Mushrooms in houseplants are an unpleasant sight and not what we anticipate when we attempt to bring the outdoors inside. Unless you’re a smurf, then mushrooms are not a desirable indoor fungus to live with growing in your potted plants.
While unpleasant, mushrooms in houseplants are easy to rid.
What Type of Mushroom Grows Indoors?
Mushrooms growing in potted indoor plants are actually more common than you think. Mushrooms that grow indoors are typically Leucocoprinus Birnbaumii, light yellow in color with slightly balled or flat tops depending on maturity. Outdoor mushrooms prefer cool, moist conditions, but indoor mushrooms are usually found sprouting mid-summer, opting for warm and humid air.
What Causes Mushrooms in Potted Plants
Most potted plants present mushrooms due to the soil that is added to the plant. Unpredictable and unfortunate to purchase a potting mix bag containing fungus spores, but it does happen. Fungal spores not only travel through soil. They can occur from overwatering your plant or also be airborne, traveling indoors on animals and clothing.
On a positive note, while mushrooms are unsightly, they do not usually harm the potted plant. Mushrooms feed on dead organic material in the soil, not the live plant. To avoid your plant being overtaken with mushrooms, it is best to remove them and treat them as needed.
Why Mushroom Removal is Necessary
Even though mushrooms will not harm your plant, they can become unruly and overtake the pot quickly. Aside from being overwhelmed with mushrooms, it is necessary to remove them because humans could be allergic, and mushrooms are toxic to pets.
Removing mushrooms is the best way to keep your family and pets safe and healthy.
How To Rid Mushrooms from Houseplants for Good?
Removing the mushrooms themselves will not treat the remaining fungal spores in the soil. Proper treatment is essential to prevent resurgent infestations soon after initial removal.
It is recommended to wear gloves during mushroom eradication and treatment. Always remove mushrooms by picking them out of the soil from the base of the stem; removing mushrooms by grabbing the caps can cause the caps to burst, resulting in more fungal spread.
After removing mushrooms, scrape off the top 2 inches of soil and apply fungicides to the soil to effectively treat remaining spores before adding new soil to the surface.
If removing the mushrooms and treating the soil does not remedy your plant’s fungus issue at this point, it may be best to repot your plant in fresh new soil, shaking and removing as much of the old soil from the plant roots as possible.
How to Prevent Mushrooms from Reoccurring
Preventing mushrooms is as easy as one, two, three.
First, ensure your plant’s pot has holes to allow proper drainage and always avoid overwatering. Allowing your plant’s soil to dry out a bit between watering’s can prevent a fungal breeding ground.
Second, provide optimal temperature and humidity levels for your plants. Keeping your plant at the temperatures it needs and preventing excessive moisture in the air will keep your plant happy and healthy.
Third, remove dead foliage. As plant leaves fall, remove them instead of allowing them to sit in the bottom of the pot. Dead foliage will lead to root rot and fungi if not removed.
Mushrooms are no fun to deal with invading your indoor plants, but they are manageable, treatable, and preventable when you know the proper steps to take.
While mushrooms are no fun to deal with, you should not need to trash a plant. Usually, plants can be saved even if you simply remove them from the old pot and soil and place the plant into new potting mix and a clean pot. The only time we recommend throwing away a plant overtaken by mushrooms is if you know you have a severe mushroom allergy. The risk of your health is never worth saving a plant.
If treatment for mushrooms’ fungal spores were successful, mushrooms would not usually reappear if proper plant care is taken moving forward. Ensuring optimal growing conditions, monitoring water saturation, and picking up dead foliage will keep your plant on the right track to avoid any future fungal infestations.
Indoor plant mushrooms are not usually toxic to humans, but if you have allergies, they can become harmful. Mushrooms are generally poisonous to animals if ingested. It is best to remove and treat mushrooms as soon as they are noticed for the safety and health of everyone in your home.
Mushrooms grow indoors usually if dead foliage is allowed to decay in the pot if a plant is overly saturated with water, and more commonly if spores are in your plant’s potting mix without your knowledge.
If your plant has mushrooms and you’re treating to rid spores, always follow the directions on the fungicide label. It is suggested that you treat the soil more than once because, as with anything, one time is not always adequate, and treating multiple times will produce better results.