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feeding oleanders to the worms?

Posted by CDG_1972 8 (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 7, 14 at 18:35

Dear all,

I got my hands on a good supply of oleander leaves and I thought they could be a great source of nutrients for my red wigglers. So... I got the brilliant idea of reading a little bit before dumping the first load on them and apparently the unified consensus is that oleander leaves (regardless of the variety) should not be used in vermicomposting. However, the "poison" in oleanders is a glycoside that is biologically active towards heart muscle in animals. As far as I know, there is no indication that worms would have the any sensitivity towards the toxin or give my worms a heart attack!

I also found this article that talks about toxicity of compost made from oleander leaves and the toxin should be gone in a few days.

Before I start doing my own experiments (and possibly killing some worms) I would like to know if anybody has good information in this regard. Best case scenario would be a good article in a scientific journal.

Many thanks and happy composting!

Here is a link that might be useful: Article about composting oleander (no worms)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: feeding oleanders to the worms?

Never tried oleander. I have added wisteria and rhododendron leaves to my compost pile, which became worm food. I noticed no ill effects. They are considered "toxic". It was a small percentage of the total compost pile.
If using them straight in the worm bin, I would suggest proceeding with caution. Experiment a little and let us know the results. Maybe start a small 1 gallon wormery with a few worms and a handful of oleander on top. I suspect all will be fine.

Good luck and happy wormin'


RE: feeding oleanders to the worms?

Yes, please keep us posted.
I have a great supply of Rhodo and Wisteria leaves but I have stopped using them as worm food, reading that they are toxic. I had added fresh shredded wisteria leaves several years ago and I noticed a decline in worm population. It was in late fall, and I didn't know about the toxicity of Wisteria or Rhodo for that matter. The decline of worm population could be caused by the cold weather, who knows.
The reason for not using Rhodo leaves, they are so strong and takes a long time to break down and I have other worm food more readily to be consumed.

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