How to Get Rid of Gnats in Houseplants

Are you continually pestered by those annoying tiny flying insects, which always appear every time you water your houseplants? Those small insects are gnats, and in most cases, they will be fungus gnats.

The reason they are attracted to your houseplants is, gnats are attracted to the damp soil in your pots. With decaying plant matter, it makes the ideal refuge to feed and lay their eggs. The organic matter is a perfect starter meal for the fungus gnat larvae.

To us, they are nothing but an annoyance, yet they can do some damage to your plants because of their feeding behavior if there are enough of them.

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Why Do I Have Gnats In My Potted Plants?

If you take a close look at your potted plants, you can see these tiny bugs in houseplant soil, or they will become active when you go to water your plants. These small insects find their homes in houseplants because the moist potting soil makes the ideal home for them.

They breed and live in this damp soil, which is ideal for their growth. Once the adults lay eggs, these hatch, and deliver tiny gnat larvae. To the human eye, these are almost impossible to see.

The tiny white worm-like larvae take to feeding on decaying plant matter, but the worst thing is they like to munch on roots.

Fungus gnats are about a sixteenth, to an eighth of an inch in length. With thin bodies, they have the appearance of mosquitoes and have either transparent or gray wings. Their head is black, and their legs are skinny.

On many occasions, they are often thought of as fruit files, but these are smaller and have a stubbier build. The good thing is, anyone who wants to get rid of either will find, the treatments are the same.

Many gardeners do wonder where houseplant gnats come from, and the majority of the time, they come from the potting mix you bought in the local garden center. Aside from that, if you have your plants close to an open window, it won’t take them long to find their way inside. (Read Venus Fly Trap Care)

It may sound good, that these fruit flies or gnats where the life cycle only lasts for a couple of days. The issue being, they will lay enough eggs for their offspring to replace them when they are gone.

Can Fungus Gnats Kill My Plants?

As much as gnats are annoying, the good news is, they can’t kill your houseplants. In some cases, they will feast on damaged roots if you have a heavy infestation. However, you will find they only eat roots that are already rotting.

How Do I Get Rid of Gnats in My Potted Plants?

If you have many indoor plants, they can be a hard pest to eliminate altogether. Adult fungus gnats will jump or fly between plants when there is a threat. Once they do this, they settle down in the potting mix and lay another batch of eggs. (Read White Spots On Squash Leaves)

The thing to learn here is, once you find all the fungus gnat larvae are dead, and then your fungus gnat problem will go away.

Another good thing to know, you don’t have to resort to man-made insecticide products when looking at how to get rid of plant gnats.

You can turn to many different natural pest control remedies, which are as effective, and won’t cause any health issues in the home.

1. Controlling Soil Moisture

Any insects of this type are comfortable around moist soil. If there is no damp environment, then they can’t survive. This ought to be the first step in how to get rid of gnats in houseplants because it takes zero effort.

Your plants will be able to handle less water for a while. If you re-water when the top two inches are dry, then they will continue to thrive. However, the gnat larvae won’t dig down through dry soil.

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2. Pot Drainage

Many houseplants stand in trays or saucers to catch the water that runs from the bottom of the pot. If your plant sits in this condition, you ought to empty the dish or tray once the water stop running from the pot after watering.

Because gnats are attracted to moisture, you can water from the bottom, although you do need to remove any remaining water as if it was draining from above. To water effectively, you should remove this after around thirty minutes.

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3. Using the Right Potting Soil

You can find many different kinds of potting soil for houseplants, so choosing one that is more suitable as a deterrent is advisable. Premium soils contain organic materials, which are slow to decay like; charcoal, coconut fiber or more often chunks even perlite.

You can add perlite to your mix as it will lower the volume of soil, and helps water drain from the top of your pot quicker. You will find the older your potting soil, the more the gnats and other pests like fruit fly like it.

If you have old soil, never use this for a houseplant. You are in a better condition to getting rid of gnats that are attracted to old and damp soil.

3. Prune Your Plants Vigorously

Instead of letting leaves fall or begin to decay on the plant. Daily, you should check if there are any dying and prune these before they have the chance to fall. If any falls onto the top of your pot, it needs removing as quickly as possible.

Does Vinegar Get Rid of Gnats in Houseplants?

When you begin looking at how to kill plant gnats, you can make a trap for them. All it needs are things you have in the home. You can mix some apple cider vinegar with juice, or a bit of beer, and then fill about a quarter-inch inside a plastic cup.

To this, add a drop of liquid dish soap and mix. You can also add a little fruit to speed up the attraction of the adult fungus gnats. Cover the cup with sandwich wrap and poke a few holes into the top.

This is one of the best ways of killing gnats in plants. Adults are attracted to the fermentation in the cup, and as soon as they touch the liquid, they can’t escape. You may also find, you can catch many other insect varieties with this trap. (Learn How To Get Rid Of Fungus Gnats)

You can also make sticky traps, and set this laying on the surface of your soil. It can take a week before you need to change it. Color this yellow, which attracts the flies.

How Do I Get Rid of Houseplant Flies?

1.Smother the Top Soil

Most of the problems come from the moist soil at the top of your pot. It is here where houseplant gnats lay their eggs.

One sure way to prevent this is to pack the top of your pots with small pieces of aquarium gravel or coarse sand. Once you pack this in firmly, the gnat larvae begin to die underneath these layers. As a bonus, this can brighten up a regular indoor plant pot. Gravel will be easier when it comes to water as the water will run straight through the gravel.

One thing that can give you a head start is to remove any gnat-infested soil. All you need to do is remove the top inch. Doing this will remove gnat eggs and any larvae which have already hatched.

Once you do this, you need to seal this soil in a plastic bag because the larvae can still hatch. Tossing this into the trash is the best way you can get rid of these gnats from anywhere around your house.

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2. Using a Spray Bottle

If the houseplant gnats are being stubborn, you take to more extreme measures and use a solution of water and soap in a spray bottle. This you can spray on the top layer of soil. It is also possible to use organic insecticidal soap, or even better, and you can use a Neem oil mix.

It may only take a few treatments for these to be effective to rid your plants of pests.


One other novel approach you can take is to scatter some carnivorous plants along with your other houseplants.

These plants such as Venus flytraps can help combat against the bothersome fruit flies and fungus gnats, and other flying bugs you have in your home gardening areas.

It can be possible to rid your plants of annoying gnats, and some methods are faster than others are.

The secret is to get them under control and prevent them from coming back. Now you know all the best ways, you can try any of the above methods on their own, or in tandem.

How to Get Rid of Gnats in Houseplants

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