How to Get Rid of Flies & Gnats in Potted Succulent Plants?

How to Get Rid of Flies & Gnats in Potted Succulent Plants?

Flies and Gnats are nothing but nuisances. It is irritating to see these insects flying around your beloved potted plants. The worst thing is their numbers keep on increasing if nothing is done sooner. This is something almost every indoor plant lover has faced as gnats love to thrive under wet conditions and the soil reservoir of the potted plants provides them with just the ideal conditions to grow and lay newer eggs. So,

How to get rid of flies & gnats in succulents? Damp wet soil is the ideal ground for the growth of gnats. So stop overwatering your succulents and let the soil dry up properly. Make sure the soil is drainage friendly and gets dry pretty soon. In case your succulent soil remains wet for a long time consider repotting the plant in a new mixture.

Letting the soil get dry will kill off the gnat larvae in the soil. You can use the process of apple cider vinegar and dish soap to get rid of the adult flies lurking around the succulent. Let’s take a deep dive into this topic.

Are Gnats and Flies Dangerous?

Flies or Gnats can be a major cause of headaches especially if you have a lot of plants inside or you live in a humid climate. They might not directly do any severe harm however they can indirectly lead to the transfer of pathogens from one place to another.

Both fungal flies and the fruit flies are a nuisance as the former gonna affect the indoor house plants you have and the latter gonna contaminate your food and home. The female gnats of the black fly types particularly live on blood and can often time act as a carrier for parasites and a whole lot of diseases and can transfer them while biting.

How do Gnats get in the House in the first place?              

Excess Moisture in the house

Dampness is like heaven for gnats. Overwatered damp plants and soil, excessively humid conditions inside, leaky pipelines of the bathroom, and kitchen, all these as a whole end up attracting gnats in your home.

Presence of lots of organic matter

The fungal gnats prefer the soil of the indoor plants to thrive. Gnats especially soil or fungal gnats love to feed upon decaying contents. They thrive in wet potting soil and feed on decaying plant parts. Along with this kitchen wastes often times end up attracting fruit flies as well.

Decaying Fruits and vegetables

If you keep the fruits and vegetables out in the open for long periods of time and if you have warm and humid weather, the fruits will end up attracting gnats and get ripened up quite easily. Gnats live upon decaying fruits and vegetables, Kitchen waste, and other disposals.

Sweet fragrances

Fruit flies and gnats get attracted to sweet fragrances of perfume, deodorant, room fresher, especially of the fruit flavor types.

using succulent soil for regular plants

Where do Gnats lay Eggs in a house?     

The fruit flies and phorid flies lay eggs under damp conditions. Their prominent places of choice include:

  • Within decaying fruits and kitchen waste
  • In poorly cleaned open sewage systems of the house
  • Open garbage containers
  • Small cracks of the wall and wall and floor junction
  • Bathroom
  • Under kitchen sink
  • The fungal gnats mainly lay eggs in:
  • Moist and damp soil of the pots
  • On decaying organic withering of the plant
  • Grass deposits
  • Piles of dead leaves and flowers

Why are there Flies in the succulents?

Flies or gnats only start growing on the potted succulents only,

  • If you have an improper drainage system in the soil and pot: Succulents prefer superior drainage. this is their only fundamental need. To fulfill that you need to grow them in cactus mix soil or any soil mix that has high amounts of inorganic components like sand, gravels, rocks which facilitate better drainage.

Waterlogged soil along with the presence of higher quantities of organic components in the soil is the ideal condition for the development of fungal gnats and fly larvae.

  • If you are watering your succulents more frequently than they need: Overwatering is the most common reason behind the death of succulents. These xerophytes are accustomed to growing in areas where water is scarce. So they can put up with underwatering as they have adapted themselves with that.

But they are not habituated with overwatering. Providing them with more water than they need can lead to root rot and this will slowly kill the plant. Overwatering also does not allow the soil to be dry completely which is ideal for the growth and habitat of the flies.

How to get rid of fungus gnats from succulents & other indoor plants?

  • Always make sure to cut off the habit of watering every plant every single day. Even though tropical plants like to be watered more than drought-prone plants still under indoor conditions, the soil remains damp for a long period of time.

You need to only water plants when the soil is properly dry after your last watering. Constant damp soils are ideal reservoirs for the growth and reproduction of fungal gnats.

  • Always get rid of dead and fallen leaves, branches, and other plant parts from the pot soils. This will make sure that they won’t be able to thrive in the soil.
  • Keep an eye on your plant’s health and something feels off. Check for root rot and then take suitable measures to fix that.
  • Check the soil dryness from time to time to make sure it is drying up properly. Only water the succulents when the soil feels dry. Dry soil will get rid of the larval gnats existing in the soil.

Gnats only prefer wet conditions so if you have a drainage friendly soil and water only when the soil gets dry, they won’t be able to grow.

  • Have drainage holes present at the bottom of the pot. This will get rid of excess water faster.
  • Vacuum away the already existing flies that roam around the succulents. This will make sure at least the adult ones are done with. Larval ones will die off when the soil remains dry in between the waterings.
  • If nothing works, consider repotting your succulent to a new pot with succulent friendly soil. Get rid of all traces of old soil from the roots carefully before repotting.

With all these basic tips, if you already have too much swamping of flies in your house then you need to take some immediate actions.

How to Get Rid of Gnats and Flies with Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Take a glass and place apple cider vinegar in it.
  • Cover the mouth with a plastic wrapper and tie it tightly with a rubber band.
  • Poke some very small holes and keep them out in the open where the flies usually gather around.
  • Whenever the flies gonna try to consume vinegar they will drown and sink as the soap cuts the surface tension off.
  • The sweet fragrance of the apple cider vinegar will bring them inside the glass wrapping and the dish soap will weigh them down and keep them stuck inside.

How to get rid of Fruit Flies in the House?

  1. Wash or rinse the fruits and vegetables right after bringing them homes as they can have traces of larvae or eggs on them.
  2. If possible never let fruits and vegetables exposed to air for long periods of time, keep them sealed in the freeze.
  3. Get rid of all kinds of organic wastes that can decay from the house
  4. Keep the kitchen waste s outside the house within a closed container.
  5. If you already have fly problems in the house then avoid using sweet-smelling perfumes, hair sprays, and room fresheners.
  6. Wash your dirty dishes as soon as possible and don’t leave them stacked up for too long
  7. Fix all the leaking pipes in the house.
  8. Make sure to not keep water your potted plants every day.


Getting rid of flies and gnats is no rocket science. You just need to identify the places these insects usually lurk around and make those places unsuitable for their growth. Having cleaner and well maintained dry conditions in the house is needed in order to keep the flies at bay. The same goes for the succulents as well. Having dry soil and cleaning the excess debris frequently is ideal if you dont wanna deal with gnats.

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