If you’ve ever added red worm castings to your potting soil from your vermicompost bin, you probably have some worms in your plant containers. When you see one of your red worms in a container’s potting soil, you can put it back in the worm bin to help decompose kitchen waste into “black gold” (nutritious fertilizer for your plants), or you can leave it in the container. Worms are beneficial for container plants.
Red worms or regular earthworms can be used in plant containers (although earthworms should not be used in the vermicomposting bin because they will die). Benefits of keeping worms in plant containers include:
- Better air circulation
- Higher nutrient breakdown for plants
- Less potting soil compaction
- Maintenance of slightly acidic soil (which is beneficial for most plants)
If you don’t keep a vermicomposting bin with red worms, you can build a compost bin and start creating great compost for your container plants, or go find some free earthworms. Go to a local park or a friend or family member’s yard, and start digging! You can even “save” earthworms you find on the sidewalk and put them in your containers.
Don’t add too many worms to your containers – just a couple per container. And don’t add worms to pots that are too small (keep them in 1-gallon pots or larger). When adding worms to a plant container, loosen the topsoil slightly and cover them with some soil. The worms will want to get into the potting soil and away from the sunlight as quickly as possible. The worms will help increase the health of your container plants and your entire garden. Your potting soil shouldn’t be completely sanitized and free of life. Encourage worms in your balcony garden in your plant containers and in worm bins. There’s no doubt that your container plants will be healthier after you’ve added worms to the garden.