What It Means When Your Houseplant Starts Growing Mushrooms

Photo: Stocksy/Anna Tabakova
Even if you've put together a toolkit, downloaded all the plant apps, and have reminders set so you stay on a watering schedule, life as a plant parent still throws you some curveballs. It wouldn't be surprising, for example, to discover some little yellow mushrooms have popped up in the soil next to your fern. If your houseplant is growing mushrooms, here's what that means—and how to get rid of them.

"This does not mean the soil is in any way contaminated," says Joyce Mast, Bloomscape's resident Plant Mom. (Sigh of relief.) "I use a peat based soil mix which is organic and under the right conditions—warm, damp environments—mushrooms may grow."

Experts In This Article
  • Joyce Mast, horticulturist and resident plant mom at Bloomscape

The most common mushrooms you'll find growing in your houseplant is Leucocoprinus birnbaumii, a light yellow little fungus. "They will not harm the plant nor will they harm humans unless they are consumed," says Mast. (Repeat: Do not eat the mushrooms growing in your houseplant.) "Overwatering can set the stage for mushrooms to grow. Somewhere along the line spores got into the plant."

To prevent mushrooms from growing in your houseplants, Mast says to keep the soil free of any dead or decaying plant debris, like old leaves. If they've already sprung up, it's pretty simple to get rid of them. While they don't harm the plant, they can be poisonous to people and pets.

"Remove the caps which contain the source of the spores reducing the chance of spreading to your other indoor plants," Mast says, then get rid of the top two inches of soil from the pot. Replace it with fresh potting soil, and then apply a homemade organic fungicide.

Mast's homemade organic fungicide recipe

1-2 tablespoons neem oil
1-1/4 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon dish soap
1 gallon water

1. Pour ingredients into a large sprayer and shake well.

2. Spray on affected plants (top and bottom of leaves).

3. Continue to shake ingredients periodically to ensure it stays well mixed."

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