DIY Living Room Plants & Gardening

How to get rid of insects in your houseplants

snake plant get rid of gnats bugs insects

It’s watering day in our house!

Plants are the best way to add nature and fresh air to your home. The easiest way to remember to water plants is to set a day each week to go around, check the soil of each plant, and water only if necessary.

I recently battled insects on this beautiful snake plant.
Easiest plant to grow, they said, and I still messed it up – oops. We went away for a few days and I mistakenly gave it too much water.

I thought I’d have to get rid of the plant, but I fixed it! I got rid of those tiny fungus gnats in my house plant.

The first thing to note is that they can’t hurt you (they don’t bite, sting, or carry disease), so if it takes a few days to fix the issue, it’s okay. But it’s so annoying to have them buzzing around! They CAN kill your plants and spread to other plants, so it’s a good idea to solve the problem as quickly as possible.

Why are there bugs in my plant!?

Fungus gnats like to live in the top layer of wet or moist soil, and lay their eggs in organic matter. It can happen if plants are overwatered or when you bring potted plants inside to overwinter. So, I could have avoided this! Keep your plants as dry as they can tolerate, and clean them regularly (remove dead plant material from the top layer of soil and dead-head any flowers that are finished blooming). It’s better to prevent this than to have to deal with it!

But if you’re in the same situation as I am, I figured out how to get rid of the gnats, hopefully for good! There are a lot of tips and tricks out there but this is what worked for me.

What you’ll need

What to do

  1. Since fungus gnats like to live in the top few inches of soil, remove the top 1-2″ of soil from your pot(s)
  2. Replace the top 1-2″ with sand or cactus/succulent soil – this won’t hurt plants that require more water because their roots will still be in the regular soil
  3. Cover with a layer of pebbles or small rocks (be sure to rinse them off with water first!) – the gnats like to live directly in the soil – so they won’t bother your plant because they won’t want to live there
  4. Spray a dish soap and water mixture on top (more soap that water). The goal is to suffocate any bugs or eggs but not to wet the soil too much.
  5. Drop or spray some neem oil on the surface, and if you have a plate under your pot, put some drops in there, too
  6. Sprinkle cinnamon – a little on top of the plant and a little on the plate. They don’t like it.

You may need to repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 a few times until all the eggs and gnats are gone. For really bad infestations, you might need to remove most of the soil and replace it with the drier soil before following the rest of the steps.

I hope this works for you as well as it did for me!


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