Gnats are tiny flying insects that can infest houseplants and become a nuisance for indoor gardeners. The larvae feed on roots and organic matter in potting soil, while adults lay eggs and fly around plants. Gnats do not directly harm most plants, but they can spread fungal diseases. Many homeowners find gnats buzzing around their plants to be annoying. If you have a gnat problem, using cinnamon is an easy and natural way to get rid of these pests without chemicals.
Why Do You Use Cinnamon?
Cinnamon contains compounds like cinnamaldehyde that are toxic to gnats and other insects. Sprinkling cinnamon repels adult gnats and kills larvae in soil. As a bonus, cinnamon has antifungal properties that help suppress soil-borne diseases like root rot. This common kitchen spice is an affordable and eco-friendly pest control option for houseplants.
When to Use Cinnamon for your plant ?
Cinnamon can be used on plants:
- At the first sign of gnats to kill larvae in soil.
- Every 1-2 weeks as a regular preventative treatment.
- When repotting plants into fresh soil.
- During disease outbreaks to control fungi like root rot.
- Avoid overapplying. A light sprinkling every couple weeks is sufficient for most plants.
How to Apply Cinnamon ?
Applying cinnamon to the soil surface is an effective treatment for potted plants. Here are two simple methods:
Add 1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon to 1 cup water.
Stir or shake well and let steep for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight.
Strain the mixture through a coffee filter or cheesecloth.
Water plants with the cinnamon solution, pouring evenly over the soil.
Sprinkle a thin layer of ground cinnamon directly on the soil surface.
Use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per inch of pot diameter.
Gently water the plant to help disperse the cinnamon into the soil.
Best Practices for Using Cinnamon on Plants
Follow these tips to safely and effectively use cinnamon for gnats and fungi:
Test on a small area first to ensure the plant tolerates cinnamon.
Remove top 2 inches of soil which contains most larvae. Replace with fresh potting mix.
Combine cinnamon with sticky traps to catch adult gnats.
Apply cinnamon after watering so it makes direct contact with soil.
Use ground cinnamon, not cinnamon essential oil.
Rotate between cinnamon applications and mosquito bits that contain BTI.
Remove dead gnats and larvae with a sticks to disrupt breeding cycle.
Plants that Benefit from Cinnamon
Many common houseplants can be treated with cinnamon if infested with gnats:
- Air plants like tillandsia
- Succulents and cacti
- Potted herbs
- African violets
- Philodendron and pothos
- Fiddle leaf fig
- Snake plant
- Ferns like Boston fern
Avoid using cinnamon on young seedlings. Test inconspicuous leaves of sensitive plants like maidenhair fern before applying.
When to Seek Other Treatment Options
While cinnamon is effective against small gnat infestations, heavy infestations or plants with extensive root damage may require alternative treatments:
- Systemic insecticide drenches for severe infestations.
- Repotting to fully replace damaged roots and soil.
- Beneficial nematodes if larvae are deep in soil.
- Yellow sticky stakes for rapidly catching adult gnats.
- Insecticidal soap sprays for foliage-feeding adults.
Cinnamon is generally not effective against other common houseplant pests like spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids. Use appropriate organic treatments for these insects.
Cinnamon offers an easy, natural way to control pesky gnats on indoor plants. Follow the tips in this guide to safely repel these annoying flying insects and suppress fungal diseases. Your plants will thrive in a pest-free environment.