It is very common to see a whitish layer of mold appear on the plant substrate, especially when it comes to potted indoor plants and the substrate is a previously acquired mixture. And although it is normal to panic when discovering white mold in the soil of plants, it does not always mean something necessarily harmful: in small quantities, 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 EcologíaVerde article.
Why does white mold grow on the ground?
The first thing you need to know is that not every time you see a whitish layer on top of the soil in your pot it 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 few centimeters of substrate and then putting on a little new one.
If, on the other hand, the whitish layer is moist, it is white mold on the ground from plants. It is also easy to identify by the way it spreads: if it quickly colonizes the entire substrate, or even the plant, it is definitely a fungus.
It is very common for this to appear in mixtures of substrates with nutrients, since they are an environment that also favors its development. It will appear on earth when the conditions of humidity and temperature are highwhich together with the substrate nutrients will encourage 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 be necessary to remove it.
How to get rid of white mold in soil from plants
If it is not known what type of molds are appearing in the substrate, and they grow too much or generate bad odors, it is best to remove them just in case. Some cases of mold in the soil of plants can be harmful and attack our plant.
Yes there are mold in the pot itself, 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’s not that spread out in 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 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 kill mold.
How to prevent white mold in soil from plants
Preventing the appearance of mold in the soil of plants is as simple as providing those conditions that fungi cannot support: aeration and low 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 drain to avoid water accumulation.
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 recommended 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 stirring and loosening the substrate, it will also naturally aerate, making it difficult for fungus to develop.
It is also important to provide the plant the fertilizer necessary, neither in excess nor in deficiency, and remove leaf debris and flowers fallen from the ground or substrate always. A good option is also water by plate under the plant instead of spraying water from above, but remember to leave it alone for a few minutes and then remove it or add just the right amount of water each time, to avoid puddles in the roots.
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