It is very common to see a whitish layer of mold appear on the substrate of plants, especially when it comes to indoor potted plants and the substrate is a previously acquired mixture. And while it is normal to panic when you discover white mold in plant soil, it does not always mean something necessarily harmful: in small amounts, certain molds can even be beneficial by hindering the development of other undesirable elements for plants. Even so, when the mold colonizes the entire substrate, it must be eliminated because it becomes a danger to the plant. If you want to know the Causes of White Mold in Plant Soil and How to Eliminate It or prevent it, join us in this Green Ecologist article.
The first thing to know is that you don't always see a whitish layer on top of the soil in your pot that is mold. It is very common that, especially when irrigated with running water, the soil accumulates over time a small deposit of salts and lime. This is because the plant absorbs nutrients and water from the soil, leaving behind these substances that it does not need. At first it will look like a kind of whitish velvet, but as it accumulates it will end up becoming a brittle layer, which is very easy to remove with your hands or by removing the first centimeters of substrate and then put on a little of a new one.
If, on the other hand, the whitish layer is wet, it is white mold on plant soil. It is also easy to identify by the way it spreads: if it quickly colonizes the entire substrate, or even the plant, it is undoubtedly fungi.
It is very common for this to appear in the mixtures of substrates with nutrients, since they are an environment that also favors its development. This will appear on the ground when the conditions of humidity and temperature are high, which together with the substrate nutrients it will promote mold growth.
In the case of saprophytic molds, they only feed on dead plant matter, so they do not pose any danger to the plant or to people. In any case, an exceptional accumulation of them could form a thick layer on the substrate, making it difficult for the plant to absorb water by retaining it. In these cases, it will also need to be removed.
If it is not known what type of molds appear on the substrate, and these grow too much or generate bad odors, it is best to remove them just in case. Some cases of mold in the soil of the plants can be harmful and attack our plant.
Yes there are mold in the pot properly, a thorough cleaning will be necessary. Start by removing the root ball from the pot and carefully shake off as much soil as possible from the roots. If these are affected by mold, you can also prune them. After this, it will be necessary to use a new substrate and a new container, or thoroughly disinfect the pot.
If it is not as widespread throughout the pot, you can use an antifungal. Organic fungicides are always recommended more. For example, you can use milk dissolved in nine parts of water, sprayed daily on the substrate and the affected parts of the plant until the mold disappears.
It is also important to move the pot to a airy location and as dry as possible, as well as reducing the risks on the plant while the treatment against fungi lasts. Without plenty of moisture, it will be much easier to get rid of mold.
Preventing the appearance of mold in the soil of plants is as simple as providing those conditions that fungi do not support: aeration and little humidity. Obviously, it is not a question of stopping watering the plant, but waiting for the substrate to dry slightly before watering again will be of great help. In addition, it is vital that, if the plant is in a pot, it has holes for drainage so as not to accumulate water.
Regarding aeration, it is enough to ensure that the plant is in a location with natural air circulation. However, some species are affected by currents, so it is not advisable to do this. In these cases, what you have to do is slightly remove the upper layers of the substrate, where we do not damage the roots. By removing and loosening the substrate, it will also naturally air out, making it difficult for fungus to grow.
It is also important to contribute to the plant the fertilizer necessary, neither in excess nor in defect, and remove the remains of leaves and flowers fallen from the ground or substrate always. A good option is also water by dish under the plant instead of spraying water from above, but remember to leave it alone for a few minutes and then remove it or put just the right amount of water each time, to avoid a pooling at the roots.
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