Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Stop Ants From Eating Plants

window plants image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from

Gardening and growing things requires a certain amount of time, effort and patience. It can be irritating when the only ones who seem to be reaping the benefits of your work are an entire army of ants. Ants have a tendency to take over an area quickly by way of force and if it’s your plant they’ve set their sights on it can create a rather perplexing situation. Though they may outnumber you millions to one this battle is far from over. There are numerous things you can do to send a clear message to ants to hit the road.

Wrap planters with tape, sticky side facing out. As ants try to traverse up the sticky planter they won’t get too far. Periodically remove the tape and replace it to discard immobilized ants.

Sprinkle crushed mint leaves or cloves of garlic around the soil. Red pepper flakes work just as well. This will make the area unappealing to ants and they will find somewhere else to go.

Mix dish soap into a spray bottle of water and spray your plant with it. This will deter ambitious ants from remaining on your plant.

Locate where the ants are coming from and attack the source. Pour hot water into their anthill to flood out many of the ants killing many of them instantly. You may need to repeat this daily until the ants get the picture and move on.

Sprinkle dry grits or cornmeal around the soil of your plant. The ants will take your offerings home for dinner and many will not return for seconds. Ants cannot digest these and this will kill off large numbers quickly. If the queen partakes in the feast she too will die and the ants will move out to find a new home.


If you opt to use a commercial product such a pesticide, read and follow the manufacturers’ instructions carefully as these can be harmful not only to ants, but to children and animals as well. Marigolds, tansy and lavender will help to deter ants. Plant these around your other plants to help keep ants away.

Garden Guides