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?

Share

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

Thursday - July 16, 2009

From: Edwardsville, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Pests, Watering
Title: Fungus gnats on house plant in Edwardsville IL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I recently purchased a Trailing Perennial Plant, and I am seeing a lot of gnats flying in my house. Could this be the problem?

ANSWER:

First, we need to tell you that a Trailing Perennial is not the name of a specific plant, but of a type of plant, no doubt from the label on the plant at the nursery where you purchased it. We have no idea what your plant is, native or non-native, and it doesn't really matter because the problem is fungus gnats. These almost undoubtedly came home with you in the pot. House plants are almost always over-watered and this creates fungus in the potting soil, which in turn attracts the gnats. They are more a nuisance than anything else, but no one likes like black flying thingies lurking over their lunch salad. We found an excellent article from Learn 2 Grow, All About Fungus Gnats, by Suzanne Wainright Evans. There are three pages of this article, so be sure and read it all. It has suggestions about prevention (if you see gnats around a plant in the store, walk away and don't look back), treatment (not quite so much water, please) and problems the gnats can cause, like spreading disease from one plant to another formerly healthy one.

 

More Pests Questions

Problems with non-native yellow lantana from Elgin TX
June 17, 2012 - Why do my yellow lantana buds turn brown and do not open fully? The sprinkler system does not spray onto the lantana.
view the full question and answer

Preventing Oak Galls
February 22, 2016 - How do you prevent live oak galls? Do you have a solution? Many of our live oaks are infested with them.
view the full question and answer

Question about a beetle eating bees
August 22, 2015 - I have a beetle that is about index finger or pinkie fingernail size. I have a bee hive and it's eating the bees by injecting it with an inch long probe and sucking out the liquid of my bees.
view the full question and answer

Problems with mountain laurel from Sunrise Beach TX
August 29, 2012 - In Llano Co., TX near lake LBJ, crushed granite type soil - my 4 - 5 year old TX Mtn. Laurels (2), about the size of large wheel barrows, are turning very pale, dropping leaves and on 1 the seed pods ...
view the full question and answer

Avoiding insect bites while gardening in Kansas
December 03, 2015 - I recently moved into Mission, Kansas(Johnson County). Every time I go do any yard work I get a couple of insect bite looking spots on body. They are somewhat painful and very itchy. One of them got i...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center