Why Is There Mold on My Plants? A Mold Expert Advises

Share this post!

Discovering mold on your beloved, beautiful plants is distressing! Why is it there? What can you do about it? “Why is there mold on my plants!?” All these questions and more will be answered here, by professional mold experts with more than 20 years of experience! We’re Cleaner Guys, and we’re here to answer your questions on this subject.

Table of Contents

What is Mold? What Causes Mold?

Mold is a fungus, an organism distinct from both plants and animals. It grows only where there is moisture, and it absorbs food into itself in order to spread. Mold spores — microscopic reproductive cells like dandelion seeds — are floating in the air around us all the time, just like dust and bacteria. Mold spores can lie dormant in plant soil, too. However, they will only start to grow where there is excess moisture, organic material to feed on, and warmth.

There are many species of mold, and most of them are allergenic, which means they can cause cold-like symptoms and allergic reactions. But there are a couple of species of mold that are extremely, extremely toxic. You should know the difference and how to recognize mold sickness. To do that, read our companion guide to mold sickness symptoms.

Is the White Stuff Mold?

If there is white fuzzy or powdery stuff on your plant or its soil, it is almost certainly mold. If the white stuff is on the stem or leaves of the plant, it is most likely powdery mildew: a relatively harmless form of white mold common to plants. It can however harm the plant if left unchecked, so you should clean it off gently with one of the remedies suggested by gardening experts, such as neem oil, a baking soda solution, or other solutions listed in the section on getting rid of mold on plants.

If the mold is only growing on the soil of your plant, it is saprophytic fungus. It feeds best on decaying organic matter, which is why, with too much moisture, it likes to grow in plant soil, where there is always natural decay going on.

White mold on your beloved flora is natural and common, and you do not need to be alarmed about it. All it takes for mold to start growing is a little overwatering or not quite enough ventilation, which are things every plant owner is guilty of sometimes. We’ll cover how to get rid of mold on plants shortly!

Types of Mold on Plants

Mold on plants can be white, yellow, grey, brown, black, and more colors. It can be fuzzy, slimy, or even look like tiny mushrooms! Almost every one of these types of mold that you may find on plants is harmless, and can be cleaned off with the home remedies listed below.

However, there is a type of dangerous mold that can sometimes grow on plants. It’s called Stachybotrys Chartarum, and it appears as clusters of black or dark green spots. This kind of toxic mold is uncommon on plants, but it can cause very serious health effects, which you should read about here. If you see black mold on your plant, you should consult a mold professional about how to handle its removal, or, if you don’t want to take the trouble, simply throw it away. It’s not worth handling or living with a potentially extremely toxic mold.

How to Get Rid of Mold on Plants

First, use a disposable plastic spoon or cup to scoop the mold growth off the top layer of the soil. Then, use a home remedy like cinnamon or a baking soda dilution to kill any remaining mold. If it reappears, you will need to repot the plant with new soil.

There are many suggested remedies for removing mold from plants, from cinnamon (which has natural antifungal properties), to baking soda diluted with water, to neem oil, to milk. We suggest you look up expert gardeners’ advice on the best remedy for your specific type of plant!

How to Prevent Mold on Plants

Preventing mold on plants is usually as simple as watering them less and providing more ventilation and air movement. Mold only grows where there is excess moisture and stagnant, humid air, which means that you’re overwatering your plant, not giving it enough air movement, or both. You can try watering your plant less often, or watering it from the bottom by placing the pot in a bowl of water. You should also place the plant next to an open window regularly, or in the airflow of a fan.

Mold on Plants Can Be a Bad Sign

If your home is humid enough for your plant to grow mold, that can potentially be a bad sign for the rest of your home too! Mold loves to grow on any organic material in a humid, moist environment, including drywall, wood, and textiles. After figuring out how to ventilate your space for more airflow, you should check all the common places can grow in your home, using our full guide on all the places mold can hide.

A photo of some the professional mold removal technicians at Cleaner Guys, ready to help you!

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. No part of this article is medical or legal advice, and may not be used as such. For all serious medical matters, consult your doctor. For all serious legal matters, consult your legal advisor. This article contains Cleaner Guys’ experience and opinions only.

Share this post!

Meet the Author

Leave a Reply

Seeking help for house damage?

We may provide the kind of service you need, at lower prices than you'll find elsewhere!

➜   Mold Removal

Want peace of mind about the health of your home?

Sign up for our monthly newsletter, and get professional hacks and tips to make sure you don't need us in the future!

Who are we? Find out here!