Diatomaceous Earth and African Violet Culture

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous Earth Package
  • Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring, white, talc-like powder comprised of about 80-90% of the mineral, silica
  • It is made from the fossilised remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae
  • Over a long period of time, diatoms accumulated in the sediment of rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans. Silica deposits are mined from these areas.
  • It has an extremely small particle size
  • Like snowflakes, each deposit of diatomaceous earth is slightly different, depending on the age of the deposit, the species of diatoms, and the amount of silica

How is Diatomaceous Earth Used?

  • Diatomaceous earth is used in many contexts, including medicines, pesticides, pet-care and health care
  • It is used as a filler or to prevent lumps in foods, medicines, plastics, and pet litter.
  • Uses in healthcare include, an ingredient in toothpaste and skin exfoliator
  • Some take it as a supplement which is thought to improve hair, skin and nails

Is Diatomaceous Earth dangerous?

  • Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring, white, talc-like powder comprised of about 80-90% of the mineral, silica
  • It is made from the fossilised remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae
  • Over a long period of time, diatoms accumulated in the sediment of rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans. Silica deposits are mined from these areas.
  • It has an extremely small particle size
  • Like snowflakes, each deposit of diatomaceous earth is slightly different, depending on the age of the deposit, the species of diatoms, and the amount of silica
Bowl of Diatomaceous Earth

Do not inhale diatomaceous earth as it’s believed to irritate the lungs. When working with it, take the same care you would take with any potting mix product.

Use in African Violet culture

  • Diatomaceous earth is thought to be effective in controlling certain soil-borne pests, such as soil mealybugs and fungus gnats.
  • It will also kill crawling insects (such as cockroaches) around growing areas

The particles can be used in a few ways:

  1. added or mixed through the potting mix, or
  2. sprinkled on the surface of pots,
  3. put in small shallow containers in and around your pots
  • It is not bait. Insects need to come into contact with the particles to work
  • Even though you can’t feel it to touch, the tiny particles of diatomaceous earth are razor-sharp and cut into the soft bodies of small insects. The particles also stick to the bodies of insects, getting lodged in their joints. It is thought that they may also dry out the insects.
    • When used in moderation, diatomaceous earth does not harm African violets
    • A recommended rate is about two tablespoons per 5-litre bag of potting mix or 1.5 teaspoons per litre of mix. You don’t need to be concerned with being exact in your measurements

Where to buy Diatomaceous Earth

  • Online marketplaces, such as Ebay or www.diatomaceousearthonline.com.au
  • Pet or garden supplies shops
  • Health food shops, organic food shops or bulk food stores
Ceramic African Violet Pot

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