Diatomaceous Earth for Houseplants – How to Use?

Plants look beautiful only under good maintenance. Nobody wants slugs or aphids in their house or garden, and throwing them out of the room every time is not a pretty thing to experience either. These slimy structures cause great harm to plants, most likely during the rainy season, and leave a nasty smell wherever they go. 

The soft body mollusks dwell on algae, leftovers, mold, and compost for food. Any refuge areas like vents, drains are their homes. Slugs also find smelly areas their favorite spot.

One way to get rid of slugs is to use diatomaceous earth. This article highlights the main benefits to using diatomaceous earth for houseplants. Let’s dive in…

What Is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth helps in removing slugs and aphids from potted plants. It is the fossilized remaining of microscopic organisms called diatoms found in the ocean bed, river streams, or any water bodies.

Silica is an essential element in diatomaceous earth. Silica is very hard to find, for which diatomaceous earth is beneficial. Insects like pill bugs, mites slugs, beetles, aphids, and other exoskeletons are affected by Diatomaceous earth.

The diatomaceous earth appears as a loose powdery white thing with a sharp edge and small modules. The sharp edges tear the exoskeleton of the insects, which drains out the fat and water from their body. As a result, they dehydrate themselves to death in a few days of applying diatomaceous earth to the soil pot.

What Are The Types Of Diatomaceous Earth?

There are three types of diatomaceous earth, which are each treated very differently for different purposes.

Pool Grade Diatomaceous Earth

The pool grade diatomaceous earth acts with high heat. The treatment is known as calcination. This type of diatomaceous earth is used for filtering impurities in water, not for home or garden purposes.

Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

The food grade diatomaceous earth does not go through any calcination. It is composed of amorphous silica.

This variety of diatomaceous earth also passes through certain quality tests before it claims ‘food-grade.’ It is the best quality of a diatomaceous earth that is used for home and gardens.

It is pretty safe for livestock and pets consumption for the natural de-worming capacity it possesses. You can also apply this on house pets to get rid of fleas, ticks, and other parasites.

Feed Grade Diatomaceous Earth

The feed grade diatomaceous earth has no use in today’s world. Prior to the invention of food-grade diatomaceous earth, it was the ‘go-to’ thing for every purpose. Now, the market has shifted to the food grade diatomaceous earth.

How to Use Diatomaceous Earth for Potted Plants?

Whenever you find the potting plant’s pest infested, you can use diatomaceous earth.

But first things first, if you have children in your house, keep them away while applying diatomaceous earth.

The best time to apply the diatomaceous earth to the soil is in the morning, once the dew goes less. The little sun after a light rain is also a preferable time to mix the soil.

The substance is dry and powder-like. Try not to use it during a rainy season or before watering the plants as it will wash away. Also, protect the diatomaceous earth from any dust contamination.

It should not be a windy day as the powder might wear off!

The best way to apply diatomaceous earth is to apply it on the potting soil. Using a dust spreader can be an effective way to spread it all over the surface. You can also spread it on the foliage to kill the insects and protect the plants.

Another way of applying diatomaceous earth to a potted plant is by mixing it with water. This way, you will not trap the dust with the diatomaceous earth powder all over your garden.

The ratio to use diatomaceous earth with water is simple: Add 2 cups of diatomaceous earth and a gallon of water. Then spray this all over the plants and soil.

How Often To Apply Diatomaceous Earth?

You can apply Diatomaceous earth to the soil or plants whenever you see insects. Personally, I apply diatomaceous earth once a month to the soil. Since it makes the soil porous, you don’t need to apply a lot of fertilizer daily.

Different Uses of Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a multi-purpose element. You can use it for different things, at different times.

Filter-Grade And Food-Grade Ingredient

You can use the fossilized algae in multiple ways. As mentioned earlier, silica is the main ingredient present in two forms – crystalline and non-crystalline. Nowadays, it is popularly known as a dietary supplement. The crystalline form is necessary for certain industrial uses for its glass-like appearance.

When used for food-grade, Diatomaceous earth contains 0.5 – 2% of the crystalline silica. This concentration is used as an agricultural food or insecticide in food industries.

The non-food ingredient usage includes diatomaceous earth with 60% or more crystalline silica. It is used for dynamite production and filtering water.

Diatomaceous Earth As An Insecticide

Insecticides are the go-to friend if you are into gardening. They protect the plant health and soil from any unwanted creature who meant to harm your hard work on the green beauties. The diatomaceous earth solves every problem that a houseplant will face.

You can use the food-grade diatomaceous earth as an insecticide any day. It kills the slugs by dehydrating them from the water content of their body. All you have to do is mix the powdery structure with soil and let it be for some days.

Using Diatomaceous Earth to Get Rid of Wasps

Aphids and wasps can disturb the natural balance of your garden. They dwell by eating plant leaves that can slowly decay the whole plant in a very less span. Diatomaceous earth is a very effective wasp killer.

Sprinkle a sufficient amount of diatomaceous earth in places where you see the wasps. Do not forget to cover the area with adequate coverage. If you live in a dry climate condition, apply it wet.

Using Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Termites, Ant Hills, Maggots, etc

Termites create a tremendous problem in seasons of their fast breeding. Unused piles of leaves, dirt, and manure are the source of maggots. Seeing an anthill at the corner of a garden or tub is not unusual too!

Luckily, you can use diatomaceous to kill termites and protect your garden or home from any unwanted substance.

Using Diatomaceous Earth To Dry Flowers And Preserve Them

Some of us have the tendency to preserve the first flower forever with them! If you are one of them, Diatomaceous earth can help you dry the flower.

You can use it on multiple flowers and store them as a fragrance element in your house too!

Diatomaceous earth can dry flowers very quickly. If you want to dry and preserve your favorite seasonal flower as a memory of your gardening, diatomaceous earth is ideal.

Diatomaceous Earth for Plant Porosity

Growing houseplants need potting soil. Other plants need a potting mix. Sometimes, an excellent medium is necessary for potting mix. Diatomaceous earth is one great medium with multiple benefits.

Diatomaceous earth is a significant component for growing bonsai in hydroponic culture. It keeps fertilizers and releases them to the roots gradually.

When this is coupled with the porosity, you get a magnificent combination for container gardening. Mix the diatomaceous earth with the soil to increase airflow and drainage in the root area.

Diatomaceous Earth to Deodorize In-House Plants

Gardening under the roof means your plants will not get adequate sunlight every day. That’s why not all plants can grow indoors.

Sometimes, they can get a little stinky in the absence of sunlight. The smell usually comes when the soil becomes swampy, and the roots start to swell prior to the rot.

Most of the time, you might overlook the amount and frequency of watering. Hence, the stink prevails in the room. It might give rise to mold, mildew, or funguses on the upper layer of the soil or at the root level.

Diatomaceous earth can combat the smell in very little time. It is known as a natural deodorizer to provide cleaner air inside the house.

With a little sprinkle of Diatomaceous earth on the soil, you can curb the unpleasant smell from the houseplants easily.


‘Green is good for the eyes. The greener you keep your surroundings, the better calm it provides you!’

Plants are the simplest creatures that grow with very little maintenance effort. Apart from the basics, all you have to do is to take good care of its health.

Just keep the ambiance clean by removing the impurities with Diatomaceous earth. Your garden will bloom brightly!