Looking to add some earthworms to my garden. What types of stores would carry them? I'm guessing Home Depot and Lowes, but I'm not certain.

(I'm in the US)

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    I'm curious why you want to purchase earthworms for your garden? Just to be clear, I understand why you want them in your garden, I'm just not sure purchasing them is the solution...
    – michelle
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 22:06
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    Be careful about introducing earthworms to areas they're not native to. dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/terrestrialanimals/earthworms/… Commented May 11, 2015 at 22:14
  • @OrganicLawnDIY Interesting link, I'd like to see some research backing up their statements but it would be hard to verify.
    – kevinskio
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 0:41
  • @kevinsky lots of references in the wiki page en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasive_earthworms_of_North_America Commented May 12, 2015 at 2:14
  • @kevinsky - earthworms are not native here in the upper Midwest, and make it more difficult to do native plant restorations. Some of our natives just do not like to grow with them around. Quite a bit of research has been done on this at the UW Arboretum in Madison. Here's one example: link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-1-4020-5429-7_5 They're now also dealing with something called a crazy worm, which look like earthworms but can do a terrible amount of damage to our forests.
    – michelle
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 14:54

3 Answers 3


Brew a pot (or several) of coffee (or have someone else do that if you don't drink coffee - or beg a bucket full of grounds from a diner/coffee-shop.) Take the grounds, dig a hole, insert grounds. Come back in two or three days, preferably at night, investigate coffee-grounds hole. Re-assess your need to buy worms depending on what you find.

Your local worms are:

  1. Nearly always there
  2. Actual earthworms that live in dirt
  3. Not above-average likely to have worm diseases that might negatively impact your local worm population, since they are the local worm population.

Imported worms may fail on points 2&3, and after a week point 1 may also be weak for them.

  • ah... This is basically what I've done, digging holes for 4 raised beds and filling them with pete moss, compost, and some of the original clay. I guess the worms will just show up on their own.
    – dwightk
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 18:39
  • i'm about to try this and oh man i hope this works
    – c..
    Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 22:42

If you think you don't have any or enough earthworms in your garden, buying them in and adding them won't work. If they're not in your soil, it means the conditions are hostile, and those hostile conditions will mean any you add will disappear quite quickly.

If you carry out the coffee grounds test suggested in another answer, and don't find many or any worms, change the condition of your soil by adding humus rich materials - composted manures in other words. Put enough of that on and the worms will arrive all on their own.

  • @dwightk Along the lines of attracting worms, I should say that a thick layer of leaves on the ground will attract them near the surface, over time. Chickens and some other birds love to eat worms in such locations. The leaves will attract insects, too, though (like pill bugs, millipedes and probably even cutworms, seeing as I've had problems with cutworms in such a situation, and haven't had problems with them elsewhere, yet). So, be careful if you try leaves. Commented May 12, 2015 at 22:36

Bait shops for fisherman or any store that stocks a complete range of "sporting supplies" should stock earthworms.

I get mine from Canadian Tire where they are available on a seasonal basis.

  • 1
    That's a really economical way to buy huge worms (and locally, too), although I do mostly concur with a combination of Bamboo's and Ecnerwal's answers, although I don't have the experience to verify them, yet. I used to get my worms for fishing (as a youth) at the local Sinclair gas station (they were stored in an out-of-the-way refrigerator). So, you don't necessarily need a place as fancy as a bait shop or a sporting supplies place, but those would work, I believe. Commented May 12, 2015 at 22:27
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    +1, most Walmarts have a "Live Bait" fridge with a couple different types of live worms
    – celeriko
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 17:13

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