Love plants but hate gnats? Well, us too. That’s why we’ve come up with 5 excellent ways for you to get rid of gnats on indoor plants.
You might not realize it, but those tiny flying pests buzzing around your house plants are fungus gnats. These minor bugs appear after you water your plants and often seem to quadruple in numbers the next day.
If you’ve noticed these tiny, 1/8 inch long fruit flies recently, you’ve got a problem. Once you know you’ve got an infestation of gnats on indoor plants, you need to deal with them before they become a huge problem.
Carry on reading to learn how to avoid gnats in indoor plants quickly.
Why are my indoor plants attracting gnats?
You may notice fungus gnats seem to mysteriously appear at night, buzzing around lights or electronic devices. That’s because gnats on indoor plants are attracted to light. But it’s not light; they need to survive.
Gnats are usually drawn to decaying plant material or moist soil, where they live and typically reproduce. Because the soil in your indoor plant pots stays moist for long and takes longer to dry out, many mistakenly overwater their house plants.
Unfortunately, this overwatering creates the ideal environment for gnats.
How do I get rid of gnats in my potted plants?
Once you know you’ve got an indoor plant gnat problem, you can use plenty of natural and technical control methods to eliminate those annoying fungus gnats.
All you need is a little knowledge about a fungus gnat’s life cycle, and you can be sure to rid yourself of them for good.
Of course, if you can, it’s best to prevent these tiny pests from invading your house.
But if they’re already a problem, carry on reading for the best steps to get rid of gnats on indoor plants.
What home remedy kills gnats in houseplants?
There are some fantastic natural home remedies to getting rid of gnats on indoor plants.
1. Sticky fly traps are the best gnatcatcher
You can either make your DIY gnat trap or buy a ready-made sticky fly trap. Flytraps can be hung from the branch of your houseplant or added straight into the soil. Either way, this is an easy way to catch unwanted bugs.
A couple of tips for you;
- Check the fly traps once every few days. Once the traps are covered in gnats, replace them.
- Don’t let the stuck paper touch your plants.
- Try to use non-toxic and double-sided traps for the most effectiveness.
To make your DIY sticky gnat trap, you’ll need a highlighter, a 3 x 5 index card, some petroleum jelly, and a wooden stick, like a paint stirrer or a dowel rod. Color both sides of the card with the highlighter so it’s attractive to the gnats, then glue the stick to it.
You can then cover both sides of the card with a thick layer of petroleum jelly. Finally, stick them in your planter and wait for your fruit flies to get trapped.
2. Smother your plant’s soil
It’s easy to prevent the larvae from climbing out and thriving by layering a chunky layer of course sand or aquarium gravel over the top of the soil.
This technique works because fruit flies and gnats like to lay eggs in the top layer of soil. Pack it well, and you’ll find the larvae will get trapped underneath, smother, and die.
3. Use the power of spuds
Another easy option is to use any leftover potatoes you have lying around. Simply cut them into small, half-inch pieces and lay them on top of the soil of your planter.
It’ll only take a day or two for the larvae to climb out of the soil and feed on the potatoes.
When the spuds have done their job, seal them in a plastic bag and throw them away.
4. Spray vinegar on your plants
I love vinegar; it has so many household uses. For example, it’s simple to get rid of gnats on indoor plants with a dose of vinegar. Then, use vinegar in combination with sticky traps to ensure those fruit flies don’t come back.
Make a DIY drowning trap by filling a small, shallow bowl with vinegar and a few drops of dish soap. You can even use apple cider vinegar mixed with fruit juice or beer with a few drops of liquid dish soap.
Ensure to refresh the trap every few days as it fills with fruit flies.
5. Use hydrogen peroxide
Although this isn’t the most natural of solutions, it’s still a perfect reliable option for getting rid of gnats from indoor plants. You can use hydrogen peroxide to control fungus gnat larvae. In addition, you can water your plants with hydrogen peroxide and water mix.
Mix one-part hydrogen peroxide to three parts of water. You can buy 3% hydrogen peroxide over the water. Just keep using your hydrogen peroxide/water solution instead of water until the situation is resolved.
This method can take a few waterings or weeks if you’ve got a bad fruit fly problem but persevere. Hydrogen peroxide will eventually kill most soil fungi and fungus gnat larvae.
5 Steps to Avoid Gnats on Plants
Knowing how to avoid gnats in indoor plants is all about prevention. Unfortunately, it’s always easier to prevent gnats on indoor plants than it is to get rid of them.
Follow these steps to make it hard for your fungus gnats to get established.
1. Always buy healthy plants from reliable nurseries. Check out the plant and soil for any pests or root rot signs before purchasing. Make sure to watch for fungus gnats over the first couple of weeks.
2. Never overwater your house plants, allowing the soil or other planting medium time to dry between waterings. Fungus gnats love wet soil, so you want to make sure the top one to two inches of soil are dry before watering again.
3. Always allow for good drainage. Decorative pots often don’t have drainage holes in the bottom for easy drainage of your house plants. However, no holes can lead to no drainage and soil that gets waterlogged. So, always put your house plants in plastic pots with drainage holes inside, then put them in a gorgeous decorative planter.
4. Choose new, high-quality potting soil for your houseplants or planting bulbs. Never re-use old soil that you’ve found outdoors. What’s more, make sure to avoid straight peat moss and coco coir that holds moisture and love to breed fungus gnats.
5. Preventing a fungus gnat infestation often starts with drains and leaks. Knowing how to avoid gnats in indoor plants means knowing when your gutters are clogged or are leaking. Then, repair any leaks and clear any clogged drains to stop these critters from reproducing.