Updated: April 29, 2022

Elephant plants, also known as African mask plants, are a popular houseplant choice because of their unique appearance and low maintenance. However, they can attract fruit flies, which can be a nuisance for plant owners. Fruit flies are attracted to the sweet smell of the elephant plant and can quickly multiply, leading to an infestation. Fortunately, there are several ways to get rid of fruit flies on elephant plants.

Identify the Problem

Before taking any action, it is important to identify the problem correctly. Fruit flies are small insects that are attracted to overripe fruits and vegetables. They lay their eggs in these foods, and the larvae feed on the decaying matter. Elephant plants do not produce fruit, but they have a sweet smell that can attract fruit flies. The flies can lay their eggs in the moist soil or on the leaves of the plant. If you notice tiny flies hovering around your elephant plant or see small white worms in the soil, you likely have a fruit fly infestation.

Remove Affected Plant Parts

The first step in getting rid of fruit flies on elephant plants is to remove any affected plant parts. This includes any overripe or rotting leaves or flowers that may be attracting the fruit flies. You should also remove any fallen leaves or debris from around the base of the plant, as these can provide a breeding ground for the flies.

Use Traps

Traps are an effective way to get rid of fruit flies on elephant plants. You can make your own trap by placing apple cider vinegar or red wine in a shallow dish and adding a drop of dish soap. The dish soap breaks the surface tension of the liquid, causing the fruit flies to fall into it and drown. You can also purchase pre-made traps that use a similar method.

Use Insecticides

If traps and removal of affected plant parts do not work, you can use insecticides to get rid of fruit flies on elephant plants. However, it is important to choose an insecticide that is safe for use on plants and follow the instructions carefully. Some insecticides contain harmful chemicals that can damage the plant or harm pets and children.

Maintain Good Hygiene

Prevention is better than cure when it comes to fruit flies on elephant plants. To prevent an infestation, it is important to maintain good hygiene around the plant. This includes regularly removing fallen leaves and debris from around the base of the plant, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged, and avoiding over-fertilizing the plant.


1. Can fruit flies harm my elephant plant?

Fruit flies do not directly harm elephant plants, but their larvae can feed on the roots of the plant, leading to stunted growth or even death.

2. Can I use bleach to get rid of fruit flies on my elephant plant?

No, bleach is not a safe or effective way to get rid of fruit flies on elephant plants. It can damage the plant and harm pets and children.

3. How often should I check my elephant plant for fruit fly infestations?

It is a good idea to check your elephant plant for signs of fruit fly infestations regularly, such as once a week. This will allow you to catch any problems early and take action before they become a major issue.

4. Can I use essential oils to repel fruit flies on my elephant plant?

Yes, some essential oils such as peppermint or lavender can repel fruit flies. You can dilute a few drops of essential oil in water and spray it around your elephant plant.

In conclusion, fruit flies can be a nuisance for elephant plant owners, but there are several ways to get rid of them. By identifying the problem correctly, removing affected plant parts, using traps or insecticides, maintaining good hygiene, and using essential oils, you can keep your elephant plant free from fruit fly infestations. Remember to follow safety instructions when using insecticides or essential oils and regularly check your plant for signs of problems.