Why are there mushrooms growing on my house plant?
Let’s assume you have already experienced the shock of finding a mushroom in your home, since you are reading this article.
If your house plants have mushrooms growing on them don’t take it personally. It might be a sign that you are too watering them or that the soil is extremely fertile, or that by some chance spores made their way into your plant. They won’t harm it.
Where did the mushrooms in my house plant come from?
Mushrooms in your soil may result from several factors:
The soil was infested with spores
The most likely explanation for the mushrooms in your soil is that mushroom spores were flying around somewhere close to your plant. A few of these spores apparently ended up in your soil. This could have occurred anywhere along the supply chain: in the manufacturing of soil, in the nursery where the plant is grown, while it is being shipped, or in the garden centre where you bought the plant.
The ingredients in your potting mix are high-quality
As a result of a rich soil, mushrooms thrive, allowing spores to germinate easily.
The plants are being overwatered
That could be a problem, but if that’s the case, you’ll likely be finding mushrooms rather than mould. You may find getting a moisture meter makes things easier if you are new to house plants.
Are mushrooms dangerous to my plant?
It is very likely that the mushrooms growing in your house plant pot are Leucopcoprinus birnbaumii. The undersides of their caps are usually gills and they’re usually pale yellow in colour.
These insects thrive on decaying matter, not your plants, since they acquire nutrients from decay to feed themselves. Of course, fungus gnats will eat them.
Leucopcoprinus birnbaumii, however, reproduces by spreading spores, so if you possess at least one, you will likely have a lot more. Because they live in tropical climates, living somewhere with a temperate climate will probably limit them from reproducing as readily as they will be able to in a warmer climate.
You will not have adverse effects on the taste or toxicity of your crops if you find them growing alongside your vegetables.
Are they dangerous to me?
Despite the fact that they thrive in similar conditions to mold, airborne spores do not pose a health hazard, so be sure to wipe out any spores you see. It is dangerous to eat these mushrooms if you do eat them, but will not cause a problem if you don’t eat them.
Do I need to get rid of the mushrooms in my plant?
In a home where there are only human adults, then no. A mushroom isn’t dangerous unless it is ingested, so if you have kids or pets that might enjoy snacking on the mushrooms in your plant pot, it’s probably best to either remove them or keep them out of reach.
How do you get rid of mushrooms in plants?
The process is not always straightforward, especially if you live in a warmer climate where the spores can be found in the air.
You can simply remove the mushrooms when they appear. Remove the caps by pulling the stem out, rather than the cap itself, because you’ll probably pull off the cap.
It is helpful to repot a house plant. I have an article on how to do so properly. Make sure you thoroughly wash the pot in hot, soapy water after repotting the house plant. Add a drop of bleach if you like.
There are plenty of commercial fungicides available, but I have never tried one and so cannot recommend one in particular. You have to immerse the soil in the solution thoroughly for the fungicide to be successful.
You should be aware that some plants have symbiotic fungal communities at their roots, so killing off fungus can damage the plant.
It’s hard to say what to do with mushrooms if they get into planted crops, but I’d just pick them out. Mushrooms in healthy soil can be a sign of good plants, and mushrooms aren’t harmful to plants.
Is there anything I can do to stop mushrooms growing in my house plant’s soil?
You need to remember that mushrooms thrive in somewhat humid conditions, so if you decrease those conditions by putting them somewhere cool and dry, you may damage the plant.
Plant husbandry can help your plant grow better and reduce the chance of mushrooms growing. Here are some helpful tips that will both help your plant and reduce the chances of mushrooms growing:
Avoid overwatering your plant – even plants that like moisture in their soil could benefit from some air exposure.
If you want to change your potting to something more hummus-y, add perlite to the mix.
If possible, sterilise garden compost before using it for house plants. Since it is perfect for growing mushrooms, and you don’t know what else is living in it, it is a great nematode for house plants.
You don’t need to worry about mushrooms if you’re not overwatering. Just make sure you don’t eat them, keep them out of reach of children and pets, and pick them out when they bug you.