How to Eliminate Moldy Potting Soil
Moldy Soil -
All is fine and dandy until you wake up one morning to discover that your favorite potted plant has a fuzzy white mold on the soil. Worried, you run to the Google machine and dash in mold on potting soil. Somehow, with a bit of luck you've managed to end up here. That's a good thing too, because I've got the answers to your moldy potting soil issue! In the following text, you'll find information on the safe and natural removal of mold on plant soil, as well as a few proactive steps you can take to ensure that it doesn't return. The process is quick and painless, for both you and your plants!
Potted plants are more prone to mold. The impermeable container holds more moisture in the soil. Photo By: Niko Paix
Removal of Mold on Soil -
If you have a fuzzy white mold on the soil of houseplants, or any other container plant for that matter, the first step to elimination is physical removal. Leaving mold be, not only robs your plants of nutrition, the spores released can spark allergic reactions and breathing issues with sensitive persons. After the physical removal, ground cinnamon is applied to the soil. The active component, Cinnamaldehyde acts as the perfect natural fungicide and eliminates any remaining mold growth.
- Wearing a breathing mask, scrape off the infected areas of soil. Discard it.
- Lightly dust the soil with ground cinnamon. Try to get an even distribution and remember that it only takes a thin layer.
- Do not water until the top two inches of soil are dry. For smaller containers, wait until the top quarter of the soil has dried before returning to a water regimen.
Also Remember to -
- Never let containers sit in saucers for more than 5 minutes. Drain off excess water.
- Place in sunlight or strong artificial light to help dry the soil.
Photo By: Thomas Pix
Prevention of Mold on Soil -
To be quite frank, mold can never be totally eliminated. The truth is that mold spores are a regular thing in soil, and normally are of no harm. The problems arise when hot, humid and low ventilation conditions are present. Under these conditions, mold spores grow into their adult fungi form and release even more spores. Indoor planters and container gardens are typically more common hosts to mold as they hold in more moisture. To prevent an outbreak of mold growth in plant soil, follow the simple steps below:
- Don't Over Water - Over watering is the main cause of mold growth in container plants. Soil that is constantly moist is much more likely to harbor mold growth. To prevent over watering, only water once the top two inches or 1/4 of the total soil volume has dried out. For most indoor plants, watering once a week should be sufficient.
- Reduce Humidity & Increase Ventilation - The other two factors that promote mold growth are high humidity and low ventilation. Together, they create the stale environment in which mold thrives. By already not over watering, you're also reducing the humidity at the soil level. To reduce the humidity and moisture levels even further, place planters in a well ventilated room or use a small fan to constantly push new air around the soil.
Final Word -
Overall, mold in potting soil is very easy to treat for. The cinnamon treatment will eliminate existing spores while proactive steps such as reducing humidity and increasing ventilation will keep the mold from returning. My one word of advice is to avoid moldy potting soil treatments that call for the use of vinegar. Though many use vinegar to treat potting soil mold, I for one feel it is ineffective. Mold can easily live through the acidic vinegar, but your plant roots may not! Cinnamon is a much safer and effective option. Thank you for reading my gardening article on the removal of potting soil mold. Comments, questions and suggestions are always appreciated!
- Please Note - All photos that appear in this article were released under the Creative Commons Attribution License.