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how do I get rid of the gnats plaguing my peace lilies???

Toronto, ON(Zone 6a)

A peace lily I have at the office has a big gnat problem! I had salvaged it from a co-worker who kept it in water for too long and I repotted it in Miracle-GroŽ Potting Mix 0.14-0.14-0.14. It has 5 long stems which used to be really yellow and wilted but now they are pretty perky, even if some of the edges are still yellow. I try to keep it moist without being wet.

I just scraped off the top layer of the soil and wiped off the rim of the pot. Will this be enough to get rid of the gnats? Bonus -- I found a new sprout under the top layer!!

p.s. Can't post a pic cuz I can't find my camera! :-(

Athens, PA(Zone 5b)

Hi Cruz, nice rescue:) I don't know the answer to your problem,but I thought you or someone might be able to tell me why my healthy-looking peace lily doesn't bloom anymore. I have had it for years and it used to bloom often,but for the past three years, not even one bloom has appeared. I used to feed it Miracle Grow for house plants,but that didn't help either. I miss those blooms. I felt peace every time a blloom came out.

(Zone 1)

Posy: You could try a fertilizer with a high middle number, I sometimes use Orchid Food for mine.

Cruz: I will ask on the African Violet Forum to see if anyone has suggestions about the gnats. Seems to me that's where I've seen folks post about them before. Hopefully someone who has had the problem will come along with some advice!

Mid, ID(Zone 3b)

Here is something I'm trying...no guarantees but everything is worth a try!! This is a cut and paste from the AV forum of what I had written over there.....

Well I didn't have many and had bought some of those yellow sticky papers and that caught a few of them but I still had a few so I bought some of those hedge apples (from ebay) that we had a thread on awhile back. Starfly said her family had used them for years and they worked for all kinds of bugs and varmints. Well after about a week of sticking the ones I bought about my house and on my plant stands I can honestly say I have not seen a fungus gnat since?? We usually get a lot of spiders coming in the house this time of year and I'm watching to see if they keep them away. I have a friend who is using them to keep mice out of her garage! I'll have to report back in when we see how that goes???

Interesting...I also read to water all your plants with 4 ounces of hydrogen peroxide mixed in with a gallon of water and it will kill the larvae in your plants and if you do it for a month or 6 weeks you'll eventually be rid of the annoying little critters as no more with hatch!!

~Brenda

(Zone 1)

Hi cruz: Someone on the AV forum just reminded me about something called Hedge Apples that a few folks have used and they say it really works for gnats, and other bugs and varmints! I had forgotten about this plant and am going to try to find one and I would sure like to find someplace that sells the apples! Apparently you just sit them around the house and no bugs! Almost sounds too good to be true but worth a try if I can find them.

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/54097/



edited to say: Thanks Brenda for posting here!



This message was edited Oct 24, 2007 1:57 PM

Athens, PA(Zone 5b)

Thanks Plantlady.I'll try some Orchid Plant food.

(Zone 1)

Posy: You are quite welcome. Hope feeding with a blooming fertilizer works for you! Post some pictures for us if it does!

Mid, ID(Zone 3b)

Here is a picture of the hedge apples, also known as monkey balls. Evidently people like to use them in with their fall decorations but personally I think they are kinda homely!! LOL But so far so good on the bug issues, we'll see if it ends up being too good to be true!!

~Brenda

Thumbnail by bmedel
(Zone 1)

I need to order some of these things and maybe a plant too! I have heard of the plant called Osage Orange but I never heard the story about this fruit repelling bugs and varmints!

Toronto, ON(Zone 6a)

eww... they look kind of like green brains or apples overrun with wormy maggots....
Sorry for the lurid descr -- guess I've got Halloween on my mind! LOL!!

I'll try the soap and/or hydrogen peroxide first. I found a wholesaler for the oranges but don't know if they'll sell to the public and I can't find them anywhere here in Toronto!!

Thanks for all the tips!

(Zone 1)

LOL Cruz! That description sure sounds like it fits to me! But, hey ... if it works and those ugly green wrinkly looking blobs will keep the critters at bay ... I'd buy them by the dozens! I haven't found them locally, may have to order from a website.

Burien, WA(Zone 7b)

Hi, We have a local garden TV guy. He calls those fungus gnats. He says to put a thin layer (maybe 1/8 to 1/4 inch) of sand on top of the soil. He says those gnats lay their eggs in moist soil/compost. If the female goes to lay her eggs, and there is nothing but sand, she won't lay the eggs, she thinks it's a sandy beach. She will go away looking for 'compost' In the meantime, some new gnats might hatch and come up thru the sand, but they will die off without laying any more eggs. I don't have those gnats right now, so I haven't tried it myself. Good Luck!

(Zone 1)

Yes, Shune ... I have heard that too. And, also about mixing a coarse clean sand into the potting soil.

Athens, PA(Zone 5b)

I gave my son a planter with four big peace lilies in it that hasn't bloomed for 2 years and I was telling him about feeding it Orchid Food and he said his plant has been blooming for 3 weeks. I'm happy for him but if mine doesn't bloom soon I am going to take it very personal. He didn't water it much,it barely gets any light,it's pushed up against a wall and yet there it is,blooming away in his house.

It is awful to try to garden with a "brown thumb";(

(Zone 1)

Posy: I don't think it has anything to do with a brown thumb ... LOL, plants just sometimes have a mind of their own! The Peace Lily is a plant that will do well in low light situations as well as bright light. But, sometimes I do think they just "sit there" and do nothing to make us think they don't like us! Well ... in my case I guess that could be the description of a lot of plants!

Plano, TX

a park near our house has what we call horese apples--looks like what you are calling hedge apples--i will gather them up and see what happens--they are pretty big--bigger than apples we eat and i always thought how it would really hurt if one falls from the tree on your head!! never ever thought they had any use!! is it a smell they have that keeps bugs away? as for sending them to anyone --well they are heavy and shipping would be high so might not be an option

(Zone 1)

Hi Planolinda: It sounds like they are the Hedge Apples - do they look like the ones in the photo that bmedel posted above?


Yep: I just googled "Horse Apples" and it's the exact same thing ... fruit from the Osage Orange Tree:

http://www.osagehedgeballs.com/

(Zone 1)

Here's the page with the info .. I pasted the wrong link above:

http://www.osagehedgeballs.com/faq.htm

Athens, PA(Zone 5b)

Well I hope that is it plantlady. I feel quite insulted and rejected by that plant. It was a gift from the lady down the street for taking care of her plants, fish, and cats. I didn't tell her about the brown thumb disease and thankfully nothing ,plant or animal,died while she was away;) It makes me feel better that your plants have issues too:-))))))) I still have another peace lily and I am hoping the Orchid Food will work its wonders.

(Zone 1)

:) Sounds like my husband and I when we are wanting to get away .... finding someone to take care of 4 cats, a 150 gal salt water aquarium and hundreds of plants! Not an easy job!


hmmmm .... a shame you live in Pa and not Florida!!

Athens, PA(Zone 5b)

;(Don't you go getting any bright ideas on how to work out that distance problem plantlady;) I see or hear someone hmmmmmmmmming and I start getting nervous. Although,4 cats and a salt water aquarium, hundreds of plants,hmmmm............got any Sea Horses in that tank? I don't have a salt water tank anymore,but I had these 2 wonderful black Sea horses for years that I loved dearly. Ahhhh, so many years ago now,but I still miss them.

(Zone 1)

What, you don't want to vacation in Florida while we vacation in the mountanis? LOL. I have never been to Pa but someday when hubby retires we are going to travel more and see the U.S.A. in a motor home! That is IF he ever retires. He says another 7 years when he turns 65, and then says no he may work til he's 70. He's a teacher and loves his job!


Nope, no Seahorses. They seem to require a quiet tank and we have a couple of boisterous fish in ours. I always wanted to have a tank with just a couple of sea horses and a couple of those Beautiful Batfish!

Thumbnail by plantladylin
Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

you were right to say that the gnats lay eggs in soil that has been too wet, we call them fruit flies as they are often found close to stored fruit where the fruit is about to go off, if I were the 2 owners of the peace lilies, I would re pot them into new potting compost, add some drainage pebbles or broken crocks at the bottom of the pot so that in future, the plants roots dont sit in water, give them a feed as for indoor plants say a liquid food about once every 2 weeks, they do like shade as if in direct sun the leaves will burn and go either yellow or grey just before dying, the one that has not flowered for a couple of years probably needs a larger pot when you re-pot, they do flower better if on the pot bound stage rather too big a pot, but the shade is the most important part of getting flowers as well as the watering, maybe you could start watering the plants from the bottom so that they dont get too wet, once the compost has enough water sucked up into it, then it usually turns dark in colour and therefore you remove the plant from the watering bowl and let it drain, but to be honest, I always water from the top of the opt and any extra that sits in to saucer for more than half an hour, I just pour it away. hope this helps you sort out the problems as they are lovely plants, the do have a rest period though. WeeNel.

Athens, PA(Zone 5b)

A beautiful aquarium plantlady and don't think I didn't see those peace lily blooms in the foreground either,she said with green thumb envy.

I hope you are able to travel and see the USA. My husband is retiring at 65 this coming February. He has had quite a time deciding to do it too. He has worked 42 years as a Machinist, so it will be quite an adjustment. We are stay-at-home, stick-in-the-mud types these days. We did however vacation in Daytona for our 25th wedding anniversary many years ago. We stayed at the SandCastle Motel,right on the beach. Jim liked the Hotdog stand best;))) Every morning he'd look his eyes out till it opened up!!!! I burned the top of my feet,walking in the hot sand. 110degrees,but we had a good time just the same.

(Zone 1)

Posy: Thank you for the comments about the aquarium ... that's my hubby's baby! All I do is put food in once a day!

Not Peace Lily ... that's an Anthurium sitting on the table there. The flowers look very much like Peace Lily flowers, don't they?

So you've been to Daytona Beach, huh? We had the hottest summer this year than I remember in many, many years ... mid 90's for a couple of months! And, the humidity makes it seem like 105! That sand on the beach can get very, very warm during the summer. We haven't been to the beach in years but I used to love the Chili Dogs from the Hot Dog stands on the beach! We have a boat and take it out during the summer but just in the intracoastal waterway ... I won't go out in the Ocean. Our favorite restaurant on the river where we always got fried grouper sandwiches closed down this year .... they had been there for 50 some years but never completely recovered from the hurricane's of 2004. We will miss that place.

Oh, and the Sand Castle Motel is still here! So many have gone by the wayside and sold out to developers who have put up large Condominiums!

Well, you have a great remainder of the weekend!

Lin

Plano, TX

ok--i am going to pick up some horse apples and put them around my plants etc and see if they keep away bugs--so funny to see them selling something that we think of as a nusance!!

Athens, PA(Zone 5b)

Your hubby certainly has a beautiful setup there and I know how much loving care it takes to have a salt water aquarium.

Maybe I should try Anthurium since it does look like peace lily blossoms.I 'll hold off for now and see what happens with the plant I have. Anthurium probably wouldn't bloom for me either:(

It's strange to me at this age how many of the places I loved to go are not there anymore or if still there ,don't look and feel the same. I am pleased somehow to know the SandCastle is still in business.

You have a great weekend too!
Lu

Toronto, ON(Zone 6a)

Hi guys! I just tried the hydrogen peroxide solution last week and it's worked amazingly! The gnats on my lily are almost completely gone and I used an insecticide spray on the stragglers (people in my office were starting to complain about the buggers coming around to their desks so I had to take a bit of a drastic measure).

The neat thing happened to another lily plant I just rescued from another co-worker. He had kept it in a window, over a vent, and let it dry out so the soil was awful and half the plants leaves were dead. After picking off all the dead stuff, I repotted it in a bigger container with fresh soil and watered it with the peroxide solution to get rid of the few gnats I saw lying around. I did this just before I left the office at 6:00. The next morning, I saw these dark brown spots that looked like clumps of soil on a lot of the leaves and went closer to investigate. They were spider mites!!! The hydrogen peroxide must have forced them to scamper up the stems to avoid certain death! Well, I washed the plant leaves really well and used the same insecticide to catch any I missed just to be on the safe side. So far, so good, and it's been a week. I think I'll spray the leaves and my ivies with a soapy water solution at least once a week to try to keep those mites at bay.

Thanks so much for all your advice! I especially like the more environmentally friendly ones because the whole point of me getting into plants again was to try to make the air in my office a little cleaner. I hope I never had to resort to that insecticide again!!

(Zone 1)

I'm so glad you got rid of those nasty critters! Just be sure before you bring any "new" plants into the office that you de-bug them beforehand. You never know what may be hiding in the soil or lurking behind a leaf or stem or even attached to the pot!

Norfolk, VA

Hi! I put apple cider vinegar and a squirt of dish detergent into a few votive candle holders. placed them around the plants and within a few days all the gnats were gone. the gnats were attracted to the vinegar and drowned in it.

(Zone 1)

Interesting ... I had never heard of using apple cider vinegar! I might have to give that a try if I ever see gnats again. Hopefully my very curious cats would leave the vinegar alone!

Norfolk, VA

it worked really well, and inexspensive.(already had the stuff in my cabinets) i put it in the pots up against the plant. fortunately, my cat was run off by the smell of the vinegar!

Toronto, ON(Zone 6a)

I'm afraid that if I use that in my office, I'll run off my co-workers with the smell!

Wait... that may not be such a bad thing.. ;-)

Norfolk, VA

you never know, it might work on co-workers too:):):)

Bend, OR

How common is it to get mites or gnats or other little crawly things in your plants? I have never had this issue but since joining here I am concerned this may be something I am missing.
Are there certain types of plants or specific places they are more common with?

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

If you've never had problems then consider yourself lucky and keep doing whatever you've been doing!

Pune, India

I have tried following methods and these work like a charm:

1. We have used Bleach with luke warm water it works superbly against gnats.
2. We have also used Dishsoap and white vinegar trap against them and its awesome to kill the adult gnats.
3. Gnats hate the smell of Cloves, Citrus Fruits, Lavender so you could use them for keeping gnats away.

I have come across a detailed resource that enlists some other methods: http://www.getridoffliesguide.com/how-to-get-rid-of-gnats-inside-house-kitchen-outside/

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