How Do You Keep Gnats Off Houseplants? (Expert Tips)

Protect your indoor garden from pesky invaders with our expert tips on how to keep gnats off houseplants. In this post, we guide you through the process of identifying and eliminating these tiny pests, ensuring the health and well-being of your plants.

Key Takeaways
Gnats are attracted to moist soil in houseplants and can be caused by overwatering and poor drainage.
To prevent gnats, ensure the soil is well-drained and not excessively moist, and allow it to dry out slightly between waterings.
Natural remedies such as apple cider vinegar traps, neem oil spray, and sticky traps can be effective in eliminating gnats.
Chemical solutions such as insecticides and nematodes can also be effective, but should be used as a last resort.
The time it takes to get rid of gnats in houseplants depends on the severity of the infestation and the method used to eliminate them.

If you’re curious about what bugs live in indoor plants, our article on what bugs live in indoor plants provides valuable insights. For those struggling with flies around their plants, check out our guide on how to get rid of flies from indoor plants.

Dive in and learn how to maintain a gnat-free indoor garden for your houseplants to thrive.

Do not overwater

The most common cause of gnats on houseplants is overwatering. Gnats are attracted to plant roots, so it’s important to make sure your plant has good drainage. 

If you’re unsure whether or not your potting soil is draining well enough, place a plastic bag over the soil and check back in a few days. 

If the bag doesn’t have any moisture inside it when removed, it’s time to repot with fresh potting soil that drains better.

If you suspect that you’re overwatering (or underwatering) your houseplants, cover each pot with a plastic bag using rubber bands or tape until its leaves start turning yellow or brown and new growth becomes dormant again—this will keep gnat pupae trapped inside where they cannot hatch into flies.

“Debugging your houseplants is an essential step in keeping them healthy and free from pests. Check out our expert advice on how to debug a houseplant to learn more about identifying and treating plant pests before they become a problem.”

Prune infested roots

If you see gnats on your houseplants, there’s a good chance they’re coming from the roots of your plants. 

To keep these pests from returning, remove all infected roots and cut them off at their base using a sharp knife. Do not prune healthy roots as this can stress out your plant and cause it to die.

Dip in Hydrogen Peroxide

If you have a lot of plants, you may find yourself dealing with gnats more often than not. These insects are attracted to the fertilizer that your houseplants need in order to grow, but since they can be harmful for humans as well as animals (and plants), it’s important that you take steps to keep them from infesting your houseplants. 

One way to do this is by using hydrogen peroxide on your houseplant soil and around the pot itself.

Hydrogen peroxide is a mild disinfectant that has been used for cleaning and disinfecting cutting boards, countertops, and other surfaces in the kitchen since it was invented in the 1920s. It can also be used to remove stains from clothing or carpets when diluted properly.

Place Copper Tape around plant Pot

Copper tape is a great way to keep gnats away from your houseplants. It’s made of copper and can be found in hardware stores or online. 

Copper tape can be cut into strips and wrapped around the plant pot, or you can place it on top of soil around the plant itself.

“Bugs and insects can be a nuisance to your indoor plants and cause damage to their growth. Learn about the different types of bugs that live in indoor plants and how to prevent them with our expert advice.”

Dishwashing Soap & Water

  • Fill a pot with water and dishwashing soap.
  • Place the plant in the pot and let it soak for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, remove the plant from the pot and rinse it thoroughly under running water.
  • Empty the pot of water and fill it with fresh water so that you can repeat this process again if needed.

Apple Cider Vinegar with Soapy Water

This is another great method for keeping gnats away. Simply mix one part apple cider vinegar with two parts water, then spray it on your plant’s leaves. 

Repeat this every few days until you see no more gnats (probably a week or so). Note that spraying this solution when it’s windy outside will make it less effective, so only do this when conditions are ideal.

Garlic Spray Solution

Garlic spray solution is an effective way to keep gnats off houseplants. To make this solution, mix 2 tablespoons of minced garlic and 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. 

Spray both your plant and its soil with the mixture once a month for two weeks. After that, spray once every two weeks until you see no signs of gnats on your plants or in their soil.

This is one of the easiest ways to get rid of gnats on plants because all you have to do is make the solution and then spray it onto them!

Neem Oil Insecticidal Spray

Neem oil is a natural insecticide that is safe for humans, pets, and the environment. Neem oil is an effective treatment for gnats and other pests. As a bonus, it leaves behind a pleasant smell when used on houseplants.

The trick with using neem oil is not to use too much of it at one time or you may damage or kill your plants! To apply neem oil use a clean spray bottle filled with water and add only 1-2 drops of neem oil per ounce of water (or 2-4 drops if you have sensitive plants). 

Spray the plant thoroughly covering all surfaces including under leaves and spreading out any droplets so that they do not run into each other forming puddles where flies will lay eggs!

“Fertilizing your potted plants is crucial to their growth and development. However, it can be challenging to determine how often to fertilize them. Our article on how often to fertilize potted plants provides essential information and tips to help you maintain healthy and thriving indoor plants.”

Planting Marigolds Nearby

Marigolds are a natural insect repellent and can help keep soil healthy, too. They’re also an excellent option for planting around the base of houseplants to keep gnats away. 

Marigolds will grow in pots as well, but be careful not to overwater them like you would with other flowers (they don’t like standing water).

To get the most out of your marigold plants: just plant one per container! This will ensure they have enough nutrients so they’ll stay healthy and won’t become moldy or start dying off before their time is up.

Set out Yellow Traps

If this is your first time dealing with houseplant gnats, you may be wondering how to prevent them from returning. One way to do so is by setting out yellow traps that will collect the gnats and keep them away. 

To make one, you’ll need a plastic bottle with a fairly wide mouth—the kind of bottle you might use for juice or milk works well. 

Cut off the top half of the bottle and flip it upside down so that it forms an upside-down U shape (the bottom half of the original bottle).

Next fill your newly created trap with soapy water (a few drops of dish soap should do), then place it somewhere near your plants where there are lots of gnats flying around but not directly on top or too close to them (so as not to drown them). 

The darkness inside combined with bright colours like yellow attracts these pesky insects into its depths where they will fall victim to their own bad habits: flying into walls! 

This method can be used both indoors and outdoors during warm weather months when these pests are most active; however keep in mind that over time they may become less effective as they lose their “new car smell” effect since no one wants to drive around in an old clunker anymore than anyone would want their home decorated with outdated décor items either..

“Repotting your houseplants is necessary to ensure their proper growth and development. However, it can be challenging to determine when to repot them. Check out our article on how often should I repot house plants to learn more about the signs to look for and the steps to take when repotting your indoor plants.”

Bay Leaves and Cloves

Cloves are a natural insect repellent. When crushed, they release a smell that bugs don’t like. Bay leaves are another good option—they’re easy to find and can help keep gnats away from your indoor plants for several days at a time.

If you’d like to use both cloves and bay leaves together as an oil base, mix equal parts of the two herbs with olive oil or coconut oil in a small jar or bowl, then top with a lid that has holes punched in it so the mixture can breathe while sitting outdoors on your porch or patio. 

You’ll need to reapply this mixture after 7-10 days if you live in an area where gnat populations are high (like ours!)

Bouquet of Rosemary Sprigs

If you’re interested in the smell, rosemary is a great choice. The strong scent of rosemary can repel gnats away from your houseplants. 

You can also use chopped up rosemary stems as a pesticide spray to kill off any gnat infestation on houseplants and other plants in your garden. 

Rosemary is an herb that has been used for centuries to fight off bugs and it’s safe to use around children and pets too!

“Saving an indoor plant that is struggling or dying can be a challenge, but with the right tips and techniques, it is possible to revive them. Learn about the common problems that indoor plants face and how to save them with our pro tips on how to save an indoor plant.”


You can keep gnats off houseplants by following these simple tips. Keep in mind that not all of these solutions will work for every plant. 

The best way to know which solution will work best for your particular situation is to try them all and see what works!

Further Reading

How to Get Rid of Gnats in Plants: Learn about different methods for eliminating gnats in your houseplants, including natural and chemical solutions.

How to Get Rid of Gnats in Houseplants: This step-by-step guide provides detailed instructions on how to eliminate gnats in your houseplants using simple and natural remedies.

How to Control Gnats in Plants: Discover the causes of gnat infestations and the best ways to prevent and control them in your houseplants.


What causes gnats in houseplants?

Gnats are attracted to the moist soil in houseplants, which provides an ideal breeding ground for them. Overwatering and poor drainage can also contribute to gnat infestations.

How can I prevent gnats in houseplants?

To prevent gnats in your houseplants, ensure that the soil is well-drained and not excessively moist. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings, and avoid overwatering. You can also use a layer of sand or gravel on top of the soil to deter gnats from laying their eggs.

How can I get rid of gnats in houseplants naturally?

There are several natural remedies for eliminating gnats in houseplants, such as using apple cider vinegar traps, neem oil spray, or sticky traps. You can also try drying out the soil, repotting the plant in fresh soil, or using a hydrogen peroxide solution to kill larvae.

Are chemical solutions effective in getting rid of gnats in houseplants?

Yes, chemical solutions such as insecticides and nematodes can be effective in eliminating gnat infestations. However, it is important to follow the instructions carefully and use them as a last resort, as they can harm beneficial insects and potentially affect human health.

How long does it take to get rid of gnats in houseplants?

The time it takes to get rid of gnats in houseplants depends on the severity of the infestation and the method used to eliminate them.

Natural remedies may take longer to be effective, while chemical solutions can provide quicker results. It is important to be patient and persistent in your efforts to eliminate gnats in your houseplants.