How to Get Rid of Gnats in Houseplants


If you’ve been having problems with gnats in your houseplants, you’re not alone. These pesky tiny insects can be challenging to get rid of. This article addresses what gnats are, the causes of gnats in houseplants, how to get rid of gnats in houseplants, and preventative measures.

What Are Gnats and What Attracts Them?

Gnats are tiny, flying insects, typically measuring between one-quarter and one-half inches long. They’re black or brown and have short, stubby wings and a pair of large eyes. Gnats can be found worldwide, most commonly in warm, humid environments. They belong to the Culicidae family, which also includes mosquitoes. 

At some point in your life, you’ve probably come across gnats in your home. They typically appear in your indoor flowers. But how can you get rid of gnats, and what causes them to appear in your flowers in the first place? While there are many reasons why there are gnats in houseplants, consider the following principal causes.

  • Over-Watering Plants

When the soil of your plants is wet for extended periods, it creates an ideal environment for gnat larvae to thrive.

  • Watering With Unclean Water

If you use water from a river, lake, or other bodies of water to water your plants, there’s a good chance the water contains gnat larvae.

  • Opening Windows and Doors

Gnats can also enter your home through open windows and doors. In some cases, gnats can come into your house and attack your houseplants simply by just flying through the window—no matter the kind of soil or water you use.

DID YOU KNOW? The average lifespan of gnats is four months

How to Get Rid of Gnats in Houseplants

If you’re a houseplant lover, you’ve most likely seen these flying pests around your plants. How do you get rid of these irritating pests? Consider the following nine methods to eliminate these nuisances. 

1. Watering Schedule 

Our first tip is to avoid overwatering. Overwatering your houseplants, especially the lovely pinky ones is the greatest culprit of attracting gnats because they typically appear in a watery environment. One of the best ways to naturally get rid of gnats in plants is to change your watering schedule. People—especially first-time plant owners—think more water is better than no water. Make sure to water your plants and flowers only when they need it. If you water plants more than necessary, gnats are bound to appear. You can also Google some tips and tricks on how to take care of indoor plants.

2. Organic Soil 

To get rid of gnats in houseplants naturally, consider using soil that contains organic material, including peat moss, compost, or manure. The organic matter will help the plants absorb nutrients more effectively and reduce the chance of gnats appearing in your potting mix. You can also use neem oil on your plants—an organic oil that easily repels pests

3. Plant Pruning

If you have many plants at home, the chances are that at least one or two of them are susceptible to gnats, even your rare houseplants. Knowing how to get rid of plant gnats should involve pruning plants regularly. Remove dead leaves or branches as soon as you see them because they fall in the soil and slowly decay and attract gnats. And keep the foliage of your plants clean and healthy. Less decaying material means less food for gnats. 

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

Gnats can be challenging to eradicate, but you can quickly repel gnats in your houseplants with apple cider vinegar. How to get rid of gnats in houseplants with vinegar involves attracting the gnats to the vinegar with its sweet smell, killing them on contact. 

To kill gnats in plants, mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with one cup of water in a spray bottle and spray it on your plants once a week. You can also leave a mixture of apple cider vinegar and two parts water with a teaspoon of sugar and a few drops of liquid dish soap in a shallow dish near the houseplant. You’ll soon see the adult gnats fly into the mixture to their demise.  

5. Hydrogen Peroxide

If you cannot stand the smell of vinegar, another option for killing gnats in plants is to use hydrogen peroxide, which works by killing the larvae and eggs in the soil. Mix three percent hydrogen peroxide with water and pour it into the soil. But make sure to use the ideal ratio because it can harm your plant. And avoid getting the mixture on the leaves of the plants, as it can damage them. 

6. Soil Cover  

One of the best ways to quickly kill gnats in your houseplants is to use a soil cover. A few types of soil covers are available, each of which can create a dry environment where gnats won’t lay eggs. Fungus gnats lay their eggs on the top of the soil. So the best way of naturally getting rid of gnats in plants is to replace the first layer of soil with sand or gravel. Sand and gravel will help keep your soil dry, killing larvae or eggs. 

7. Sticky Fly Traps

If you have trouble getting rid of houseplant gnats, you might consider using a fly trap. Just put the fly trap around the plant with the sticky side up and watch the gnats get stuck. Whichever fly trap you choose, they all work by luring the gnats in with their sweet smell, trapping them inside. 

8. Carnivorous Plants

If everything listed above fails, you can try growing carnivorous plants, which feed on insects and are particularly good at getting rid of gnats. Mexican butterworts and sundews are the best plants to get rid of gnats in houseplants, as well as other bugs. While these plants won’t completely kill the gnats, they’ll get rid of most of them. 

9. Pesticides

Desperate times call for desperate measures. If all else fails, you can always use something stronger to kill gnats in houseplants. Pesticides will help get rid of your gnats. There are a few types of pesticides that you can use for your houseplant, but be sure to read the labels carefully before using them. 

Pesticides can be dangerous if not used properly. So make sure to follow the steps explained on the packaging. When using pesticides, you should take your houseplants outdoors, spray them, and leave them there until they’re thoroughly dried. (Use pesticides as a last resort and only if you have a severe infestation of gnats in your home.)

DID YOU KNOW? Female gnats are known biters, which could transfer bacteria to humans and animals. 

Key Takeaways 

Gnats are tiny flying insects with a lifespan of four months. 
The primary reason that causes gnats to appear is over-watering houseplants. 
Because gnats feed on decayed plant parts, it’s best to prune your plants regularly. 
If you wish to get rid of gnats naturally, try using apple cider vinegar or soil covers. 


Our guide has addressed various ways you can get rid of gnats in your houseplants. The best ways to eliminate them is by using apple cider vinegar, fly traps, or pesticides. Our suggestions and methods should assist you in exterminating those annoying flying pests once and for all.


How do you get rid of gnats without harming plants?

There are many ways of getting rid of gnats without harming your plants. You could spray them with apple cider vinegar and water or use sticky fly traps around your plant.

Why are my indoor plants attracting gnats?

There are several reasons why your indoor plants might be attracting gnats. The main reasons include your plants being overwatered or not watering them with clean water.

What is the fastest way to get rid of gnats?

The fastest way to eliminate gnats is by using a fly trap. Various types of fly traps are available on the market, which all work by luring the gnats in with their sweet smell and trapping them inside.

Why does my plant have little flies?

One of the reasons your plant may have tiny flies is that the soil is infested with larvae or eggs. You can get rid of the larvae by using hydrogen peroxide, a fly trap, or pesticides.

How do you get rid of soil gnats?

How to get rid of gnats in houseplants is a common question among plant lovers. The best and quickest way to eradicate them from your soil is by using pesticides. There are a few kinds of pesticides that you can use, but be sure to read the labels carefully before using them.

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