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House Plants/Red Sister plant with worms


We are new to gardening and house plants.  We purchased a Red Sister plant and it is dying and there are several worms in the soil.  If we do the 50/50 water and alchol on the leaves, stem and when we replace the soil do we need to cut any leaves off or any parts of the stem?  Just want to make sure we get it all so we can have a healthy plant. The worms are very skinny and also some that are fatter.

Thank you.


It is not necessary to cut any leaves off or any parts of the stem. It is not necessary to replace the soil either. Just set it in the sink without the drain tray and run straight alcohol through it. Then leave it sit and drain for at least 8 hours. NEVER leave it sit with water in the drain tray EVER. Don't water it until it has been dry for a week.  Reduce the amount of water you give it by half and do not water it again until it has been dry for 3 days. The worms are the larva of fungus gnats that are there because you have overwatered it and there are rotting roots that they are drawn to because they smell them. To them rotting roots smell like steak. Just like overripe bananas smell wonderful to fruit flies. You have to make sure the plant dries out between waterings so the roots have time to heal. The alcohol will kill the worms. You may need a 2nd application 22 weeks later. Good luck!


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Darlene K. Kittle


I have been an Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years and I raise around 300 houseplants and bonsai trees a year including tropicals, succulents, and cacti. I have also been a professional plant care person for businesses in the Fort Wayne, IN area and currently professionally care for bonsai trees for my customers.


I am also studying the Japanese art of bonsai with tropical plants and is President of the Fort Wayne, IN Bonsai Club.

Fort Wayne, iN Master Gardeners. President of the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club. Allen County Master Gardeners

I am not a hortculturist. I am a Purdue University Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years. I have studied plants on a personal level by growing hundreds of plants annually for the last 35 years. I have also studied under several nationally known American Bonsai experts.

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