As plant lovers, it’s surprising to see mushrooms sprout in our houseplant soil. While it can be a puzzling sight, it’s a phenomenon that we can understand and manage effectively.
What Are These Mushrooms?
Mushrooms are a fungus, and the ones you find growing in your houseplant pot are most likely common mushrooms or a variety of Leucocoprinus birnbaumii. They are small mushrooms, often with a yellow or white coned cap.
Why Do Mushrooms Grow in Houseplant Soil?
Mushrooms are a sign of healthy soil and organic matter decay. They thrive in warm, moist conditions and feed on dead or decaying matter like dead leaves and other organic material. These conditions often exist in a pot of soil housing your indoor plants.
Moreover, mushrooms can travel via spores, tiny particles floating around in the air. The spore lands find a suitable environment in your potting soil and begin to grow.
Are These Mushrooms Dangerous?
While most houseplant mushrooms aren’t poisonous to the plant, they can be harmful if ingested by children or pets. Hence, removing mushrooms if you’re living with kids or pets is essential. Also, ensure you wash your hands thoroughly after handling them.
How to Get Rid of Mushrooms in Houseplants
The first method to rid your houseplant soil of mushrooms is to pluck them as soon as you see them. Remove the top 2-3 inches of soil, as this could contain the mycelium – the source of the spores. Replace the removed soil with fresh, sterilized soil.
If the mushroom growth is persistent, you should repot the plant in fresh potting mix after carefully removing as much old soil as possible from the plant’s roots. However, take care to avoid damaging the roots in the process.
Treating the soil with a fungicide is also possible, but this should be your last resort, as it could potentially harm the plant and beneficial soil organisms.
Preventing Future Mushroom Growth
To stop mushrooms from growing in your potted plants, modify the conditions they love. Mushrooms tend to appear in overwatered plants, so let the soil dry out between watering. Maintain proper plant care to prevent overwatering, and avoid letting the pot sit in a water-filled saucer.
Removing decaying organic matter from the soil surface also helps, as mushrooms feed on this. When you see dead leaves or other decaying matter, remove them promptly.
Lastly, keep your indoor plants in a location with good air circulation. Stagnant, humid air can promote fungal growth.
While it can be alarming to find mushrooms growing in your houseplants, it needn’t cause panic. It’s a sign of healthy, organic soil.
However, understanding why they appear and how to control them is crucial for the sake of our plants, pets, and peace of mind. Remember that good plant care is critical to preventing and dealing with fungal surprises like these.