Ask a Question forum: Worms in fiddle leaf fig drainage! HELP!

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Name: Sydney
Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6a)
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sydneynicole18
Dec 3, 2017 9:57 AM CST
Hi All,

I watered my fiddle leaf fig tree last night. When I came to dump the run off water a few hours later, THERE WERE WORKS IN THE WATER! Please, can anyone identify what they are?!

Thank you,
Sydney



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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Dec 3, 2017 10:16 AM CST
Those are earthworms and not only are they harmless, but they can be beneficial. However, I understand you probably don't want them inside. Their presence tells me that your Fig is potted in non-sterile garden soil rather than a standard, pest-free potting mix. Did you repot the plant?

One way to treat the earthworms is to sit the pot in a large tub of water for several hours. This flooding of the soil with water often drives the worms out of the soil in search of oxygen. They can then be physically removed.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

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plantladylin
Dec 3, 2017 10:25 AM CST
I agree with WillC, they are earth worms but don't kill them ... put them outside in a garden bed, they are an asset in the garden: https://www.harvesttotable.com...
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Name: Sydney
Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6a)
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sydneynicole18
Dec 3, 2017 10:59 AM CST
Hi Will!

Thank you for your response!

Yes, I did repot it because it was rootbound in the original grow plastic pot. I used an all purpose potting mix with some sand and perlite. I have had the tree for about 4 months and haven't seen any new growth. Should I be concerned?

Thank you!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Dec 3, 2017 11:47 AM CST
I'm sure it didn't need to be repotted as it does best indoors when moderately potbound. You may not want to use that potting mix again as it is obviously contaminated. I hope it does not also contain fungus gnat larvae.

If you repotted only recently and you did not remove a lot of the original soil, then you could consider undoing the repotting by removing all the soil you added and putting it back into its original or same-size pot. If you leave it as-is, I suggest that you remove any soil you added to the top of the original rootball. That soil serves no useful purpose and may cause you to water improperly.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Sydney
Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6a)
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sydneynicole18
Dec 3, 2017 12:43 PM CST
Thank you so much for the info Will! I think I will remove the soil I added to the top. I am having a really hard time with my fiddles. They have no new growth, have great light exposure but are developing brown spots and today I saw a brown leave tip! Any advice would be great! I water my smaller one twice a month with 4 cups of water (letting it drain out the bottom then discarding - how I found the worms) and my larger (very sick - got it from a friend who had given up on it) 8 cups twice a month with the same process. I would love some direction on what I am doing wrong.

Thank you so much!
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Dec 3, 2017 1:59 PM CST
When plants are repotted unnecessarily, it often discourages new growth until the pot is filled with roots once again. That is probably why you haven't seen new growth. But Fiddle Figs tend to grow in spurts anyway.

Repotting really complicates watering. Had you not repotted, I would advise you to simply water thoroughly as soon as the surface of the soil feels almost dry. But the roots have been disturbed, and soil has been added so that it will dry out less frequently. With soil added to the top of the rootball, it is hard to know when it is dry enough to water.

If you remove the loose soil from the top of the rootball, then you should water when the remaining soil feels dry on the surface. Add just enough so that it reaches that level of dryness again in about a week.Experiment to see what that amount of water is.

Be sure to keep both plants right in front of the window as they appear to be in the photo. And make sure the window is completely uncovered during the day.

Be patient. Whistling
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Dec 3, 2017 2:10 PM CST
Worms, yes, but I think maybe not earthworms. I do not see the Clitellum in the photos. There are other small, skinny worms than come to us in bags of soil.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Paula
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
Dec 4, 2017 10:50 PM CST
The worm is definitely not a pest- but I think everyone had that covered already.

I do see the brown spots under the older leaves. Combined with that beautiful window and lack of new growth I wonder if you have a nutrient/mineral imbalance-

DO you water with tap water? do you have hard water of soft water? and do you fertilize? if so how often and with what?
It could be normal aging of the older leaves and a slow down due to seasonal changes in the amount of light and temperature, but it could also be a minor deficiency of potassium (K) or calcium (Ca)- but an excess of K will stop the uptake of Ca, and too much Na (sodium) from water softeners can cause a K deficiency even if you feed the plant-
its complicated- so give me some info on your water and maybe I can make a suggestion to perk up your fig.



Name: Sydney
Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6a)
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sydneynicole18
Jan 27, 2018 1:46 PM CST
Hi Paula!

I use tap water that I allow to sit out for a few days. I have fertilized once with an all purpose miracle grow. Is that ok?

Thanks!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jan 27, 2018 4:30 PM CST
The leaf spots on the lower leaves are normal aging that can be aggravated by inadequate light or watering. There is no reason to think it is a nutrient deficiency.

If your tap water is hard, then use distilled or filtered. Otherwise, tap water is fine. Allowing water to stand overnight will not alter the hardness of the water.

Monthly watering at half the label recommended strength is fine.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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