Diatomaceous Earth

This week for Plant Tip Tuesday...

As we continue to profile the common insects that can eb found coexisting with our indoor plants, we regularly recommend, "treating the soil with Diatomaceous Earth"; but what IS diatomaceous earth, and how is it used in the context of Integrated Pest Management?

Diatomaceous Earth ("dio earth") is made up of fossilized exoskeletons of phytoplankton, called Diatoms. These exoskeletons have sharp edges that are abrasive to the bodies of soil-dwelling insects, so as they come in contact with the mixture, they well, you know... dehydrate and expire!

The horticultural-grade dio earth that we use comes in a powder medium that can be sprinkled on, or mixed in to potting soil. 

  • If applying topically: use1/8 tsp dio earth per square inch of soil surface 
  • If making a topsoil mixture: a ratio of 10% dio earth to 90% soil can me made

Regardless of your preferred method, once you have applied dio earth, it's best kept dry for a few days, so plan your watering schedule to avoid this time. 

Although consuming or breathing in large amounts of diatomaceous earth is advised against, it is a mild organic product that is safe for the environment and to use around pets.