Are centipedes good for plants, is a question you’ve probably asked yourself every time you see them crawling on the soil or the leaves.Benefits of Centipedes for Plants

As a matter of fact, centipedes feed on the pests that harm your plants, so they’re considered beneficial to your home garden as long as they’re under control. Keep reading this article as we let you know all about these garden symphylans.

Are Centipedes Good for Your Plants?

Yes, centipedes are good for your plants because they would help your plants get rid of unwanted weeds, and it would also help nourish the soil. In addition, they also help improve the aeration in the soil and control the pests around the plant.

If you’re new to gardening, seeing small centipedes in soil or millipedes in houseplants might be alarming. However, these beneficial creatures can enrich your garden with nutrients by being around and in your plants. Yet, they might sometimes get out of control, especially in your indoor garden, so you need to understand their role and how to eliminate them if necessary.

They are nocturnal and usually hide in plant pots and under plants in your garden to protect themselves from the sun. So, they might be hard to see at times, but you might occasionally find them crawling. Centipedes are typically faster and harder to see than millipedes; they’re mostly carnivores, making them highly beneficial to indoor and outdoor plants. They have long antennae and one pair of legs per body segment in various colors.

– Getting Rid of Unwanted Weeds

If you have, both millipedes and centipedes, are relatively thick, rigid, and scavengers, feeding on dead organic matter. This is why, they might feed on your garden’s dead leaves, weeds, fungi, and insects if you consider the query, “What are the benefits of millipedes in the garden.”

They play an essential role in the breakdown of organic matter in your garden, enriching your soil with nitrogen and other essential nutrients. Although they might not be that appealing, these creatures feed on the pests and bugs that destroy the foliage and kill your plants.

There are thousands of species of millipedes that you might see in your garden. They have two pairs of legs on the sides of body segment, and they’re typically dark in color. Some of them are strictly herbivores so that they can eat your plants’ roots, but note that, in general, these creatures won’t kill or harm your plants in the long run.

Millipedes usually eat dead botanic matter, including dead roots, dead leaves, and fallen fruits; if you are wondering “what do garden millipedes eat.” This is why they help decompose materials and enrich the soil with compost and humus. As a result, they contribute to increasing the nutrients and moisture in the soil, making it more suitable for plants and vegetables.

– Nourishing the Soil

Millipedes and centipedes restore nutrients in the soil by acting like natural compost producers. Centipedes feed on soil-dwelling insects and their larvae, and their waste releases nutrients back into the soil, keeping it rich and fertile.Restoring Nutrients in The Soil

Millipedes feed on decaying matter like dead leaves and fallen fruit, so together, these two creatures help create humus which holds moisture in the soil and benefits your landscape. They can also help control the spread of diseases that would be in the soil, as they feed on the insects that carry pathogens from one plant to another. Finding centipedes and millipedes in a plant pot isn’t alarming, as they can benefit your plants in multiple ways.

– Improving Aeration

Centipedes and millipedes are burrowers and dig the soil to search for food, build houses, or lay eggs. By doing so, these creatures can help improve the aeration in soil, providing the plant roots with more air.

Although you might not see the tunnels dug by these animals, your plants will benefit significantly from their burrowing motion. This is especially crucial if you have compact and clay soil.

– Pest Control

Centipedes feed on several insects that might harm your plants. They feed on several garden pests, including soil-dwelling mites, larvae, snails, slugs, and flies. They can also help control the number of home pests that might be attracted to your houseplants, including silverfish, spiders, cockroaches, and moths.Controling Pests with Centipedes

Millipedes feed on dead organic matter, so they can feed on dead animals and plants, including dead insects in your garden. In addition, they help fertilize the soil and help decompose organic matter. So, they play a significant role in organic pest control inside and outside the garden without using any harmful chemicals.

Centipedes are predators, and if you have various pests, they will help the plant get rid of them, as they act like a beneficial insect, especially if you’re wondering, “What do soil centipedes eat”. They have venomous glands that allow them to catch their prey, and they feed on them to help with pest control. They also feed on snails, slugs, moths, and cockroaches, so they’re beneficial whether they live near your indoor or outdoor plants.

Can Centipedes and Millipedes Become Harmful?

Yes, arthropods can become a nuisance if you find them in your house in large numbers. Millipedes can sometimes feed on living plant matter, especially seedlings. During migration periods, they start feeding on the foliage and roots, but they rarely damage your plants and may get out of their pots.Millipedes on Living Plant

– Controlling Them

If you feel that these creatures are getting out of control in your garden, you can use diatomaceous earth or wood ashes to keep them away from the above-ground parts of your plants. Just sprinkle them around your plants, shrubs, and trees. You may also try to use them to get rid of these arthropods inside the house if you see a house centipede or millipede roaming around the indoor plants you’re keeping inside the house.

Using an insect killer spray can be a fast solution for dealing with centipedes and millipedes. If you see a soil centipede in houseplants, you can easily spray it to prevent it from laying eggs and spreading its offspring inside the house. However, most homeowners don’t prefer to do this to avoid using chemicals that might harm pets and children.

In most cases, centipedes and millipedes will move into houseplant pots from the nursery or travel from the soil to pots on the patio or deck. These creatures prefer cool and dark places, hiding in the plant pots you later bring inside. So, you might see them traveling from one indoor plant pot to another.

– Repotting the Plant

In the case of heavy infestation, the best thing you can do is to repot your houseplants. Fresh soil will be clean, and you can place a layer of thin wire to cover the drainage holes. This allows the extra water to drain, but centipedes and millipedes won’t get into your plant pots. You can also immerse the whole pot with the plant in some of lukewarm water. These animals aren’t aquatic, and they will drown in the water.Repotting Houseplants for Growth

There are several methods to eliminate centipedes, depending on the degree of infestation. You can use an insecticide spray if you see one or two centipedes. If you want to avoid using chemicals, sticky traps will work.

You’ll find these animals as they leave plant pots to look for insects at home. After that, you can release them in your garden or get rid of them. Washing the soil and repotting the plant might be necessary if you have too many centipedes and millipedes in potted plants.


Centipedes and millipedes are found in your garden and indoor plants; here is the sum-up:

  • In general, centipedes and millipedes aren’t harmful as they help decompose organic matter, increase humus, improve aeration, and help with organic pest control.
  • Centipedes feed on insects and larvae, while millipedes feed on plants.
  • These arthropods can be found in indoor pots and may get out of control.
  • In cases of heavy infestation, millipedes might start feeding on live plant parts, but they rarely damage your plants.

So, you shouldn’t be alarmed if you see these arthropods roaming around your indoor or outdoor plants. However, if they get out of your control, you may opt to take a few measures to eliminate them.

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