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millipedes in my dracaena marginata

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2005
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by leelee on August 31, 2005 12:57 PM
Hello, can someone please tell me how to kill a healthy amount of millipedes in my Dracaena? They are in the soil and crawl out the holes at the base of the pot. Is there a safe insecticide to use indoors? I also found a sappy substance on a new leaf. The plant appears to be healthy otherwise. It's a new house plant that I love. How can I save it? I went to a local nursery and they really were no help. They focus on outdoor plants. Thank you in advance!
by Cricket on August 31, 2005 02:56 PM
Hi Leelee,

Welcome to the forum. [wayey]

Completely submerge the pot in a tub of water for about half hour; the millipedes will leave the soil in search of air.

by leelee on August 31, 2005 11:59 PM
Thanks Cricket. I shall do as you suggested. [thumb]
by leelee on September 01, 2005 04:01 AM
Hello Cricket, they came a crawling out, even Big Mama Milli (6inches). There are still more. How often can I submerge the pot in water? Are Millipedes harmful to plants? Thanks again for your advice!
by Cricket on September 01, 2005 12:49 PM
Hi Leelee,

A 6 inch millipede?! [shocked] That's really gross, but I don't think millipedes are harmful to plants.
I am surprised there are millipedes who refused to abandon ship after submerging the pot. Stubborn critters! [Frown] But before repeating the dunk treatment, I would allow the soil to dry out 1/4 of the way down, otherwise you run the risk of over watering. Because the soil is saturated from submerging the pot in water, it might take a little longer than usual to dry out. Better to stick your finger into the soil to test for moisture than to rely on visuals or the calendar.

by gomerp618 on September 08, 2005 07:06 AM
I actually registered for this forum because I found some millipede or centipede looking things in one of my plants today too. I bought a musa basjoo, banana plant,from a local plant retailer. I let it sit for a while and decided to repot it today because it had clearly outgrown its pot. When I pulled it out of the pot, I was shocked to see so much of the soil moving. Those things were everywhere, adult ones and what I am asuming were babies too because they were whitish in color and not as dark as the rest. I took the plant outside, shook the dirt off and rinsed the whole root system off before repotting it in fresh soil. I also sprayed some insect stuff on it for good measure. I was wondering too if they were harmful to the plant, but then I got to thinking that according to literature I read, these plants normally grow outdoors and are hardy in zone 5, so I figure that if it was outside in the ground it would probably have many more bugs crawling around the roots as part of the natural process of life. I just don't want them in my house and I think maybe I should check the other plant I bought the same day from the same place. It is another form of Musa plant and may have the same bugs in it since it was sitting right beside it. Yuck [Frown]

* * * *
Lord, please let me be the person my dog thinks I am!
by Will Creed on September 08, 2005 08:15 AM
Hi Gomer,

For future reference, any plant that you purchase that you later find infested with pests should be returned to the retailer. A pest-infested plant is a poor-quality, defective plant. It is a clear indication that the grower has cut many corners and you will end up with an ailing plant.

Removing all soil from a plant is a very serious undertaking and not recommended except in dire circumstances that I can barely imagine. Such soil replacement puts the plant under tremendous stress. In addition, the soil quality that you purchase at the store is probably not as good as it should be.

Cricket's method for eradicating soil pests is a good one. It is simple, effective, and not stressful to the plant.

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