What Plants Keep Ants Away? + Ant Attracting Plants

We plant our gardens, spring and summer arrive, and everything appears to be in order. But, until we observe those unmistakable mounds with bothersome ant trails starting to take over, it frequently feels as though one day they aren’t around, and the next, our homes, gardens, and the delicious produce we worked so hard to develop are infested with ants.

Some of the best plants that keep away ants include lavender, mint, rosemary, thyme, marigold, tansy, garlic, sage, catnip, and hot peppers. These can be planted around the house to keep ants away. On the other hand, roses, peonies, wild parsnip, clematis, and desert willow attract ants.

When a few small ant hills turn into a full-fledged metropolitan development, it’s time to look for natural alternatives to eliminate the great majority and protect our plants.

What plants keep ants away?

The scent is the key to keeping ants at bay. They use scents to communicate with one another and to locate new food sources. So, having houseplants with potent fragrance oils around will dissuade ants from venturing deeper into your home.

1. Lavender

Although lavender can grow to be a bit huge for a houseplant, it is certainly possible to grow this delightful fragrance plant inside. You’ll need a spot that gets plenty of bright sunlight throughout the day, and you’ll need to split or repot this perennial as it grows larger each year.

Not only must you consider the amount of light, but lavender also requires a cool environment. It won’t thrive if it doesn’t get enough air. In a pinch, a modest fan would suffice.

If you’re a beginner, look for French lavender since it has a reputation for being the easiest strain to care for as an indoor houseplant. 

2. Mint

You can choose from many mint species, all of which help keep ants away from your home. For example, try apple mint, chocolate mint, or even pineapple mint instead of the traditional peppermint or spearmint. They’d all make a delicious cup of tea at the same time.

Mint requires well-draining soil (add peat or perlite if necessary) and 4 to 6 hours of indirect sun to thrive as a houseplant. However, this is a wonderful choice if you’re seeking plants that don’t require a lot of sun.

Water your mint just before the surface begins to dry up, and turn the plants periodically because they tend to bend toward the light.

3. Rosemary

It’s not as fragrant as lavender or mint, but it’s still effective against ants. Rosemary isn’t the easiest plant to grow indoors. So, if you’re new to houseplants, you might want to start with one of the others on our list.

Otherwise, select a location for your rosemary pot that gets as much sun as possible. Add a little grow light to make up the difference if it isn’t enough.

You’ll also have to be a little more cautious about watering. Don’t overdo it, and wait until the dirt on the surface is dry. Then, give it a good drink, but make sure you use a well-draining pot, so the roots don’t become too moist.

4. Thyme

Thyme, like mint, can be grown in indirect light. As such, it will thrive indoors even if you don’t have optimal sunny conditions. Allow the soil to dry completely before applying extra water to avoid over-watering.

To avoid wet roots, place your thyme in an unglazed ceramic pot that allows moisture to drain more quickly.

Don’t let your thyme get too cold. They may not require direct sunlight, but they will suffer in freezing weather.

5. Marigolds

Kitchen herbs aren’t the only ant-repellent plants. For example, marigolds add a stunning burst of orange color to your home while repelling ants. Unfortunately, these plants are a little more challenging to keep as houseplants than the others.

Warm temperatures and a lot of sun are required for marigolds to thrive. Keep them indoors throughout the cooler months if feasible, but bring them outside during the summer to allow them to recharge in the heat and sun fully.

6. Tansy

It’s a little less frequent than the others and a little large for a houseplant. However, tansy can be used to repel ants if you have enough room and either direct or indirect sunlight.

Allowing your plants to lie in moist soil for too long can result in clusters of small yellow blossoms. However, with tansy, the blooms, not the leaves, act as a repellent.

7. Garlic

While it’s not a plant you’ll want to start growing as an interior houseplant, it’s still an excellent ant repellent and pretty much any other insect pest.

Garlic is a must-have for anyone trying to use plants for insect control. It’s not even necessary to grow it. If you need to, pick up a different bulb or two at the store.

8. Sage

Sage is a fragrant plant that’s also fun to cook with. It’ll thrive in any herb garden set, essentially anywhere you’d plant dill, basil, parsley, and other similar herbs. Sage can be grown indoors, outdoors, or under artificial lighting.

Grinding sage into a powder and scattering it where the ants are is a fantastic method. You could even combine it with diatomaceous earth.

9. Catnip

Here’s another standard solution when ants are an issue in your home. They will love this concept if you have a cat as a pet. Even if you don’t have a cat, you’ll almost certainly be the hero of any friends’ cats to whom you offer a small gift.

Catnip grows best in a sunny location and is relatively easy to grow indoors and considerably easier outdoors. However, if you have a cat in the house, you may want to be more careful about where you plant this.

10. Hot peppers

The plants that produce spicy peppers (Capsicum annum) may also give some protection from ants, as the chemical irritant capsaicin is unappealing to them. However, because it’s only found in peppers’ fruits, not their leaves, those plants won’t be able to protect themselves until they grow fruit. 

Peppers, generally produced as annuals and vary in size and appearance, can be perennial in USDA zones 8 through 12.

What plants attract ants?

Below are some of the plants that attract ants:

1. Peonies 

Peonies are a popular choice among gardeners who seek beautiful, sweet-smelling flowers. However, as you may know, peonies and ants have a strong relationship since the small insects can’t seem to stay away from these blooms.

Ants love peonies because they have a nectary gland that releases a mixture of amino acids, sugar, and water that ants find enticing. You’ll typically find black ants on a peony, although any ant that feeds on sugar could be drawn to it.

2. Wild Parsnip

Wild parsnip is a particularly pesky weed that thrives in wetter regions. These plants can grow to be quite huge, up to 5 feet tall, and their sap can inflict severe burns if it comes into contact with sunlight on your skin.

Wild parsnip irritates humans, yet it is a favorite of ants. Like many other plants that attract ants, wild parsnips have nectaries, which provide a significant food source for ants and other insects. As a result, almost every variety of ant, even larger species like the Formica ant, may be seen feeding on the nectar of wild parsnip.

3. Roses

Ants are attracted to rose buds and bushes because they are attracted to clematis plants, and the ants will not harm the roses. Tea roses, wild roses, and climbing roses all have them.

4. Clematis

Ants are drawn to clematis flowers, especially if the clematis is infested with aphids. The ants will be eliminated if the aphids are eradicated. Clematis is a trellis-growing flowering vine with brilliant colors.

5. Desert willow 

Because of its appealing colors, Desert Willow is a favorite option among most homeowners. In addition to their lovely colors, these flowers might attract ants to your property. 

Because the bulb of the desert willow contains nectar, the ants adore these sweet blooms. It not only draws ants but also attracts hummingbirds.


With the information above, we hope you can tell which plant is suitable for you and will still keep ants away. Left to their own doing, ants can be quite destructive as they can eat away at houses and other structures till they collapse. 

A thin line exists between a few helpful ants and an army covering everything. While it is nearly difficult to prevent all ants from moving in, it is vital to remember that ants are suitable for the garden in some ways since they help aerate the soil.

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