Can I Put Compost Worms In My Garden?

Compost has many stellar benefits for growing plants, and that is why it is so often found by the garden. However, some components of compost, such as worms, can add confusion to the usual eagerness a gardener has to take advantage of composting.

They may find themselves wondering, “Can I Put Compost Worms in My Garden?”

According to government resources, compost worms are useful in the composting process; however, some composting is not suitable for a few popular garden plants. For example, roses, strawberries, and most types of citrus don’t have enough tolerance in their root systems to handle worm-produced compost, which is often high in ammonia and bacteria. 

In this article, we will provide a complete answer to the question “Can I put compost worms in my garden?” We’ll go over what compost worms do and why or why not that is beneficial to gardens.

We’ll answer some frequently asked questions on the topic, as well! With so much to go over, let’s get right into it.

put compost worms in my garden

What Are Compost Worms?

Compost worms are a type of worm that is used to recycle organic material (particularly scraps of food leftover from human waste) into a type of soil amendment.

This amendment of soil is super valuable, and is called “vermicompost,” though many people know it simply as worm compost.

As worms eat scraps of food and other organic material, their bodies process what they eat and pass it out as a type of odor-free material that turns out to be pretty good for the health of most plants.

Typically, the chemical and cellular makeup of this compost boosts the growth and nutrition of plants in general; perennials, vegetables, herbs, and most types of flowers and fruit trees are happier with compost made by worms.

However, this is not true for all plants, and some of the most popular choices for a garden may be harmed by compost worms.

Let’s find out how.

Should Compost Worms Be Used in My Garden?

 As previously mentioned, compost worms can be used in a garden, but not if certain plants are in that garden.

This is because some worm compost actually contains a type of bacteria that stems from the worms eating meat, or are high in ammonium content. Not all plants that are often found in gardens can handle this content.

We’ll list which those are below:


Roses are actually one of the most popular garden flowers, but one of the most prone to be hurt by compost worms.

You see, roses of all kinds have comparatively shallow roots. This means they also have a low tolerance for ammonium and bacteria made from the meat worms digest.


Trees or plants that produce citrus are sensitive to the same elements of worm compost.

Ammonia is toxic to citrus trees, which absorb moisture from soil. If that soil has worm compost in it, your citrus trees will be injured by how much of that chemical they are also absorbing.

Strawberry Plants

Strawberry plants are also among those which can be injured or sickened by worm compost.

This is because the bacteria that is found in worm compost is not nutritious to strawberries, though it can be nutritious to other plants.

If any of the above three categories of plants are found in your garden, consider using a different type of compost than those created by worms.

Otherwise, carefully feed your compost worms with non-meat-based foods in order to decrease the ammonia and bacteria that can be harmful to roses, citrus, and strawberry plants!

Frequently Asked Questions

With so much information available on the right way to compost, how to incorporate compost worms into the process, and which plants it will benefit, it is likely that more questions about this topic are coming up while you learn! Never fear: we have the answers for you in the FAQ section below:

Can you put compost worms into the garden?

Technically you can put compost worms directly into a garden so that they can produce worm compost around the plants immediately.
However, as mentioned above, if your garden includes citrus, strawberry plants, or roses, you should not put compost worms around them.
This is because compost worms tend to eat meat and ammonia-high waste, which leads to compost that is chemically harmful to those specific plants.

What happens if I put worms in my garden?

Generally, worms placed in a garden can improve the soil’s makeup, which in turn improves the health of the plants that soil supports! However, remember that worms creating compost from a meat-heavy diet can be harmful to rose bushes, citrus trees, and strawberry plants, specifically.

Can I put store-bought worms in my garden?

You can put store-bought worms in your garden, and many do, since worms are often sold in whole pounds at garden retailers.
That being said, often those who buy worms from the store instead of creating a habitat in which worms can reproduce find themselves having to buy more each season.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, you can put compost worms in your garden. Usually, this encourages growth for plants. However, if the worms eat a meat or ammonia-heavy diet, their compost will reflect it, and this kind of chemical ingredient can be harmful to some plants. Those plants are citrus trees, rose bushes, and strawberry plants.

Otherwise, putting compost worms in a garden is a great idea!

You may also like

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.

Calculate the amount of soil you need for pots, raised beds or planter with the help of this easy to use Soil Calculator