It is basic knowledge that plants and trees filter the air that humans breathe. They continuously release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. It also creates a green mood and brightens up the atmosphere. This effectively helps promote a healthier lifestyle, and that is why a lot of people opt to buy or grow household plants. However, if it’s your first time doing this, it may seem a bit daunting, especially when encountering houseplant soil mold.
What is a Houseplant Soil Mold?
Mold is considered a type of fungus that is composed of microscopic spores that are continuously moving around in the air. People are unaware that these spores are everywhere and almost on every surface. It is also commonly found in household soil plants.
The molds that are found in household and soil can be classified as the saprophytic fungus. It is the largest group of (macro) fungi. They contain a type of enzyme responsible for decaying and recycling dead plant and animal elements. These enzymes target the cellulose and lignin that can be seen in the organic substance. These are the you see on decaying trees, leaf litter, animals, bones and even faces.
If there is no rotting or digesting process of the biological matter, the environment would be filled with pungent and, eventually, harmful waste. While excessive mold can be harmful to your plant and with some toxic molds it can also be harmful to humans. It should be noted that mold is a natural process as is needed for the natural biological breakdown of organic matter.
What does household soil mold look like?
Household soil mold usually looks like powdery, white stringy powder. It is visible on the surface of the soil. It may be harmless to the plant. However, it is a sign that the soil surrounding the plant is vulnerable to poor conditions such as root rot.
A plant, trees, or crop that is always exposed to damp soil could cause root rot. The symptoms are similar to other problems and pest issues such as growth deficiency, withered leaves, frequent falling of leaves, decaying of branches, and, in the long run, death.
Mold spores can be present but dormant in any soil or on any surface. Once the right conditions of moisture, temperature and humidity are present, the mold could become active.
What damage does houseplant soil mold do?
Plant soil mold in many cases can just be an annoying site and not cause that much damage. It can also become a problem to the plant roots and leaves if left unattended.
Active mold contamination doesn’t mean that it is harmful to the plants. The white fuzzy substance growing in potted plants will probably not harm them. The mold is most likely present from being either overwatered, poor pot drainage, high humidity or lack of ventilation and air flow.
How do you prevent household plant soil mold?
As stated, “Prevention is better than cure” therefore taking proactive measure is the best way to protect your plants from mold. If you see mold on your household plant, it is best to take action quickly to keep it from spreading. There are various ways on how to prevent it from spreading or accumulating.
Choose The Right Soil
When planting, it is essential to choose quality soil. While almost all soil contain mold spores, it is important that house plant soil not have properties that cause it to get waterlogged. Many heavy potting soils with peat and compost are the perfect breeding ground for soil mold. Choose a soil that has lots of pore space that will allow oxygen to flow and not cause the mold to proliferate.
If you already have mold you can simply scrape as much mold off as you can. If the mold is severe you might need to just repot the plant with fresh potting soil, making sure to sterilize everything as much as possible. It’s important to also change the conditions that the mold needs to survive, which are excess moisture, humidity and lack of air flow.
Don’t Drown The Plants
A soggy soil could be a problem. Some plants require the soil to dry out and be dry for extended periods of time, such as succulents. All plants require oxygen in the soil and around plant roots. Unless you have a soil that is open, loose and contains lots of air space you may not want to water too often. In fact if you have a traditional potting soil, one not made of fibers, then its best to let the potting soil dry thoroughly all the way to the bottom of the pot before watering your plant again.
As mentioned, molds are responsible for the rotting of organic materials. If dead leaves and branches remain too long on the surface of the soil, it could cause mold. Always remove the dust, dirt, dead leaves, and branches frequently.
Sunlight and Ventilation Exposure
Plants need sunlight for proper growth. Mold will grow and proliferate in dark moist areas, be sure to give the plant plenty of sunshine.
A Stronger Chemical Approach
If all else fails and you need a faster and more direct approach then you might want to try a spray fungicide. You should consider this as a last resort as chemicals can be dangerous, if used incorrectly. If you do use a fungicide, try one that contains Chlorothalonil, as this is commonly used and effective. You can find this in products such as Bonide Fungal Disease Control.
Some Products That Will Help
Fiber Soil – this type of soil is a wise decision when you decide to change the soil of the houseplant affected with mold. The organic fiber absorbs up to 10 times its mass in water, but more importantly the open and airy soil contains up to 3 times more oxygen then traditional potting soil. More soil oxygen leads to less root rot and soil borne diseases and molds.
A Self Watering Planter – This type of planter delivers the perfect amount of water to your plant roots. It’s important that the self-watering planter you choose has an open and loose soil, such as Fiber Soil. Aquaphoric planters are perfect for this.
Now, Lets Get Growing!