A Guide to Fungus on Houseplants
I’m sure many of you don’t have a problem with things getting dipped into the trash can when they see mold growing on them. If you notice mold, mushrooms or other fungi growing on your precious houseplant, don’t panic yet; you can probably revive those healthy green leaves by tweaking the environment and adding a little TLC.
Some fungi are good too, weird as it sounds. Confused about which one to choose? There is no need to worry, because we have outlined what types of fungi you should and should not be concerned about, as well as what action to take with each type.
General Fungus Prevention Hacks
Generally, fungi thrive in humid conditions that have poor air circulation and the soil has a high moisture content. However, their temperature and humidity preferences vary. To avoid dealing with fungal houseplant problems, here are a few steps you can take:
You should make sure the air around your plant is sufficiently circulating. Put it farther from other plants if they’re too close. Make sure its spot is well-ventilated and not too drafty, such as with an oscillating fan.
Check the moisture level in your soil two inches deep before you water to make sure you aren’t overwatering. The plant does not need watering if it’s still moist. For more watering tips, click the link below!
It’s better to water a houseplant in the morning rather than in the evening because soil takes more time to dry out, which makes it easier for fungi to grow.
So your plant doesn’t get waterlogged, your planter must have proper drainage. Choose planters with small holes that allow excess moisture to drain from the soil, thereby improving aeration and health of the roots. Keep your plant in a nursery pot if your planter does not have drainage holes.
Do not leave fallen leaves or other dead parts on the soil ground to prevent rotting and growth of fungus.
A mixture of baking soda and water, which is known to stop spores from taking hold by disrupting the ion balance within fungal cells, may be sprayed directly on your plant if you’re concerned about fungal outbreaks. Do not use more than 1 teaspoon of baking soda per 1 gallon of water. It is not recommended for use on potted plants.
If you want to choose a location in your home for your houseplant, keep in mind the needs of the species. A healthy plant will be more resistant to fungi than one that is ill-tended.
The Good Mushrooms
Occasionally, mushrooms grow out of houseplant soil, spores in the air, or debris on clothes, but usually only in warm, humid rooms. Generally speaking, these mushrooms are of a small yellow color, and they are completely harmless to the plant. The truth is, they actually break down the soil, so they’re okay if you don’t mind their presence. You can remove them however if you have pets or small children that might try to eat them, or if you just do not like the way they look.
Change the humidity and heat levels around the plant, as well as water the plants less frequently.
Take the mushrooms by the roots of their stems, pull them out, and throw them away, being careful not to disturb more spores if they have matured.
The top couple of inches of potting soil should be removed, and replaced with fresh, sterilized soil.
Your plant needs to be repotted if mushrooms continue to grow. You’re trying to replace as much soil out of the pot as you can without hurting its roots. Just be sure to sterilise the pot first!
If the problem persists, take your plant outside and treat the soil with fungicide, allowing it to dry for a minute before bringing it back inside. You may have to do this again if the problem persists.
The Bad Sooty Mold
In dry, stagnant air sooty mold can grow because pests secrete clear honeydew after aphids, scale, and whiteflies. Sooty mold can also grow on wood. Due to sooty mold covering leaf surfaces, it can reduce light that reaches the plant, which inhibits photosynthesis, leaving houseplants stunted and their leaves falling off.
In order to control sooty mold growth, you need to solve the pest problem. Look for the insects underneath leaves and in higher areas of growth. Specific methods of treatment depend on what kind of unwanted guests your plants have been harboring.
General insect tip 1. Most insects can be knocked off plants by watering or giving them a shower, though some may survive clinging to tight corners.
General insect tip 2. The bug’s life cycle continues, so you will probably have to repeat the procedure more than once until the larva are gone. Spray neem oil or a non-toxic pesticide on the leaves outside. Please pay attention to hard-to-reach places in the plant, such as crooks of stem, nodes, and undersides of leaves.
The mold should come off easily with some dish soap and warm water after your pests have been exterminated.
The Bad Powdery Mildew
The visible symptoms of powdery mildew look like a mildew that is a result of airborne fungal spores that can spread like crackers if they are left untreated. This kind of mycelium fungus could deform a plant, causing it to become weak and drop leaves. Powdery mildew likes damp conditions and stagnant air.
Remove the leaves that are affected and isolate the plant. Put it in a spot with better air circulation and sunlight.
Follow the label instructions when you spray the plant with a houseplant fungicide. You can also use a 3-in-1 insecticide/fungicide/miticide, so it also helps prevent other issues.
To prevent spreading spores unintentionally within your garden, clean your hands, tools, and clothing thoroughly after handling your plant.
Keeping leaves free of powdery mildew and insects by wiping them with soapy water regularly can help prevent it from coming back.
The Okay White Mold
Mold can grow on the surface of your plant’s soil, but it may also indicate that your plant isn’t being given enough light, ventilation, and moisture. You would not want to inhale mold, but it won’t harm the plant directly, and you would not want to compete with the plant for nutrients.
Use a trowel to scrape off the top layer of soil while wearing a mask (a scarf pulled up over your nose will work, too), and being sure to get all the mold in the process.
Mix equal amounts of cinnamon powder with dry soil and sprinkle it evenly over the surface. You will be surprised to learn that the natural fungicide cinnamaldehyde, which gives cinnamon its strong smell and flavor, can also inhibit the growth of mold!
Check the environment of the plant in terms of air circulation, light, and watering to help prevent further fungal growth.
The Bad Grey Mold (Botrytis)
These fungi grow on leaves, stems, or flowers and have dusty, fuzzy grey spores and prefer wet leaves and a combination of high humidity and cool temperatures. The infestation usually affects older parts of the plant, entering through broken stems or leaves, but it can spread rapidly and collapse areas soon after becoming established (this appears like wrinkled, drooping, shrinking tissue).
You must isolate the plant and remove any moldy parts to avoid spreading spores when handling the plant. Wash your hands, instruments and clothes to prevent bringing the spores with you on your hands.
You should move your plant to a warmer, less humid room, and keep the air flowing around it.
During a cloudy day, spray the plant thoroughly with fungicide (follow the instructions on the label). Once it’s dry again, bring it into the house.
Get rid of dead stems, leaves and flowers, so they aren’t a source of food for the mold to grow on. You can help prevent any mold growth by dusting the cuts with cinnamon or fungicidal powder when you trim your plants or if a stem gets broken.
The Ugly Stem, Crown, and Root Rot
A fungal fungus called mycelia can live indefinitely in soil, co-existing with houseplants, which causes stem, crown, and root rot. It is likely you have root rot if you overwater your houseplant and the air circulation isn’t enough to dry it out. If rot appears above the soil, your houseplant may also have root rot.
When rot occurs via the soil, it must be cut away using a powdered fungicide. If there’s too much rot surrounding the plant, it must be propagated by cuttings from healthy tissues above the soil line.
Water your plants less; water early in the morning, and always check the moisture of the soil 2″ deep before you decide whether to water. Don’t mist the plants, and make sure the water doesn’t touch the leaves or stem.
You should also repot your plants and make sure they receive fresh, dry soil while you do so. Do not reuse the infected soil. Sterilize the pot first.
Follow the label’s instructions and spray houseplant fungicide on the plant and its soil. Repeat every few days if needed.
This is one fungus that is particularly hard to fight; if you’ve done all the above and the plant still dies, it might be time to start over.
The Bad Fungal Leaf Spots and Rust
Leaf spots result when spores in the air find a warm, wet leaf that they can stick to. The spore digs in and forms a small bump that then expands into a leaf spot. Leaf spots caused by different fungi can be yellow, tan, brown/reddish, or black spots that can grow and fuse together to make larger lesions. If left untreated, fungal leaf spots can spread to the stems and branches and completely cover the whole leaf.
A fungus called Rust forms red bumpy spots on the surface of leaves and reddish-orange blisters on the undersurfaces. Rust causes leaves to drop and become warped as well. Although rust affects plants more commonly outdoors than in houses, it’s still helpful to keep a lookout for it.
To avoid spreading the spores, isolate the plant and cut out the affected leaves. Before throwing them away, seal them in a plastic bag.
The air around the plant should be circulated better, and humidity should be lowered (if the plant is tolerant). For full plants, trimming the interior leaves can help improve circulation.
Make sure that the plant is in a spot with a lot of bright, indirect light and do not mist it or get water on her leaves when you water it.
Make sure the plant dries out completely before bringing it back inside. If the problem persists, spray the plant all over with a houseplant fungicide solution outside on a cloudy day following the instructions on the label.
Our guide will hopefully ease your mind about fungi in your houseplants!