Ask a Question forum: Outdoor potted plants

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Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Feb 17, 2018 1:35 PM CST
My name is Kevin Pinkerton I live in south eastern Pennsylvania. I have two Queen palm trees in 18" pots and two birds of paradise in 16" pots. They spend as much time outside as they can. When the cold weather arrives I bring them back inside. Unfortunately there are ants that have taken up refuge in the containers over the summer. How can I eliminate them before I return the plants indoors.

Kevin Pinkerton
Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Feb 17, 2018 1:50 PM CST
If they have survived this deep into a cold winter in PA, they might well survive the rest of the winter outside. Although I am surprised by this.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Feb 17, 2018 1:53 PM CST
I am not sure you understood the question.
Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Feb 17, 2018 1:58 PM CST
Sorry. I assumed you were concerned about bringing in ants now rather than dealing with a problem, that apparently has been ongoing for quite a while.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Feb 17, 2018 1:59 PM CST
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Feb 17, 2018 2:07 PM CST
Buy a concentrated bottle of Insecticidal Soap. Mix some up and water your plants, making sure you get all the soil wet. Be prepared with a spray bottle of Insecticidal Soap for all the ants that come pouring out of the pot.

Buy commercial Insecticidal Soap - the home made stuff doesn't work because its not the same thing. Make sure you drench all the soil - its a contact poison. You may have to do it a couple times to get all the ants.

I usually water and spray with Insecticidal Soap 2 or 3 times in the fall, just before bringing plants in for the winter.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Name: Anne
Summerville, SC (Zone 8a)
Only dead fish go with the flow!
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Feb 17, 2018 2:10 PM CST
Hi Keven and welcome to NGA!

Here is how I get rid of ants in pots .. first I sprinkle granulated insect killer on the ground where the pot sits making sure the insect killer you spread on the ground is about an inch larger than the pot. Then I put the pot on top of where I spread the insect killer .. I then sprinkle a little on the soil on the top them gently water it in. I'm only using about 3 - 5 tablespoons of product, depending on the pot size circumference wise.

It usually takes about a week for them to vacate the premises.
"The Universe speaks in many languages, but only one voice. It speaks in the language of hope; It speaks in the language of trust; It speaks in the language of strength, and the language of compassion. It is the language of the heart and the language of the soul. But always, it is the same voice. It is the voice of our ancestors, speaking through us, And the voice of our inheritors, waiting to be born. It is the small, still voice that says: We are one. No matter the blood; No matter the skin; No matter the world; No matter the star; We are one. No matter the pain; No matter the darkness; No matter the loss; No matter the fear; We are one. Here, gathered together in common cause. we agree to recognize this singular truth, and this singular rule: That we must be kind to one another, because each voice enriches us and ennobles us, and each voice lost diminishes us. We are the voice of the Universe, the soul of creation, the fire that will light the way to a better future. We are one."

Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Feb 17, 2018 2:12 PM CST
Thank you
Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds Roses Clematis Lilies Peonies
Region: Canadian Photo Contest Winner: 2017 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
Feb 17, 2018 2:35 PM CST
Wow. Much ado over nothing??? Buy an ant trap, or bottle of "Ant Out", both dirt cheap, and both containing Borax. Put the trap near the base of your plant when outside, and spray a little of the "Ant Out" on a piece of shingle or thin wood near the pot outside (so you don't have a mess on your deck). The ants take the Borax back to their nest(s) and within a week, no ants! If you really want to secure all bases, put a trap on top of your plants when you bring them in for the winter. Easy and effective. Cheers.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
Feb 18, 2018 11:31 AM CST
Hm, true.. Terro makes great ant traps
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
[Last edited by sallyg - Feb 18, 2018 11:32 AM (+)]
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