Have you ever gone to water one of your potted plants, only to find bright white or yellow mushrooms growing in the soil? It can be surprising or unsettling to see a mushroom growing with your beloved houseplants as a plant parent! But don’t worry, houseplant mushrooms are actually quite common and are often not harmful.
But why are mushrooms growing in your houseplant? They can develop for several reasons, but the most common cause is overwatering. They can also signify that your potting soil is rich in organic matter and mushroom spores were introduced into the ground at some point.
If you’ve found mushrooms in your houseplant, keep reading to learn more about why this can happen, whether good or bad and what you should do about it.
Why Do Mushrooms Grow on Plant Soil?
Mushrooms like to grow in warm, humid climates. They particularly thrive in moist, nutrient-rich soil full of organic material. If you live in a warm, humid climate, it is more likely that mushrooms may grow in your houseplant soil. Overwatering or keeping your plants in moist rooms like the bathroom can also cause excess moisture in the ground that encourages mushrooms to grow.
Mushrooms can also grow if your potting soil is contaminated with mushroom spores, also called mycelium. Since mushroom spores are so tiny and spread quickly, soil can easily contain spores without you knowing.
What Are the Different Kinds of Mushrooms on Plant Soil?
A variety of mushrooms can grow in houseplant soil, but one of the most common varieties is leucocoprinus birnbaumii. Leucocoprinus birnbaumii — also known as the houseplant mushroom — looks like little yellow balls on the soil. They can be different shades of yellow, from pale yellow to bright yellow.
Lepiota Lutea, or plantpot dapperling, is another common variety of houseplant mushroom, and it is also typically light yellow.
The mushroom spores can travel through the air and spread to other nearby houseplant pots if you leave them to grow. These common mushrooms won’t harm the plant, so you don’t have to worry. However, they are toxic to humans if consumed.
Are Mushrooms Good for Houseplants?
While they might seem like unwelcome guests to you, mushrooms can be good for houseplants. They can help recycle nutrients in the soil that your houseplants can use. Mushrooms can also help lower the pH of the ground by absorbing ammonium and producing nitrogen and phosphate that houseplants need.
Mushroom growth in your houseplant pot can also be a sign of healthy soil because mushrooms tend to grow in already nutrient-rich environments. Therefore, there is no need to worry if your houseplants start growing mushrooms!
If you decide not to remove the mushrooms, your potted plants may benefit from growing next to mushrooms.
Are Mushrooms Bad for Houseplants?
Typically, mushrooms are harmless and are not bad for houseplants. Mushrooms consume their nutrients from detritus, dead or decaying organic matter like dead leaves. So, as long as your houseplant is still alive, the mushrooms will not harm the plant or compete with your plant for vital nutrients. Instead, mushrooms will help maintain healthy soil and produce good nutrients for your plant.
Many plant lovers may wish to remove the mushrooms, but there should not be any harmful effects if you decide to let them grow or if you cannot successfully remove all the mushrooms.
Are Plant Mushrooms Dangerous to People or Pets?
While growing in the soil, houseplant mushrooms are typically not dangerous to people or pets. However, some mushrooms like leucocoprinus birnbaumii can be toxic if consumed, so you should never eat mushrooms growing in your houseplants. If you have children or pets, keep them away from your houseplants and prevent them from eating or playing with mushrooms.
Should you Get Rid of the Mushrooms on the Plant Soil?
Since houseplant mushrooms tend to be harmless to indoor plants and people, it is up to you whether you’d like to get rid of mushrooms or not. Mushrooms can spread quickly, so it can be challenging to eliminate them once they start growing. If you decide to get rid of the mushrooms, here’s what you should do.
What Are the Steps to Get Rid of the Mushrooms on the Plant Soil?
First, start by removing the mushroom caps and stems. Removing them will quickly eliminate the mushrooms and prevent them from spreading more spores. Luckily, mushrooms don’t have plant roots, so they are easy to pick from the soil.
Next, you can remove the soil around the mushroom growing area and replace it with new ground. If you are very concerned about contaminated soil, you can also repot your houseplant with a fresh potting mix. Be sure to wash out the pot to remove any spores before replanting anything.
Finally, if you’re still struggling with a pesky mushroom infestation, you can use a fungicide to remove mushrooms and spores. A fungicide treatment involves soaking all the soil with a store-bought or homemade solution. It can be hard to eliminate all the fungal spores, so you may have to do the fungicide treatment more than once. Fungicide treatments are the most effective at removing mushroom growth, but they should only be used as a last resort because they can also kill off other beneficial fungi in the soil and on the plant’s roots.
How To Prevent Mushrooms in your Houseplant
Since the most common cause of mushroom growth in houseplants is overwatering, the first thing to do is make sure your plant is not overwatered. Check if the first 1–2 inches of soil are wet or dry. If the soil is moist, stop watering immediately and let the top of the ground dry out before watering again.
Be sure that your pot has suitable drainage holes to help it dry out between waterings and prevent water from pooling in the bottom of the pot. Overwatering can also cause other plant health problems like root rot, so you’ll want to incorporate this new, reduced watering schedule into your plant care routine.
Another way to prevent mushrooms in your houseplant is to use a high-quality potting soil mix and remove any dead leaves when they fall off your plant. While it cannot be guaranteed that your potting soil won’t be contaminated with mushroom spores, a new bag of potting mix from the store is less likely to contain spores than garden compost, dirt from the ground, or potting mix that’s been left open for a long time.
Conclusion: Why are Mushrooms Growing on my Houseplant?
Finding yellow and white mushrooms in your houseplant pots can be shocking, but it is common, especially in warm and humid climates. Mushroom growth can be normal in healthy, moist soil, so it is not necessarily anything to worry about.
Houseplant mushrooms tend to be harmless or even beneficial to your potted plants, so it is up to you whether you’d like to remove them or not. Be sure that you aren’t overwatering your plants and never let people or pets consume the mushrooms.
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