Be the worm...you are the worm
Updated: Jun 12, 2020
You know how your duvet is really cuddly and warm after a good shake? Well, houseplant compost also works better when it’s aerated and fluffy. Air pockets in the compost allow water, nutrients and air to circulate and provide room for roots to grow. Without soil organisms like worms and insects wriggling around and fluffing things up, compost needs a helping hand. If your plant’s compost is hard and water runs off the top instead of sinking in, it’s probably compacted.
Repotting every two years or so is a good way to keep compost fluffy, well aerated, and free-draining. But what can you do in the meantime? Well, you can pretend to be a worm. Seriously, it’s really easy and your houseplants will be SO much happier. Simply poke the compost with a chopstick, skewer, or even a pick-up-stick. Gently push your chosen ‘worm’ in as far as it will go (if you feel resistance from roots, stop). Then move it around in a wide circle to loosen the compost. Aim for one ‘worming’ per square inch.
It’s best to worm your plants at least once a month, preferably more often. Worming won’t add to your plant maintenance time, in fact you’ll spend less time watering because water will sink into the soil more easily. Your plant’s roots will get more space, water, nutrients and oxgen, helping them grow healthy and strong.