Updated: July 2, 2023


Nandina plants, also known as heavenly bamboo, are popular ornamental plants that add beauty and elegance to any garden or landscape. However, one common problem that many gardeners face when growing nandina plants is the presence of ants. While ants may not directly harm the plant, their presence can be a nuisance and can attract other pests such as aphids. Fortunately, there are several effective methods to get rid of ants on nandina plants without causing harm to the plant or the environment.

Understanding Ants’ Attraction to Nandina Plants

Before we delve into the methods to eliminate ants from nandina plants, it’s important to understand why ants are attracted to these plants in the first place. Ants are attracted to nectar-producing flowers and sugary substances. Nandina plants produce small clusters of white flowers that contain nectar, which can attract ants. Additionally, ants also feed on honeydew excreted by aphids, which are often found on nandina plants. This symbiotic relationship between ants and aphids can result in an ant infestation on your nandina plants.

Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Ants on Nandina Plants

  1. Diatomaceous Earth: Diatomaceous earth is a natural and safe alternative to chemical pesticides. Sprinkle a thin layer of diatomaceous earth around the base of your nandina plant. The sharp edges of diatomaceous earth particles will deter ants from crossing the barrier.

  2. Cinnamon: Ants dislike the strong scent of cinnamon. Sprinkle powdered cinnamon around your nandina plant or create cinnamon tea by boiling water with cinnamon sticks and spraying it on the plant. This will help repel ants.

  3. Citrus Peels: Citrus peels are a natural ant deterrent. Place orange or lemon peels around the base of your nandina plant to keep ants away. Replace the peels regularly to maintain their effectiveness.

  4. Vinegar Solution: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water to create a natural ant repellent. Spray the solution directly on ants or around the base of your nandina plant. The strong scent of vinegar will discourage ants from approaching.

  5. Peppermint Oil: The strong scent of peppermint oil is known to repel ants. Mix a few drops of peppermint oil with water and spray it around your nandina plant. Alternatively, you can soak cotton balls in peppermint oil and place them near the plant.

Preventative Measures to Keep Ants Away

While these natural remedies can help eliminate ants from your nandina plants, it’s important to take preventative measures to ensure they do not return. Here are a few steps you can take:

  1. Remove Aphids: Since ants are attracted to honeydew excreted by aphids, it’s essential to control aphid populations on your nandina plants. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of aphids and use organic insecticidal soaps or neem oil to control them.

  2. Keep Your Garden Clean: Ants are attracted to food sources, so keeping your garden clean and free from fallen fruits, crumbs, or other organic matter will reduce the likelihood of attracting ants.

  3. Prune Overhanging Branches: Ants may use overhanging branches as bridges to access your nandina plants. Trim any branches that touch or hang over your nandina plants to prevent ants from using them as entry points.

  4. Create Physical Barriers: Place sticky traps or ant barriers around the base of your nandina plants to prevent ants from climbing up. These physical barriers can effectively deter ants from reaching your plants.


Ants can be a persistent problem on nandina plants, but with the right methods and preventative measures, you can successfully eliminate and deter them from infesting your plants. Natural remedies such as diatomaceous earth, cinnamon, citrus peels, vinegar solutions, and peppermint oil can be used to repel ants without causing harm to the plant or the environment. Additionally, taking preventative measures such as controlling aphid populations, keeping your garden clean, pruning overhanging branches, and creating physical barriers will help keep ants away from your nandina plants for good. With these strategies in place, you can enjoy the beauty of your nandina plants without the annoyance of ant infestations.