The tiny white worms you might discover in the soil of your houseplants aren’t even worms. They are the offspring of the fungus gnat, a tiny black fly that flies or crawls about the soil of plants.
Is the presence of worms in indoor plants normal?
One of my indoor plants has some small earthworms in the dirt. I believe they are having an impact because the plant’s growth appears to be slowing down. What should I do in order to eliminate them?
Because of the unfavorable environment in our homes, earthworms are not very common in indoor plants. They can’t breed there without a doubt, and they also stay little. Furthermore, there are sometimes only one or two in the pot rather than dozens.
Earthworms can only be found in plants that were outdoors during the previous summer. While the plant was outdoors, the worms crawled into the potting soil and remained there until it was brought inside again in the fall.
The majority of home gardeners don’t even realize their plants have worms until they repot and discover worms burrowed in the soil, but occasionally you can find their castings (little heaps of poop) under the pot, near the drainage holes, or even see the worms when they come to the surface after an especially generous watering.
Worms just don’t flourish in soil that entirely dries out between waterings; you’ll most likely only discover them in the soil of plants that appreciate damp circumstances.
Earthworms typically don’t harm plants. Aerating the soil through their tunnels and enriching it with their castings, on the other hand, they are helpful. But since most potting soils are made primarily of peat or coir (coco fiber), two materials that disintegrate slowly and provide almost nothing that an earthworm can devour, their major meal, the organic stuff ordinarily present in soil, isn’t very abundant in pots. When this happens, the worms start to devour the young roots of the plant growing in the pot, which can obviously impede its growth or even lead to its death.
What to Do?
Put the pots of your indoor plants in a basin of soapy water and keep them submerged for about 20 minutes before bringing them back inside in the fall. Earthworms will climb to the surface in an attempt to get away because they detest both water and soap. After that, you can take them up and re-plant them in the garden. This will also get rid of most other soil pests in the potting mix.
You can also get rid of any worms by waiting until the potting soil is totally dry before watering it again if you neglected the previous stage, which involves wetting the plant before bringing it indoors. Because of this, earthworms are rarely found in succulent and other plant pots that are frequently allowed to dry out completely.
Simply repeat the treatment you should have applied in the fall before bringing the plant indoors if you discover them in houseplants that won’t tolerate their soil drying out completely: give the entire rootball a 20-minute soak in soapy water, then remove any worms that emerge.
You won’t always be able to save the worms you find in the winter, though. After all, if the ground is frozen, you can’t successfully release them outside. If you want to keep them alive, try putting them in your compost bin because it might be just warm enough. Otherwise, let’s just say that composting dead earthworms is a great idea!
Why do earthworms have a home in my potted plant?
If your potted plants were outdoors throughout the summer, there is a chance you may find worms there. After crawling in the potting soil while outside, worms become imprisoned in it, but the pot is brought inside again in the fall.
Pot worms are constantly present in the soil, though in much fewer numbers than what might be observed when they reproduce when the environment is hospitable.
While the black fly hovers or crawls within your plant, white microscopic worms are produced by the fungus gnat larvae. They even consume the young plants’ root tissues in addition to the organic contents in the plant.
In potting soil, can worms survive?
More than simply the pollutants in potting soil might kill worms. Potting soil is a bad choice for a worm bin because it is made to drain fast. Although not enough to puddle in the bottom of the bin, worms must have some moisture. If kept dry, worms struggle to burrow and frequently don’t succeed in reproducing.
Worms are able to survive in potted plants.
The red wiggler is a different type of earthworm and a relative of the nightcrawler. Unlike their cousin, these tiny wiggle organisms have diverse effects on soil and plants. Red wigglers are regarded as composting worms.
They are responsible for keeping the health of the plants and gardens clean. They will consume decaying or dead things, like leaves and roots. The castings produced by eating the decomposing materials are nutrient-rich. The red wiggler also aids in aeration.
Red wigglers get their name primarily from their color. They have a yellow tail and are red-brown in color. They have an upper limit of 2 to 3 inches. They prefer the warmth and moisture of a potted plant setting, where they will mostly stay in the topsoil. Additionally, they can multiply faster than other worms.
Pot worms are, as the name implies, only found in pots or potted plants. Topsoil worms are these minuscule microscopic worms. They burrow into the soil, aerating it, and consuming bacteria, fungi, and humus as they decompose. Composting with these worms is not particularly efficient.
These tiny worms are whitish and stringy and are sometimes mistaken for the young of adult earthworms. They frequently develop suddenly, a few thousand at a time, in your potted plants. Despite the fact that they are so numerous, they won’t harm the plant life.
Why are there tiny white worms on my plant?
These could be pot worms or the larvae of fungus gnats if you have discovered tiny white worms in your soil. These consume the soil’s organic matter and frequently don’t leave enough for your plant, which causes it to suffer.
Are white worms harmful to plants?
White worms do not significantly harm. They could, however, result in root rot and leaf discolouration if they are permitted to breed for extended periods of time.
Will I have to replace my plant’s soil if white worms infest it?
You can manually remove any white worms that are present in small numbers and keep using the same soil. However, it is best to change the soil if their population has greatly grown.
Do worms harm plants in any way?
A healthy garden ecosystem depends on earthworms, but is there such a thing as too much of a good thing? Since earthworms do not consume living plant tissue and aerate soil to promote healthy plant growth, there is often no cause for alarm.
However, moles, little mammals approximately the size of chipmunks that tunnel just below the surface of the ground, can be drawn to the soil if there are earthworms present. They raise the ground wherever they go. Additionally, a lot of earthworms in the yard can produce heaps of ugly castings.
In reality, too many earthworms enhance soil aeration and nutrient levels rather than harming your garden. However, they provide as food for other creatures that may harm property, including moles.
How do earthworms suddenly appear?
Another typical theory for worm emergence is that the sound of rain imitates that of predators, causing the worms to surface in an attempt to flee. As they search, moles, a popular type of earthworm predator, cause vibrations in the soil.
Worm grunting, sometimes known as “worm fiddling,” is a practice that originated in the Appalachians and is still practiced today. Worms are then harvested for bait after rising to the surface as a result. In essence, people are imitating mole-hunting noises. (I’ll admit that I tried this but had little success.)
According to the predation-escape theory, the sound of moles and the patter of raindrops are identical. Thea Whitman, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, points out that no laboratory testing have ever supported this notion. I’ve always found it to be a weak justification. After all, worms appear following an extended, foggy rain that doesn’t hit the ground as hard.
How can worms be kept out of plant soil?
The last thing you would want is for the worms to return after all the work you put into getting rid of them. You can take a number of steps to keep worms out of your potted plants, including:
- Before bringing the plant-soil inside, soak it in warm, soapy water for 20 minutes.
- Eggs won’t hatch if plants are turned and replanted in the spring.
- To kill any eggs, only use a potted plant mix or bake the soil for 30 minutes at 180°F.
- Never take indoor plants outside.
- Any infected plants should not be near uninfected plants.
- To keep the soil from becoming moist, use containers with drainage holes.
- Between working with plants, clean your gardening equipment to avoid unintentionally moving insects from one plant to another.
- Always look for worms and other pests on any new plants you bring home. They should be kept separate from other plants for at least two weeks after the inspection.
- Put some cardboard around the base of the plant to form a barrier. For cutworms, this works fantastically.
- Ensure the health of your plants. Plants that are healthy have stronger immune systems and are less appealing to pests.
Planting Natural Pesticides
Increasing your collection is a fantastic strategy to keep worms and other pests away from your potted plants! Individual plants have a reputation for repelling insects and luring some pest-predators. If you do this, be careful about the plants you choose because some of them could draw in additional bugs.
Other natural ways to get rid of pests and keep them out of your potted plant include:
- Top the soil with leftover coffee grinds. Additionally, this will make blue flowers, such as hydrangeas, appear bluer.
- Diatomaceous earth should be scattered around the bases of your plants.
Does worms aid in plant growth?
The benefits that earthworms provide through their activity in the soil include better drainage, more stable soil structure, and increased nutrient availability, all of which promote farm productivity.
- increased availability of nutrients Worms consume soil and plant waste (dead roots, leaves, grasses, and manure). Their casts are richer in readily available nutrients than the soil surrounding them because their digestive tract concentrates the organic and mineral components in the food they eat. The castings contain nitrogen that is easily accessible to plants. Worm remains quickly degrade, increasing the soil’s nitrogen concentration.
According to studies from New Zealand, worm casts release four times as much phosphorus than surface soil. In their tunnels, worms frequently leave behind nutrient-rich casts that promote the establishment of plant roots. Additionally, the tunnels enable roots to delve further into the ground, where they can access additional moisture and nutrients. Earthworm tunneling can help the soil absorb lime and fertilizer that has been given topically.
- enhanced drainage Earthworms channel and burrow extensively, which aerates and loosens the soil and enhances soil drainage. Up to ten times more quickly than soils without earthworms, soils with earthworms can drain. Water infiltration can be up to six times greater in zero-till soils than in cultivated soils, where worm populations are large. Under the impact of rain, irrigation, and gravity, earthworm tunnels also function as pathways for lime and other materials.
- strengthened soil structure In order to create water-resistant aggregates, earthworms cement soil particles together. These have the capacity to retain moisture without leaking it. According to research, earthworms that leave their casts on the soil’s surface help to repair the topsoil. In ideal circumstances, they can produce 50 t/ha per year, which is sufficient to create a layer 5 mm thick. In one experiment, worms created dirt that was 18 cm thick in 30 years.
- increased output According to research on earthworms conducted in New Zealand and Tasmania, introducing earthworms to perennial pastures devoid of worms resulted in an immediate boost in pasture growth of 70–80% and a long-term rise of 25%, which increased animal carrying capacity. The most fruitful pastures in the worm studies contained up to 7 million worms per hectare and weighed 2.4 tonnes, according to the researchers. With roughly 170 kg of worms per tonne of yearly dry matter output, pasture productivity and total worm weight were closely correlated.
In Miracle Gro soil, are worms possible?
How can you know if a bag of peat moss is safe for your composting worms? Peat moss provides excellent bedding for a vermicomposting container. Many people who are new to vermicomposting wonder whether they need include extra-ingredient peat moss. Maybe the package will read it “uses a chemical fertilizer, such as Miracle-Gro, to feed the plant. What are “What does sphagnum mean? What about potting mixtures in bags? Before we answer these inquiries, let’s have a look at some vermiculture fundamentals.
What is Vermicomposting?
Plastic trays made specifically for composting worms are the best containers. There is a lot of drainage and air flow in these compost bins. They are also simple to keep up. It’s easy to get back finished compost.
You will put bedding inside the trays. A combination of soaked coconut coir, shredded newspaper, composted leaves, and/or peat moss can be used to make bedding. The worms will eat the food and reside in the dim, somewhat wet bedding. Over time, they will also consume the bedding. This is why it’s crucial to select secure bedding components.
What Are Peat Moss and Potting Soil?
An organic material that holds moisture is peat moss. It is taken out of peat bogs, frequently in Canada. On the package, you might see the word “sphagnum.” The moss is of the species sphagnum. It has been completely dried before being sold in stores.
In addition to peat moss or coconut coir, potting soil may also contain sand, perlite, grit, and/or vermiculite.
Synthetic chemical fertilizers are sometimes found in packaged peat moss and potting soil. For instance, Miracle-Gro contains ammonium phosphate and a number of other substances that can be hazardous to worms, plants, and soil.
While organic elements nourish the soil, chemical fertilizers are applied straight to the plant. Manure and other organic compounds are broken down by soil microbes so that plants can use them as needed. The use of chemical fertilizers prevents this. Chemical fertilizers also contaminate drinking water and streams by washing through the soil. Compost, for example, remains in place and decomposes gradually for the benefit of your plants. It doesn’t get into the water supply.
What are the Benefits of Vermicomposting?
Vermicomposting has a favorable non-toxic environmental impact in addition to having five times as much nitrogen, eleven times as much potassium, and seven times as much phosphate as typical compost. The fertilizer that your worms generate is completely natural, so it won’t hurt the roots of your plants.
What Kind of Bedding Should You Use for Vermicomposting?
You want to maintain the bedding for your worms as clean as possible. Use natural, or as close to natural, elements as possible. In order for your worms to thrive, the bedding needs to mimic their natural habitats. A neutral pH of (7), the capacity to retain moisture (but not too much), and the absence of anything harsh or abrasive that could irritate or injure your worms’ skin are essential qualities of bedding. Coconut nuts, shredded unbleached paper, shredded brown corrugated cardboard, shredded newspaper solely with black ink, and pure peat moss are the best ingredients for a beginner vermicomposter. Please see our Vermicomposting Bedding Guide for additional details.
We emphasized repeatedly throughout the text that worms shouldn’t consume anything that contains chemicals and preservatives. Worms cannot survive in a contaminated environment. You will encounter sick and dying worms if the environment and food are altered in any way. Gardeners clamor for the rich, black humus that healthy worms make; this is the kind of organic fertilizer that Miracle-Gro could never match.
This brings us back to our original question: Should peat moss be used in worm bin bedding together with Miracle-Gro?