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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

 

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