Sustainability made simple

How to Use Diatomaceous Earth For Your Plants

diatomaceous earth for plants
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / StockSnap

Diatomaceous earth is a nontoxic product you can use to help your plants flourish.

Diatomaceous earth is a crumply white powder made of fossilized algae organisms, called diatoms. The main ingredient in diatomaceous earth is silica. For plant use, you will need to make sure you get food-grade diatomaceous earth, which is safe for people and animals. Diatomaceous earth can be used on indoor and outdoor plants, but some of its benefits are more applicable to potted plants. 

Furthermore, diatomaceous earth is often used on farms, as silver polish, and for hair growth and anti-aging properties. 

Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth for Plants

Diatomaceous earth is perfect for succulent plants.
Diatomaceous earth is perfect for succulent plants.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / sweetlouise)

A nontoxic insecticide, diatomaceous earth is commonly used on plants to kill off unwanted insects. It works against insects such as aphids, pillbugs, mites, thrips, beetles, snails and slugs by dehydrating them. Diatomaceous earth is especially helpful in caring for potted plants, as it improves drainage by retaining water and nutrients while allowing excess water to drain through the soil. It provides beneficial texture to soil and slowly releases moisture over time, as soil dries out. This makes it ideal for plants such as cacti and succulents, or for those who have a hard time knowing how often to water their plants.

Using diatomaceous earth also helps plants develop healthy roots to absorb beneficial nutrients. Due to its dehydrating properties, diatomaceous earth also decreases mold growth on your top soil. This is important as mold can slowly kill your plant. Do not worry, however! There are many ways to save a plant from moldy soil.

While diatomaceous earth can be used on both indoor and outdoor plants, it is better to avoid using it outdoors at all. Insects are important to ecosystems, and insect populations are already in the midst of a mass extinction. 

How to Use Diatomaceous Earth for Plants: Instructions

Add diatomaceous earth to your plant care routine.
Add diatomaceous earth to your plant care routine.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / jag2020)
  1. If you are using diatomaceous earth on outdoor plants, use after a light rain or morning dew. Make sure to spray the powder when it is not windy.
  2. Wear goggles and a mask for safety. Also, make sure any children and pets are not in the area when you use diatomaceous earth. Once the dust settles, it’s fine for them to re-enter. 
  3. Put your diatomaceous earth in a dusting spray bottle.
  4. Dust the soil evenly, as well as the plant foliage on the inside and outside. Make sure the soil and leaves are completely covered with the dust.
  5. If you have an insect infestation, use diatomaceous earth every week for a month. If you are using it for maintenance, dust your plants monthly. 
  6. Once the dust is settled after about 5-10 minutes, it is safe for you, your family and any pets to be around the plants. 
  7. Keep in mind that the diatomaceous earth only lasts until the next time you water your plants, or after rainfall. Once wet, it is no longer effective and must be reapplied. 

You can find OMRI-listed food-grade diatomaceous earth from the US at Amazon**.

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** Links to retailers marked with ** or underlined orange are partially partner links: If you buy here, you actively support, because we will receive a small part of the sales proceeds. More info.

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