x
 
 
Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Kill Ants Without Killing the Plant

By Melynda Sorrels ; Updated September 21, 2017

When ants invade it’s never in anything but large quantities. Without an invitation ants find their way onto your property and take over whatever area they choose. This presents a large problem for anyone who has to deal with them. If ants have decided that one of your plants is the best place they can congregate and mingle, then you are left with the perplexing dilemma of how to get rid of them without harming your plant. It takes little more than a few creative approaches to send ants packing and save your plant from harm.

Place a flower pot next to the plant that the ants have decided to infiltrate and fill it with dirt. Place a piece of fruit on top of the dirt and wait until a large majority of the ants are swarming the new pot instead. Mix dish soap and water until it is sudsy and pour it into the flower pot with the fruit and ants to immediately kill off large numbers of them. Repeat as often as needed.

Slice oranges and place them into the soil. The ants will swarm the oranges, which the birds will fly down to and carry away.

Mix 1 teaspoon of boric acid into 2 cups of water. Stir in 6 tablespoons of sugar and dip cotton balls into the solution. Place the cotton balls in the soil around the plant. The ants will take the bait home, which will kill off large numbers of them quickly.

Rub petroleum jelly around the planter to keep ants from getting up into the plant. Wipe away the ants and petroleum jelly periodically and apply more as often as you would like.

Wrap tape around the base of the planter with the sticky side facing out. This will keep ants from ever getting into the plant to begin with. Replace the tape when it becomes cluttered with immobile ants.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Flower pot
  • Fruit
  • Dish soap
  • Oranges
  • Boric acid
  • Sugar
  • Cotton balls
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Tape

Tip

  • Create a border with salt, flour or baby powder to keep ants out.

Warning

  • Follow safety precautions on the label when handling boric acid.

About the Author

 

Melynda Sorrels spent 10 years in the military working in different capacities of the medical field, including dental assisting, health services administration, decontamination and urgent medical care. Awarded the National Guardsman’s Medal for Lifesaving efforts in 2002, Sorrels was also a nominee for a Red Cross Award and a certified EMT-B for four years.