Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Wednesday - July 22, 2009

From: Abilene, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pests
Title: Why are there gnats in my houseplants?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have flying brown gnats in my house plants. Can you tell me why?

ANSWER:

The focus of research and the extent of expertise of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are limited to North American native plant species.  Since few if any native plants are grown indoors, your plants and your question are outside of our purview.

However, we may be able to point you in the right direction for getting a satisfactory answer to your question.  Gnats around houseplants are usually one of a group of insects in the fly family called Fungus Gnats.  Here is an excellent article from South Dakota State University discussing Fungus Gnats, their life history and control.  The article was written for orchid growers, but the same principles apply to all houseplants.

 

More Pests Questions

Infestation of flies around euonymus in summer
March 02, 2008 - I have 3 shrubs planted in my backyard. I think they are a type of euonymus (but I'm not sure). My question is why do they attract huge nasty flies. The first year we had them they didn't. But the l...
view the full question and answer

Defenses against imported red leaf beetles on lilies
August 06, 2007 - I've recently discovered small red beetles of some kind on my lilies, which they are happily devouring. I've been picking them off with my fingers and squashing them, but I'd like a better alterna...
view the full question and answer

Insect damage on possumhaw
August 12, 2012 - We planted a small possumhaw in February of this year (2012). It had leaves and some berries and was doing real well until some bug starting eating the leaves and berries. I know it is not deer becau...
view the full question and answer

Hydrangea with Pest and Sun Issues
July 26, 2015 - My hydrangea is in trouble. Something is eating holes in the leaves which then turn brown on the edges (the holes and the tips of the leaves are also burned). It looks like someone burned them with ...
view the full question and answer

White snails in Austin, TX.
October 01, 2014 - We walked through an undisturbed site off of Hwy. 71 near Old Bee Caves Rd. and there were little white snails on the majority of the plants on site (not specific to certain types of plants). What typ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.