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How to Get Rid of Flies in House Plants

pot plant image by Gina Smith from

Small black flies, known as fungus gnats, are a common problem when you raise houseplants. Though the flies themselves typically do not create problems for the plants, the flies' larva attacks the plants' shoots and roots and can cause leaf loss. Get rid of the flies to protect the beauty and health of your houseplants.

Reduce watering as much as possible for your specific houseplant species. Use the plants' foliage as a moisture indicator, only watering when wilting is evident. Dry soil environments immediately kill the flies' larva, breaking the pest's life cycle.

Minimize the organic material in the soil, since the gnats and their larva are attracted to soils that are rich in organic compounds. Repot your houseplant using a synthetic potting mix based on vermiculite or perlite.

Spray the houseplant's foliage with a standard insecticidal soap. This immediately kills the adult gnat flies. Mist the soap evenly on all exposed surfaces of your houseplant.

Treat the houseplant's soil with a chemical insecticide as a last resort. Use a standard diazinon-based dust mixed into the top inch of the potting mix according to the insecticide's label. Diazinon kills gnat larva on contact.

Rid Of Fruit Flies Without Killing Plants

Fruit flies (Drosophila spp.) can instantly make your home seem unsanitary. These nuisance pests that are attracted to fermenting and ripened fruit and vegetable matter can multiply quickly -- one female can lay up to 700 eggs in the four weeks that make up her lifetime. Discard the vacuum cleaner bag outside. Hang sticky fly traps near the source of the problem. When the fruit flies land on the glue, they won't be able to escape, and eventually die. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid with 1 cup of lukewarm water. Use a soft cloth to wipe the flies off the plants. Use an elastic band to secure a plastic sandwich bag over the jar opening so one of its corners is pointing down into the jar. Spray insecticide on the plants with the fruit flies. Read the insecticide label to make sure it can be used on the plants in question, and always apply it in a well-ventilated area.


Only used an insecticide specifically labeled as appropriate for houseplant usage.

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