There are many species of ants all over the world and they can be a real pain in your home, yard or garden. Although they serve the purpose of feeding on fleas, caterpillars, and termites, they also provide a hideaway for destructive insects that harm plants and infest our homes. For some people, sprays and chemicals come in handy in the fight against ants and are easily available. However, in these days of heightened awareness of our environment and clamor for the use of organic and eco-friendly substances, more people are shying away from the use of these chemicals. So how would you combat the menace of ants in your home or garden? It’s as simple as planting some herbs and shrubs around!

We would attempt to give you a list of outdoor plants that would help keep these ants away but note that this isn’t in any way an exhaustive list.

Rosemary

Gardeners and homemakers understand the importance of rosemary not only to spice up cooking but also to repel ants. All that’s required is to get flowerpots, plant the herb and place those pots around your patio or porch. You can also plant it in your flower beds or borders.

Mint

Most of us enjoy a refreshing cup of mint tea from time to time without knowing that this refreshing plant can also act as an ant deterrent. Mint starts out slowly when you plant it but grows quite aggressively after the first year. You can either plant mint from the seed or by removing a small piece from an existing plant (don’t forget to pull up the piece with its root). The seed sprouts around twenty days after planting it. To prevent your garden from being overrun by a mint, plant in a pot or container and bury in the ground; this would curtail its spread. This plant has an overwhelming scent that repels ants and it can grow tall and wide enough to provide wide underground coverage. This makes it perfect to plant them doors and underneath windows.

Lavender

Though loved by humans and useful to them, ants detest lavender because of its oils that have a very pungent scent. It is a versatile plant because it works not only as an aromatic ingredient in the potpourri mix but also works well as an indoor ant repellent.

Thyme plant

Who would have thought that the thyme that lends it aromatic goodness to salad dressing and some other culinary delights would help repel ants? But yep, they do! This herb that loves the sun and grows slowly, thrives in cracks as well as sidewalks or flowerbeds. Once it has grown, it would keep spreading perennially. Though it doesn’t smell as strongly as other plants that repel ants, it works perfectly well.

Tansy

Also known as golden buttons because of the little cluster of aromatic yellow blossoms, Tansy buds in the summer. This plant is a wide spreading herb that doesn’t die once it takes root. It grows in a heap and can be as tall as four feet and about one and a half feet wide. It is also self-seeding and multiplies by spreading from its roots underground. Since it spreads fast and wide, you control it by cutting it down before it flowers or by just pulling it out by hand. A word of caution, though, is to wear gloves before touching it to avoid toxins being absorbed into the skin. It has anti-fungal/bacterial properties and this made it useful for lining coffins in the olden days. Nowadays the leaves and dried flowers are used in floral bouquets.

Common Yarrow

Common Yarrow is also known as Soldier and Milfoil and is a shrub-like plant that grows perennially. It can grow as high as ten inches tall and sixteen inches wide either under some form of shade or full exposure to the sun. It is quite effective in repelling ants and can be planted from the seed or taken from an already established plant. It blooms between June and September and you can harvest its flower or leaves for floral arrangements. It is also purported to have medicinal properties and can be used to treat wounds.

Pennyroyal

Pennyroyal is related to mint in the plant family and can be quite invasive; if you plant it in your garden without proper care it would overrun it. However, it is an effective ant repellent with a sweet aroma and supple purple flowers. If you want to use it as a companion plant for plants that are prone to pest invasion, one tip is to plant it in a container before burying it in the ground. This would curtail the spread while protecting the other plant as intended. The plant is a versatile plant that has an aesthetic value which makes whatever effort you put into cultivating and curtailing it worth your time.

Garlic

Garlic traces its origin to Central Asia and has over six hundred varieties. It is a perennial plant that grows well in soil that is well drained and exposed to sunlight. It is arguably one of the most used ant deterrent or pest control plant. Folklore suggests that it scares away unwanted guests such as vampires, evil spirits, and ants. But while we can’t provide proof of its efficacy in dealing with evil spirit or vampires, it has proven to be an effective deterrent to ants and when you plant it around doorways and beneath windows, it ensures that you are not disturbed by pesky and irritating ants. What’s more, it is an excellent addition to your culinary repertoire and has medicinal value. You can’t go wrong with this versatile bulb planted around your kitchen doorway or garden borders!

Marigolds

A number of ornamental plants have been discovered to deter ants from the environment and Marigold is one of such. One advantage of Marigold is that it doesn’t spread fast so it doesn’t overrun your garden while protecting it. It is an annual plant so you have to replant it every year; one might consider this either an advantage or a disadvantage. It all depends on how you look at it or how it works out for you.

Now you know that there’s no excuse for you to be overrun by ants or other irritating insects or to expose your household to harmful chemicals. By just planting these herbs and ornamental plants around your home, you have not only protection from ants but also readily available herbs for your cooking and an aesthetically pleasing environment.