How to Remove Mold from Potting Soil
Harmless as mold growing on potting soil is, the sight can be aggravating for gardeners. Fortunately, removing mold from the soil in indoor potted plants requires a simple maneuver. Preventing the spores from seeking nourishment in the potting soil is also an equally uncomplicated task.
Why Mold Grows on Potting Soil
Houseplants thrive in soil with an ideal moisture content. Mold, too, flourishes in damp areas, making overwatered plants a perfect breeding ground. The common white mold that latches onto soil particles is a type of Saprophytic Fungus, which feeds on and breaks down organic material.
Those with green thumbs will be comforted by the fact that Saprophytic Fungus will not directly cause damage to houseplants. Rather, the mold is a telltale sign that the methods used to care for the potted plants are, to some degree, faulty.
Mold infests the soil of indoor plants for numerous reasons. Overwatering produces an idyllic environment for spores. A pot with poor drainage also encourages mold growth. Using previously contaminated soil leads to unsightly mold. Moist, decaying matter in soil gives spores ample sustenance.
Following are four techniques to remedy the unpleasant mold infestations in potted plants. These methods are readily accessible to owners of indoor houseplants. Gardeners will also benefit from a few tips to prevent the recurrence of mold growth on the surface of the plant soil.
1. Repot the plant
Eliminate mold by repotting the plant altogether. Replace the contaminated soil with fresh, sterile soil. Discard the existing contaminated soil to prevent a regrowth of mold. Prior to introducing the plant to its new habitat, the pot must be thoroughly cleaned out.
Kill off mold spores by soaking the pot in a solution of nine parts water and one-part bleach. Once the container has bathed for ten minutes in the sterile solution, rinse out the pot with water and dishwashing liquid. Dry the pot completely prior to filling it with soil.
Precede repotting the plant in the newly cleaned container by rinsing the plant’s roots and wiping away any remnants of mold from its leaves. Contamination could reoccur if any spores linger. As a final step, spray the plant with a mild fungicide.
2. Expose the plant to sunlight
Ultraviolet rays from direct sunlight destroy mold, making exposure to natural sunlight an effective way to slay the spores. Simply place the houseplants outside in a sunny location. The sunshine will seamlessly do its job. This technique is especially useful if the mold grows along the surface of the soil.
If the moldy houseplant is sensitive to direct sunlight, an alternate method is to remove the plant and spread out the affected soil on an even level under the sun’s rays. Implementing this method prevents the sun from scorching or drying out the plant while eliminating the mold.
Go even a step further and spray the soil that is spread out under the sun with a solution of baking soda and water. The baking soda acts to absorb the moisture from the spores while helping to prevent an outbreak of mold growth in the future.
3. Apply a fungicide
Fungicides are available in chemical and natural forms. Potassium bicarbonate mixed with water is an organic fungicide that effectively inhibits the growth of white mold spores most commonly found on indoor plants. Alternately, apply a chemical fungicide to fight mold.
Prep the plant for the spray of fungicide. Scoop out the moldy soil, which is usually found on the top layer, from the pot. Using a damp hand towel or cloth, wipe down the leaves of the plant to remove all signs of mold.
Once no visible traces of mold are apparent on the plant’s leaves or soil, generously spray the preferred fungicide onto the plant. Take care to also apply ample amounts of fungicide to the surface layer of soil in the pot.
4. Sprinkle an anti-fungal
Ground cinnamon, baking soda and apple cider vinegar are natural anti-fungal options to treat the mold colonies invading the soil. By applying these harmless anti-fungal agents, the houseplant will continue to thrive. A spoonful or a few sprinkles on the soil surface are enough to ward off mold.
Preventing mold growth in potted plants is straightforward. Since overwatering the soil is the primary reason mold spores overtake the soil, only water plants when the top two inches of soil are dry. Determine the aridity of the soil by pushing a finger into the top level of soil.
Inadequate drainage is a contributor to both mold growth and root rot. After watering the plant, discard the water in the plate under the pot. Removing the water that has drained out prevents the plant soil from being submerged in excess moisture.
Many indoor plants thrive in sunlight—but mold spores do not. When a houseplant tolerates sunlight sufficiently well, place the potted plant in a sunny area to deter mold growth. When plants favor fewer hours of direct sunlight, give them a space in indirect sunlight.
Mold Removal Services
Excess moisture triggers mold infestations rapidly. When mold colonies are rampant in your home or business, the services of a reputable mold remediation company are necessary. These professionals provide comprehensive mold remediation services and keep offensive spores from spreading.
Since the most effective way to eliminate mold is to locate and repair the moisture source, experienced technicians perform this as an initial step. They then contain airborne mold spores to prevent contamination to other areas of the property.
Using industry-approved cleaning solutions and best practices, mold removal specialists thoroughly clean up the mold. As a final step in the reliable and proven mold remediation process, skilled crews repair or replace surfaces that are damaged by mold growth.