Many people like gardening as a method to unwind and spend time in nature, as well as the act of caring for living things. Indoor gardening may be a fantastic way to bring a piece of nature indoors if outdoor space is restricted or weather conditions are not ideal for a large outdoor garden space.
Many people have potted plants in their houses. And, despite best efforts, most indoor plants will experience some growth and care concerns from time to time, the most common of which is moist soil and excessive mold growth.
Why is there white mold in your soil?
White mold is caused by the fungus Sclerotinia, which grows in the soil of potted plants. Inadequate drainage and poor air circulation are the most common causes of moist and humid situations. It’s the ideal habitat for white mold to grow in.
What plants are affected by white mold?
Sclerotinia, often known as white mold, is a fungal disease that affects over 360 different plants, including beans, lettuce, peas, and brassicas (members of the cabbage family). Because of the conditions in which they are grown, house plants are also susceptible to white mold. Timber rot is the name given to white mold that affects tomatoes.
Mold signs can be found on blooms, leaves, pods, stems, and even the soil. Leaves will wilt, yellow, and die over time. The pods, on the other hand, may rot. During flowering, host crops are the most vulnerable. Young seedlings, on the other hand, are at risk.
Mold frequently infects plants in the early summer or early spring and grows unnoticed for a long time. When the temperature becomes cold, the white mold fungus produces spores that can be blown by the wind and infect other plants. And it’s for this reason that catching white molds and destroying diseased plants as soon as possible is critical.
What Causes Mold to Grow on Soil, to Begin With?
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all remedy or cause in nature, as there is in most things. When it comes to white mold forming in the soil of your potted plants, there could be one or several contributing factors. The following are some of the most prevalent causes of mold in your pots and containers’ soil.
Overwatering is a problem. Although water is necessary for plant growth, too much of a good thing can be harmful to plants. Moldy soil and mold growth are caused by wet potting soil and insufficient drainage.
Drainage is an issue. The plant begins to die when the potting soil is wet for a long period of time, which might lead to mold. Mold spores thrive on decaying roots, stems, and leaves.
There is a lack of air circulation. Mold thrives in moist, warm environments, and domestic plant mold is no exception. White mold spores thrive in moist, stagnant air that isn’t well circulated.
Soil that has been contaminated. Because not all soils are made equal, it’s critical to select a sterile potting medium for your plants. Mold will simply spread mold after starting with polluted or sick soil.
Leaves that are decomposing. When your potted plant’s leaves start to fall off, remove them as soon as possible. Leaving them in the pot just encourages the growth of moist soil mold.
How to Detect White Mold Damage Quickly
The symptoms of white mold might differ depending on the environment and the type of plant. However, there are a few that are frequently seen, such as:
The stem may appear to have a water-soaked section at first. And, at this stage of the infection, your plant will still have a lovely appearance, seeming healthy from above, making it impossible to notice any harm that has already occurred.
Wilting of stems is accompanied by tan discoloration, especially at the base. Keep an eye out for tan to dark brown blemishes on infected stems.
And as a result of these teachings, you’ll most likely notice a dense, cotton-like growth growing under high humidity.
Control and prevention of white mold.
If you come across any unhealthy plants, you must remove them right away. If there is an illness in the soil, remove as much of it as possible and replace it with clean soil. To limit disease spread, cover the affected ground with a barrier such as mulch or plastic.
Other ways to get rid of white mold
Saprophytic fungi grow in wet soil, and it can even lead to more serious issues like root rot. A proper watering approach ensures that the plant receives the necessary amount of water while preventing the soil from becoming too saturated.
You should only water your houseplants when they are actually thirsty. Water them in 6-inch pots whenever the soil is dry to a depth of 2 inches, as a general rule. Plants in smaller pots should be watered every time the soil becomes dry to a depth of 1 inch.
Continue to add water slowly and carefully until the water runs out of the holes at the bottom of the pot. You should discard the surplus water that drains from the pot as soon as possible.
Cleaning Up the Mold
In most circumstances, scraping the mold off the soil surface and placing the pot in an appropriate, well-ventilated area will ensure that the soil dries. If the mold reappears or the soil stays damp, consider repotting the plant with fresh, sterile potting soil.
Remember to soak the pot in a solution of 1 part household bleach to 9 parts water for about 10 minutes before using it again. Scrub it with a mixture of water and dish detergent.
Prevent white mold with adequate drainage
Even the best watering technique in the world won’t keep your soil from being soggy if it can’t drain properly. Every plant container should have holes in the bottom for appropriate drainage, and the container should be placed on a removable saucer that will catch the water as it drains from the pot.
Additionally, you can improve drainage by inserting broken crockery or a layer of small stones at the bottom of your pot, which will prevent soil from filling the holes again. A 6-inch pot usually requires 1 inch of pebbles, while a 12-inch container requires at least 2 inches. Always inspect the holes to make sure they aren’t blocked on a regular basis.
What potting soil should I use to prevent white mold?
Choose a good quality potting soil that has a combination of decomposed plant material, such as bark, perlite or sand, and peat moss.
Other components may be present in potting soil, but these three substances serve as the foundation for potting soil that can sustain the plant while draining freely.
However, make sure your potting soil is clean and free of insects and pathogens such as fungi. Contaminated potting soil has a distinct sour smell that is simple to identify.
Because open bags of moist potting soil are breeding grounds for insects and microorganisms, closing the bag before storing the unused half is a good idea.
Even the best potting soil has a shelf life of about a year or two. And as it starts to degrade, it is unable to handle water effectively, causing the soil to retain too much moisture.
To avoid this, repot your plants every two or three years to guarantee that the soil is refreshed while the drainage is improved.
If you don’t want to deal with the mold on your own, you may still entirely eliminate the problem by repotting your plant in fresh, sterile soil, which will ensure that the previously infected soil is no longer there.
Repotting the plant after a white mold outbreak
You can try removing your houseplant from its pot and cleaning the container before refilling it with new, sterile soil.
Alternatively, immerse the container in the bleach solution suggested above to completely eliminate any lingering mold spores. After that, rinse the pot well with standard dishwashing solutions and water. You can then continue filling the pot/container with soil and repotting the houseplant once it has dried.
Consider rinsing out the root system as well as wiping the mold off the leaves before replacing a houseplant. You may experience recontamination if there are any leftover mold spores. As a result, you should try spraying the plant with a fungicide before repotting it. After you’ve repotted the plant, make sure you can entirely prevent mold growth by following a thorough watering and care routine.
Killing white mold with a fungicide
If your plant is infected with mold, it will contaminate the fresh soil as the white mold continues to spread, especially in humid conditions. You might begin by manually removing the mold. Wipe the leaves and stems with a moist towel soaked in the bleach solution.
Mold is normally only found on the soil surface, so gently scoop up the top layer of the damaged, contaminated soil from the pot.
Applying a fungicide to a plant is the next step in further safeguarding the plant and soil. If you don’t want to buy a chemical fungicide and instead prefer to look into more natural options, you can try mixing potassium bicarbonate with water.
This organic fungicide is effective against white mold spores, and spraying it on a plant’s surface as well as the surface of the potting soil is adequate to keep both healthy. SB Plant Invigorator is another great mold-killing product. It’s an organic soap that I get from Amazon.
Protect houseplants with an anti-fungal spray
To keep mold and fungus at bay, the soil may require some assistance. It may seem difficult at first if you live in a damp or cold climate, but using a natural anti-fungal and adding it to the soil can greatly help the situation.
There are a number of effective natural antifungal options. Apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, and baking soda are all excellent choices. And, as long as you don’t overuse them, none of them will ever hurt your houseplant.
You can either mix them into the soil or sprinkle them on top of the soil of your houseplant. However, be careful not to overdo it, as too much of it can harm the soil. It just takes a few sprinkles or a few spoons per houseplant, so keep these proportions in mind. The video below will show you how to utilize neem oil or SB Plant Invigorator to fight mold, despite the fact that it was made to control pests using these treatments.
As can be seen, there are numerous efficient methods for ensuring that both your plant and the soil are free of white mold. And by using these techniques when caring for your plants, you can relax knowing that they will remain lovely and healthy, adding beauty and harmony to your surroundings.
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