Worms in potting soil of my houseplants - what to do?

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Dragon Tree - Dracaena

Against many different organisms that potentially harm plants, there are special sprays, tinctures and other chemicals that are sometimes mixed into the soil. With worm infestation that is not necessary. It is sufficient if the plant is carefully freed from the old potting soil and placed in new soil and a new, cleaned pot. Incidentally, this is also recommended when in the potting soil on the balcony or in the tubs on the doorstep worms crawl around. Not because they would hurt the plants too much, but because worms cause extreme disgust in most people.

Germ and worm-free soil?

Anyone who is disgusted by worms in the potting soil, will want to ensure that after repotting guaranteed no living things are found in the potting soil. There is more or less sterile soil to buy. Other earth can always contain small creatures, because they regard this earth as their natural habitat and get into it naturally in garden centers and in the trade. It is quite easy to get normal flower or garden soil halfway free of animals and other unwanted creatures:
  • Preheat the oven to 220° C.
  • Lay out a sufficiently deep baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Distribute the soil in the desired quantity.
  • Put the baking tray in the oven and heat for about 15 to 20 minutes. Best under supervision, if something catches fire in the ground.
With this method, most fungal spores do not survive, many bacteria break down, and even worms do not tolerate this heat. The slightly earthy smell spreading in the apartment is normal, as long as nothing is burning, everything is fine. Alternatively, the soil can be sterilized in the microwave.
  • Put lightly damp (not wet) soil loosely in a cotton bag.
  • Knot the bag and place in the middle of the microwave.
  • Cook on 900 watt devices for about four to five minutes. Under supervision, if the bag catches fire.
  • Allow to cool and remove carefully from the bag.
Sterilizing in the microwave is less energy intensive than the oven method and not so time consuming. However, even in this case, the kitchen will smell a bit hotter earth, which can not be avoided.

Repot step by step

In preparation, everything that is needed for repotting should be prepared. Needed:
  • Houseplant in the old pot
  • new pot
  • enough new earth
  • some gravel or seramis
  • a dustbin for the old earth
  • Gloves and a small shovel
  • a lot of newsprint
First, the work surface is laid out with newspaper. This facilitates cleaning after work. Then the gloves are put on and the necessary utensils are provided on the newspaper. The new pot is filled with some gravel or seramis, on it comes some potting soil. In the middle of a depression is pressed, so that the plant finds room here with the root ball. The remaining potting soil is provided on the newspaper. The houseplant is now carefully packed on the trunk, as close to the ground as possible (worms can not bite through gloves, so do not worry).

flaming Katy - Kalanchoe

Now carefully pull up and hold the pot with the other hand. Often the plant dissolves from the earth and can be taken out. If this is not the case, the earth can be lured with the shovel at the edge of the flower pot. The plant is now carefully held over the trash can, so that the earth as completely as possible shake off the root ball. Shake gently so that the plant is not damaged. If necessary, the second hand should help: as much soil as possible should be stripped from the roots, but without damaging the roots.
Now the plant can be carefully placed with the root ball in the new pot. If the plant is aligned, more potting soil is poured from the outside and pressed lightly. But only very carefully, the earth should only hold the plant in position, not cement it. If the plant is stable, the flower pot can be filled to the desired height. Some water helps the plant to extend the roots into the new earth. The remaining soil from the old flowerpot can be disposed of together with the worms in the bin.
However, the soil can also easily be dumped in the garden, where the worms do useful work and do no harm. The old flower pot must now be cleaned, so that no worms or their eggs or larvae stick to the pot. Hot water and a sponge do a good job. Finally, the workplace is cleaned up, the newspapers are collected and the earth on it is shaken down. The newspapers themselves may be disposed of in waste paper, the soil belongs in the residual waste or possibly in the bio bin (the individual German municipalities have different regulations).

Absammeln is synonymous

If you are not disgusted by the worms, you can simply collect them. For this purpose, the houseplant is put together with pot in a large container of water. In the water, the worms can not breathe, they come to the surface and can now be easily collected. Exposed in the garden, they can find a new habitat there and do good work for the plants.
Often you do not catch all the worms while accumulating. Sometimes eggs, larvae or especially young specimens remain undetected, so that after some time worms can be observed in the potting soil again. Then the collection has to be repeated. For the benefit of the houseplant, the water should be able to drain completely from the flowerpot after this action. First you do not have to water, the plant has enough water.
Some plants tolerate extreme drought for a short time - but the worms are not. Therefore, it may also work to simply not water the plant for a while and to dry out the worms. However, this needs a bit of sense, because from the outside is not visible how dry the earth is in the middle of the pot. And who waits too long with the pouring, risked a withered houseplant. Incidentally, both Enchyträen and earthworms are hybrids. The worms are males and females at the same time, so that they can reproduce in principle, as long as only two worms are present.

Video Board: Should I Add Worms To My Container Garden ? Straight to the point.

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