Ants in Potted Plants? 3 Reasons They’ve Moved in and How to Evict Them

Did you know that there are roughly 1.5 million ants on the planet per human?

This is quite an alarming stat if you have ants in your potted plants. Although ants do not directly harm pot plants, they can be quite a nuisance. Besides this, ants in house plants can indicate other issues.

If you spot ants in your house plant soil, this is a sign that you need to take action. Not necessarily to kill the ants, but to rectify whatever is attracting them. If you don’t, you might lose your house plant.

Curious to know more? Keep reading to find out what ants living in houseplants means and what to do.


Ants in Potted Plants? 3 Reasons They’ve Moved in and How to Evict Them


1. You Have a Pest Infestation

If you have ants in your potted plants, this could indicate that you have a blossoming pest infestation. And no, the ants in your houseplant soil are not the pests.

Because ants in houseplants don’t cause direct harm, they aren’t classified as pests. However, they are attracted to pest species like mealy bugs, soft scale, and whiteflies. These pests secrete what is known as “honeydew.” Honeydew is a sticky, sweet substance that ants love.

So much so that ants actually farm mealybugs, moving them to new plants so they can thrive and produce more honeydew.

The issue here is not really the ants. If you remove the pests, the ants will most likely move out of the pot.

If you see any signs of pests on your potted plants, try out a natural insecticide spray such as pyrethrum.

2. You’re Not Watering Enough

Another reason why you might have ants in your house plants is if you’re not watering enough, or watering erratically. Ants love dry soil to nest in. That is why they so often make their nests under paving slabs and foundations.

If ants are living in your house plants because the soil is very dry, there’s an easy fix. All you have to do is increase the frequency of your watering routine. Watering does not necessarily kill ants in plant pots, but it will chase them away and discourage them from coming back.

It will also mean that your plants have more water to drink and will likely be healthier and more resilient.

3. The Potting Mix Is Old

If you see ants in a potted plant, this could also mean that the potting mix is old. Old potting mix becomes hydrophobic over time. Even if you do water regularly, the particles in the potting mix might have a hard time soaking up the water.

This of course means that your pot will be drier than if it had fresh potting mix.

All pot plants need up-potting and a change of potting mix from time to time. So, if you spot ants, take this as a sign that it’s time to re-pot.

If you’re wondering what specific type of potting mix to use on your houseplants, you can browse this collection.


Now You Know What to Do About Ants in Your Potted Plants

Ants in your potted plants can actually be a valuable indication of other unseen issues, such as overly dry soil, old potting mix, or a pest problem. Tend to these issues, and the ants will most likely move on by themselves.

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