We grow potted flowers because we want to keep our homes and spaces looking and smelling delightful, and anything that detracts from this intention must be removed. Ants are one of those pesky nuisances that tend to colonize our ornamental plants.
Ants are some of the commonest insects we find everywhere in our flower pot, and there are many species of them, but only a few of them, like the solider ants, can cause serious harm to you and your beloved flowers.
The good news is that there are very simple home remedies ranging from orange peel and hot water to diatomaceous earth with which you can flush these ‘tiny tyrants’ out of your flower pot.
Problems Caused by Ants in the Garden
There are a few reasons why having an ant colony in your flower pot is damaging; they include:
1. If you have a large colony of very voracious ants in your flower pot, it means that these ants can feed on the flower and other parts of your plant, which will, in the end, destroy the plant.
2. Some ants give off a disgusting smell when crushed, like the odorous house ant, which got its name from the strong, blue cheese smell they emit when they are crushed or threatened. The smell of this ant can mask the flower’s scent in the pot.
3. Don’t be surprised to know that ants might not spare that pet in your house, especially if the pets are sick, immobile, or newborn. Ants can attack these animals by biting them and inflicting pain on them, especially if the attack is by a large colony.
4. A flower pot that ants invade turns from being a thing of beauty to something very disgusting. The sight of flowers that ants have swarmed can be irritating and disgusting.
5. While most ants are not carriers of disease, they sometimes have a mutually beneficial relationship with aphids, which are pathogenic.
The implication is that while ants won’t impart any disease to your plant, they protect aphids in the flower pot, which produces a sweet byproduct known as honeydew, which ants crave. So ants essentially cause aphids to thrive in your flower pot.
Benefits of Ants To Your Flowers
Horticulturists do not consider ants as flower pests, and this is solely because they don’t damage plants significantly, nor do they transmit any diseases directly to the Flowers. Ants serve some purpose for a potted flower, including:
1. Ants in your flower pot will help break down organic materials like leaves, trunks, and other debris, which serve as nutrients for the plant.
2. Ants are also beneficial to the soil as they help to properly aerate the soil by burrowing into the ground and, by so doing, creating holes for proper soil drainage.
3. Another benefit of ants is that as natural predators of some plant pests, they eat the eggs and larvae of some damaging pests, thereby protecting your plant.
4. Ants are pollinators that help transfer pollen grain from one plant to the other, thereby aiding the reproductive process of your flower.
Common Ants You Will Find In Flower Pots
Knowing the type of ants invading your flower pot will help you know if they can bite your plants and you, but most importantly, it will help you identify the best way to get rid of them.
There are over 10,000 species of ants in the world, but only a few of them you will find around us. Below are some of the most common ant species around your flower pot.
1. The Common Black Garden Ant (Lasius Niger)
this is one of the most common ants in gardens and flower pots. You find about 5000 ants in every colony of this ant species. They have a well-defined jaw that they use in biting and protecting themselves from predators.
2. Yellow Meadow Ant (Lasius Niger ant)
as the name suggests, these ants are yellow, and they are not as harmful as the black ants; they characteristically build small molds around your garden and flower pot.
3. Fire Ant (Lasius Flavia ant)
This is another very popular plant that you find around potted plants, and there are more than 200 known species. The red imported fire ant is common in South America, while the European fire ant is found mostly in Europe. They are red and have that characteristic painful sting that has made them infamous.
4. Crematogaster (Acrobat ant)
This is another specie of fire that is very aggressive with vibrant workers. They attack by raising the abdomen, which earned them their name. They are mostly found in moist wood and are yellowish-brown to reddish-black.
5. Carpenter Ants
These are another species of fire ants that are very harmful, especially as their sting can be painful. So even if the ant will not significantly hurt your flower, you and your loved ones can be stung.
How to Get Rid of Ants in My Flower Pots Naturally
Getting rid of ants in your flower pot can be very stressful, especially as you want a means of exterminating the ants without hurting your plant.
Remember that taking care of ants on a potted plant is not the same as you would in an open garden because your flower pot is like a microbiome that can be easily affected by any adverse solution.
There are a thousand and one ways of taking care of ants in your flower pot, from insecticides to other such materials, but only a few of them involve using natural remedies. Here are some ways to remove ants from your flower pot without damaging the plants.
1. The Use Of Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
This is an ant repellent and killer safe to use on potted plants because they do not harm the flowers. Diatomaceous earth is a mineral-based powder that is gotten from fossilized marine life.
When the ant gets in contact with this substance, it sticks to the ants’ bodies, damaging their exoskeleton.
The advantage of using DE is that it is a slow-acting powder that will take close to 30 minutes for the ants to die. This allows the ants to spread the substance on their colony first, and then the ants will die in their numbers.
However, you must ensure that the flower pot is dry if DE is to work because water can wash it off. There is also the
food-grade DE, which is safer for both you, your kids, pets, and your plants.
2. Biological Control
You can get rid of large colonies of ants by attracting natural insect predators to your flower pot. These include beneficial insects like hoverflies, ladybirds, and nematodes, which will feed on the ants without harming your plant.
To attract these ant predators, plant pollen-rich and plant nectar foliage around your flower pots, and it will keep these beneficial insects coming till your flower pot is rid of ants. This method might not be so effective, but it is very safe.
3. Sharp Hose-Watering
This is a very easy and inexpensive life hack for getting rid of ants around your potted flower. Sharp spraying your flower with a hose will wash out any ants on the leaves and stems of your plant.
This method is ideal for plants that need a lot of water or soil with good drainage, and the plants must be strong enough to withstand the pressure of the water.
4. Peppermint Soap And Water Solution
This is another remedy that uses simple materials around us to take care of ants. All you need is a spray bottle and peppermint Soap.
You need to make a mixture using 2 cups of water and one tablespoon of peppermint soap, which you pour into a spray bottle and then spray the affected potted plant.
If, however, you want to treat more than one pot, you can apply the mixture using a tank sprayer attached to a water hose.
This solution should only be used on plants that can tolerate peppermint soap. Peppermint soap can sting your eyes, so you have to spray the ants with care.
5. Cucumber Peel
Cucumber peels can repel ants, so you have to think twice before trashing those cucumber peels. The strong smell of cucumber, coupled with the bitter taste, serves as a repellant to ants, so placing these peels on the topsoil of your flower pot will keep ants away.
The only challenge with this method is that you will have to replace the cucumber peel daily to keep the ants from coming back until the whole ant population is cleared out; this could take up to a month.
6. Cayenne Pepper Solution
You can chase ants out of your potted plant with cayenne pepper sprinkled on the topsoil. The strong odor and the hotness of the pepper will burn the exoskeleton of the ants. You can also put it around the perimeter of the plant pot, and ants will not move past that circle of cayenne.
You can also make a spray with cayenne pepper and water and Spray it around the flower pot to repel ants. A mixture of turmeric powder and cayenne pepper has potency in ridding ants from your flower pots. You, however, must handle cayenne with care and keep them far from your kids and pets because they irritate the nose, eyes, and tongue.
7. Citrus Peels
It is becoming exceedingly popular to use citrus peels to repel ants. Orange, lemon, grapefruit, and other citrus skins are effective in repelling ants. The strong smell and essential oils of the orange and other citrus fruits effectively kill ants.
Citrus peel is more effective if you allow the peel to dry for 2 days so that most of the moisture goes off; afterward, put the dried skin in a food processor to grind it to powder so you can sprinkle it around the flower pots and other entry points of ants into your house.
8. Draw A Chalk Line Around The Pots
This is a pretty funny trick for taking care of ants. A simple circle drawn around the flower pot using school chalk can ruin the pheromone trail of ants.
When this happens, their connection to the other colony members is disrupted. This causes the ants to get trapped inside the circle, and you can employ other methods to eliminate the already trapped ants.
For this trick to work, you must draw the circle daily, and if it rains, you must draw another circle. Secondly, you must ensure that the flower pot is placed on a hard surface like a wooden deck or pavement.
9. Coffee Ground
This is another simple home remedy for eliminating ants from gardens and flower pots. All you do is take the coffee ground from brewing your coffee, wash them, and sprinkle them on the flower pot. The strong smell of coffee grounds will repel the ants and keep them away from the flower pot.
10. Cinnamon Powder
Sprinkling cinnamon powder around flower pots or at the base of the plant is a potent way of getting of Eliminating ants. The advantage of using cinnamon on potted plants is that it will give off that sweet scent all around the house.
Ants are like humans who have sweet teeth, which is why they are attracted to flower pots with nectar. These ants, though beneficial as pollinators, are unsightly in flower pots and so must be eliminated.
You can use simple materials like citrus peel, cinnamon powder, and cucumber peels to repel ants from your flower pots and your home.
- Types Of Soil Mites
- Do Aphids Bites Or Stings?
- Ways To Stop Ants Nesting in Your Plant Pots
- Difference Between Soil Mites And Root Aphids
We trust this article helped you learn how to get rid of ants in your flower pots naturally without harming your plants. You may also want to check out How to Stop Ants Nesting in Plant Pots.
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