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House Plants/my easter lily and palms

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Question
Hello Darlene

I have an Easter lily and palms (indoors)i was finding gnats flying around in my home, we came to the conclusion it was from the plants ,so we put them outside while we had them out side (in summer) they were rained on several times and then dyed out by the sun and  when they were very dry we took them back in and limited our watering..we then started to find thousand of tiny dead gnats surrounding the planters..i cleaned them up about 3 times that was back in aug and September and i never saw them anymore and now this past weekend i went away came back to hundreds of little white (DEAD) worms surrounding the planters..
I'm so lost as to what to do .. someone told me rubbing alcohol works ,but why am i finding them dead? and what would you do if it was you're plants? someone at home depot depot told me that i should get rid of the plants and start over again and do not water them to much,but i really love my plants and would hate to get rid of them..Can you please help me to save them? will you please e-mail to let me know?

Answer
Ellen,

The gnats were fungus gnats and you were correct that they were there because you were overwatering the plants. The roots were rotting and the fungus gnats are attracted by the smell of rotting roots just like fruit flies are attracted by overripe bananas on your counter. They laid eggs in the soil that eventually became the larva (worms). They are dead because you are allowing the plants to dry out so the roots are healthy and there is nothing for them to eat. Next time you water I would water your usual quantity of water but replace 1/3rd of the water with rubbing alcohol. That will kill any remaining larva and will not harm the plants. Vacuum up the dead ones and just be very careful not to overwater in the future. Do not allow the plants to sit in a drain tray of water after you water them. Empty the drain tray or suction out the excess water with a turkey baster. Home depot just wants to sell more plants. They do not hire experts. Good luck!

Darlene

House Plants

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Darlene K. Kittle

Expertise

I have been an Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years and I raise around 300 houseplants and bonsai trees a year including tropicals, succulents, and cacti. I have also been a professional plant care person for businesses in the Fort Wayne, IN area and currently professionally care for bonsai trees for my customers.

Experience

I am also studying the Japanese art of bonsai with tropical plants and is President of the Fort Wayne, IN Bonsai Club.

Organizations
Fort Wayne, iN Master Gardeners. President of the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club. Allen County Master Gardeners

Education/Credentials
I am not a hortculturist. I am a Purdue University Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years. I have studied plants on a personal level by growing hundreds of plants annually for the last 35 years. I have also studied under several nationally known American Bonsai experts.

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