Mold is not a good sign anywhere in your home, let alone on your plants. It looks bad and it’s a sign of a problem such as high humidity or lack of ventilation. It’s also difficult to treat.
But what about mold in houseplant soil? How problematic is that? What causes it? And can you get rid of it forever?
The white, fuzzy mold in the soil of your houseplants should not alarm you, but you should pay attention to it and do your best to remove it and keep it from coming back.
Below you can read my take on how to rid your houseplant soil of mold and what can you do to prevent it in the future.
Why is There Mold in Houseplant Soil?
The fuzzy mold you see in the soil of your houseplants is caused by a species of Saprophytic Fungus that break down organic matter. While they’re an ungodly sight, they’re not considered harmful.
This type of fungus thrives in damp and moist soil, so it’s bound to turn up in the soil of houseplants that need constantly moist soil.
Overwatering, contaminated soil or soil with an increased water holding capacity are all potential causes of mold getting out of control in the soil.
Although getting rid of mold anywhere else in your house can be difficult, getting rid of mold in houseplant soil isn’t difficult.
How to Get Rid of Mold in Houseplant Soil?
Knowing the causes of mold in houseplant soil, you can take a few preventative measures to ward off future mold issues.
Once mold appears in the soil, however, you must remove it. There are multiple ways to do that:
1. Repotting in fresh soil
This is the most straightforward solution to the mold problem — simply transfer your plant in a fresh pot and do your best to prevent future incidents.
When repotting, there are a few other things you should also do:
- Use fresh and sterile soil for the repotting.
- If you’re going to use the same pot, make sure to either treat it with a fungicide or soak it in a bleach solution (9 parts water, 1 part bleach) for 10 minutes to kill off any mold spores that are still in the pot. Do rinse out the pot afterwards with dish soap and water.
- Clean the roots and remove any diseased roots. Use a light fungicide to kill off any remaining mold spores on the roots.
To prevent mold in houseplant soil, it’s a good idea to always change the soil of any new plant you bring into your home.
2. Spraying plant & soil with fungicide
Before you apply a fungicide to your plant or soil, do make sure to scoop the top layer of mold from the soil and use a damp cloth to clean the plant itself.
You can use commercially available fungicides to spray the plant and the top layer of soil or use a mix of water and potassium bicarbonate to treat the plant.
3. Let UV rays kill off mold
For an all-natural solution, I recommend either putting your plant out into the direct sunlight for a few hours, or if your plant is extremely sensitive to direct sunlight, you can empty the pot, spread out the soil, and let it dry in the sun.
Use a mixture of sodium bicarbonate and water to spray the soil and the pot to make sure all mold spores are eliminated.
4. Use natural anti-fungals
If you don’t want to go the commercial fungicide route, you can use natural fungicides that will also do the trick of getting rid of mold spores.
Here are some natural options that you may already have in your pantry:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Baking soda
Mix them into the soil or sprinkle on top but do be careful not to overdo it. While these natural antifungals won’t hurt your plant, they should be used in moderation still.
How to Prevent Mold in Houseplant Soil?
Even though it’s not that difficult to remove mold from houseplant soil, it’s still a hassle that I believe you would prefer to avoid.
Here’s how to prevent mold from taking over your houseplants:
1. Rethink your watering regimen
Overwatering and constantly moist soil will not only cause mold to flourish on your houseplants, but it can also cause root rot. Therefore, there are at least two reasons why you should focus on adjusting your watering schedule.
2. Increase ventilation around your plants
Some plants require evenly moist soil to thrive, making it a bit more difficult to prevent mold from taking a hold of the soil.
One solution would be to increase air circulation around the plant. A simple oscillating fan on the lowest setting or a room that gets good ventilation will prevent mold issues.
3. Ensure good soil drainage
Make sure your potting soil offers good drainage and that your pots all have draining holes on the bottom. Some potting mixes have a higher water holding capacity, so make sure you choose a mix that’s best for your plants.
You should also clear the surface of the soil of any dead leaves or debris that accumulates and makes the soil fertile for mold spores.
4. Replace soil even on new plants
I mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. It’s a good idea to replace the soil of any new plant that you bring home as their soil can already be contaminated with mold spores.
5. Increase light exposure
Mold thrives in damp, dark places, so placing your plants in bright, indirect light will also help prevent mold. Make sure bright indirect light is not contraindicated for your plants.
Mold in plant soil is not dangerous to your plants, but it certainly doesn’t do them much good either. Because of the difficulties you might encounter in completely killing off mold spores, prevention is your best strategy in fighting against it.
Adjust your watering regimen, make sure your plant gets enough light, increase ventilation and replace the potting medium to never have to deal with mold issues again.