Sooner or later, most plant parents will discover something in an indoor potted plant that shouldn’t be there, whether it’s a pest, a weed that hitchhiked home with you from the greenhouse, or a fungus. It can be jarring to spot a mushroom sprouting in a houseplant – especially if you don’t know much about fungi. This article will discuss whether it’s okay for mushrooms to grow in the same pot as your plants, and how to remove them safely.
What You'll Learn Today
- Why Are There Mushrooms in My Houseplant?
- Are Mushrooms in Houseplants Bad?
- Should I Remove Mushrooms From My Indoor Plants?
- How To Get Rid of Mushrooms in Houseplants
- How To Prevent Mushrooms From Growing in Plants
Why Are There Mushrooms in My Houseplant?
Mushrooms are fruit that is produced by a fungus. They are often introduced to your plants when the fungal spores hitch a ride in the potting mix you’ve purchased.
Certain fungal spores are also airborne and find their way into the soil via clothing or animal fur. If the conditions are right, the fungus will produce a mushroom, which leads to more mushrooms.
Mushrooms that grow in houseplants are fond of warm, humid conditions and dead plant matter. If your soil is exceptionally moist or stays moist for too long, there’s a higher chance that mushrooms will grow.
Are Mushrooms in Houseplants Bad?
Many plant owners are disturbed to find mushrooms growing in the pot with their indoor plants. The good news is that these fungal fruits will not harm your plants.
Mushrooms tend to feed on dead, decaying matter in the soil, so they won’t bother with your houseplants. Since they are often the product of good, fertile soil, you could even consider their presence as a compliment to your potting mix.
Should I Remove Mushrooms From My Indoor Plants?
Whether to remove mushrooms from an indoor plant is often debated among experienced plant owners. Some fungi enthusiasts prefer to leave them in the pot since they can benefit the soil by breaking down decaying plant matter.
Other plant parents don’t like how mushrooms look in a houseplant or believe that mushrooms belong in the wild. Both are valid opinions, and ultimately it’s up to you to decide how you maintain your plants.
It is important to note that while the presence of mushrooms may not harm your plant, you may not want them in your home, depending on the species. Many smartphone apps will identify any plant or other organism that you photograph.
The most commonly found mushroom that grows in indoor plants is Leucocoprinus birnbaumii, also known as yellow houseplant mushroom or yellow parasol. These cute yellow mushrooms are highly toxic and pose a severe risk of illness or even death if ingested.
If you have children or pets in your home, it’s probably best to remove yellow parasols when you spot them in your plants.
How To Get Rid of Mushrooms in Houseplants
If you find out that you have toxic mushrooms in your plants or simply don’t want them there, there are two primary methods you can employ to remove them:
1. Manual Removal
Most of the time, removing mushrooms by hand should be sufficient. Keep in mind that they might grow back after you take them out, so it might take a few rounds of plucking them out before they’re gone for good.
The best way to take them out is to grab them by the bottom of the stem and pull them out slowly. Mushroom caps contain fungal spores, which can spread through the soil if you pop them off.
You should always use gloves when handling mushrooms – especially varieties that you know to be toxic or if anyone in your household is allergic.
2. Refresh the Soil
If you have several mushrooms growing in different areas of a potted plant, it’s a good idea to refresh the top couple inches of soil. Simply scrape out at least the top two inches of soil from the pot, and replace it with fresh, sterile potting mix.
If mushrooms return afterward, you can try repeating the process. If they persist after the second round, you may want to repot the plant entirely with all new soil.
How To Prevent Mushrooms From Growing in Plants
If you’re opposed to another mushroom infestation, you’ll want to adopt a few preventative practices to keep them away. Some of the best ways to prevent them from growing include:
Proper Watering Techniques
Since mushrooms thrive in constantly moist, humid conditions, make sure you’re not watering your houseplants more than they need it. This will keep fungus from growing, prevent pest infestations, and keep your plants healthier.
Overwatered plants often show multiple signs of stress, including yellowing or browning leaves, stunted growth, drooping, and eventually death if the roots rot.
To figure out how often to water your houseplants, you should always research the specific care instructions for your plant. Most indoor plants prefer at least the top inch of soil to dry out before receiving more water.
For this reason, you should always feel the soil with your finger before watering, as opposed to watering them on a schedule.
One of the best defenses against fungi, pests, and many other issues is to ensure that your soil drains quickly. This is particularly important if you tend to overwater.
To achieve well-draining soil, consider adding some amendments to any potting mix you use for your plants. Suitable drainage materials include perlite, orchid bark, charcoal, or pumice.
If you’re interested in making your own potting mix for your plants, check out this video:
Since mushrooms feed on decaying plant matter, check your pots diligently for any dead leaves or stems that have fallen onto the soil. It’s also good to perform regular checks on all of your plants for signs of distress or pests. You can easily add a visual scan into your routine whenever you water your plants.
Many types of fungus thrive in areas with poor air circulation. You can remedy this by opening windows when the weather is good or running a fan near your plants for a few hours per day.
Providing air circulation is a good practice for the general health of your plants as well. Air moving around the room will help your soil drain effectively, preventing root rot and other overwatering issues.
As long as your care routine and growing conditions are beneficial to your plant, you should have nothing to worry about. While it might be disconcerting to discover mushrooms growing with your houseplants, your plant will often be unharmed.
Most of the time, as long as no one ingests them and you’re not allergic, it’s fine to let them stay if that’s what you’d prefer.