The 7 Best Plants that Repel Ants

Picture of Plant repelling Ant

Ants although fascinating can be an unwelcome pest that no one wants around. Fortunately, you can use house and yard plants to your advantage and select some varieties that will aid you in your quest to repel ants in the yard and home.

The trick to keeping ants away is scent. Ants rely on scent to communicate with each other and scent plays an important role when finding food sources.

Keeping plants around the place that contain aromatic oils in them can go a long way towards deterring ants.

1. Mint

There are over 600 varieties of mint and most of them are useful for repelling ants. Commonly used varieties include spearmint, peppermint and apple mint and the handy thing about mint is that it can be used as a health tea or be added to salads and cooking as a garnish.

To successfully grow mint you will need an area with well draining soil and moderate light exposure (3-6 hours) preferably indirect light. Light watering is required and you should water your mint just before the soil becomes dry on the surface.

2. Marigolds

Marigolds contain ant repelling aromatics with the added benefit of providing a beautiful splash of orange to your yard. The slight downside is that Marigolds can be a tad more difficult to maintain and grow than the average house plant.

Marigolds flourish in a warm climate and love the sun, in fact the more sun the better! Try to protect them during winter/late Autumn by storing them inside. Then when spring/summer rolls around again you can return the pots outdoors to stay healthy.

3. Lavender

Lavender is better grown outdoors but can also be grown indoors as a houseplant. You’ll need to find a spot that gets lots of all day sun for this ant repellent to really thrive. If growing indoors then you’ll need to split and re-pot yearly to keep it under control do that it doesn’t get too big! Regular air flow is also key.

For those looking for the easiest option in terms of growing lavender try French lavender. It’s widely considered to be the easiest strain of Lavender to keep as a houseplant.


Similar to Mint, you ideally grow Thyme in indirect light which means you can grow it easily indoors even if you don’t have a particularly sunny spot. Try to avoid over watering Thyme, a good rule of thumb is to let the soil dry out completely before adding more water.

A pro tip to avoid soggy roots is to use un-glazed ceramic pots as this will allow moisture to evaporate quickly. It’s also important to remember is Thyme doesn’t like cold temperatures.


Not quite as aromatic as Lavender or Mint, but still a potent botanical force against ants. Rosemary is definitely not an easy plant to grow indoors, if you’re just getting started you might want to think about choosing one of the other plants from our list.

For those wishing to take up the challenge try to find a spot with as much sun as possible. Alternatively if it’s not enough, consider adding a small grow light to make up the difference.

6. Garlic

Although Garlic is not a plant you are likely to grow indoors it is an excellent one for repelling ants. And here’s the trick. Crush up a clove of garlic and sprinkle in the areas where you see Ants entering your house. Garlic really is an effective Ant deterrent.

7. Tansy

Probably more appropriate outdoors as it’s a little too big for an indoor houseplant. Grows well with either direct or indirect sunlight. One thing to watch out for with Tansy is moisture, whatever you do don’t let it sit in wet soil for too long. The little yellow flower clusters produced are the main weapon against ants rather than the leaves.

All of the above plants we’ve listed can be grown outside as well as indoors. You might want to consider planting them in your front yard as well that as well as they can be an effective first line of defense that will help prevent other insects and bugs from getting into the house too.

Other Natural Ant Repellents

When it comes to natural ant deterrents you’re not just limited to the above house plants we’ve already discussed. Below are some additional measures you can take that are natural and non-toxic as well.

First up is a chrysanthemums based insect spray made with Pyrethrin as the main ingredient. Not only natural but super easy to use as well. Pyrethrin is a point of entry spray meaning simply locate the entry point and spray the area.

Another option to get rid of ants is with a sugar and Borax solution. Borax is a naturally occurring mineral which is sold in the detergent section of the most grocery stores as a laundry additive. You mix 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons of Borax then dissolve in 1 1/2 cups of warm water.

Fill a shallow tray or dish with the prepared solution and then add a couple of cotton balls so the ants can get to it without drowning. The Ants are attracted to the sweet liquid mixture and will take droplets back to the main colony. After several days, the Borax will kill off the ants that consume the mixture. Job done.

Written by Jenny Harland

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