What Plants Keep Ants Away [We Use These 7 All Over]

There is no worse feeling than coming home from a stressful day of work and seeing a room filled with ants. Or walking into your garden and seeing your recently planted tomatoes infested with ants. What plants would keep these ants away?

The plants that keep ants away include:

  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Bay Leaves
  • Basil
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemon Grass

Ant Repelling Plants

No matter the ant species, plants that repel ants are a natural solution to a natural problem.

While a few ants and other insects probably won’t hurt you, the nasty chemicals with traditional pest control methods are pretty dangerous.

The chemicals that are typically used to keep ants away are filled with toxins and are potentially cancerous.

We are always looking for natural ways to keep ants away, and many of you have also reached out asking for help.

After this article, you can add more beautiful indoor plants to your home or some outdoor plants into your garden while also keeping the ants out!

Seems like a no-brainer.

no brainer
Knowing how to keep ants away is a crucial preliminary solution to keep ants away before they become a problem.

Below is more information on the plants listed above and what garden plants we’d add to your garden and home. 

Lavender To Repel Ants

This plant is known for its beautiful purple color, sweet scent, and fragrance.

Lavender can keep ants away with its scent.

Humans love the smell of lavender, but ants cannot stand the scent of lavender.

One simple strategy is to strategically place lavender around the house in potential ant entry points.

Some people have seen success actually planting lavender around their house, which not only protects the home but the yard as well.

Be careful with this approach, as ants are crucial for the local ecosystem.

If you notice an increase of other bugs after planting lavender around the outside areas of your house, you may want to go with the simple approach and place it strategically in the house.

lavender plant.
Lavender oil in a glass bottle on a background of fresh flowers


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Does Peppermint Keep Ants Away?

Another favorite in the smell department.

Peppermint is one of my favorite smells, and I have these cute plants throughout the house.

However, again – ants loathe this smell. 

I will say, to get the best ant repelling effects of this plant, you’ll actually want to create a peppermint oil from your plants.

peppermint oil
Amber bottle with essential oil Peppermint with fresh mint leaves, herbal scent in a dark glass jar. Aromatherapy concept. Selective focus

Place cotton balls that have absorbed some of the peppermint oil in the corner of rooms that you think ants frequent.

We also like to drop these behind the coach or near an affected area.

The ants will smell the peppermint oil and run far away.

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Why is Rosemary Good to Keep Ants Out?

Rosemary is incredible for deterring ants away (and bed bugs!). 

Dried rosemary spice in wooden bowl. Macro with shallow depth of field.

Planting rosemary helps repel ants, but one of my favorite ways to take advantage of this is to create a Rosemary Repellant Spray.

Add a cup of dried Rosemary to a pot to boil.

Once these plants have absorbed the water, squeeze this hot water into a cold glass of water, and add it to your favorite squirt bottle.

Next time you see an area overrun with ants, grab your rosemary spray bottle and spray.

Boom! Ants gone!

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Using Bay leaves for Ants

One of my favorite ingredients for cooking, this leaf is great for keeping ants away.

Whenever my friends ask for a simple plant-based solution to their ant problems, I suggest Bay leaves.

This is because ants are repelled from dried bay leaves.

Unlike some of our other plants, this gives you the advantage of being able to purchase bay leaves from the store.

Drop the dried bay leaves in the affected areas; the smell will keep the ants away for as long as those leaves stay.

This works for many other insects also.

bay leaves in a jar
Bay leaves in a jar. Dried flakes of the laurel tree. Photo.


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Basil to Repel Ants?

The king of salads!

This one is quite weird, as you’ll need some rubbing alcohol to mix with your Basil.

In the same strategy as Rosemary, you’ll create your spray bottle. 

Add a cup of dried Basil to a pot to boil.

Once these plants have absorbed the water, squeeze this water into a cold glass of water, and add it to your favorite squirt bottle.

However, to activate it, you’ll need to add rubbing alcohol and to shake.

This spray is highly effective at deterring and repelling ants. 

This spray can be sprayed on your skin or your clothes – if you are going to be out in an area where you think ants will be relevant.

basil leaves
Fresh Basil and a chalkboard sign with Basil written on it

Does Eucalyptus help with ants?

Another plant that keeps ants away.

This one isn’t the most effective for ants and has shown to be much stronger with rodents. 

However, the smell does repel ants.

It still makes the list because of how prevalent eucalyptus diffusers are.

Basically, run eucalyptus diffusers in your infected room, and the ants will go running!

This is one of my favorite smells and super fun and safe solution to get rid of ants.

Eucalyptus leaves. Branch of eucalyptus tree.
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Can Catnip Help me Keep Ants Away?

Nepetalactone, the essential oil that is in the catnip plant, drives cats crazy.

They love the stuff.

What’s even better about this plant – is that while your cat may love it…

The ants will hate it.

Nepetalactone has been shown to repel ants and keep them away.

Have an outside cat?

Plant a catnip plant outside!

Beautiful blooming flowers in June. A garden of beautiful purple Catnip in the shade with the sun peeping through here and there. Purple catnip plants in a garden are all in bloom.

Your garden may end up being the new neighborhood cat hangout!

Lemongrass for Ants

Citronella is an essential oil derived from Lemongrass, which has been shown to rid ants and other insects.

One of the bigger plants in the group – this plant will go great on the sides of a porch.

Remember, this plant grows best in hot places. Plant it once the winter has gone!

Fresh Lemongrass (citronella) on wooden background – Spice for health.

A plant that blends in well could become your secret bodyguard against ants.

Try to grow one of these around the house or your garden, and watch as the ants disappear.


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Besides plants, any other natural products that repel Ants?

Finding natural products that can help repel ants has been a top priority for years.

While the average house plant may not help you keep those pesky carpenter ants away, we hope some of these other natural products can help when the indoor plants fall short.

Baking Soda

Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) is basically used for everything.

This incredible ingredient will find its way into any household, from laundry to cooking.

A mixture of water, sugar and baking soda can actually kill ants and other insects.

Simply mix these ingredients in a bowl and leave it in an affected area with ants.

Once the ants ingest this mixture, the chemical compounds that are now mixed will kill the ants.

This mixture will actually attract ants in the short-term, but over time will get rid of them.

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Borax is a super-strong, naturally occurring mineral.

Sometimes found in old dry lake beds, Boric acid is a chemical compound listed in many different pesticides.

This stuff will eliminate any ants in the area and keep them away as long as the borax is there.

I want to warn you if you have any children or pets – you should be careful with this stuff.

Ingesting borax is very dangerous and has a ton of detrimental side effects.

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Will Marigolds Keep Ants Away?

Even though this beautiful flower looks innocent, it does keep ants away.

Marigold contains pyrethrin, which is a common ingredient in pesticides.

This strong organic chemical active ingredient makes it easy to see why this plant keeps ants away.

Marigolds close-up on a flower bed in the garden in the light of the sun.

Do Coffee Grounds Deter Ants?

This answer is tricky and is heavily debated throughout ant realms everywhere.

It has been said that it doesn’t deter ants, but it does confuse them enough for them to go away. 

Caffeine is a strong chemical and has some pretty drastic effects on ants.

It has been said that it will make ants forget their trails and never return.

In our experience, this hasn’t been true. Coffee Grounds do not deter ants.

White cup of fresh hot coffee and coffee beans on wooden board on table.

Final Thoughts on Plants That Keep Ants Away

The plants that keep ants away are abundant and easily accessible. 

Remember, these plants are

  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Bay Leaves
  • Basil
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemon Grass

There are tons of safe and healthy ways that you can get rid of ants that do not put your family at risk.

There is nothing worse than spraying harmful chemicals all over your house that do more harm than good.

Start growing some of these around your home, and your ant problem will soon disappear.

Frequently Asked Questions

We get tons of emails about gardeners and homeowners trying to keep ants away from their houses and garden plants.

We hope some of these answers can put those worries to rest, and help you find a natural solution to your ant infestation (and other insects).

How to Stop Ants Nesting in Plant Pots

One of the easiest ways to stop ants nesting in plant pots is to place dried bay leaves in the soil. These bay leaves that are tucked into the soil will not be visible. This smell repels ants and keeps them away. These bay leaves also have no effect on the soil or the plant! A great natural way to stop ants from nesting in plant pots.

How To Remove Ants From Plants

Once ants have gotten into plants, it’s very hard to remove them. We can’t just spray harmful chemicals, as this could potentially harm our plants. The easiest way to handle this is to create a peppermint spray. Boil some peppermint and add the excess water into a spray bottle. This natural mix can be sprayed onto the plants over a couple of days, and the ants will evacuate.

How To Get Rid of Ants in the Garden Soil

One of the best ways to get rid of ants in the garden soil is to place a couple of dried bay leaves on top of the soil. Ants despise the smell of bay leaves and eventually will evacuate the area. This natural solution poses zero risk to your plants!

What Smell Keeps Ants Away?

Some smells that keep ants away are lavender, Eucalyptus, and peppermint.

Growing some lavender in some small planters pots around your house has been shown to deter any ants in the area.

Other information that goes over the fundamental early prevention of ants can be found here in these articles:

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