How to Avoid Flies in Indoor Plants

how to avoid flies in indoor plants

Keep Your Indoor Plants Fly-Free: Tips to Avoid Infestations

If you’re an indoor plant enthusiast, you know how frustrating dealing with flies in your house plants can be. These pesky insects not only ruin the aesthetics of your indoor garden but can also harm your plants. The good news is that there are several ways to prevent flies from infesting your indoor plants.  Scroll down to learn how to avoid flies in indoor plants!

One of the easiest ways to avoid flies in your indoor plants is to reduce your watering schedule. Overwatering can create a moist environment that attracts flies to lay their eggs.

By reducing the frequency of your watering and allowing the soil to dry out between watering, you can prevent flies from breeding in the damp soil. You can also use gravel mulch on top of the soil to help keep it dry and prevent flies from laying eggs.

Another effective way to avoid flies in your indoor plants is to use yellow sticky traps.

These traps are coated with a sticky substance that attracts flies and traps them. You can place the traps near your plants to catch the adult flies and prevent them from laying eggs in the soil. These traps are safe to use around plants and are an effective way to control fly infestations.

Spider Plant

Understanding Flies in Indoor Plants

As a plant lover, I know how frustrating dealing with flies in indoor plants can be. These small flies, also known as plant flies, or houseplant flies, can quickly become a nuisance if left unchecked.

In this section, I will share my knowledge on how to identify and prevent these pesky insects from invading your indoor plants.

First, it’s important to understand the types of flies that can infest indoor plants. The most common types are fungus gnats and whiteflies.

Fungus gnats are small, black flies that are attracted to moist soil. They lay their eggs in the soil, and their larvae feed on the roots of the plants. Whiteflies, on the other hand, are tiny, white flies that feed on the sap of plants. They can quickly multiply and cause damage to your plants if not dealt with promptly.

To identify whether your indoor plants are infested with flies, look out for the following signs:

  • Small flies flying around the plant and soil
  • Yellowing leaves or stunted growth
  • Sticky residue on the leaves
  • White, powdery substance on the leaves

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to take action to prevent the infestation from spreading to other plants.


The best way to prevent flies in indoor plants is to practice good plant care. This includes:

  • Watering your plants correctly: Overwatering can create a moist environment ideal for fungus gnats. Make sure to water your plants only when the soil is dry to the touch.
  • Providing proper drainage: Ensure that your plants have good drainage to prevent water from accumulating in the soil.
  • Cleaning up fallen leaves and debris: Flies and other pests can feed on decaying plant matter, so make sure to clean up any fallen leaves or debris around your plants.
  • Using yellow sticky traps: These traps are an effective way to catch and control flies. Simply place them near your plants to trap the flies.

Understanding flies in indoor plants is crucial to prevent infestations and keep your plants healthy. By following the tips I’ve shared in this section, you can protect your plants from these pesky insects and enjoy a thriving indoor garden.

Identifying the Types of Flies

I know how frustrating dealing with little flies and tiny mosquitoes in indoor plants can be. But before we can tackle the problem, we need to identify the type of fly we’re dealing with. Here are some of the most common types of flies you might encounter in your indoor plants:

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are tiny, dark-colored flies that are often found hovering around the soil of indoor plants. These insects are attracted to moist soil and organic matter, which is why they are commonly found in houseplants.

Fungus gnats are small, usually measuring less than 1/8 inch in length. Adult fungus gnats do not cause damage to plants, but their larvae can feed on plant roots, causing damage to the plant. They are common houseplant pests.

Fruit Flies

Fruit flies are small, light brown, or yellow flies that are attracted to ripe or fermenting fruit. These are very pesky bugs that like to hang around. They are also attracted to sugary substances, such as honey or juice. Fruit flies are about 1/8 inch long and have red eyes.

Although they are not harmful to plants, they can be a nuisance in the home.  We seem to find these most commonly around overripe bananas!


Whiteflies are small, white insects that are often found on the undersides of leaves. They are about 1/16 inch long and have white wings. Whiteflies are attracted to plants with soft, succulent foliage and can cause damage by sucking sap from the leaves.

They also excrete a sticky substance called honeydew, which can attract other insects and cause mold to grow on the plant.

House Flies

House flies are larger than the other flies we’ve discussed so far, measuring about 1/4 inch in length. They are gray in color and have four black stripes on their thorax. House flies are attracted to decaying organic matter, such as garbage or animal feces.

They can carry diseases and are generally considered a nuisance in the home. These are the reason we like to keep our food covered with plastic wrap or a food tent, especially in late summer.

In conclusion, identifying the type of fly you’re dealing with is the first step in controlling their population. By understanding the characteristics of each type of fly, you can take appropriate measures to prevent and control their presence in your indoor plants.

Rubber Plants

Life Cycle of Flies

Flies can be a nuisance in indoor plants, but understanding their life cycle can help you eliminate them. The life cycle of a fly consists of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

The adult female fly lays her eggs on the surface of the soil, and within a few days, the eggs hatch into larvae. These larvae are also known as maggots. The larvae feed on the organic matter in the soil, including plant roots, and can cause damage to your plants.

After a few days, the larvae will pupate and transform into adult gnats. The adult fungus gnat is a small, dark-colored fly that is about 1/8 inch long.

The adult gnats do not cause any damage to plants, but they can be a nuisance as they fly around your home.

The life cycle of a fly can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the temperature and humidity levels.

Flies that are found in warmer locations like homes or buildings develop faster and live longer than those living in the wild.

To eliminate flies in your indoor plants, it’s important to interrupt their life cycle. This can be done by removing any dead or decaying plant material from the soil, reducing the amount of water you give your plants, and using yellow sticky traps to catch adult gnats.

By understanding the life cycle of flies and taking the necessary steps to eliminate them, you can keep your indoor plants healthy and free from these pesky insects.

zz plant

Damage Caused by Flies

As someone who uses plants as home decor, I have experienced firsthand the damage caused by flies in my indoor plants. Flies, such as fungus gnats, can be harmful to plants, their roots, and the soil they grow in.

Fungus gnats lay their eggs in the soil of plants, and their larvae feed on the roots and organic matter found in the soil. This feeding can cause damage to the roots, which can lead to stunted growth, wilting, and even death of the plant.

In addition to damaging the roots, flies can also contaminate the soil and the plant itself.

The larvae of fungus gnats excrete a sticky substance that can attract other pests and cause the soil to clump together, making it difficult for water and air to penetrate the soil.

Furthermore, flies can also harm the plant’s leaves by feeding on them, which can cause discoloration, holes, and other forms of damage. This damage can weaken the plant and make it more susceptible to diseases and other pests.

To avoid this damage, it is important to take preventative measures, such as using clean containers and soil, avoiding overfeeding the plant and allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.

Additionally, using fly traps or natural repellents, such as certain plants, can help control the fly population and prevent further damage to the plant.

Overall, flies can be a nuisance and harmful to indoor plants, but with proper care and preventative measures, their damage can be minimized, and your plants can thrive.

prayer plant

How to Avoid Flies in Indoor Plants

There are several prevention and control methods that I have found useful in keeping these pests at bay.

Indoor Potting Mix

The biggest and best change I made was using soil that is marked as indoor.  Some people will argue that all soil is the same, but I have seen way fewer bugs in my new plants since I switched. I always make sure to use a potting mix that is safe for indoor plants and free from harmful chemicals.

Use organic potting mixes that are made from natural materials such as coconut coir, peat moss, and perlite when possible.

By following these safe practices, I can ensure that my indoor plants are healthy and safe for both myself and my family.


Adding screens to all your windows and doors will help to keep the flies out.  

Where we live it is cool enough to open our windows in the summer, but if we didn’t have screens our house would be filled with pesky flies!  It’s a good idea to add natural ways to keep the flies from entering your home.

snake plant

Proper Watering and Drainage

One of the best ways to prevent flies from infesting indoor plants is to avoid overwatering. Overwatering can lead to excess moisture in the soil, which creates the perfect environment for flies to lay their eggs. To prevent this, I always make sure to water my plants only when the top inch of soil is dry. Additionally, I ensure that my pots have proper drainage holes to allow excess water to drain out.

Using Sticky Traps

Yellow sticky traps are an effective and non-toxic way to control flies in indoor plants. These traps are coated with a sticky substance that attracts flies and traps them when they land on the trap.

I usually place these traps near my plants to catch any adult flies that may be flying around.

Natural Repellents

There are several natural repellents that can help repel flies from indoor plants. Some of the most effective ones include essential oils like peppermint, lemongrass, lavender, basil, and catnip. These plants have a natural aroma that blocks other scents that attract flies, causing them to be confused and stay away from the area.

Chemical Control

If all else fails, chemical control may be necessary. However, I always try to use pesticides and insecticidal soap as a last resort, as they can be harmful to both the environment and my plants. Neem oil is a natural and effective pesticide that can be used to control flies in indoor plants.

Additionally, biological control methods, such as introducing natural predators like nematodes or predatory mites, can also be effective in controlling fly populations.

By following these prevention and control methods, I have been able to keep flies at bay in my indoor plants. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, so it’s important to take steps to prevent flies from infesting your plants in the first place.

Plant decor


Natural Fly Repellents

Fortunately, there are natural fly repellents that can help keep these pesky insects away.

One effective natural fly repellent is rosemary. This herb has a strong scent that flies find unpleasant, making it an excellent choice for repelling them. You can either plant rosemary near your indoor plants or use rosemary essential oil to create a spray. Simply mix a few drops of rosemary essential oil with water in a spray bottle and spritz around your plants.

Another great option is lavender. Lavender’s pleasant fragrance is loved by humans, but flies hate it. Planting lavender near your indoor plants can help keep flies away. You can also use lavender essential oil to make a spray. Mix a few drops of lavender essential oil with water in a spray bottle and spray around your plants.

Peppermint is another herb that works wonders as a natural fly repellent. Its strong scent is too overpowering for flies and they will avoid it. You can plant peppermint near your indoor plants or use peppermint essential oil to create a spray. Mix a few drops of peppermint essential oil with water in a spray bottle and spritz around your plants.

Lemongrass is also an effective natural fly repellent. Its citrusy scent is great for masking the smells that attract flies. You can plant lemongrass near your indoor plants or use lemongrass essential oil to create a spray. Mix a few drops of lemongrass essential oil with water in a spray bottle and spray around your plants.

In addition to these herbs, there are also other fragrances that flies find unpleasant. Some of these include eucalyptus, citronella, and tea tree oil. You can use these fragrances to create a spray or diffuse them in your home to repel flies.

By incorporating these natural fly repellents into your indoor plant care routine, you can keep flies away from your plants without the use of harmful chemicals.

Fly-Free Plants

In summary, keeping indoor plants healthy and free of flies requires a combination of preventative measures and reactive solutions. By following the tips outlined in this article, I can ensure that my indoor plants remain healthy and free of pests.

Firstly, I will make sure to choose the right type of soil and pot for my plants.

This will help prevent overwatering and the growth of fungus gnats. Secondly, I will be diligent in monitoring my plants for any signs of infestation, such as yellowing leaves or small black flies. If I do notice any issues, I will use natural solutions such as sticky traps or neem oil to get rid of the pests.

In addition, I will make sure to keep my indoor plants clean and free of debris, as this can attract flies.

I will also avoid using chemical pesticides, as these can harm both my plants and the environment.

Overall, with a little bit of effort and attention, I can keep my indoor plants healthy and free of flies. By following these simple tips, I can enjoy the beauty and benefits of indoor gardening without any unwanted pests.


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