemary


Another ideal plant gardeners will love in their homes is the rosemary plant. Apart from spicing up your food, it helps you get rid of ants in your house or garden.

The essential oil in Rosemary is what the ants hate. That means you will need to rough up the leaves a little to extract the oil.

Plant them in pots and place them inside your house in an attic or patio. Rosemary loves sunlight; you will need to spot a place that has enough sunlight for hours.

Also, water it regularly and ensure the soil is well-draining to avoid keeping the roots wet for long. They do well in warm and humid environments.

You can also grow Rosemary in flower beds around your garden, but you will need to extract its oil to deter ants. 

4. Thyme


Apart from seasoning your food, Thyme is also effective in repelling ants in your patio or garden.

It’s a herb that loves sunlight, and you can grow it in a pot or on the ground. It loves a lot of sunlight and thrives well in the summer heat.

Water it frequently, but avoid wet feet. You are better off growing them through cuttings than seeds for quick germination.

Though the scent from Thyme isn’t potent enough, it can repel ants as well. 

5. Garlic


Garlic also adds to the list of plants that can repel ants. It comes with an intense smell that can deter not only ants but also other insects.

You can plant garlic indoors beneath your windows or around the doorways. To grow garlic, break the mother plant into individual cloves and plant them separately.

Garlic requires well-draining soils. Too much water in the roots causes them to rot or get diseased.

Alternatively, you could buy one or two bulbs from your nearest grocery store and use them for their intended purpose. It’s also an excellent culinary recipe to spruce up your dishes. 

6. Tansy


You need both the leaves and flowers of the Tansy plant to repel the ants. The aromatic yellow blossoms also give it the name Golden Buttons.

However, the plant is considered toxic to animals, and it has been banned in some states. It’s a wide-spreading plant that easily survives once it takes root.

Tansy is invasive and self-seeding. It spreads through underground roots.

If you don’t intend to keep it for long in the garden, you can uproot it by hand or cut it back before flowering. Plant it in indirect sunlight and avoid too much water in the roots. 

7. Marigolds


Marigolds are not a culinary plant, but they can prove helpful in other ways, such as getting rid of ants in your garden. Like the plants above, it has a strong aroma that keeps the tiny pests away.

You will also love the sight of their orange color in your garden. The plant loves warm temperatures.

During the winter months, you may want to transfer them indoors or put them under a shed before taking them outside at the beginning of summer for a new dose of warmth.

If you plant them in containers, ensure you have enough space for them to avoid overcrowding. 

8. Common Yarrow


Common Yarrow is also known as Mintfoil or Soldier’s Woundwort. It’s also effective in repelling ants and other insects in the garden.

It grows well as a cutting from another plant.

The plant does well in healthy soils and hot and dry conditions. Highly fertile soil makes the plant grow exponentially, creating the need for pruning.

However, you can prevent it from growing tall by choosing an averagely fertile area and adding compost manure for a good start. 

Repelling Plants with Herbs

If you have been battling ants in your house for quite a while, the list above offers you remedies.

But to get this right, you want to place the scented herbs in particular spots where the ants frequent.

The other way round would be to pluck the leaves from these plants, rub them for the aromatic smell to be released and place them at the place ants are coming from.

Whether you have an infestation indoor or outdoor, these plants will help you rid them since you can plant them in both environments. 

Other Natural Repellents

Ants sometimes could be stubborn to the point of resisting the scented plants. If their infestation is getting out of hand, consider other natural methods of getting rid of them.

Insect Spray (Pyrethrin)

An option of a natural repellent for you is the Pyrethrin insect spray. The spray is a product of Chrysanthemums; spray it in areas where you see the ants most or in the area the ants are coming from. 

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper is effective in dealing with ants that are inside your home. Identify their path or entrance point and sprinkle it around.

The best places would be indoors and on window sills.

You can also sprinkle Cayenne Pepper on their food source rendering it inedible for them.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth works more or less like Cayenne Pepper but has the added advantage of wiping the ants completely. Some gardeners prefer mixing the two powders.

Wrap up

Our definitive list of plants that deter ants should be able to sort your ant mess out. You don’t have to spill harmful chemicals in your home or garden trying to get rid of them.

Luckily, you can grow these plants indoors or outdoors without much trouble.

Should you find persistence in their infestation when using plant repellents, consider going for other natural methods such as insect sprays, Cayenne Pepper and Diatomaceous Earth.

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