Gnats in Soil of Indoor Plants!

Gnats in Soil of Indoor Plants!

Gnats are small flying insects that can be a nuisance to indoor plants, and their presence can be a sign of problems within the soil. But don’t despair – there are a number of methods to rid your indoor plants of gnats and keep them away!

Identifying a Gnat Problem

Gnats are drawn to damp, humid environments and the soil of indoor plants provides ideal conditions for the gnats. The gnats themselves are small and black, but can be identified flying in large numbers near the soil. Additionally, it’s important to eliminate other potential bug problems from your plants, such as root mealybugs or springtails, before assuming they are gnats and trying to get rid of them.

Getting Rid Of Gnats

Once you have determined that you have a gnat problem, you can begin to take steps to reduce and eradicate them. Here are some of the most common methods used to combat gnats:

  • Reduce water and humidity: This is likely the most important step, as it decreases the humidity that the gnats thrive in. Additionally, be sure to not over water your plants. Instead, stick to regular watering and adjust the amount of water you give to the soil depending on the type of plant you have.
  • Change the soil: Changing the soil for your indoor plant can be an effective way of removing current gnats and preventing future infestations, as it eliminates the habitat for them. Discard the existing soil and replace it with fresh, store-bought soil.
  • Mask smell with cinnamon or vinegar: Gnats are attracted to the smell of the soil and rotting material, so sprinkling these smells with a mixture of cinnamon, vinegar or citrus peels can make the environment less attractive to them.
  • Cover the soil with protective material: You can also use a protective material to minimize or remove the gnats’ access to the soil altogether. Protective materials such as sand, diatomaceous earth, or saran wrap can be laid over the soil to prevent or reduce gnats.


Once you’ve eliminated the gnats, you can take steps to ensure the issue doesn’t arise again. The aforementioned methods of reducing water and humidity, changing the soil, masking smell and covering the soil with protective material should all help reduce the likelihood of a future infestation.

Gnats can be a nuisance to indoor plants but, with the right steps, they can be controlled and prevented. Taking the time to identify the issue, eliminate the problem and practice preventative measures can help ensure your indoor plants stay happy and healthy.

Though gnats can often be viewed as an annoyance, they can sometimes be beneficial in small amounts as they help aerate soil. Unfortunately, large infestations of gnats in indoor plants can cause serious damage resulting in rot or death. Knowing the different types of gnats and the symptoms of a gnat infestation can help you prevent and control their presence in your indoor plants.

Gnats often decompose organic matter in soil, act as pollinators, and can be helpful in moderating soil. Different types of gnats are often misidentified, as a few types are common in soil in and around homes. Fungus gnats, whose larvae can harm seedlings, feed on the root system of plants and thrive in moist soil. These pests lay their eggs in the soil and can be seen flying around houseplants. Additionally, shore flies are another type of soil gnat that surfaces due to the accumulation of organic waste in soil. They tend to lay eggs in the soil and create a nuisance in the presence of indoor plants.

The presence of gnats in indoor plants may be determined by observing patches of dying or yellowed leaves or decaying spots along the plant’s stems. More specifically, leaves may show signs of discoloration or wilting or can be easily torn away, while leaf smuts may be visible on certain plants. Developing gnats will feed on the decomposing material in soil (as well as organic matter) and create air pockets in the soil, weakening the root system of the plant. Additionally, fungus gnats can cause root rot and the death of the plant if left untreated.

To prevent and control gnat infestations, a few tips should be implemented. First, soil should be monitored when it’s too moist and proper drainage should be maintained. Additionally, be sure to avoid overwatering your houseplants and only use water once or twice a week. You should also use store bought traps or make your own with a jar and a piece of cardboard or paper. Lastly, be sure to discard infested soil and take steps to prevent their reoccurrence in the future.

In conclusion, it’s important to be aware of the presence of gnats in soil of indoor plants, as these pests can cause serious damage if left unchecked. A small number of gnats in soil can actually be beneficial, however a large infestation should be treated immediately. Knowing the symptoms of an infestation, properly monitoring soil moisture and drainage, and regularly checking for signs of gnats can help to prevent a large infestation and keep your plants healthy and happy.

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