Plants that repel ants are many, and we are positive that you will find what you are looking for in this article.

Maintaining Plants That Repel Ants

Some of them include the pennyroyal, rosemary, and peppermint plants. Which other plants are ant-repelling? What keeps ants away from plants naturally?

Continue reading to know the answer to these and so much more!

List of Plants That Repel Ants

Now how does one keep ants away from plants naturally? Many plants attract ants in our garden; one of the biggest defenses against ants is plants that deter them. While ants are a common part of gardening, the problem is solvable with the right repellent plants. To help these plants to the best of their capability, sprinkle diatomaceous earth around your garden throughout the growing season.

1. Pennyroyal

This herbaceous perennial belongs to the Lamiaceae family and is native to the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. It is also known as the Mosquito Plant. It is generally grown in spring when all the risks of frost have passed and have an average life expectancy of ten years. The height of the plant varies between 6 and 12 feet, while the width is between 3 and 6 feet.

Pennyroyal Plants in Yard

The flowers bloom in dense cone-like lavender, pink, or purple clusters, where the lower petals bear dark-purple spots, and the stamen is prominent. The leaves are narrow with toothy edges and do not have definite glands on their surface.

– Benefits

Along with ant-repelling properties, the plant leaves make effective teas for treating the flu and a cough. The leaves and oil are also used for making medicines to treat diseases like pneumonia. Furthermore, the oil in the leaves has soothing properties that help with joint pain.

– Uses

The plant is excellent for repelling ants. However, its concentrated oils are toxic to humans and pets, so you should choose a planting spot accordingly. Apart from repelling ants, the plant adds to the visual interest. 

Wrap it around benches, grow it in containers or your gardens, or sprinkle some of its leaves around ant-prone places and watch it repel ants with its strong scent.

– Distinguishing Characteristics

The plant prefers partial shade over sunlight, and when there is no option but to place it in sunlight, ensure it receives enough moisture. Make sure you expose your plant to six hours of sunlight daily per the general rule of thumb. There is no such concept as too rich soil for this plant – it thrives in moist and organic matter-rich soil and even grows in sandy and clay soil. Furthermore, it grows equally well in alkaline, acidic, and neutral pH soil.

Taking care of the plant’s moisture needs is imperative to thrive and be chirpy. Water the plant enough to feel it moist every time it touches. The best place is near water banks or depressed parts of the landscape. The plant has few fertilizer needs as it gets all its nutrients from the organic matter-rich soil. It produces fewer blooms when fertilized or over-fertilized.

– Propagation

It is easily propagated through vegetative means, dividing the roots and replanting them, and the best season to do so is spring. All you need to do is cut a root crown so each division has root clumps and some growth shoots. Save time and plant these divisions immediately in rich and moist soils. Water the cuttings until they have fully developed. However, in the case of young plants, take a tip cutting and place it in moist soil or a container filled with water.

2. Peppermint

It is a perennial that belongs to the Lamiaceae family, native to Europe, and one of the oldest herbs used for culinary and medicinal purposes. The best time to grow it is spring after the risk of frost has passed. It does survive in frost for a very short period but has no tolerance when it comes to surviving cold days for an extended period.

Evergreen Peppermint Leaves

The maximum height it can attain is 2 feet and the same width. The gardeners prefer growing it in containers as it has a fast growth rate and invades most of the space in no time. It bears beautiful purple flowers toothed at the tip, and the corolla is white with red hues. The base is sometimes smooth while hairy and granular the rest of the time. Its leaves are dark green and spear-shaped, while the stems are red.

– Benefits

The plant has various health benefits, like treating sinus infections, headaches, the common cold, digestive problems, etc. The plant produces oil that repels ants in many ways. Firstly, it disrupts their navigating ability, which slows down their mobility. Secondly, it is a strong irritant that causes the ants to evacuate the space or even die.

– Uses

You might be familiar with the places around your house that have frequent visits from the ants. Place your plants there or scatter their leaves around those spots for the best results. You do not specifically have to pick the leaves from the plants; the leaves from pruning do the job just fine.

– Distinguishing Characteristics

The plant is not picky in terms of light exposure. Unlike the other herbs, it can survive and even thrive in full sun or shade. Like its sunlight needs, the soil needs are also simple. It grows anywhere and everywhere. The ideal soil for it is rich, moist, and loamy. Its ability to grow anywhere is mostly a nuisance for gardeners.

It remains happy as long as you keep the soil consistently moist. Make sure not to overwater it, as it causes problems like root rot and, in worst-case scenarios, death. Herbs usually do not prefer fertilizers as they reduce their flavor. Adding fast-release fertilizers to boost their growth leads to stunted growth and short-lived foliage and bloom. Because of the fertilizers, you see a difference between the flavor of homegrown herbs and those brought from stores.

– Propagation

The easiest way to propagate is through stem cuttings. Take a four- to six-inch long stem cutting with a clean pair of scissors just below the leaf node. Remove all the leaves below the node and place your cutting in a glass containing distilled water somewhere that receives bright sunlight and good air circulation. The roots emerge within a few weeks. 

Transplant the cuttings bearing developed roots in good quality potting soil. Make sure you trim off the first couple of inches to allow the energy to transfer to the roots. It takes a few weeks until the roots have developed and are ready to be transplanted into a bigger pot.

3. Rosemary

Like the rest of the plants discussed above, it belongs to the Lamiaceae family. It is a herb and an evergreen perennial and is native to the Mediterranean. It is an evergreen plant harvested all year round, but those grown in summer have the best flavor. Once the plant matures, it grows to twelve to sixteen inches in one summer. The height ranges between 2 to 6 feet and 2 to 4 feet wide.

Growing Potted Rosemary

The plant blooms light blue, lilac, white, or pink flowers that appear in groups of two or more towards the upper end of the plant. Their shape resembles lips and is the reason why it is also called Labiatae, which means “having lips.”The leaves are woody and angular, compactly covered with needle-like leaves with hair-like structures on their lower surface.

– Benefits

Not only are these promising shrubs that repel ants, but they also have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties. Use the power-packed herb to not only repel ants but also to increase your immunity and lower the chances of infection.

– Uses

It is one of those plants that repel ants and mosquitoes. The characteristic smell of the plant keeps unwanted guests away from your gardens and indoors. The smell is more effective when you crush the leaves and spread them around your garden and indoors, where the ants and other insects visit the most.

– Distinguishing Characteristics

The plant has no tolerance for shade. It remains happy in full sun, which means at least six hours of the day. Use grow lights, if needed, to keep the plant thriving. However, if your area experiences frequent dry spells, bring your outdoor plants inside to keep by the window that receives bright yet indirect sunlight. Insufficient sunlight leads to problems like stunted growth.

An ideal soil for the plant is loamy and well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH. It does not tolerate clay or wet soils. Once mature, the plant is drought-tolerant and is better left underwatered than overwatered. Please ensure you allow the soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moist and not soggy.

The plant is a light feeder. It shows healthy growth when compost is mixed with the soil at the time of planting and does well with liquid fertilizers from time to time. 

– Propagation

If growing your plant is what you are aiming for, propagate it through cutting. Not only is this method simple and inexpensive, but it also helps the parent plant to grow bushier and bear more branches. The best time to take cuttings is spring or summer. All you need to do is cut a few inches long healthy stem, preferably softwood, and remove the leaves at the bottom end, leaving five. 

Please ensure you dip the cut end into some rooting hormone and place it in a small container containing a moist soilless potting mix. Make sure your container has draining holes. Place your container at a spot that receives bright yet indirect sunlight, and water your cutting daily so that the soil does not dry out. The roots develop in two weeks, indicating that your cutting is ready to be transplanted.

4. Garlic

The plant is a bulb vegetable that belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family, commonly known as the Allium family, and is native to Asia. It is planted in spring or fall, depending upon the region’s climatic conditions. For example, in the north, the best time to plant it is fall, before the signs of frost start to show. However, in warmer climates, plant it in early spring after the bulbs have been allowed to chill to help them exit their dormant state.

White Flowers of Garlic

It has a tall and erect one-meter-long stem that bears flat and linear leaves, having a length of no more than one inch. The plant is at most twelve to eighteen inches in height and six to twelve inches in width. It takes about nine months for the seeds to harvest.

– Benefits

These indoor plants are effective ant killers and ward off cough and cold. They maintain cardiac health, improve digestion and the brain’s working, and fight against fungal and viral infections.

– Uses

Place one or two cloves and place them near the ants. This is among the most successful plants that repel ants and termites. Ants hate the smell, and you can see them bounce back as though hit with an invisible shield. Place the cloves in all the suspected areas around the house and outdoors.

– Distinguishing Characteristics

Even though the plant grows underground, it loves light. To have the highest chances of growth success, place your plant in a spot that receives up to six to eight hours of sunlight a day.

Nutrient-rich soil is extremely important to growing the plant. The plant prefers a well-draining yet moist soil with an acidic pH. Place a layer of mulch on top of the soil to protect the bulbs, lock in the moisture and lower the chances of weed growth.

The plant is a low-maintenance plant and does not have many watering needs. It likes to grow in moist soil for which one inch of water per week is sufficient. However, if the weather is extremely hot or it has not rained in a while, ensure you water the plant adequately. Allow the soil to dry two or three weeks before you harvest because wet soil at the time of harvesting leads to mold growth.

Fertilizers are a big help when it comes to growing the plant. Add a slow-release organic fertilizer into the soil when planting in the fall season and a nitrogen-rich fertilizer in spring when new leaves emerge.

– Propagation

The plant is the easiest to propagate. Keep aside some good-quality bulbs to plant in the ground or a container in the next growing season. Ensure you store them at room temperature with high humidity, preferably around seventy percent.

5. Tansy

The plant is a herbaceous perennial native to Asia and Europe and belongs to the Asteraceae family. Its leaves are toxic to humans, cows, and horses.

Tansy Flowering at Summer

It has hardy stems that branch near the top of the plant, are usually green with hues of red, and have hair-like structures. The leaves are fern-like and arranged alternately. They are ovate and divided into four to ten pairs of spear-shaped lobes. The plant blooms bright and beautiful yellow-colored flowers from July to September. The flowers are half an inch wide with a flat four-inch wide top. They turn from yellow to brown from summer to fall.

It has a fast growth rate that allows it to reach a maximum height of 5 feet and a width of twelve to eighteen inches. One plant can produce two thousand seeds, so it would be okay to call it an invasive species.

– Benefits

The plant has medicinal benefits that help to deal with intestinal ulcers, migraines, nerve pain, joint pain, etc. As for its benefits in the garden, it fills the shaded areas and tolerates a little shade. The pest control flowering plant is as striking as its benefits.

– Uses

The methanol-like scent of these garden plants is a strong ant repellent. To use the plant to get rid of ants, dry some of its flowers or leaves and sprinkle them around the problematic areas or spread the dried leaves as mulch in your garden.

– Distinguishing Characteristics

The plant grows well in full sun but also tolerates partial shade. When grown indoors, please place it in a warm spot that receives the maximum sunlight throughout the day. Do not let it remain outside in extreme weather conditions, as it leads to problems like leggy growth.

It prefers to grow in well-draining, fertile soils, with a slightly acidic to neutral pH, especially in a vegetatively established area. The plant does not exist, thrive, and grow well in heavy clay soils.

Furthermore, the plant is drought-tolerant when it matures. Grow it on the edges of your garden where you are less likely to water it. The optimal time to water them is in the morning when it is not too hot.

It only needs a little fertilizer. But if the soil is poor, consider adding a general all-purpose fertilizer once or twice in the growing season. Grow your plant in a container to have more control over the soil quality, and you would not need to add any fertilizer then.

– Propagation

Tansies are grown from seeds in spring. Please ensure that you sow the seeds directly in your garden after all the frost risks have passed. Sow them at the start of the season, cover them lightly with fine garden or potting soil, and water them thoroughly. Let the roots develop and overwinter, then transplant them to designated places.


Getting rid of ants can be challenging but possible with the right plants. Each plant has a distinctive smell that helps to repel ants effectively. Always remember the following important points from the article above while deciding on which plant to grow:

  • Growing an allium in your garden is a fool-proof way of getting rid of the ants for good. You will enjoy propagating it as it is the easiest of those on the list.
  • The mosquito plant is the best ant-repelling plant for you if you seek a plant with a long life expectancy.
  • Tansies help repel ants and add a striking effect to your garden with bright yellow flowers. With tansies, you will not see other creepers and crawlers in your garden.

After knowing more about these plants, their ant-repelling properties, and their distinguishing characteristics, which one would you like to have or grow in your garden?


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