sarapatty5
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Worms in my potted plant! Help!

I have a potted bird of paradise plant. It seems to be growing quite nicely it has gotten one new leaf and is currently growning a second one... However, two of the smaller leaves on the outside of the plant have withered and died. They turned brown and just died so I pulled them off the base of the plant quite easily.
I recently had a gnat infestation... It was really bad! I used insectide and fungicide and then also sticky paper around the plant to catch the adult gnats. The gnats are no longer a problem. I have only noticed 2 gnats since then. But then I dug around the plant to see if the roots had root rot the soil is slightly damp but gets wetter as I go deeper and in doing so I found a LOT of worms. They look reddish, some are big some are very small. I pulled out about 20 of them and I didnt go all the way down. They seem to be deeper in the soil.
Are these bad for my plant? Did these worms cause two of my leaf shoots to die? Or maybe it was traumatized from the gnats?
Please help!!!

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Kisal
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Welcome to the forum! :)

If the worms are ordinary earthworms, they shouldn't cause any harm to your plant. They may have entered through the drainage holes, if you had the container sitting on the ground outdoors. My guess would be that the excess moisture was causing the roots to rot, just as you apparently suspected.

If you think they are something other than earthworms, we would need to have a picture of one or more in order to ID them. (If you need instructions for posting pictures, you'll find them in the Tips & Suggestions for New Members section at the top of the page.) :)
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sarapatty5
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[img]https://i735.photobucket.com/albums/ww357/sarapatty_photos/worms/worms002.jpg[/img]

Here is an image of the worms. I pulled them out and put the ones that I found in this vase thing... If you need a better picture let me know!

Thanks!

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Kisal
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They look like earthworms to me! :)

I would put them in my compost pile. If you don't have one, you can put the worms directly into your garden. Since you're in AZ, I would dig a shallow hole and bury them a bit, so they don't dry out and die before they can get situated. They're very good for your garden. Some of our members intentionally put them in with their container-grown plants, but I don't ascribe to that idea, myself.

You could also use the worms to start vermicomposting, if that interests you. You can use the Search function to find a lot of discussions about it on our forums. Here's one to get you started:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=25564

Earthworms are good guys! :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

sarapatty5
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OK great! Thanks so much for the help!

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rainbowgardener
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Agree with Kisal, these are earthworms which are good for your soil and plants. But if your soil was getting wetter as you go down, sounds like your container doesn't drain well enough. As Kisal said, this can cause the roots to rot out, eventually killing the plant.

Be careful you aren't over watering and don't leave water standing in the plant saucer. Consider adding some vermiculite to the potting soil to improve the drainage and/or repotting with gravel at the bottom of the pot, for the same reason.
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Gnome
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sarapatty5,

I don't care for Earthworms in pots. The odd individual probably won't cause an issue but if you pulled that many out of one pot then I think it is time to remedy the situation. The castings that so many worms produce can't be doing your drainage situation any favors.

You'll find most of my posts in the bonsai forum where we have elevated free draining media to near religious status. If your having trouble in this area consider the particle size of your mix which should be roughly uniform. Also the concept of a drainage layer has largely been abandoned as this does not really improve drainage, it merely raises the perched water table, that is inherent in all potted plants, within the pot.

Now keep in mind these are general statements and I know nothing about this particular species or growing in your climate, just some things to think about.

Norm

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applestar
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:lol: Are you perhaps referring to me, Kisal? :lol:

If you click on Search The Forum on the link bar at the top of the page and enter "earthworm in every pot" for keywords and "applestar" for author, you'll pretty much get an entire list of my opinions on the subject. :wink:

Judging by the numbers, I'd say you had one or more earthworm cocoons in your potting soil that hatched, and you have some kind of rich soil in that container that's enticing them to stay and mate.

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Kisal
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All earthworms are hermaphrodites, and many species don't always bother with mating. Each worm simply produces clones of itself. So where earthworms are concerned, one is all it takes to rapidly become a crowd! :lol:

Wiki has a very interesting entry about earthworms. :)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthworm
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

solankinitika
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Re: Worms in my potted plant! Help!

i have the same issue.. worms.. but i am unable to identify dem... if u can then please let me know what that is... and if it will harm my plants...
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applestar
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Re: Worms in my potted plant! Help!

Looks like ordinary earthworms to me -- dom't know exactly what kind, but they are not only harmless but are GOOD for your garden.

If this is a container, it looks like just clay type soil in here, and THAT will make the soil slow draining and harm you plants. It needs to be mixed with equal amounts of shredded coir or peat and something to provide better drainage like perlite or chicken grit, plus I would add something composted like mushroom compost. I would also add UCG (used coffee grounds) or UTL (used tea leaves) to feed the worms. You will need to add dolomitic lime to balance and raise pH if using peat which is acidic.

It should be also enriched with some kind of slow-release fertilizer though the worms will help somewhat. What do you plant to grow here?
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solankinitika
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Re: Worms in my potted plant! Help!

I have planted a tamarind sapling in it... planning to grow it to a small height and then train it into a bonsai...

I want to do the same for Banyan.. but have not been successful in propagating it... any ideas???

jamandzuk
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Re: Worms in my potted plant! Help!

I just found worms in my Aloe house plant! I freaked out and *cough* disposed of them OOPS, because they seemed to come from no where (the plant is in a large metal bucket, reused from a restaurant and has never been outside, I've never seen any other pest on this plant either although it has a bit of mould on the soil surface I'm assuming from over watering = cinnamon sprinkled on the soil surface) When I saw the red worms I assumed this was the end and my whole living room would be crawling in worms in no time. This aloe plant has long drooping skinny leaves that don't support themselves successfully and have been pissing me off for months so I'm tempted to throw the whole thing in the garbage.

There were a couple of worms... medium sized, mostly red bodied. Google images tells me there are earthworms now that Ive looked it up but where did they come from?! I understand one worm multiplies itself and reproduces on its own but where did the first one come from?!?!

I am totally aware of vermi-composting and the many benefits of worms in the garden but I cant get over having them indoors living in house plants lol

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applestar
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Re: Worms in my potted plant! Help!

:lol: Have you always used bagged potting mix? If you used any soil or leaves from outside, there might have been one or two worm cocoons in it, they hatched and grew up.

They don't come out unless they get flooded.
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jamandzuk
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Re: Worms in my potted plant! Help!

Hmmm there definitely could be soil from outdoors in there at some point! Thanks for that! I would have never thought of that!

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