Pests and Diseases forum: small worms(?) in indoor palm tree soil

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Aug 16, 2017 10:40 AM CST
So I bought an indoor palm tree a month ago and I have 2 issues.
1. The leaf tips on some of the palms are turning a hard brown. Not sure why this is happening. Is it over/under watering?
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2. When I started watering, I noticed a lot of small worms(?) starting to crawl out of the soil. Why is this happening? What are they? How do I get rid of them? Are they harming my palm and is the cause of the brown/hard leaf tips??

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Thanks for any help anyone can provide.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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Aug 16, 2017 11:11 AM CST
They look like centipedes or millipedes but I can't see them quite clearly enough. I'm leaning towards centipedes. They would not be the cause of the brown tips.

A number of things can cause brown leaf tips, they do seem to have a tendency to do that - the air could be too dry, the plant may not be getting enough water, it may have been fertilized too much etc.

Oct 8, 2018 2:35 PM CST
How do I get rid of small white worms in my potted palm? It's been outside for the summer and I want to bring it indoors for the winter.

Oct 8, 2018 4:12 PM CST
Welcome Cinberg!! I don't like small white worms in any of my plants that I bring inside. More often than naught, they came from the soil when you had your Palm outside. If your palm plant soil is part sawdust or sitting on sawdust, sawdust will attract worms, millipeds and centipeds in particular, no question! I have never had to try this but you may want to think about it. Ordinarily, small worms in the soil, flood them out with heavy watering, but a Palm, not so certain that would be the best solution. You could try a weak solution of bleach in your water for your Palm, but here is what I would do, having just repotted all my "tropicals"! I would bang the pot a few times on different sides to loosen the soil (providing it is not 10' high (LOL), I would get rid of that soil outside somewhere to fill garden beds, whatever, and I would carefully wash all the soil out of the roots of that Palm, all of it, even with a garden hose if necessary. First off, you will be able to see if your Palm is root bound? Secondly, you will be able to get rid of any or many metals and oxidates that may have overaccumulated in the soil over time, and finally, I would repot it in newly purchased potting soil, and of course a good watering when first doing so. Let's recap: Ruled out "root bound" scenario, ruled out "accumulation of metals and oxides over the years", ruled out worm infestation - hey, the Mayo Clinic couldn't help you any further! LOL. Give it a try!! Cheers!
Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Oct 20, 2018 9:19 AM CST
The critters are there because poor quality potting soil was used by the nursery. That said, I don't recommend trying to replace the soil. The critters will not harm the plant and are not the cause of the frond browning.

If you post a photo of the entire plant, we would be better able to identify the type of Palm (I fear it may be a Majesty Palm!) and diagnose the problem.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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