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If there are worms in the potting soil, this does not necessarily mean that they are pests. Because these are earthworms that have gotten into the soil, they loosen the substrate. But there are also other, small worms that have nested in the potting soil of indoor plants. In the following article, we explain how you can combat them.

A worm = a pest?

As a rule, the long brown or white little creatures are not pests, they are even more useful for the garden soil. In a flower pot, however, the food that the potting soil offers here is rather small. Then it can definitely happen that the plant is affected in a large population, since the ringing animals eat it when looking for food.

Don't fight earthworms

Earthworms are rarely found in the potting soil of indoor plants. However, this can still happen from time to time. These loosen up the garden soil in particular and are not pests that could infest the plants, but useful. However, not everyone likes to have earthworms in the flower pot on the windowsill. Then it helps to water the soil and remove the worms that come up and put them back outside. It is important that the plant can dry off well afterwards. the

Earthworms can get lost in the bucket soil as follows:

  • Kübel was outdoors in the summer
  • for example in a meadow or a garden bed
  • Earthworms crawl in from below via the drain hole
  • no special potting soil was used but garden soil
  • Earthworms live in the garden soil
  • get into the pot

Therefore, always raise the pot a little higher in the garden or place it on the terrace or balcony, then the earthworms usually do not get into the pot soil.

Echytraeum in potting soil

Echytraeus are small, white worms that are between five and thirty millimeters long and appear transparent. These worms are even bred for fish food. Echytraeus are not harmful to the plant, but it is not a pretty sight when the substrate in the tub is inhabited by small worms that move on the surface of the earth. If the echytraea are a problem, they can be gently removed by simply pouring out the potting soil in the garden bed and giving the plant new substrate. As a rule, the echytraea do not get into the pot soil from the outside, but are brought from the specialist trade in the sealed soil bag and placed in the pot in this way.

Getting rid of worms in the potting soil

Replace bucket soil

As soon as worms are discovered in the bucket, one of the first measures can be to replace the soil in the bucket. This first aid is very effective if the exchange is done correctly. You should therefore proceed as follows:

  • Carefully remove the plant from the pot
  • Shake off roots and wash if necessary
  • do not leave old potting soil on the roots
  • pour out the pot
  • can also be in the garden
  • alternatively treat old potting soil in the oven or microwave
  • clean the bucket well inside and out
  • possibly disinfect
  • use pure alcohol from the pharmacy for this purpose
  • Prepare tub with drainage and substrate again
  • Put the houseplant back in

If you replace the potting soil due to worm infestation, you can also use a new, larger pot directly to give the houseplant more space and repot it at the same time with this step.

"Bake" the substrate

It may sound strange, but depending on the quality, ready-made soil from a specialist garden store can already contain small worms, which then get into the tub with the houseplants. It is therefore helpful to put the purchased soil in the oven before using it. This is how you remove all uninvited guests in the substrate before planting the houseplant. When baking should be done as follows:

  • Place parchment paper on baking sheet
  • distribute earth
  • heat to 220° Celsius
  • leave in the oven for about 20 minutes

Since the substrate dries quickly, you should keep an eye on the oven so that no fire can break out here. After baking, remove the baking sheet and soil from the oven and allow the substrate to cool well. When it's cold, put it in the bucket and water well.

Heat in microwave

If only a small part of the substrate has to be freed from worms, for example for a small pot, then this can also be heated in the microwave. To do this, put the slightly damp substrate in a cotton bag and tie it up. Then you have to put it in the microwave at 900 watts for about five minutes. Then let the bag cool down, put the substrate in the bucket, water well and plant the plant as usual. Heating can also affect nutrients, so you should also fertilize the houseplant right away.

use nematodes

If it is not real worms, but maggots that are up to mischief in the soil, then pests will develop from this later and you should therefore definitely fight them. Even if maggots and worms have nothing in common biologically, they can easily be confused by a layperson. You can use nematodes against the maggots. These are the following:

  • Nematodes available from garden supply stores
  • are given with the irrigation water
  • natural combat
  • Roundworms that feed on the maggots

The advantage of nematodes is that although they are also worms, they remain underground. As soon as all pests have been fought, the nematodes die off again because they can no longer find food.

Let the bucket dry

Sometimes it helps to simply let the potting soil dry. A worm does not tolerate drought and dies. But in this case it must be ensured that the plant can also tolerate a certain dry period. Therefore, letting the potting soil dry is not suitable for every plant.

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