Ants can be a common nuisance in gardens and outdoor spaces, especially when they decide to reside in your planters and pots. While they might seem harmless, ants can disrupt your plants’ root systems, protect aphids that harm your plants and be a nuisance as they scurry about your carefully nurtured greenery. If you’re facing an ant invasion in your planters, don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with some quick and practical solutions to send those unwanted guests packing.

Effective Ways To Quickly Remove Ants In Planters & Pots

  • Diatomaceous Earth
  • Cinnamon
  • Vinegar Solution
  • Boiling Water
  • Ant Baits
  • Essential Oils
  • Maintain Cleanliness
  • Create Physical Barriers
  • Put them on top of a plate with water
  • Use pot feet, risers or stands

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a natural and safe way to deter ants from your planters. This powdery substance is made from the fossilized remains of diatoms and works by dehydrating ants when they come into contact with it. Sprinkle a layer of diatomaceous earth on the soil surface in your planters. Be sure to reapply after rain or watering, as it can lose effectiveness when wet.

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Ants have a solid aversion to cinnamon, making it an excellent natural repellent. Sprinkle ground cinnamon around the edges of your planters and on the soil’s surface. You can mix a few drops of cinnamon essential oil with water and spray them on the affected areas. This will create a barrier that ants are unlikely to cross.

Vinegar Solution

A solution of vinegar and water is a simple and effective way to deter ants. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and generously apply it around the base of your planters and on the surrounding surfaces. The strong scent of vinegar disrupts ants’ pheromone trails, making it difficult for them to navigate.

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Boiling Water

If you have an ant nest near your planters, one of the most direct and effective ways to get rid of it is by pouring boiling water into the nest. Be cautious while doing this, as it can harm some plants if the hot water splashes onto them. For the best results, pour the boiling water early in the morning or late in the evening when ants are most active in their nests.

Ant Baits

Commercial ant baits can be a quick and convenient solution for dealing with ant infestations. Place ant bait stations near your planters, and the foraging ants will carry the bait back to the nest, ultimately eradicating the entire colony. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

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Essential Oils

Essential oils like peppermint, lemon, and eucalyptus can help repel ants. Dilute a few drops of the essential oil in water and spray it around your planters. Refresh the spray regularly, as the scent can wear off over time.

Maintain Cleanliness

To prevent future ant infestations, keeping your garden and planters clean is essential. Remove fallen leaves, food scraps, and any debris around the area. Ants are attracted to food sources, so keeping your surroundings clean will make your planters less appealing to them.

Create Physical Barriers

You can create physical barriers to keep ants out of your planters. Try placing a strip of double-sided tape or a line of chalk around the base of your planters. Ants are less likely to cross these obstacles.

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Put them on top of a plate with water.

Placing a pot on a water-filled tray creates a barrier that ants cannot cross. The water will prevent the ants from reaching the potted plant, effectively keeping them from infesting it. This is an easy and effective way to deter ants from accessing your plants. Ensure a water level of at least 1/2 inch in the tray.

Use pot feet, risers or stands.

Using pot feet, risers, or stands can prevent ants from climbing up the side of the pot to reach your plants. Pot feet create a gap between the pot and the surface the ants are trying to rise, which the ants cannot bridge. This is an easy and effective method to safeguard your potted plants from ant infestations.

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Why are Ants attracted to potted plants?


Ants are often drawn to moisture, and potted plants can provide a damp environment due to watering. They may build their nests near or inside pots to access this water source.

Food Sources

Ants are scavengers, and they are always on the lookout for food. Plants can attract insects like aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects, which secrete sugary substances that ants feed on. Ants “farm” these pests, protecting them from predators and “milking” them for their sugary secretions.

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Organic Matter

Potted plants contain soil, decaying leaves, and other organic matter, which can serve as a potential food source for ants.


The structure of potted plants, with their compact, enclosed spaces, can provide shelter for ant colonies. They often build nests in the soil or the spaces around the roots of the plants.

Warmer Microclimate

Potted plants can sometimes provide a warmer microclimate compared to the surrounding environment, which can appeal to ants, especially during cooler seasons.

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Easy Access

The shape and structure of potted plants make them easily accessible for ants. They can climb the pots, stems, and leaves to reach their desired destinations.

Don’t let ants ruin your gardening experience. By using these quick and effective solutions, you can keep your planters and pots free from these unwanted visitors and ensure your plants thrive in a pest-free environment. Try these methods and enjoy a beautiful, ant-free garden once again!

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