Every home can benefit from the addition of a houseplant or two. Not only do plants elevate your interior decor, but plants also provide natural air purification. However, plants and gardens require attention and regular maintenance. Houseplants can easily fall victim to mold development.
However, if you discover mold growing on your plant or in the soil, do not jump the gun and trash the whole thing just yet. Depending on the mold contamination, your plant may still be salvageable.
How to Get Rid of Mold on Houseplants
- Fortunately, you can easily remove mold found on living plants.
- Dampen a paper towel with warm water and wipe down the plant
- NEVER try to wipe your plant down with a dry paper towel– spores will adhere to the moisture in a damp paper towel and make for an easy and safe cleanup. A dry paper towel will disrupt the spores and spread the mold spores in the air.
- ALWAYS freshen your paper towel after each wipe. By changing out the paper towel as the dust and mold accumulates, you will prevent the accumulation from spreading to clean areas.
- ALWAYS clean your plants in a well-ventilated areas
- Use a spray bottle to make the cleaning process easier
- The process for removing the mold from your plant soil will depend on the severity of the mold growth.
- Mold confined to the top layer of soil:
- Scoop away the top layer of soil with a spoon or spade and transfer the soil into a plastic bag for easy and clean disposal
- If it appears as though the mold was confined to the top layer, and you’ve removed all visible traces of mold, simply replace the soil with fresh, sterile potting soil.
- Extensive mold contamination:
- If you discover extensive mold development through the soil, or if the mold has spread to the pot itself, you will need to repot the plant.
- Be sure to repot the plant in a well ventilated area. And be sure to transfer all contaminated soil into a plastic bag for easy and safe cleanup.
- Make sure to carefully remove all contaminated soil and replace with fresh, sterile soil (no not neglect to remove all the soil from the plant’s root ball).
- Mold confined to the top layer of soil:
- Allow your plant to air out.
- If you have wiped down your plant with a damp paper towel and/or replaced the soil, allow the plant some time to dry out before you water it again and return it to its home.
- Add a natural anti-fungal treatment to your soil
- A sprinkle of cinnamon, baking soda or apple cider vinegar on top of your soil will deter mold development in the future (AND it is safe for your plants!)
How to Prevent Mold on Houseplants
- Start Fresh— When you bring a new plant into your home, you should repot it using fresh, sterile soil. The soil that the plant came it could already be contaminated with mold.
- The Right Home— Environment is everything. House your plant in the right environment to prevent mold growth.
- Bring more light into the space. Make sure the your houseplants get plenty of sunlight to reduce the risk of mold development.
- Keep the space well ventilated to prevent moisture buildup. Proper air circulation will minimize mold-causing dampness. Increase airflow by opening a window, running a dehumidifier or running a fan.
- Avoid Overwatering— Do not undo all your moisture control tactics by overwatering your houseplant.
- Try to only water your plants when the soil feels dry.
- Avoid keeping a watering schedule– environmental factors will affect how quickly the plant takes in the moisture and the soil dries out. It is better to rely on touch to determine if the plant needs water.
- Optimize Drainage— Check that your pots are allowing for adequate draining. Water in the soil should drain freely to ensure adequate air is available for the plant roots.
- Proper draining will promote moisture and counter overwatering should that occur
- Adding a thin layer of gravel at the bottom of the potting soil will allow for more effective draining
- Regular Maintenance— Regularly check for any debris or dead leaves on your plant or in your soil. Mold needs dead organic matter to breakdown. Limiting the amount of dead leaves or other dead organic material will help to prevent mold development on your houseplants or in plant soil.
While getting rid of mold on your houseplants can be a very simple task, that is not always the case with mold. Major mold development in your home can mean serious health side effects and serious property damage. Extensive mold contamination in the home should be properly handled by a mold remediation professional in New Jersey. If you suspect potentially serious mold development in your home, contact a certified mold expert today to conduct a thorough NJ mold inspection with mold testing. A trained professional will be able to assess the severity of the mold contamination and propose a safe and effective solution.