How to Get Rid of Mushrooms in Potted Plants

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Mushrooms often crop up unexpectedly in indoor plants.
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Are you wondering how to get rid of mushrooms in potted plants? Fortunately, it's not horribly difficult. Although mushrooms in potted plants can be an unwelcome sight, it is not all that unusual. Mushrooms appear more frequently in warm-weather conditions, but you never know when one might pop up.

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Why Mushrooms Like Potted Plants

Lawn mushrooms prefer moist, cool conditions, while houseplant varieties like warm, humid and moist air. Mushrooms grow from fungus spores (microscopic or tiny seeds), which could have been present in the potting soil when the plant was originally purchased. Spores can also be airborne and can fall into the soil from clothing or animal fur. Mushrooms can also sprout in houseplants as a result of overwatering or due to an especially fertile potting mix.

Mushrooms are actually the "fruit" produced by the fungus, and once there are one or two mushrooms in the soil, it is likely that more will grow shortly thereafter. They grow by feeding on dead organic material, so in most cases, the houseplant will not be harmed by the presence of a mushroom. However, most people do not want their indoor plants (or outdoor potted plants, for that matter) to be overcome with mushrooms.

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Why Remove Mushrooms?

Mushrooms can be more than just a nuisance. The familiar ​Leucocoprinus birnbaumii​ is a mushroom often seen growing in potted plants. It is light yellow with a flat or balled cap. Although it is not really poisonous, some people could be allergic to this mushroom. In addition, pets or children might try to eat such a mushroom.

For this reason alone, it pays to get rid of mushrooms in potted plants as soon as possible. You should also follow up with proper treatments for the soil to prevent the resurgence of mushrooms. If the spores from the fungus fall into the soil as you remove the mushrooms, you could face a similar infestation later.

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Getting Rid of Mushrooms

It is a good idea to wear gardening gloves before eradicating the mushrooms in case you have unknown allergies. Try plucking them out by the stems rather than the caps along with some of the surrounding soil. If this does not do the trick, you can try removing the top half-inch of the soil. Should the mushrooms still be an issue, repotting the plant in a new pot with new soil would be another method for dealing with the issue.

Homemade fungicides can also work, although they may need to be applied several times. Store-bought fungicides can be effective but must be used according to the package directions. For a homemade remedy, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda into 1 gallon of water and spray it on the plants (test a small area first). Other experts suggest mixing 1 part white vinegar with 4 parts water and spraying it right onto the mushrooms.

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To keep mushrooms from coming back, it is important to avoid overwatering plants, and you should also ensure that the pots have drainage holes. Always check the soil first and if it feels moist, the plant probably does not need water. Water in the morning only and avoid keeping plants in excessively moist and warm locations. Finally, remove dead leaves and plant parts since these can lead to rot and fungi, like mushrooms.

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Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing, and she enjoys writing home and DIY articles and blogs for clients in a variety of related industries. She also runs her own lifestyle blog, Sweet Frivolity.