March 26, 2009 at 7:42 am

As I’ve started to grow my garden, I’ve also started to grow a few houseplants. I have a couple succulents, including the ever useful and difficult to kill Aloe Plant. I also have an incredibly hardy orange tree, that I’ve tried to kill several times in the last year and half, but it just keeps plugging on. It’s got three little green oranges on it right now! In Colorado!


Last weekend, I repotted the tree into a much larger pot, and noticed a handful of these little wormy/catapillar bugs in the tray below the plant. When I repotted the tree, the roots seemed in good shape, and I sunk the tree deeply in moist, rich, dark compost and then brought it back inside. A few days later, I was examining the roots and noticed that there was an explosion of the little wormies. I pulled a few out and eventually identified them as millipedes.

Millipedes from the Orange Tree 03-09

I always thought millipedes were much larger, and lived in outside gardens. However, this tree sat outside all summer last year, and seems to have picked up a bit of an “infestation.” The new, moist compost has made them VERY happy as well.

I’m left with a sort of a quandary here. The tree is big, and the pot is huge and heavy, so soaking the plant or roots to kill the buggies is not really possible. I have, after reading a bunch on the interwebs, learned that potted plants should only use sterilized potting soil. But this is a tree. Do trees grow in potting soil?

In a few weeks, it will be warm enough outside to move the tree back out, and then I don’t really care if there’s millipedes in the pot. They don’t seem to be harming the tree at all, especially if they’ve been in there all winter. My current line of attack is to fill the top inch of the soil with Diatomaceous Earth. I think this will keep the ‘pedes in the pot, at least until I move the tree outside again.

Millipedes from the Orange tree 03-09