How To Use Worm Castings On Houseplants

Worm castings for potted plants are actually just another type of compost. Use roughly 1/4 cup (0.6 cc) of worm castings fertiliser for every 6 inches (15 cm) of container diameter. potting soil and castings should be combined. Alternative: Cover the stem of container plants with 1 to 3 tablespoons (15-45 ml) of worm castings before giving them a good drink of water.

By soaking worm castings in water, you can make worm casting tea. You can spray the tea straight on the foliage or pour it over the potting soil. Mix 2 cups (0.5 L) of worm castings with approximately 5 gallons (19 L) of water to produce worm casting tea. The castings can be added straight to the water or placed in a mesh “tea bag.” Steep the mixture all night.

How are earthworm castings used with indoor plants?

A young lady contacted me for assistance with her huge, potted acacia tree a few years ago. “It has been in my possession for a while, and up until recently, it was doing well. Now that the leaves are dropping and turning yellow, the plant is clearly not prospering.

“Let me make a wild guess: despite your best efforts, it’s still in pain, right? I’ll wager you’ve been feeding it liquid fertiliser and have taken good care of it.

I understood what was wrong right away. I sent her a 20-quart bag of potting soil and a 25-pound bag of dried worm castings, telling her to re-pot the tree in a 50/50 mixture of the two, add the suggested quantity of the liquid fertiliser, water it thoroughly, and call me in a month.

About thirty days later, she came to see me rather than calling. She enthusiastically shouted, “Oh!” with a large smile “New, vibrant green leaves are sprouting on my acacia tree! What’s going on there?

All plants need a variety of different nutrients and benevolent bacteria in order to maintain their health and vigour, in addition to the nutrients (NPK) present in water-soluble fertilisers. By converting soil minerals into plant nourishment, bacteria, fungus, microbes, earthworms, insects, and other microscopic animals offer these in nature.

However, even if you use premium planting mix, it just takes a matter of time for secondary nutrients and essential trace elements to get depleted in a container. When this occurs, the plant stops thriving.

All of these nutrients can be replenished by worm castings. Worm faeces comprises more than 150 plant vitamins and trace minerals, as well as healthy bacteria, hormones, and enzymes that plants love. Castings’ crumbly nature also aids in improving soil aeration.

Repot dying houseplants in a mixture of worm castings and healthy potting soil to revive them. Although a 50:50 ratio is preferred, you can manage with as low as 25% of worm castings. Every other month, add a spoonful or two of worm castings to the soil surface for healthy plants. Don’t forget to give your plants a regular liquid fertiliser feed.

I have a 14-year-old geranium in my sunroom that receives a top-dressing of worm castings about six times per year. It almost never lacks a flower and has consistently vivid green foliage.

Almost all garden centres sell dried worm castings. Make your own castings using a worm composter for excellent, powerful, biologically active materials.

Mike Ather has been a longtime environmentalist and photographer. He is also a Master Composter, a Master Gardener, and a former employee-owner of Gardener’s Supply “according to his enthusiasm for worm composting, Worm Guy

Should I give my indoor plants worm castings?

Gardening can benefit greatly from earthworms. They break up the soil as they move through it, allowing air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots of plants. Earthworm castings are another thing that earthworms leave behind.

Castings, the byproduct of worm digestion, can enhance the health of both indoor and outdoor plants’ soil and plants. In fact, some gardeners breed their own worms because they are so advantageous. However, there is a far simpler method to use earthworm castings in your house and garden.

How frequently ought I to apply worm castings to plants?

According to studies, earthworm castings are particularly high in a number of vital nutrients, such as iron, calcium, sulphur, and humic acid, as well as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK). We still use various natural slow-release fertilisers, such as alfalfa meal, kelp meal, neem seed meal, or anything like this organic all-purpose fertiliser, since it can be challenging to identify the precise nutrient content of homemade worm castings (and it varies from brand to brand). Keep in mind the mycorrhizae, too!

Nope! Similar to how some high-nitrogen fertilisers can burn or shock seedlings or plants, pure worm castings shouldn’t do either. One of their finest qualities is that, although having a larger concentration of nutrients than bulk compost, earthworm castings are a gentle, slow-release fertiliser. The mucus layer that forms on the castings as food and other materials move through the worm’s digestive system inhibits the breakdown and release of nutrients in the soil. You can safely apply a higher volume but less frequently than fast-acting fertilisers, similar to other slow-release fertilisers.

Worm castings can be used in the garden in a variety of ways, such as by adding some to your seedling starter mix, when filling a new raised garden bed with soil, when transplanting seedlings into the garden, directly in the planting hole, sprinkled on top of soil (lightly scratched in) after planting, or around the base of established plants like a layer of mulch. We carry out everything listed above!

Consider utilising worm castings in their fresh, natural state as well as making compost tea with them! Compost tea is exactly what it sounds like if you are unfamiliar with it: a liquid solution or “tea” made by steeping compost in water. It’s a terrific method to stretch a little bit of compost a long way. You can feed numerous plants or garden beds with compost once the nutrients penetrate into the water. Instead of passive steeping, we enjoy making actively aerated compost tea, which further increases the tea’s beneficial microbial content. Find out here how to make compost tea!

Worm castings can have a tremendous influence with just a little bit! Again, don’t worry too much about exact proportions; it won’t hurt anyone to add a little extra either. Typically, we squint at the following:

  • Worm castings should make up around 1/4 to 1/5 of the total soil capacity when filling fresh pots or seedling containers.
  • When transplanting young vegetable seedlings outdoors, add a modest handful (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup) per planting hole. For larger shrubs (in one to three gallon pots), add a cup or two. For trees, use several cups.
  • Spread one inch of castings on top of the soil for houseplants and plants that have already been potted. Scratch it into the surface lightly, and then wet it down. Refresh as often as every quarter, up to once or twice a year.
  • Vegetable, flower, perennial, and/or shrub garden beds that have been established: top dress with 1 to 3 inches and carefully work into the top layer of soil. Continue in the spring and fall.

What drawbacks do worm castings have?

I’ve written about worm castings’ benefits for roughly 2000 words. How about the opposing viewpoint? Nothing is flawless. Worm castings are the same.

  • Time: Making high-quality worm castings takes time. The minimum time frame is 90 days, but depending on your system, it could take up to a year. They are for sale, which brings us to number two.
  • Cost: Chemical fertilisers are undoubtedly less expensive than worm castings. Worm castings, however, are among the least expensive organic fertilisers. You’ll need to make a decision about what is most crucial.
  • Scalability: Making worm castings in modest quantities is simple. Producing big quantities of worm castings is significantly harder and more expensive (50 gallons annually). To be successful, a lot of effort, money, work during operations, and marketing are required. There are numerous dangers included.

The use of worm castings for growth has no drawbacks whatsoever. For plant health and yield, I would compare worm castings to any fertiliser, chemical or organic. They also significantly enhance the health of your soil.

Can worm castings be used in excess?

Worm castings, in contrast to commercial fertiliser, will not, if used excessively, burn through the roots of your plants and flowers. If you don’t have enough to distribute among all of your plants, using too much worm castings is merely a problem!

As previously mentioned, a little goes a long way, so you don’t need to worry about overfilling your containers or potting holes.

In what quantity should I use worm castings?

Although worm dung is a fantastic addition to soil, there are no precise application rates, unlike with traditional synthetic fertilisers.

According to the majority of scholarly material we’ve seen, vermicompost should make up about 10% of the medium in order to reap the greatest benefits. In other words, 1 gallon of worm castings should be adequate if your planting medium is 10 gallons.

You will reach a point of diminishing returns where adding more worm castings won’t bring much further value at application rates around 20 percent. Beyond 20 percent, your plants’ growth, yield, and general health can start to suffer.

However, the results vary greatly depending on the plant, its growth stage, and the quality of the vermicompost used.

Make use of the following general guidelines to help you apply worm castings:

The majority of this advice comes from my pals at Paso Robles, California’s Black Diamond Vermicompost.

Germinating Seeds

The majority of what a seed needs to germinate is already present inside the seed itself. However, research indicates that germination occurs more quickly in soil that has been treated with a little amount of vermicompost.

Each seedling that emerges from a germination should only be given a small amount of vermicompost.

Transplants

Transplanted seedlings don’t require a lot of vermicompost either. Every hole should get 1-2 tablespoons of worm castings when your seedlings are prepared for transplantation into the garden.

For mature transplants, place a few handfuls (about 1/2 to 1 cup) into the hole to lessen transplant stress and hasten the establishment of roots.

Established Plants

Worm castings should be added in quantities of 1 to 2 cups to an established plant. According to other recommendations, use 1/4 cup for per 6-inch-diameter growth space. Simply put the worm castings on the surface as a top dressing and scrape it in to bring the goodies closer to the root zone.

Since UV light is the most effective germ killer in vermicompost, getting it into the soil as soon as possible is preferable to spreading it on top and letting it sit.

Lawns and Turf

The recommendations for worm casting application rates on turf are rather inconsistent. While other sources indicate prices closer to one pound per 10 square feet, Black Diamond recommends prices as high as one pound per square foot.

In general, I believe that applying worm castings directly to turf grass can be highly expensive. If it’s accessible in your area, a worm tea application might be a more affordable option.

Worm Tea Application

Worm castings can be very pricey, but one way to stretch them further is to brew worm tea. Actively-aerated compost tea (also known as AACT) is made by brewing worm castings in a tightly woven mesh bag hung in water for 24 to 48 hours.

In order to provide oxygen into the system and nourish bacteria, this water is stirred.

Worm tea preparation frequently includes alfalfa, kelp meal, or fish hydrolysate to act as a food source for microorganisms, helping to further increase the microbe population. Another often used component is molasses, which can cause a brief uptick and decline in microbial activity.

Worm tea can be used as a root drench or foliar spray, and it should be consumed within a few hours of the tea’s active aeration.

Does worm castings appeal to succulents?

The fact that succulents are so simple to cultivate and require minimal maintenance is one of the (many) reasons why people adore them. Low care does not equate to no care, though. Succulents require proper irrigation even though they are attractive plants that require minimal water. Succulents do benefit from the proper quantity of fertiliser applied at the proper times, even if they are suited to nutritionally deficient soil. It can be simple to overfeed them when it comes time to eat because of their extraordinary tolerance to low nutrition environments. Your succulents will flourish with the appropriate nutritional support! Let’s examine various fertiliser choices for succulents and discuss the best ways to apply them.

Do Succulents Need Fertilizer?

Do succulent plants require fertiliser? No, strictly speaking. No matter what, your succulents will live without food. However, the appropriate fertiliser will give your succulents a boost of nutrients, resulting in stronger plants with fuller, more prolific growth. Succulents grow more swiftly, bloom more fully, and have more ideal form when given adequate nutritional support. Additionally, they are more resilient to pests and may react to environmental challenges. Your succulents will flourish if you give them a little fertiliser.

It’s just as important to know what not to do while feeding succulents as it is to do it correctly. Unless it is diluted to a quarter-half strength of the usual recommended dosage, some chemical plant food is likely to burn succulents or even result in scarred or deformed leaves. A moderate organic solution high in micronutrients is what I favour using. Your succulents will receive the wide variety and low concentrations of nutrients they require from an organic fertiliser, and the soil in which they grow will also be nourished.

I fertilise both my ground-planted and container-grown succulents. I’ll demonstrate my top succulent fertiliser techniques for you.

The way that grazers’ dung replenishes the earth where it is left behind is such a smart trick of nature. Long recognised as a benefit to garden soil, well-composted manure from a range of grazing animals like cows, horses, sheep, and chickens. It contains a variety of minerals and micronutrients in abundance. These nourish the soil’s microbes, which are essential to your plants’ health. Manure is a top-notch soil conditioner and improves soil aeration. Additionally, it facilitates the plant’s access to the carbon in the soil. It is a superb amendment that enriches and energises the soil and encourages the growth of larger, lusher plants.

But not all grazers and not all plants are created equal. While well-composted horse manure may be beneficial for ornamental and vegetable gardens, succulents should not be planted there! A bacteria found in horse manure can induce mycoplasma infection, which results in the cracked, scabbed leaves seen on succulent plants. There is no cure that works.

The best method for fertilising succulents is with organic fertilisers that feed the soil. The best approach to feed succulents is slowly and subtly rather than risking burning them with chemical fertilisers or just overloading these perfectly adapted plants. Fish emulsion is one of my favourite ways to feed all of my garden plants, but especially my succulents.

A quick-acting organic liquid fertiliser prepared from entire fish or fish byproducts is called fish emulsion. Iy offers a 4-1-1 NPK ratio and is a good source of micronutrients. In fourth grade, do you recall learning that Native Americans had taught the pilgrims to place dead fish at the base of their plants for crops? The concept is the same. My favourite book is Neptune’s Harvest. The fishy smell is absent, yet it contains the fish proteins and lipids found in the greatest fish emulsions. Win-win! This is adored by my succulents! Always give the bottle a good shake. A gallon of water should therefore contain just 1 Tablespoon of the fish emulsion. Stir well, then add the water. When the earth is completely dry, avoid fertilising succulent plants. Feed instead when the ground is just barely damp.

Once a month, I make fish emulsion tea for the majority of my plants. I only anticipate using the fish emulsion for three regular feedings each year because I grow my succulents “hard.” To get them ready for the growth season, do this once in the early spring. Once in June, just before the summer’s intense heat arrives. After the summer heat subsides, do it once more in late summer or early autumn. Use fish emulsion once a month for indoor plants or those that overwintered indoors if you want to give your succulents more frequent feedings. If you live in a cold winter climate and garden, I suggest feeding your in-ground sempervivum, cold-tolerant sedums, and opuntia in the early fall to give them a head start on the upcoming cold season.

All of my plants receive another type of manure that I use as an outstanding organic fertiliser for my succulents. Worm castings, or worm manure, are the byproduct of earthworms. Gardeners can use it as a helpful soil amendment. Worm castings are beneficial for all the plants you raise, including succulents, fruit trees, roses, and vegetables. The advantages comprise:

  • Worm castings contain high concentrations of more than 60 different micronutrients and minerals, including potassium, carbon, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, and calcium, in addition to nitrogen, phosphate, and potash.
  • Worm castings can be used to balance out high or low soil PH, enabling plant roots to absorb essential nutrients.
  • Humus-rich, it enhances soil aeration and the nutrition of helpful microorganisms, improving the health of the plants.
  • Worm castings stabilise heavy metals in the soil, keeping the plant from absorbing excessive amounts of these potentially hazardous chemicals.
  • Aphids, mealybugs, and whiteflies are just a few of the pests that are repelled by the enzymes found in worm castings.

Worm castings are high in micronutrients and produce stronger, healthier plants, similar to fish emulsion. However, there is an additional advantage I adore, especially for a fertiliser for succulent plants. Chitinase is a plentiful enzyme found in worm castings. This enzyme degrades the chitin in the exoskeleton of insects. The succulent becomes extremely resistant to mealybugs, whiteflies, aphids, and other leaf-sucking parasites as it absorbs the chitinase through its roots and distributes it throughout the plant. To prevent harm and eventual death, they are aware of the chitinase’s presence and refrain from feeding on it. However, since ladybugs don’t consume the plant, they don’t cause any harm. My preferred method of pest management is one that avoids the issue!

I mix dry worm castings into the soil when I plant succulents, whether they are in the ground or a container. I put a few tablespoons of the worm castings in a tiny pot. I add a few handfuls of worm castings to a large pot or to a plant in the ground. Worm castings can also be made into a tea that you can spray on leaves or drench in soil. This is a fantastic method for both feeding your plant and controlling a mealybug or whitefly problem. In this manner, my plants receive wonderful succulent fertiliser and continuous pest defence.