En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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


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


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 Watering Questions

Leaf fall from Cedar Elm planted in clay
August 17, 2008 - I saw the answer to leaves falling off a cedar elm planted in clay. However I planted a Cedar Elm in my back yard. I dug a hole in the grass then planted and put grass back on top. I water every other...
view the full question and answer

Watering a Chinquapin Oak in Austin, TX
June 22, 2014 - I have a question about watering. I planted a Chinquapin Oak about 7 months ago and it's about 8 feet tall and doing well. I water it weekly on a slow drip for about an hour. I expect that my job is ...
view the full question and answer

Recycling bath water from Austin
July 03, 2012 - Is using bath water going to hurt my plants or grass? If I use water from the bath on vegetables and fruits will the soap be absorbed by the fruit and/or vegetables thereby transferring to us when we ...
view the full question and answer

Watering a Montezuma Cypress in Spring Branch, TX
July 11, 2013 - Live near San Antonio, and have a Montesuma Cypress, 15 ft tall. Great soil. Planted in April, should I keep it moist??? The foliage is getting brown.
view the full question and answer

Problems with Carolina Laurel Cherry from Pflugerville, TX
September 02, 2011 - In 2007 we planted 7 Carolina Laurelcherry (Prunus caroliniana)across our back fence. Everything was fine until this year. Three of the trees seemed to get sick and a local arborist said the roots ne...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center