worms in soil of snake plant

melba6088(5)July 12, 2010

Recently bought 10" potted snake plant. When I watered it, (sparingly) about 1/2" water colleccted in saucer. Because I tend to overwater plants, I watered 3 oz at a time, and was tilting pot to specifically place the water. I noticed multiple-sized and colors of worms at the drainage holes. T

The largest was about 1" long, maybe a little less than 1/8" diameter, kind of catipillar-like segment looking, curled up, mostly black with a bit of white at each foot(?).

The rest were all white and of various lengths from 1/4" to 1/2" long. Apparently at different stages of growth. They were segmented, kind of like a maggot, but were not maggots as magoots are fatter looking and not as slender looking, especially at 1/4".

I poured alcohol on them but it caused them to retreat back into the soil, so I just removed the ones I could see from the drainage holes with a stick. I hate to think how many "worms" are in the pot.

I have had hundreds of house plants and never had this happen before.

QUESTION: What can I use to kill the worms without harming the plant?

I have a systemic treatment to mix with water mfgd by Bayer, that is a combination of plant food and insect killer. It can be used on trees, shrubs, potted plants.

However, because it is a systemic,I am hesitant to use it on the snake plant.

HELP? What are they. What can I do?

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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I wouldn't even try to deal w/ this, not worth it (to me). I'd return it immediately to the Store & be done w/ it & them (sorry).

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 11:05PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

But before you return it, take some pictures so we can tell you what they are!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 11:40PM
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Sounds like millipedes. Remove the plant from the pot, thoroughly wash ALL the dirt from the roots and repot in an appropriate mix. Millipedes like dampness and if you keep the plant on the dry side, you shouldn't have any more problems.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 8:39AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

I agree with Nancy,
baby millipedes are common around here in potted plants.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 11:19AM
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Thanks JoJo, Nancy, Private Girl, and Rhizo_1 for your advice.

Not sure what I'm going to do. The repotting is probably out because I always have a problem with repotting... soil too loose, or packed too tight, plants never regain sturdiness in soil and often lean after a few waterings. Or the roots rot because soil compacts. The plant's Leaves are 20 to 27" long and pot is 10" deep, so I probably would have a leaning plant very quickly.

I only paid 10 bucks, so I think I will put it on the porch to hasten the drying out. Once it dries out, I will try the systemic. Maybe I will luck out and do no harm. If I take it back, I wouldn't be able to get another snake plant as full. I went to 3 of their locations to select this one. About 12-13 plants vs 7-9 in most pots.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 6:45PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I think you should check the systemic first. The one I recently used was to be used on dampened plants, then watered in. Dry might be quite wrong for it.

Sorry, but you asked for advice which we gave. While you're not required to listen & take our advice, I'm sorry to say (IMO) all the things you're suggesting sound like bad ideas. The NOT repotting, then adding insult to injury (systemic after alcohol). Your plants will be starting out w/ multiple disadvantages, I'd be surprised if the plant survives all that.

I'm not familiar w/ centipedes (or millipedes) in houseplants & how to handle that.

But then again, I said to start, I wouldn't even try this, one shouldn't have to.

If I were that intent on a plant that size, I'd buy the two smaller ones & pot them up together.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 10:36PM
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Thanks Pirate girl for taking the time to reply.

I'm sorry, I don't know what IMO means.

It's not so much that I'm not open to advice, but more of knowing my history and results since about 1970 with potted plants.
1. I tend to over water. I have even bought clear pots and used large clear plastic drip trays/containers as pots so I could see how wet or dry the plant is.
2. Of course this always calls for repotting and I always have the problem of too loose soil, too compact, or too moist.
3. I agree it sounds like the plant won't have a chance by using a systemic after using alcohol, but it's not as bad as it soiunds. I just doused the alcohol one time at the drainage holes. I did not pour it onto the top of the soil.

The systyemic I have is a liquid (not dry) to be mixed with water. Since I don't have worms ON the plant or on top of the soil, I'm thinking a systemic is more than I need. I am now thinking of making up a insecticidal soap solution to pour on the soil (either Ivory or fels naptha). I have placed the plant outside and it is still moist about 2/3 of the pot. Figure it will take another 5-7 days ro dry down to about 1/4.

What do you think about the soap solution?
Thanks, Melba

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 7:17PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Sorry Melba,

IMO = in my opinion; IME = in my experience.

You're not likely to like my answer, I still think the best remedy is to take the plant back to its vendor; 2nd best -- change all the mix.

Yes, I know you don't want that. Maybe you should read on mixes & try & remedy your 'too loose' soil as you called it. If you know yours isn't right, I'd try to learn to correct it, not cover it up w/ soaps & such.

You continue to ignore the one hopeful & possible remedy, to change all the mix.

Sorry, I don't know soap mixtures, so I can't say.

I don't wish to be rude Melba, but given how you recount your history since 1970, is that to say you can't grow, change or learn new & better ways of doing things?

(I was once an overwaterer (of succulents). With a bit of study & determination I learned better, changed my behavoir & now no longer overwater.)

If one keeps doing the same things (wrong), one shouldn't be suprised w/ the same bad results.

As to succulents (including Sans. Plants), if you don't already know this, best advice about when to water is: when in doubt about watering, don't. These plants cane recover from underwatering, but not overwatering.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 9:56PM
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Hi Pirate Girl,
Thanks for the IMO & IME slang.
I don't think you are rude, just expressing your opionion. I appreciate your input.

Re: your statement, "I don't wish to be rude Melba, but given how you recount your history since 1970, is that to say you can't grow, change or learn new & better ways of doing things?"

Beleive me, in most aspects of my life, I am a very detailed & analytical person. Before retiring, I received several promotions because of "my attention to detail & analytical abilities". (my kids & and some others feel I am too detailed, but are appreciative when I provide a thought that only "I" would come up with.)

My history with plants since 1970 is NOT doing the same thing since that time. I have tried many new & different (&sometimes better) methods of transplanting, many types of soil, bought several books, plus some of my own ideas. In the long run, I have not eliminated my problem, but My own ideas (clear pots, shallow pots) have worked the best/longest for me.

As I have gotten older, I realize I function better with hard-copy info vs flip-back-and-forth online instructions, and sometimes need to observe something being done. I think if I had a good plant "buddy" & could observe their methods, I might solve most of my repotting problems.

I sometimes wonder if I am not like some cooks. Many can cook everything perfectly every time... while others (using the same recipe) can never get the recipe to turn out the same way twice.

Thanks, Melba

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 12:54PM
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