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Trevor
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Worm in my pot.

Hey guys. I have a 6" pot that contains burrows tail (succulent) and some type of cactus that was given to me a while ago. I've have the cactus for a while, but recently repotted it when I got some burrow's tail from my grandma.
Anyway, I noticed just before when I came home that there was an earthworm on top of the soil, eating a dried leaf. The soil is from my garden, so there is no mystery as to where it's from, but should I have any concerns with having it (and its friends, if there are any) in the pot?

Trevor

plantomaniac08
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Worm in pot

Trevor,
I don't believe that you have anything to worry about. The typical earthworm you find in your garden soil isn't harmful in regards to plants, in fact, they are considered beneficial when it comes to soil. If anything, the worm "poop" might be some added fertilizer. :wink:

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Kisal
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I don't foresee problems resulting from the earthworm, but I seriously doubt that a cactus, or any other succulent, will be happy for long in typical garden soil. The exception would be if you have extremely sandy soil in your garden. Unless the soil is very coarse/sandy/gravelly/etc., it probably won't drain rapidly enough for cacti and other succulents growing in containers. Your plants could possibly die of root rot, unless you're extremely cautious about overwatering.

The trick will be to give the plants enough water to moisten the entire root system adequately, and then to allow it to dry enough so that rot doesn't set in. The difficulty will be balancing the moisture retained in bottom half of the soil in the container with the dryness of that in the top half.

Heavier soils, which includes most garden soils, remain too wet in the bottom half, while the top half becomes overly dry. That tends to drown the lower part of the root system, causing it to rot, while the top portion dies from lack of moisture. (I know you're not a total novice with plants, so you may very well be up to the challenge. ;) )

For new gardeners, or those who lack experience with cacti and succulents, I recommend using a high quality packaged soil designed specifically for plants in this category. For those who have a large number of cacti and other succulents, and have sufficient storage space available, it may be more economical to buy the various components and mix your own growing medium. There are many recipes online, but I like to research the types of soil present in the areas where my plants grow as natives, then try to match my growing medium to that. I no longer have so many succulents to reap the monetary benefits of that, so I just purchase a high quality pre-mixed cactus/succulent soil. :)
"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

plantomaniac08
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Good Point Kisal!

As an avid cacti grower myself, I didn't even think to mention that it would probably benefit both your cactus and succulent to place them in the proper soil designed for them... good point Kisal! Where is my mind sometimes. :roll:

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Kisal
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Few of us, certainly including myself, are always able to touch on every salient point when responding to a question. That's one of the beauties of a forum ... questioners receive multiple responses made up of a variety of viewpoints and experiences. We are all enriched by it. I have learned an immense amount from my fellow members of The Helpful Gardener. I love it here. :)
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rainbowgardener
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Kisal wrote:Few of us, certainly including myself, are always able to touch on every salient point when responding to a question. That's one of the beauties of a forum ... questioners receive multiple responses made up of a variety of viewpoints and experiences. We are all enriched by it. I have learned an immense amount from my fellow members of The Helpful Gardener. I love it here. :)

Exactly! :)

For non-cacti, potted plants that like the potting soil, Applestar, one of our other mods, always makes sure to add an earthworm or two to each pot, just for their soil benefits- keeping the soil loosened up and aerated and breaking nutrients down into forms plants can best use.
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Trevor
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Location: New Jersey, Zone 6

I did mix sand in with the soil, it's about 50/50.
I have not had problems with the cactus in this soil before, it's thrived for 3 years in the same mixture. The burrows tail are doing okay as well, but if you recomend I seperate them, I will.

And thank you on the worm! I didn't think I should have any concern, but I just wanted to make sure.

plantomaniac08
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Trevor, if you've had success with your cactus with the soil you currently have it in (3 years no less!), than it sounds like you have found what works. As to separating the succulent and the cactus, I'm not sure to be honest, I've never been able to grow succulents let alone try to combine the two in a single pot.
I agree about the enrichment of forums, it is enjoyable having different perspectives and "experiences," and being able to share with others, is another enjoyment. :D

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