Worms in pots of houseplants - Knowledgebase Question

Vienna, Vi
Question by bijalsanghan
October 13, 2009
Thanks for your help so far. I have been able to plant bulbs, take care of my black eyed susan and seed the lawn. I recently bought house plants (Yucca n Schefflera) from Home Depot and during the process of cleaning I noticed that the soil is infested with worms. I don't want to bring the worms in the house. Please advise.


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Answer from NGA
October 13, 2009

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Worms are a natural part of gardening but I can understand you don't really want them in the house. You can flood them out. Submerge the pot in a large container of water. As the soil becomes oversaturated the worms will rise to the top and you can scoop them out of the soil. The most common little worm creatures in potting soil are those from fungus gnats. These critters feed and breed in decaying organic matter such as your potting soil. The little flying insects look a lot like fruit flies. The best way to control them is to allow the top layer of the soil to dry completely between waterings. If the plants need a moister soil and thus more frequent watering, you could put a layer of sand or decorative rock on top of the soil -- either one of these will dry out faster than the soil. This should stop the breeding. Or, you could cover the tops of the pots with plastic wrap or aluminum foil to exclude the pests. Be sure to cover all of the soil surfaces in all of your houseplants. If it's any comfort, the adults don't live very long. In the meantime, yellow sticky traps will also help to control the adults.

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