En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - July 09, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests
Title: Fungus gnats on indoor plants
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Hello, I live in Austin and I work in an office where we like to have plants. Recently we started to get these annoying tiny, little nits, how can we get rid of them without harming my plants. Help they are all over!


If by nits you mean gnats, you are probably suffering from the bane of all indoor gardeners-high humidity, with the unfortunate side effect of fungus gnats! With all the rain we have had in Central Texas this year, even the outdoor plants, not to mention the people, are beginning to get a little moldy. The gnats are a very small fly who choose places where mold and mildew is growing, like potting soil, to lay their eggs. Indoor plants are at the mercy of the environment people want to live in, and when mildew gets going in the potting soil, the pesky little gnats appear. To control the gnats, you must control the indoor growing conditions, or try to get rid of the mildew. Small sticky sheets are made to catch the flying gnats. They won't get rid of all of them, but at least it will help you see the extent of the problem. Also, misting the plant with a very weak solution of an insecticidal soap might discourage freshly hatched gnats. And you might check to see if the plants are being watered too much. You know how it is, everyone who passes by feels like the plants might need a little drinkie. And the little gnats will thank you for improving their living conditions.


More Pests Questions

Fungus Spots on Native Bush Honeysuckle
December 03, 2010 - My native bush honeysuckle plants that I have along my back fence have leaves that are turning yellow with spots. It appears to be a type of fungus, but not powdery mildew. Any suggestions as to what ...
view the full question and answer

Replacements for yuccas from Georgetown TX
August 07, 2013 - I have lost some softleaf and variegated yucca to a beetle grub destroying the root system - like the Agave snout beetle does. I have put an insecticidal drench on my remaining plants, but suspect wi...
view the full question and answer

Green cyst-like growths on Texas persimmon leaves
September 20, 2013 - We have a mature Texas persimmon. We just noticed some green cyst-like growths on the tops of some of the leaves. The undersides of those leaves have black spots where the growths are. They looks like...
view the full question and answer

Leaves wrinkling on Tecoma stans from San Antonio TX
August 16, 2013 - My two year old esperanza (planted in the ground) froze back last winter, came back from the roots & has been doing well all summer. Recently one branch has leaves that are nice & green but very wrin...
view the full question and answer

Cultivar of Cercis Canadensis from Haskell OK
May 16, 2012 - We have a Hearts of Gold Redbud that first had dark edges to many of its leaves (about 2 weeks after planting). It now has multiple leaves w/ medium-dark brown spots on them. Are we looking at some ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center