How to Treat House Plant Fungus [Complete Guide]

One easy and relatively budget-friendly way to enhance the outlook of your living space in the United States is by investing in beautiful potted house plants.

Just add a couple of small succulents and green leafy plants on your shelves, kitchen counter, coffee table, and bathroom, and voila; your house will look like something straight out of an interior design ad.

Although decorating your living space with potted house plants can improve the space’s visual aesthetics and allow you to practice a therapeutic hobby by caring after them, all your efforts can go to waste if fungus grows in your house plants.

Not only does the green and white fungus growing in the soil and on the leaves of your potted house plant look hideous, but it can also be very dangerous to your health.

Hence, if you have already invested in a couple of potted house plants for an interior makeover and are beginning to notice some fungal growth, you need to start treating the house plant immediately.

Usually, simple hacks and tips can help remove all the fungus and make your house plants new again.

However, if you keep delaying the treatment and hope the fungus goes away on its own, you might have to eventually throw out all your plants and reinvest in new ones.

Hence continue reading to learn about what fungus is, what causes it to grow in a house plant, and how you can treat the fungus growing in your potted house plant.

Let’s get started!

What is Fungus?

You probably have read about fungus in your grade school science class. However, if you are an adult, you might need to be reminded about what fungus is.

Fungus is a white, yellow, or green-colored plant-like growth that feeds on organic matter and releases spores to reproduce.

There are thousands of different kinds of fungi (the plural of fungus) that can grow on multiple different surfaces.

For instance, you can have a different species of fungus in your refrigerator or on your bread and a different one growing on your walls after the rainy season.

However, all kinds of fungi need the same environment and surroundings to grow, thrive, and reproduce.

While some fungi die off on their own once the external environmental conditions change, some can continue to grow and spread until they have fully covered the surface they are growing on.

Usually, the fungus or mold that grows in the soil or on the surface of a potted house plant is green in color and can reproduce and completely spread all over the plant in less than a week.

If the house plant’s owner notices the growing fungus while still limited to its soil, treatment is usually less complicated and actually quite quick.

However, if the house plant’s owner fails to intervene early and allows the fungus to completely engulf the soil and the plant, treatment and cure sometimes become impossible.

In such circumstances, the potted house plant usually dies, which can devastate people who like to see themselves as dedicated house plant caretakers.

Hence, a house plant enthusiast needs to know what causes the fungus to grow in the first place and what treatment needs to be done to get rid of any fungal growth to save the house plant from premature death.

Read How to Fertilize Houseplants Naturally

What Causes Fungus to Grow in Your House Plant?

In the United States of America, nearly 66% of people have at least one potted house plant in their homes.

Seville Farms 4 Pack House Plant, 4 inch, Green

However, despite the massive majority of house plant caretakers in the country, not many know why their plants get attacked by fungus.

It is important to understand that fungal growth is not a random scenario that happens without a cause.

Instead, small mistakes people make due to lack of proper knowledge and neglect cause fungus to grow in their house plants.  

Some possible reasons behind fungus growing in your potted house plant are as follows:

You Are Overwatering Your Potted House Plant

As mentioned above, the fungus needs a certain environment and medium to grow in. If something remains moist and wet for prolonged periods, chances of fungal growth get high.

Usually, people are more enthusiastic about buying a trendy house plant species that they saw online but are not equally interested in learning about the house plant’s unique needs.

This lack of knowledge regarding which species of house plant you have and what it needs may cause you to overwater the plant.

Moreover, if you have already suffered from the loss of a house plant’s death caused by underwatering, chances are you might start overwatering your house plants.

While some potted house plants need ample water, many cannot absorb more than a few ounces of water per week.

When a person unknowingly overwaters such a house plant, the excess water causes the soil and plant roots to remain damp and moist. As a result, this mistake creates the ideal medium for fungal growth.

If the conditions remain wet, the fungus can penetrate the plant’s roots, causing them to rot. The rotten plant matter becomes an excellent form of nutrition for the fungus, further aiding its rapid growth.

Read House Plants That Grow in Water

Water is Not Being Drained Out of the Pot

When people are unaware of the water requirements of their potted house plant, the smart tip is to invest in pots that have a drainage system to prevent any accumulation of excess water.

If one does not care to do that, the standing water not only results in fungus taking over the entire plant but also attracts nasty fungal gnats to lay eggs and populate the soil.

Eventually, if the situation is not addressed on time, the airborne fungal spores may land in all the other house plants, causing them to meet the same fate.

House Plant is Getting Insufficient Sunlight

Uninformed assumptions are usually the most common reason for a house plant’s death. Just as people assume their house plant’s water requirements, they also wrongly think that indoor house plants do better with little or no sunlight.

While some house plants thrive in a dark setting, this is not the general rule for all indoor plant species.

If an overwatered plant is also deprived of proper sunlight, two problems occur, both of which result in fungal growth.

First, the house plant can no longer carry out photosynthesis due to insufficient sunlight. When the plant’s water content is no longer being used up to make plant food, any further absorption of water is stopped.

As a result, the unabsorbed water creates a damp medium that harbors fungal growth and reproduction.

Secondly, when the house plant is not allowed any heat or light, no excessive water is evaporated from the house plant’s soil. As a result, fungal spores get attracted to the wet soil and begin to occupy it.

Your House has Poor Ventilation

Usually, minor overwatering can be dealt with if your living space is well-ventilated. If this is not the case, any humidity in the air will cause the soil of a potted house plant to remain moist.

Hence, once again, this promotes fungal growth, and the airborne fungal spores begin to affect all the potted house plant species you have.

Read Why Are My House Plant’s Leaves Turning Brown?

How to Treat Fungus Growing in a Potted House Plant

Now that you know what causes fungus to grow into a potted house plant, let us now get down to the treatment.

The treatment you choose for removing the fungus from your potted house plants will depend on how serious the situation is and how deep the fungus has grown inside the plant’s soil.

The following are some tips to help you treat the fungus growing in your potted house plant:

Get Educated About Your Potted House Plant Species

If you are struggling with keeping your house plant fungus-free, take the time to educate yourself on your house plant’s species.

Chances are, the treatment you are following might perhaps be completely wrong for the species of house plant you have.

Once you are well-informed regarding what caused fungus to grow inside your house plant’s soil, you can move towards treatment and prevention for all your future house plants.

Isolate the Infected Plant

Once you have understood what you did wrong and what needs to be done, begin the treatment by first isolating the house plant.

Ideally, keep it in a separate room from yourself and other house plants to ensure that no fungal spores infect any other plants or become a part of your breathable air.

Place the House Plant Under a Solar Lamp

Since the main cause of the fungal growth is damp soil, you must work on completely drying it out. Usually, once the environment becomes dry and less moist, the fungus dies on its own.

One quick way to do this is by investing in a solar lamp and placing the plant under it. Leaving the light on for a few hours will usually evaporate all moisture from the soil.

Using a Spray Bottle to Water Your House Plants

Not many potted house plants need a lot of water. While you can directly add an entire cup of water to an outdoor plant’s pot, doing the same with your indoor plant may result in fungal growth.

Hence, if you have finally dried out the potted house plant’s soil, you must ensure you do not overwater it again.

The best tip to control the watering is by using a spray bottle. You can get one at any grocery store or buy one from the nursery selling the house plants.

Use the spray bottle to just slightly wet the plant’s leaves and soil, and repeat the process after a few days to ensure the plant does not get dehydrated during the treatment.

If you are worried about whether the little amount of water will seep into the plant’s roots, use a small stick to stir up the soil so that the top damp layer gets mixed up with the dry layer underneath. 

Invest in Good Quality Pots for Effective Drainage

Many good-quality house plant pots come with porous walls that allow excess water to drain out of the pot and evaporate.

If you cannot find such pots, an easy hack is to puncture small holes into the base of your house plant’s pot. Moreover, attach a small piece of sponge under the holes so that the excess water gets pulled and soaked out of the pot.

Invest in a Good Quality Ventilation System

To ensure the fungus does not return to the house plant, invest in some exhaust fans and a better-quality ventilation system to remove the humidity from the air.

Add Fungicide to the Potted House Plant’s Soil

If none of the hacks and tips above seem to be working, you need to add some fungicide to the house plant’s soil.

While you can get a good quality fungicide in powdered or tablet form, there are probably some natural fungicides in your kitchen.

For instance, sprinkling cinnamon on top of the soil will help kill the fungus in just a few days.

Final Thoughts

Caring for a house plant in the United States can be very therapeutic, but it is seldom easy. It becomes twice as complicated if your plants are under a fungal attack.

In such situations, the best thing to do is identify where your plant care went wrong. Usually, learning about your house plant’s unique requirements can help do that. Then, isolate the plant, control the watering, reduce humidity from the air, and add some fungicides to treat the fungal situation and save your house plant from premature death.

How to Treat House Plant Fungus
How to Treat House Plant Fungus

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