Does Potting Soil Have Bugs? (+ How To Fix )

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Those tiny black bugs are the most common and annoying things for soil and plants, and the worst thing about them is that they can come in different forms and ways and they can manifest quickly if you don’t pay attention to them.

If you are planning to get new potting soil or potting mix for your plants and wonder whether potting soil can produce bugs, or Is it OK to have bugs in your soil? but you are afraid that the soil can bring bugs and gnats to your home, today we will answer all your questions.

Almost any type of soil can have bugs, as most plants attract them because they feed on their roots and leaves. If you get a new plant , there might be more chances of bugs hiding between the leaves and in the soil even if it has new potting soil. However, if you buy potting soil, most brands do not use insecticides to keep bugs away, and bags that are not appropriately sealed will let bugs get inside.

Keep reading to know more about how to deal with indoor soil bugs, how to get the best soil with no bugs and how to get rid of them.

Does Potting Soil Have Bugs?

Most potting soil or mix do not have bugs but with time it can attract them, but if you already notice small bugs running around on your plant, there is more chance that they do not come with soil, but the soil or the plant attracts them.

How To Know If Potting Soil Will Produce Bugs?

There are many signs to tell if potting soil is not healthy and can build up bugs, However, sometimes pests will live in good soil or the plant, so do not expect potting soil to smell bad like food or other materials.

And there are many signs that will tell you that the soil is not going to perform well.

  • Bad odor
  • There is mold in the soil
  • Hard to dry and soggy all the time

Here are some of the common houseplant bugs and insects that live in the plant and in the soil.

Root AphidThese aphids live in plants soil, and they spread and grow quickly
Fungus GnatThee insects feed in soil, and they like humidity
Russet MiteTiny small mite that are hard to detect
Scale InsectsThese pests attach themselves to the twigs, leaves, and branches of plants
Spider Mitesval-shaped and very tiny insect
SpringtailsThey love warm place and they work in groups, you can see them running away if you move the soil or the leaves
ThripsThis is a common dangerous pest that can be found indoors and outdoor they damage plants by sucking their juices and scraping flowers and leaves
WhitefliesAlso work in groups under the leaves or dead branches
AphidFeeding in new plants growth
Leaf MinerThese pests are not dangerous for plants, but they still live in the leaves, between the outer skin layers.
MealybugSmall insect that looks like white cotton, they are not dangerous but still you need to get rid of them
Source: planetnatural

Are Bugs Good For Plant Soil?

There are actually some types of bugs that have benefits for the soil, and will enrich it especially if they produce eggs.

Soil mites are an example that can be used as a natural fertilizer to make the soil rich. Especially the eggs that help to improve the nutrient in the soil and make them provide the plant with more benefits.

What Causes Bugs In Potting Soil?


However there are various different types of bugs that live in the potting soil, but most bugs live and propagate in the plant leaves or branches.

Bugs that live in both plants and the soil mostly are caused by humidity or a lack of air circulation.

The adult bugs will produce eggs in the soil, or plant leaves and infest quickly if they find their appropriate environment.

How To Get Rid Of Bugs In Indoor Plants’ Soil?

There are so many ways to get rid of bugs on indoor plants’ soil, and make your plant happy.

Check regularly

Most houseplants are prone to attract small bugs any time, and the best way to tackle them is to check your plant regularly, almost everyday or every two days.

You can do a routine checks whenever you get home, or whenever you water them, see if there are small creatures, or pests, if you do not notice anything that’s good but if your plant or soil have small bugs you can get rid of them using bug repellent or some DIY insecticides.

The most common way is to use soap and water: mix 2 tablespoons of neem oil, 2-3 tablespoons mild liquid soap, and 1 gallon of water.


Let the soil dry out

Small bugs like water, and whenever you water your plant they are getting more food and energy to manifest and produce new babies.

But if you let the soil dry that will make them suffer from lack of food and water.

I don’t think this is a preferred way for many people as this may affect the plant itself but it still works, if you don’t want to use any insecticides or change the soil.

Change the pot and soil

This is my preferred way, if you haven’t already changed the pot of your plant for a long time, then this is the time to do it.

Take out your plant from the pot and rinse its roots with water, remove all the soil and any remaining bugs, and re-pot your plant again.

You can use the same pot but change the soil, ensure that you clean the pot perfectly and remove any moss outside (if there is some), as bugs and small pests can hide anywhere even outside the pot.

Some bugs like mealybugs are hard to detect if they live in soil, you can’t see them unless you take the plant out of the pot and inspect the soil.

but as long as you move the soil you will notice them running around.

Use Insecticides

There are many insecticides to use that are effective to get rid of bugs in your plant, most people use them, but you will need to be careful.

Using a strong insecticide will remove the bugs but will hurt the plant also, especially the roots.

You can use Garden Safe or any other brand , they remove any houseplant insects and bugs in any stage including eggs.

Some insecticide will need to be reapplied, especially those in an open space as the water will dilute the effectiveness of the product.

The Verdict

So does indoor potting soil have bugs?

Growing plants is a fun thing to do, and dealing with bugs is part of the process of making your plants happy and one way to keep your plants healthy is by watching them, and providing quality and healthy soil.

Bugs can live in any type of soil, not just potting soil, and the sooner you detect them the easiest it will be to get rid of them before they infest and reproduce.

We hope this helps.

Nadine is a passionate gardening writer sharing practical tips, innovative ideas, and valuable insights on plant and soil care, In her spare time, she tries to convince her plants to grow by singing them catchy tunes.

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