Saturday, February 09, 2013

Worms in house plant soil...

"I have worms in the soil of my house plant".  On further investigation, this is not a worm, but a millipede.  When just touching them, they curl into a tight spring like circle.

Here's a closer view. Not to worry, millipede's eat decaying plant matter.  As you can see, the darker areas within the millipede are in fact soil. They help to decompose vegetation. So they are a good thing. However, when numerous are found, they may eat fine roots of the potted plant. So removal is necessary if you want to optimize plant health.

Easy to detect, as they curl immediately when touched.

House plant soil is primarily peat based and a great place for millipedes to hide and nest. There were over 15 found in the above pot - one house plant pot. This potted house plant was brought outdoors during the summer months and I believe the millipede laid an egg stash and once brought into the house, they hatched. Sometimes you find them in your house plant pots because they look to find food or a nesting area when they've made it into your home.  They have a great purpose: to accelerate the breakdown of organic plant matter, acting as "macro-decomposers."  If you find them in your house plants, remove them to your garden or compost bin. They sure are helpful creatures!


  1. Thanks for this info. I had no idea what millepedes do! And 'm relieved to know they're easy to remove and not going to kill my plant. On another note, I assume they're the same as centipedes (more legs?). When I lived in the rainforest in Suriname I had one in my cabin that was 6 inches long! Scary!

  2. Millipedes and centipedes are different. Centipedes have a nasty bite and venom - you definitely want to avoid them! They are fast moving, somewhat flat, and hard to kill. I don't know of any benefit they provide to human life here on earth!

    1. Yes, I've heard folks south of the border telling me about such bites. Although, I've not known anyone getting bit by centipedes in Ontario. I will say though, centipedes help eliminate unwanted insects in the garden/home and help aerate soil. They have their purpose. Just be wise around them. Having gardened now for over 15 years, I've never been bit and see thousands a year...doing their thing.


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