5 Different Types of Worms in Potted Plants

Last Updated: 19.10.2023
Dhruvdeep Singh
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Meet Dhruv, a writer and nature lover from Amritsar, Punjab, who fell in love with gardening during the lockdown. With a B.Tech in Computer Science and over four years of writing experience, he brings a tech-savvy perspective to gardening. Dhruv's articles are a journey into the world of plants, offering exciting adventures for fellow nature enthusiasts.

Have a look at the most commonly found Types of Worms in Potted Plants and learn more about whether they are beneficial or not.

Let’s learn about the different Types of Worms in Potted Plants and you can identify them easily to ensure your green friends stay happy for a long time to come!

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Types of Worms in Potted Plants

1. Red Wigglers or Earthworms

Types of Worms in Potted Plants

Scientific Name: Eisenia fetida

Type: Beneficial

This is one of the most common worms found in every garden soil. Earthworms are highly beneficial as they decompose the organic material and break them down for plant use. They burrow deep in the soil and generate humus, hence working as a catalyzer for natural compost or fertilizer preparations.

How to Identify– Earthworms have a 2-3 inches long brown-red body with slight yellowtail. They thrive in a wet and warm environment.

2. Grub Worms

Scientific Name: Phyllophaga spp

Type: Harmful

The grub worms are a big no for potted plants as they eat the plant’s roots and also the organic matter in the soil. These are the larval stage of the beetles with white outer skin. Their presence should be addressed as soon as possible, as they cause the plant to wilt and die.

How to Identify– White and pulpy 2-3 cm body in a curved c shape. Have a total of 6 legs.

Solution– Quarantine your plant to a separate place and spray insecticidal spray. If the infestation is too much, re-pot the whole plant with fresh potting soil.

3. Pot Worms

Types of Worms in Potted Plants 3

Botanical Name: Enchytraeids

Type: Beneficial

Pot worms are similar to baby earthworms, except for the fact that they have white bodies. These worms are found only in containers and are safe to the plants. They break down the organic matter present in the soil, help in accelerating the composting process, and also make the soil well-aerated.

How to Identify– These are tiny, slim, and white worms with slender body type.

4. Parasite Nematodes


Scientific Name: Nematode

Type: Harmful

The nematodes are small and have nonsegmented body structures. They hinder the foliage and flower growth and create brown spots of decay on the plant roots. If left unattended, they can be fatal to the potted plants.

How to Identify– They have a soft, white, and plump body with a non-segmented structure.

Solution– Use bleach or insecticidal water on leaves and roots. Re-pot the plant with fresh potting soil if the infestation is too much.

Note: Only parasite nematodes are harmful, the bacteria and fungal feeding nematodes that are generally found in agricultural lands are not dangerous.

5. Cutworms and Millipedes

Types of Worms in Potted Plants 3

Scientific Name: Diplopoda

Type: Beneficial

These cutworms or millipedes crawl underneath the foliage. They are only found in wet regions and you will hardly see them in dry hot and dry environments.

How to Identify– The cutworms have black-brownish bodies with hundreds of legs!

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