Plants are a naturally air purifying wonder! And, are responsible for bettering the health of our homes. However, they can also contribute to a serious breeding ground for mold and the harmful side effects that come with it.
A plant needs three things to survive, including oxygen, food, and moisture.
Just like the common houseplant, mold also spreads with the help of these things, and that means that your average houseplant can be the ideal environment for mold to grow and spread.
You might think that your plants are helping to improve the air quality, but if mold is present in the soil or leaves, it could be doing the exact opposite.
Plants are vulnerable to the growth of mold and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re doing anything wrong if it happens to appear.
As mold occurs naturally all over the world and in many different climates, it’s totally natural that you might spot some mold on its leaves or in the soil, and we’ve got some natural ways to combat it.
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The Common Causes Of House Plants Growing Mold
One of the most obvious places you’ll spot mold growing on a plant is its leaves and the stark contrast of the mold on the bright green colors of its leaves will make it stand out.
This can look like powdery mildew or a more significant dark spot of mold, but whatever appearance it takes, you’ll want to act fast as soon as you see it.
The reason why leaves are plants are so susceptible to mold is because of the conditions that a plant needs to thrive.
The high levels of moisture due to constant watering and the lack of direct sunlight that these indoor plant varieties need make them a lot more likely to grow mold that the standard plants that live outside in the garden.
When you spot mold growing on the leaves of the plants this can be especially harmful. Not only can it damage the plant and start to destroy it, but the spores will spread through the home and can be inhaled or ingested by humans and animals.
The side effects can be serious for those with a sensitivity or allergy to mold, or people who already experience allergies or upper respiratory problems.
Why Is Mold Growing In My Plant Soil?
In addition to growing on the plant’s leaves, you might also find that the mold is growing in the soil of the pot it lives in.
The most common type of mold you’ll find on the soil is white in color so it’s pretty easy to spot when it arrives, but if you don’t act immediately at removing it and preventing it from returning then it can easily spread.
The soil of a houseplant is usually kept moist at all times and is full of organic matter to feed the plant with. Both of these factors make it perfect for mold to grow and because it doesn’t get as much ventilation and direct sunlight as the outdoor varieties, it doesn’t take much time at all for the mold to grow.
Treating the soil and the leaves of the plants require a different approach for each, but the presence of mold on one or the other will usually lead it to spread elsewhere. Therefore, at the first sign of mold anywhere on your plants, you should take some steps to eliminate it and make sure it doesn’t return.
How To Remove Mold From House Plants Naturally
Once you’ve spotted the dreaded mold on your favorite houseplant, you’ll want to get rid of it immediately.
As well as ruining the aesthetics of the plant, mold is dangerous and spreads quickly, so you don’t want to let it go any further.
Follow these four steps to get rid of it and bring back the health of your plant:
- Remove the mold from your plant by starting with the leaves, wiping them down with a clean rag and some vinegar in a spray bottle. Gently wipe the mold from the front and backs of leaves, and stems if required.
- When mold is present in the soil, scoop out any parts that have mold on them with a metal spoon and dispose of it. If the mold has spread to the pot itself, you’ll need to repot the plant by cleaning the pot with a vinegar and water mixture or replacing it with a new one, and then putting brand new soil in.
- Once the mold has been removed, put the entire pot out into the direct sunlight and let it dry out completely. Stick your finger into the soil and once there are three inches of dry soil present, you can then start watering it again. This step can be repeated every couple of weeks to prevent mold from starting to develop.
- Make your own antifungal solution to put into the soil and sprinkle it into the soil once a month. Even after being removed and drying it out, there are likely still mold spores in the soil and this will kill them. Natural antifungal solutions include cinnamon, baking soda, and apple cider vinegar.
The sooner the mold is removed from your plants the better they will be at returning to their natural purifying duties.
Many people rely on plants to absorb moisture from the air and make their air quality better at home, but when they’re covered in mold their ability to do so is dramatically reduced.
Preventing Mold Growth In Plants And Soil
There are plenty of natural methods you can use to prevent mold from returning to your plant leaves and soil, and they’re all completely safe to use.
Some species of plant might respond better than others, so feel free to experiment until you find the best ones for your houseplants.
Taheebo tea comes from a tree with antifungal properties that is able to survive high levels of mold growth.
Make some of the tea up and mix it in your watering can everything time you water the soil. This will act as a natural anti-fungal and stop the mold from growing.
Mold loves water and most houseplants don’t usually need a lot of water to survive.
When overwatering occurs and people top up their plants’ soil with water every couple of days, this is the perfect breeding ground for mold.
Let the soil dry completely before you water it and test by sticking your finger into it to see how damp it is.
Keep your plants near an open window where possible or use a fan to give them lots of fresh air.
Having ventilation is important for prohibiting the growth of mold and will help keep the soil dry, and this same approach is relevant for all areas of the home, and not just your houseplants.
Many houseplants survive without much sunlight but they still need some exposure to keep mold away.
Even in plants that need minimal light, make an effort to put them in direct sunlight for a little bit every few days for just an hour or two.
Whenever you bring a new houseplant home, you should repot it with sterile soil.
Many store-bought potting mixtures have been sterilized and are safe to use, but the soil found in plants could be infected with mold even if you can’t see it at first, so you’ll want to repot them.
Keeping Your House Plants Healthy And Happy
A house plant is one of the most important additions to a home, giving you cleaner air, helping to absorb excess moisture, and making your home look fresh and beautiful.
These plants usually require little maintenance and are easy to care for, but ensuring that they’re free from mold should be one of your top priorities.
Mold is not only harmful to plants and can potentially destroy them, but it’s serious for the other inhabitants of the home as well, including children and pets.
Mold comes with serious health side effects and can impact some more than others, so it’s not something you want to be left in your home to spread.
When mold is present anywhere it can quickly move to the rest of the house, and your unsuspecting houseplant could be the place that the spread of these spores begins.
A few simple preventative methods and natural approaches can keep mold at bay and ensure that this fungus doesn’t take over your house, giving your plants free rein to purify your air and make your home beautiful.