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Someone told me about hen and chick plants drawing ants. My hen and chicks are next to the house and they are covered in ants. Is there any relevance to this?


Drought Smart Plants reply:

Ants will be attracted to aphids, which may be on your plants. Can you check and see if this is the case? In most instances, ants don’t do any damage, except that they ‘farm’ the aphids and milk them for their sundew, a sweet substance that the aphids excrete. If you get rid of the aphids, you’ll get rid of or at least knock the ants back from attending their ‘herd’. Use a strong spray of water from the garden hose to wash the aphids off.

There is no need to use strong chemicals, but something like Diatomaceous earth sprinkled around the plants will certainly deter the ants. Ant traps are useful too. I’ve noticed that pests are attracted to plants under stress, so make sure that your growing conditions are suited to your plants. See the pages on how to grow Sempervivum and how to grow Echeveria for more information on the plants known as Hens and Chicks.