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How to get rid of the dreaded fungus gnat on your plants

Fungus gnats. The worst! Those little flying bugs that get on your indoor plants and just hang around. They seem to multiply AND they can jump from plant to plant. So if you have them, it’s not easy to get rid of them…. eeekkk.


Fungus gnats are a fruit fly–sized insect pest that primarily affects indoor houseplants. Attracted to the moisture of potting soil, adult gnats lay their eggs (up to about 200) on organic matter near the soil surface. After about three days, the eggs hatch into larvae, which burrow into the soil to feed on fungi and decaying plant material. Two weeks after that, adult gnats emerge from the soil to repeat the process. Adults live for about one week.

A complete life cycle is about 18-30 days.


First remove the plant from being near other plants. Gnats can jump obviously and they’ll happily move and take up residence in other plants. I usually take mine outside and away from any plant.

Gnats live in the first few centimetres of the soil. So, either scrape that top layer away, or even better try and re-pot the plant. Shake off all the old soil.

Water only from the bottom up. And sparsely for a month. Don’t even water at all if you can get away with it. Gnats love a moist environment. But if you do water your plant, put it in a tray of water, so only the roots get a drink.

Wait out the 30 days (at least) and hopefully you’ve killed off the cycle.

If all else fails, throw the plant out and start again. Once your plant is so infected with these pests, it can be really hard to stop the cycle.

They love a moist environment, so re-pot, less water and cross your fingers they are gone!

I know there are lots of pesticides you can buy, but if you don’t want to give these to your plant, then the best method is to kill the cycle.


  • Nat

    The sticky gnat traps from Bunnings works a treat too!

    • Nat

      P.s. hate the name for these little pests too lol

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