Earthworms are great for houseplants because they allow air to pass through the soil while breaking down organic matter like leaves into essential nutrients that will enable plants to grow.
Adding earthworms to your houseplants might make you think they are helping your plant grow. But is that the case?
Should Earthworms Be Added to Houseplants?
Adding earthworms to houseplants without checking the soil is not a good idea. This is because the soil the plant is growing in may not have sufficient food for the earthworms to grow and multiply. Due to this reason, the earthworms may find their way into other plants or die.
However, if you are careful and follow the instructions given in this article, you can help earthworms stay in the pot and boost the plant’s growth.
Let’s find out what kind of earthworms are good for houseplants, what conditions are perfect for them, and whether plants and worms can coexist.
Can Earthworms Live in Potted Plants and Soil?
As long as the right conditions exist, earthworms can grow in potting soil. Potting soil refers to soil made for the purpose of flowering. It has a loose texture that allows aeration for houseplants.
According to the Newyork State University, here are the perfect soil conditions for houseplants:
- The soil cannot be soggy or dry- it must be moist.
- It should be slightly acidic with a pH of 6.6 to 6.8.
- It must have lots of organic food for the earthworms to feast in.
- The soil’s temperature should be cool.
- It must have a loamy texture and should not be overly loose.
If you can ensure that the soil for your houseplants has the best conditions, earthworms can be extremely beneficial. However, they can destroy the plant in the long run if they do not like the soil.
Are Earthworms Good for Houseplants?
Earthworms can be highly beneficial to houseplants if they get the right soil. However, it also depends on the type of earthworms being used.
Some earthworms are red, while some are pink and have long, slender bodies. These kinds of earthworms have an 80 percent body moisture composition which is why they enjoy moist soil.
When earthworms are put in the soil, they devour everything they find in their way. A worm’s intestine contains microbes that are great for plants and allow them to grow.
Some worms, such as nematodes, devour harmful parasites that will destroy the plant. This makes them beneficial for houseplants as they protect the plant from dying.
Types of Worms in Houseplants
Here are the most common types of worms found in potted plants:
- Grub worms
Nematodes can help indicate the quality of the soil. This is because they are diverse worms that work on multiple levels of soil. They also feed on the fungi and bacteria that harm plants, making them great for ensuring that plants do not get pests.
However, some nematodes are terrible for crops and plants. They attack the roots and can also attach themselves to the plant stubbornly. Some nematodes that fall in this category include:
- Seed gall nematodes
- Foliar nematodes
- Stem and bulb nematodes
Millipedes do not pose any danger to plants. They get their nutrients from dead plants, such as old mulch and fallen leaves. Moreover, they can be beneficial for the soil.
3. Earthworms or Red Wigglers
You can add earthworms to potting soil and houseplants, and as long as the conditions are right, they can have loads of benefits.
4. Grub Worms
These worms are terrible for houseplants as they eat the root of the plant, obliterating it.
How to Naturally Get Earthworms in Houseplants?
There is no way to get earthworms in houseplants naturally unless it is buried in the soil halfway through. Moreover, earthworms will only be attracted to the plant if there is some food that they can munch on.
If you are looking to attract earthworms to your houseplant, you must provide the perfect conditions so that these worms survive. Remember, earthworms contain 80 percent water and enjoy munching on organic matter.
Hence, you must provide them with soil that is not too soggy but moist enough so that they can breathe.
Here are some tips to follow:
- Do not add inorganic chemicals to the soil as these can attract worms.
- Make use of organic mulch so that the soil remains moist and cool.
- Use lots of organic matter such as vegetable peels and leaves so that worms can eat them from the surface of the soil instead of feasting on the plant’s roots.
- Ensure that the soil is textured and acidic.
- Put the houseplant 3 inches into the dirt and ensure there are holes at the bottom. This will ensure that the worms can make their way into the pot easily and not get lost.
It can be challenging to achieve these conditions in a potted environment. Even if you can fulfill all the conditions listed above, some earthworms may not want to get into a houseplant. If this happens, change the location of the plant and try again.
Which Houseplants Can Gain Benefit from Earthworms?
Houseplants that appreciate wet conditions can only enjoy the presence of earthworms in them. Some of the names are listed below:
- Spider plant
- Cast Iron plant
Earthworms love to make their place in damp, conditioned soil, which is why they do not survive in soil that gets dried out more often.
If you have planted a plant that likes marshy, wet places, it will be easy for the earthworms to stay and survive in the container.
Can the Earthworms Make Your Houseplants Grow Faster?
A simple answer to this is yes, worms help your plants grow faster. However, the ones that get the job done are red wigglers and earthworms.
They do this by aerating the soil and producing nutrients that the plants can conveniently feed on. They also have the ability to digest organic matter and produce fertilizer for plants.
Moreover, they can create tunnels as well, which help in decreasing soil compaction. In this way, oxygen is easily and quickly transported to the roots, which, in return, makes the plants healthier. Most of the time, the worms benefit the plants rather than harm them.
Furthermore, too many earthworms in houseplants are not good. They eventually run out of organic matter to feed on inside the pot and begin to feed on the plant’s roots, destroying the plant.
How to Prevent Earthworms from Destroying the Houseplants?
To eliminate the presence of earthworms in your houseplants, you need to know where they are coming from.
Some worms are beneficial for the potted plant, which are automatically added through the compost castings. You should be happy about them because they make the soil perfect enough for the plant to grow at its optimum growth.
These worms will want to stay there, but unfortunately, they will not be able to because as time goes by, they tend to die or are forced to leave because the soil may not have the right conditions for them to survive.
On the other hand, if you randomly picked the soil from the garden or used topsoil, there might be a problem. These soils have different kinds of worms that may not be beneficial for the potted plant and can harm the plant.
In fact, in April 2022, news of an invasive worm became common in North America, which destroyed plants. Skilled gardeners quickly stepped in and figured out the cause and ways to protect houseplants.
Caterpillars, cutworms, and nematodes are included in the kinds of worms that can cause harm to your houseplants.
Here are some methods you can follow to get rid of harmful worms:
- Chemical Method: Includes spraying the soil with a biological insecticide like nematicides.
- Mechanical Method: It is when you get rid of the worms manually by taking them out using your hands.
- Biological Method: Works by attracting other insect species towards the houseplants so that they get rid of the worms. This includes ladybugs, birds, and praying mantis.
Controlling Harmful Infestation of Worms
1. Switch soil with potting mix
If you want to prevent the infestation of harmful works, stop using soil. Instead, buy potting mix- this does not contain any worms and will not attract worms until the plant is exposed to circumstances that cause worms to develop.
2. Bake Soil If You Use It
Experienced gardeners in the United States who live in areas where plant parasites are common sterilize the soil before filling their potted plants with it.
To do this, you must put the soil on a metal pan and slide it into the oven. Let it bake for 30 minutes at 83 degrees. Let the soil cool, and then plant it in the pots.
3. Check Your Soil in Winters
Before you bring your plants indoors when the temperatures start to drop, ensure that the soil does not contain any harmful worms. In case you find worms, make sure to re-pot the entire plant.
How to Ensure that the Earthworms Stay in Your Houseplants in North Dakota?
As long as the conditions are right, earthworms will remain in your houseplants. Earthworms love damp and healthy soil that is not soggy. Here are some ways to ensure that the worms stay in your potted plants:
- Ensure that the plant is watered regularly.
- Do not put too many worms in the pot. Overpopulation can cause more damage to your plants.
- If you find dead leaves, leave them in the pot.
- To ensure excess water is not retained in the pot, perforate it.
- Store the houseplant at cool temperatures. Worms cannot survive in humid climates.
- Avoid putting inorganic fertilizer in your plant as this can burn the worms and the plant.
Are Earthworms Bad when They Get Too Many?
Anything in excess is not suitable. There should be a balance between too little and too much in everything.
However, if earthworms are entering the soil naturally, it is a good thing for the plant as they hold a lot of nutritional value for the plants regarding their eating and burrowing habits.
Unfortunately, too many earthworms are not beneficial in isolated areas like forested areas. The worms tend to eat the top dead leaves, which are essential for the growth of young plants.
Young plants and the seeds in the forest need dead leaves to germinate as the leaves provide them with a cool, moist environment in which they can easily do so.
Surprisingly, the worms love this environment, which is why they find their way into these areas.
You should not panic if you find earthworms in your houseplants. It is a common way of nature, and these earthworms mostly do not cause any harm to plants.
Most of the time, earthworms are completely harmless and prove to be beneficial for houseplants because of all the great nutrients they bring to the plant.
However, you have to take some time out and figure out the type of worms you see in your houseplants in order to ensure that they are harmless, as not all worms are beneficial for plants.
Once you know the type of worm residing in your houseplants in New York, it will be easier to decide whether to let them stay or get rid of them.
Houseplants need a lot of care and attention, so it is imperative to keep an eye on them and observe their growth every week.
To sum up, earthworms are good for houseplants in the United States because they make soggy soil well-drained, are a cost-effective way of providing essential nutrients to your plants, and can boost the growth of houseplants, especially those that have roots that point to symptoms of oxygen deficiency.
You may like the following houseplant articles:
- Why is My Houseplant Wilting
- Why are my house plant leaves drying up
- How Often Should I Water a Houseplant?
- Why Do House Plant Leaves Turn Yellow?
- How to Clean House Plant Leaves
Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.