Diatomaceous Earth for Houseplants: Pros and Cons

If you’re looking for an all-natural way to get rid of pests on your houseplants, you may have heard of diatomaceous earth. This substance is made up of tiny, sharp particles that can kill insects by piercing their exoskeletons. While it’s an excellent option for outdoor plants, there are some pros and cons to using diatomaceous earth on indoor plants. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of using DE on houseplants and some other options if you don’t have access to this powdery substance.

What Is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth is a powdery substance made up of the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of algae. These tiny fossils are sharp enough to pierce an insect’s exoskeleton, leading to dehydration and death. Diatomaceous earth can be used as a natural pesticide on indoor and outdoor plants.

Additionally, diatomaceous earth can be used as a soil amendment. It’s rich in minerals like silicon, calcium, and iron, improving plant health. This substance can also help with drainage and aeration in compacted soils.

Pros and Cons of Using Diatomaceous Earth on Houseplants

There are pros and cons to using diatomaceous earth on houseplants.

Some benefits of using DE on indoor plants include: it can help with pests, it’s a natural product, and affordable. Some other pros of DE are that it can help with mold and mildew and be used as a fertilizer.

The cons of using DE on houseplants are that it can be harmful if inhaled, and you need to be careful not to get it wet, or it will clump up. If you use too much DE on your plants, it can also burn them.

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It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of using DE on your plants before deciding if it’s right for you. Other options, like neem oil or insecticidal soap, can also help with pests on houseplants.

Soil amendments like compost or vermiculite can also help improve the drainage and health of your plants. But, ultimately, the best way to keep your houseplants healthy is by providing them with the right amount of water and light and keeping an eye out for any pests or diseases.

Can You Put Diatomaceous Earth on Potted Plants?

If you’re wondering whether you can put diatomaceous earth on potted plants, the answer is yes! Diatomaceous earth can be a great addition to your houseplant care routine. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when using diatomaceous earth on potted plants.

First, you need to ensure that the diatomaceous earth is food grade. You don’t want to use the kind of diatomaceous earth used in pool filters, as this can be harmful to plants.

Second, you’ll need to ensure that the potting soil is damp before applying the diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth can help control pests, but it won’t work if the potting soil is dry.

Third, you’ll want to apply a thin layer of diatomaceous earth to the surface of the potting soil. You don’t need to cover the entire plant with diatomaceous earth, which can be harmful. Just a light dusting will do.

You can safely use diatomaceous earth on potted plants if you follow these tips. Just be sure to monitor your plants closely and adjust the amount of diatomaceous earth you use as needed.

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How You Apply Diatomaceous Earth to Houseplants

When applying diatomaceous earth to houseplants, you must target the insects directly. You can do this by dusting the leaves of your plants with a small amount of DE. If you have a lot of plants, you can also mix the DE with water in a spray bottle and apply it to the leaves in a very light mist. However, be careful not to use too much, as this can damage the leaves of your plants.

In my experience, diatomaceous earth is most effective against soft-bodied pests, such as aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. It can also get rid of fungus gnats, but it may not be as effective against more hardy bugs, like whiteflies.

If you find that a specific type of bug is attacking your plants, you can find out what kind it is and then look up whether DE will work against that particular type of insect. However, in most cases, diatomaceous earth will do something to help get rid of the pests.

Can You Use Too Much Diatomaceous Earth on Plants?

If you’re unsure how much diatomaceous earth to use on your plants, it’s best to start small and gradually increase the dosage until you see the desired results. On the other hand, using too much can lead to plant damage, so it’s essential to be mindful of the amount you’re using.

Another thing to keep in mind is that diatomaceous earth can also be harmful to beneficial insects, so be sure to only use it on plants infested with pests. If you’re looking for a more natural way to control pests on your plants, other options are available, such as neem oil or insecticidal soap.

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Alternatives to Using Diatomaceous Earth

You may not have any diatomaceous earth available, or the store may be sold out; in that case, there are a few other things you can do for your houseplants.

One common way to get rid of pests on plants is to use rubbing alcohol. You can either spray the plant with it or dip a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and apply it to the affected areas. This method will kill most pests on contact. However, you will need to reapply it if any new problems appear.

Another option is insecticidal soap. Insecticidal soap can be sprayed on the plant, and like with rubbing alcohol, will kill most pests on contact; however, it can also harm some plants, so you will need to test it out on a small area before spraying the entire plant.

Finally, you have the option to use something like neem oil. Neem oil is a natural pesticide that can be sprayed on plants. It works by disrupting the life cycle of the pests and will eventually kill them. However, it can take a few days or even weeks to work, so be patient.

Whichever method you choose, follow the instructions carefully and always test it out on a small area first to make sure your plant doesn’t have an adverse reaction.


I hope this post has given you some insight into the pros and cons of using diatomaceous earth on your indoor plants. Other options are available if you’re looking for a more natural way to control pests. The most important thing is that whatever method you choose, be sure to follow instructions carefully and test it out first before applying any product or substance to all your houseplants!