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

Turk's Cap and Pavonia insect problems
June 27, 2015 - My Turk's cap and Pavonia lasiopetala (rock rose) plants both have quite a few leaves that are skeletonized in appearance. I do not see any insects on the underside of the leaves. What could be cau...
view the full question and answer

Replacement for non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
July 10, 2011 - I would appreciate your assistance with some native plant options to replace Italian Cypress trees in the Arboretum area of Austin, TX. I have 12 of the trees on the north side of the house to obstru...
view the full question and answer

Killing oak sprouts from El Paso TX
August 16, 2011 - I want to know how to kill oak root sprouts and seedlings. Very dense and out-of-control in huge area of front lawn. I had tree cut down and I still cannot get rid of them. They're only getting wors...
view the full question and answer

What are the webs floating in the air? Are they harmful to plants?
October 03, 2010 - Austin, TX has experienced fall weather for the past week..low humidity, nice temps, sunny skies. But long webs are connecting from trees to our plants to the porch. Not on the trunk of the tree like ...
view the full question and answer

Application of sprays to non-native Crape Myrtle from Prosper TX
June 29, 2012 - Can applying a systemic insecticide/fungicide combo prevent or limit Crape Myrtle blooms? I have 5 large lavender Crapes that are not blooming or budding yet and this is the first time I have used a ...
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