The Q&A Archives: Wilting Amarylis leaves

Question: I have gnats flying around and they seem to live in or on the soil of my amarylis potted plants indoors, they bloomed just fine, but then the leaves would wilt, I gave them a little more sun and the leaves perked up overnight. A week later the pot was swarming with about 10 gnats so I sprayed an insectiside in the soil, I then see at least 3 white worms about .25" long , they are writhing on the surface of the soil. I took apart the pot completely, the bulbs have lost considerable size and one was soft.What's happening? <br><br>

Answer: It sounds like your bulbs have fungus gnats. They lay eggs in the soil and the eggs hatch into small worms that feed on organic matter in the soil. In small numbers, the insect is merely a nuisance. To control them and the adult flies, lay a 1-2 inch layer of sand over the potting soil and spray the plant regularly with insecticidal soap. For a stronger control, try the product Knock-Out Gnats (available from Gardens Alive, ph# 812-537-8650, 5100 Schenley Pl., Lawrenceburg, IN 47025); this product contains a strain of Bt, a biological control, that controls the larvae. You can also repot with fresh potting soil to lessen the infestation.<br>The smaller bulbs may be a result of over watering. Try letting the bulbs dry out more between waterings and apply a time release fertilizer to the pots such as Osmocote.

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