roots sticking out of drainage holes + ant problem

hi group,
i have a few plants that i transplanted into clay pots 6 weeks ago: 3 alpine strawberries in a 12" azalea pot (height is 3/4 of diameter) combo of herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage) in a 10" standard pot
i checked under the pot the other day because i saw ants crawling around them & noticed that some roots were sticking out of the drainage holes. i didn't realize that these guys would grow so FAST! i chose these pot sizes based on suggestions from some book sources. one book i read told me to plant 3 alpine strawberries in a 12" azalea pot. another book told me that the herbs need minimum 9" pot depth. all plants seem healthy & happy for now.
the alpine strawberries are very bushy & have just begun to flower. my question is: should i transplant the strawberries into a deeper & wider pot now or should i wait until they've finished giving fruit?
also, i think it's possible that the 3 strawberry plants are too crowded in together. if i transplant them, should i take the 3 plants apart & plant them farther apart? i'll probably end up tearing some of the roots when i separate them from eachother.... but as they are now, they're very cramped.
and... as for the herbs, i have the same questions. should i transplant now? and should i separate them?
now, the ants are another problem... i have the pots sitting on clay saucers. and where the pot meets the dish, there are ants running about. there are ants in the pots, also, but not as many. the ant problem seems to be love the strawberry plants, in particular. what can i do about these ants?
thanks for your help! -hj
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I suggest you leave well alone till long after fruiting is finished. They probably flowered so well because they were crowded. Given totally ideal conditions many plants will make masses of growth and few flowers. The ants will not be a problem. Best Wishes

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Try putting ground cinnamon where the ants are (between plant and bottom saucer - not in the soil). This will not hurt your plant. I know this works with several types of ants due to my own experience. Hope this helps.
--
gloria - only the iguanas know for sure



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snipped-for-privacy@tiscali.co.uk says...

Ants can definatly be a problem in pots. It depends on what they're doing - they might just be setting up an aphid farm, which can be kept under control by an occasional hosing with water. If that's all they're doing then it's no big deal. Ants living in the pot are another thing. If the ants are present in large numbers, they will remove the soil from the pot to create tunnels, and they will chew through finer roots. Water will quickly drain through with very little being taken up by the plant. I have had more than a few plants killed by ant infestations. Plants in the ground are more easily able to tolerate ants around the roots, but not plants in containers.
BP
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Hi Bonnie Punch,

the
From what I read, plants in the ground will actually benefit from the tunnels created by ants, since tunnels will increase infiltration(air and water), plants will do better.
regards, Wong
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