These Plants Will Kill Your Fungus Gnat Problem

published Sep 17, 2021
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Fungus gnat problem? Yeah, you and everyone else who has houseplants. Pretty much every plant parent has likely had a case of fungus gnats at least once in their collecting career. 

Luckily, there are several houseplants that can actually help you eradicate those annoying flying pests. Even better, they’ll also make great additions to your plant collection.

Adult fungus gnats are harmless unless you have a greenhouse-scale infestation, but they’re still super annoying. Fungus gnats lay their eggs in the minuscule top layer of potting mix and then hatch before you even know they’re there. The larvae are only a quarter of an inch long and impossible to see. 

If you see fungus gnats flying around, don’t panic. Instead, head out to your favorite carnivorous plant retailer and pick up a few new plants for your collection. After all, these plants evolved over thousands of years to catch bugs just like fungus gnats. Place one or a few of them among your houseplant menagerie and let nature run its course. 

What you’ll be looking to buy is a type of carnivorous plant that is a flypaper or sticky paper plant. Plants that are classified as flypaper traps are covered in a combination of sticky nectar and mucilage that traps any bug that happens to come close enough to touch the leaf. 

Carnivorous plants like Drosera, Pinguicula, and Drosophyllum are all flypaper traps that can quickly take care of fungus gnats.  Here’s what you need to know.

Credit: Getty Images/ Bianca Pereira / EyeEm

Sundew (Drosera)

Sundews, also known as drosera, are super cute — and super dangerous to fungus gnats. Of the more than 150 species, Cape sundews tend to be the easiest to cultivate. You’re likely to get one of these if you’re buying a beginner pack of carnivorous plants. Sundews have been naturalized all over the world, but the most cloistered populations are in Australia. They’re native to boggy areas where tiny, flying insects are prevalent. 

Credit: Getty Images/ monica-photo

Butterwort (Pinguicula)

Butterworts, also known as “pings,” are just as cute as sundews. Pings are native to North America, Europe, Asia, Central America, and South America. There are currently 80 species, some of which are tropical and some of which are temperate — but all of them are flypaper traps and will take care of those fungus gnats for you. 

Credit: Shutterstock/Wirestock Creators

Dewy pine (Drosophyllum lusitanicum)

The dewy pine is native to Portugal and southern Spain. While they tend to be more difficult to care for than the above pings or sundews, they do have quite the reputation for being one of the most successful insect killers in the carnivorous plant world. The leaves are so incredibly sticky that in the wild dewy pines are typically found completely covered in bugs. 

Another thing that makes this plant unique is that it’s one of the only carnivorous plants that can grow in the desert environment

Note: If you don’t see the fungus gnats disappear within a few weeks, add a layer of dry sand or mosquito bits on top of the infected plant’s soil and let it dry out.