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Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

Posted by uniquelydivine none (My Page) on
Sun, May 27, 12 at 15:27

Hi,

I just got this plant two days ago (Friday) and noticed what looks like worms in the soil (they are moving). What should I do? Please help me! Thanks!

Links To Pics Below:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/78373623@N06/7281393340/in/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/78373623@N06/7281393066/in/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/78373623@N06/7281392812/in/photostream/


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

Hopefully the pics should be below. If not the links are above.


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

eww..it's hard to tell what they are, they almost look like maggots, but i'm sure they're not. I'm thinking whatever they are, they cant be healthy for the plant. I would change the soil since it's spring and a good time to refresh soil in houseplants anyways...

I guess you could try some kind of insect killer for houseplants, but from my experience, Calathea's are very sensitive to everything and love to turn their tip's brown, that's why I would just go with changing the soil completly.

Sorry I can't identify those critter for you, I was thinking maybe millipedes, but i've never seen white ones before, but i could be wrong. Hopefully someone will come along and give you better advise and identify those things for you.

Goodluck
-FPT


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

Finally got pictures to appear in post. I apologize for the errors above. As I mentioned in the original post, I just bought this plant (two days ago) and it is in the original nursery pot. Here are the pics:


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

Do these larvae have dark heads?


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

Do these larvae have dark heads?


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

@rhizo_1, no it doesn't look so to me. They look completely white.


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

Hello????????????? Anyone out there? I really need help. Thanks...


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

Uniquelydivine, calm down, there the maggots of fungus knat. Put a dab of dish detergent in a quart container and water it with that mixture. That should kill the maggots. If that doesint work in two days post back days post


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

I heard cinnamon is supposed to help kill the maggots/worms. Is that true?


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

Cinnamon cant hurt the plant give it a try


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

uniquely, if I were you I would remove plants from soil, completely submerge roots in alcohol for a couple of hours then rinse thoroughly and repot in sterile pot..get rid of the soil in the pot.


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

"Fungus gnat larvae are small, translucent to white in color with a distinctive black head capsule." University of CT Integrated Pest Management

You said yours are all white and do not have the black head capsule so it's unlikely they're fungus gnats.

I would move it away from my other plants and return ASAP since you've only had it a couple of days.

Linda


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

I am not at all sure that they are fungus gnat larvae; they are simply too white. These even look segmented though it's difficult to really see much of anything in detail.

If you aren't prepared to repot your plant, I'd take it back. Repotting might just do the trick though I sure as heck wouldn't soak it in alcohol for a couple of hours! Or even a couple of minutes, lol. Plantmastern, where did you hear that?


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

Your best choices are to either repot it completly (and probably ASAP so the worms don't cause anymore damage), or return it ASAP before the worms turn into something with wings and hurt other plants.

You could try something like soaking the soil with poison, like neem oil maybe?? I've never tried it, so i can't really give you adice on it.

BUT....you just got the plant...whatever they are, is the fault of where you bought the plant or the nurery it was raised at...so give it back to them...I know it's hard to get rid of a plant you really love...but the plant is gonna die and your disappointment is going to be worse. So you should choose something very quick...like maybe today.

Those are pretty much your choices regardless of whatever the critters might be. They're more then likely eating away at the roots this very moment. So if you decide to change the soil and the roots look bad...take it back right away, don't risk it, so examin the roots very carefully!!

-carmen


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

I would say they are either grubs or maggots, but to be honest I'm not good with stuff.

Though, if they are soft-bodied and on the surface, is it possible you (or the place you got it from) could have overwatered it? Dead roots would be perfect food for flies, and combined with a moist environment, they would have free roam in the pot.


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

Oops, sorry for a double post, but in the second picture, the one with near the leaf... Looks like it has antennae, and some of the ways the bodies are curving look to me distinctly millipede-ish.


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

I wondered if i saw antennae as well. I think that I know what these are, but I'll be darned if I can come up with the name right now. But I will!


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

Millipedes seemed dubious to me at first, but these look quite a bit like the ones in a picture from another thread. Can you tell if they have legs all along the length of their bodies?

Millipedes generally feed on decaying plant matter, like you'd find in any organic "potting soil" or from dropped leaves, etc, so they're pretty good candidates.

Did these guys show up after watering? Like earthworms, I think that draws them out to get some air. You could potentially kill them all individually, but there could be eggs as well, and they may have places to hide unseen.

Not sure what you can use to kill millipedes as a soil treatment (what works on insects or even spiders isn't guaranteed to work on them). You can test things like detergent solution on the adults you see, but eggs may survive even if it kills them, and you'd likely need repeated applications to get all of the adults (you'd also have to saturate the soil with water quite a bit, which could just attract more or other critters).

A little googling suggests that replacing the soil and rinsing the roots well before repotting would probably do the trick. I'd do that anyway, if they're still in the original soil--they could probably stand at the very least to be put in something amended heavily with perlite or the like, as the current soil looks very water retentive [you can start a new thread or search the forum for more advice on potting media than you can stand :) ].

Millipedes, springtails, fungus gnats and some other bugs and beasties are drawn to moist conditions due to the decay processes happening with organic materials, so this is one of the advantages to soils that are mostly inorganic.


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

Well, if they are antennae, it rules out any larvae that I know of! Of course, I've met some...um..."unique" characters in store-bought plants (yup, the web-making soil worm is dead, if anyone here saw that post a while back.)

For treatment: in my experience, all little ecosystems in my plants from the nursery just vanish, perhaps from the "dry spells" I...may or may not accidentally give them... And if the plant is healthy, I wouldn't worry TOO much about unidentified soil bugs (myriapods, if my guess is correct.)

The way that the bodies curve really signal to me that they have legs all the way down their sides so I am not budging from millipede (they should be harmless, but that's where my knowledge stops on them.)


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

Ok, I was thinking of symphalans, but the antennae appear to be too long. I have also considered proturans and even the larvae of springtails. All can be found in organic-y moist potting mediums.


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

Soaking the plant for a couple of hours in dishsoap water would dwon watever they are. Let is drain in the sink overbight and put it somewhere to dry out. And make sure you didnt wash dishes with
the water lol


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

Im sorry if I offended anyone rhizo, but I have done this with some of my plants and it didn't harm them, Im sure I don't know as much as you, I was just sharing what had worked for me


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

I don't even pretend to know everything but the thought of soaking a containerized plant in alcohol seems like pure trauma for the plant. I mean, what happens when the alcohol enters those fragile root hairs and starts moving through the vascular system? What happens when the cells of the plant are filled with alcohol instead of water?

I'm really asking....educate me. I am open to new information.


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

Then Plantmaster, it's worth pointing out that it worked for you, rather than you advocating it at large. I would expect that would kill a number of plants.

TeenG, We try to make recommendations for specific reasons, rather than 'it can't hurt', which in this case you really don't know if that is true.

UniqueD,

I doubt cinnamon will work for this, it's specifically recommended as anti-fungal, (& maybe anti-bacterial).

Some of these recently arrived folks really should consider whether or not they should be giving advice. Which is quite DIFFERENT than saying something worked for them.

You noobies w/ the bugs. I won't be sharing anymore bug prevention tips.

You all need to RETURN BUG LADEN PLANTS TO THE STORE WHERE PURCHASED. Period. They're very contagious & likely to spread to your other plants. Quarantine all newly purchased plants, for at least a month. Period.


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

I agree with pirate_girl:

1. Quarantine all newly-purchased plants and return them at the first sign of bugs. I was looking at a hoya in Lowe's recently and noticed mealies. I washed my hands thoroughy when I got home (without the plant)

2. Saying cinnamon can't hurt is the same as saying you don't know. What if the bugs fed on it? = : O

And rhizo is right, too: Even us oldbees don't know it all and wish to be educated. So, plantmasterm, please tell us why you used the soak, on what plants and if it was diluted or full strength (the alcohol; not the plant LOL). I hope not, but I might need that cure in the future.

Linda

PS: OP took advice and returned plants to store.


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

They look like milipedes that haven't seen light. Albino milipedes.

Cinnamon works great on plants w/rot. Last year I was told to sprinkle Cinnamon on a succulent 'top rot' from an expert grower on C&S Forum. Cinnamon did the job. The plant is alive and well.
However, I doubt it would rid/kill insects or if they'll eat the spice.

I don't want to sound like the voice of doom, but often, worms, spiders, etc are found in house plant soil.

Although I detest spiders and 'pedes, I sometimes find them in new plants AND my plants that are summered outdoors.

Finding a harmless insect is fairly common, 'even though I fear bugs,' but when Mealy, Mites, Scale, etc is present, it's best to return the plant. ASAP. And always isolate, until the infested plant can be returned.

When I shop locally, I check for bugs, but inspecting doesn't always work. Eggs are well-hidden, and eventually hatch.
I also shop online, which is risky, but I find plants not sold in my area.

I didn't read every post on this thread..did the insects have legs? Toni


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

All of you rude posters need to read post play nice..this post is for everyone, everyone here doesn't have a degree in botany or horticulture ..ppl like you make others lose interest in this site..we come here to learn not be belittled., we all had to start somewhere.


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

Plantmasterm:

If you viewed the part of my post regarding your use of alcohol as rude I do apologize. I am truly interested. If you don't want to post publicly, email me privately.

Linda


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

I don't see where anyone was rude. I certainly hope that you are not referring to me (with a degree) as being rude. I'd very much want you to reflect on that a little bit. We are all here to learn...and to share. I asked you a couple of questions about the alcohol soaking and if you can't answer them....that's no big deal. There might not be any studies about what happens when a plant is soaked in alcohol for a couple of hours. But I can tell you this....I'm not gonna test it! I'd be nervous as heck to put one of my plants to the test. Well, maybe that awful grafted cactus thing someone gave me a while back. It could use an alcohol soak. heh heh heh

This might be a good time for good old diatomaceous earth. A couple of tablespoons sprinkled on the top of the soil will cause some real problems for whatever-the-heck these things are without adding a toxic substance. Be sure to use horticultural or food grade DE and not the stuff used for pool filters. Won't hurt ANYTHING but any kind of arthropod meandering around in the potting medium.

Toni, I agree with you about being a bit put off when I see assorted livestock swarming around in the soil of a newly purchased plant. I can't think of ANY time when that would be a good thing, lol. At the very least, it speaks to poor maintenance practices at the garden center.


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

OP took advice and returned both this plant and the one with fungus gnats back to HD.

Linda


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RE: Are These Worms In My Calathea's (Prayer Plant) Soil? Pics...

First, I just want to say that I really appreciate everyone's recommendations and willingness to help me. I returned the plants. I would never be comfortable having a plant that is infected with who knows what and then eventually see it die. Plants are living and breathing just like us and my main reason for asking questions on this forum is to make sure I get as much knowledge as I can to ensure they live long healthy lives. I don't want to harm them and by getting advice by you wonderful people here on this website, I can try my best to take good care of them.

With that being said, thanks to everyone again and believe me, the questions will continue!


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