En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - July 30, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Pests
Title: Ants in outdoor plants in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Live in Austin. The problem is THIS. Ants have invaded our outside potted plants- mandevilla, begonia , lemon tree and violas. The colonies are devouring the roots it appears. Please give suggestions on repellants. I'm concerned about the toxicity of some substances and poisoning my large outside potted plants. But we need get get them out and keep them out.

ANSWER:

Since we are not entomologists, we will refer you to some websites with what we consider pertinent information:

University of California Integrated Pest Management Ants

Gardenguides.com How to Drive Ants Out of Potted Plants

eHow Home Products that Keep Ants out of Plants

If we may add one point from personal experience: ants are farmers and their herds are usually aphids. If you find very small white spots on the bottom of your leaves or a white or black moldy substance, usually in the same area, you have aphids. The ants will fiercely protect their "crop" from natural predators. If you get rid of the aphids, the ants will have no reason to return.

University of California Integrated Pest Management Control of Aphids

 

More Container Gardens Questions

Native Plants for North Texas Container
July 12, 2011 - What would you recommend for a large permanent plant for a large container (3' X 3') for Plano, Texas in the sun?
view the full question and answer

Native plants for a lizard terrarium
October 24, 2006 - My brother is setting up a terrarium for his lizard and wants advice on some species to put in the tank. He wants plants that generally fit the below description. Can you think of anything fairly c...
view the full question and answer

Vine for trellis in Brooklyn, New York
June 11, 2014 - Hello, I am looking for a native vine to grow on a trellis in a large container. I live in Brooklyn, NY, and the area is in part shade. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Sides for raised gardens
May 01, 2008 - I am wanting to put in raised gardens. What is the best product for the sides? Wood? If so, what kind? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Maximilian sunflowers in a container in Pflugerville, TX
April 26, 2010 - Can Maximilian sunflowers be grown in a container? How deep and wide would it need to be? Am considering growing them in a stock tank elevated on bricks, with drain holes.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center