Millipedes Or Centipedes In The Plant Pots Soil: What To Do?

Centipedes and centipedes in the potting soil in the flower pot are not a very nice idea for most people. Many are disgusted by the otherwise harmless and even useful animals. If they are found in the potting soil, this is actually not a bad sign. Stupidly, the sight of and contact with these fascinating insects often makes us completely cranky. Despite all the advantages, we do not want them in our homes and get rid of them as soon as possible.

Millipedes
Arthropods, whose Latin name is Anthropoda, are a relatively large group within insects. The millipedes and centipedes also belong to this group. Of the more than 10,000 known species, the majority live in the tropics. There, the animals can sometimes reach a very considerable size. Some of them are also poisonous. The species that are found in Northern Europe may be classified as completely harmless. They do not pose any danger to humans or mammals. However, they feed mainly on other insects. Among them are also many that we would classify as pests. Consequently, we should be happy about every arthropod that has nested near our plants.

Tip: If a centipede appears in your home, you should not simply kill it. It makes more sense to catch it with a glass and a piece of paper and then move it outside.

Tausendfßer, Myriapoda

Centipedes in the potting soil
It is noticeable that anthropoda can be found again and again in the soil of our houseplants. If one notices them for the first time, it is usually connected with a big fright. However, there is no reason to panic. The animals are completely harmless to the plant. On the contrary, they even benefit it, because typical plant pests such as aphids are among their prey. The question naturally arises as to where the arthropods, which are perceived as disgusting, come from. The answer becomes clear when one realizes that the earth is something of a natural habitat for these animals. They play an important part in the rotting or composting processes that are the basis of nutrient-rich soil. So it is perfectly normal that this soil then also contains the eggs or at least a few adult animals. So if you get soil from the garden or from the compost for your houseplants, it is quite possible that you will also bring centipedes or centipedes into your home.

Tip: With high-quality, bought potting soil from the specialized trade the problem occurs rather rarely. The soil contained there is hygienically prepared before packaging.

Getting rid of centipedes in potting soil
No matter how useful these animals may be, you still want to get rid of them. This can be done in three basic ways. In most cases, it is enough to remove the animals by hand or with the help of a glass. If you want to be on the safe side, you should subject your plant to an extensive immersion bath. This is the best way to do it:

  • Fill a large bucket with fresh water
  • place the plant and the pot in the bucket
  • the flower pot must be completely covered with water
  • leave the plant in the bucket for at least ten minutes
  • then remove the pot and let it drain well
  • place the plant on an absorbent surface for drying
  • Dump the water in the bucket into the toilet or use it for watering in the garden.


As a rule, neither the adult anthropoda nor their eggs survive such a procedure. It is important that the fully soaked soil in the pot can dry out well afterwards. In most cases, the plant should not be watered for a few days. If, after the water bath for the plant, centipedes or centipedes appear again on it or in its soil, you can not avoid changing the soil completely. It goes like this:

  • Remove the plant together with the substrate from the pot.
  • completely remove the root system from the planting soil
  • be very careful not to cause any damage to the plant.
  • also thoroughly clean the plant pot
  • then replant the plant with fresh potting soil from the specialty store.


Of course, the removed soil must not be used again for houseplants. It is best to dispose of it in the compost.

Control agents
By the way, it is not a very good idea to try to fight centipedes and centipedes with insecticides. It is true that there are agents that cause the animals to die. However, one should be skeptical about the use of these means in principle. Of course home remedies against anthropoda are not known. What would help against these insects is a dry and cold room temperature as much as possible, because they love a warm and humid climate. However, this should not be good for most plants.