The white fungus growing on the top soil in your garden or container is a harmless type of white mold. It indicates stressful conditions for your plant but is not harmful.
All molds are types of fungus. The white mold that appears on the topsoil is a harmless fungus, but white mold or fungus on the plant is a sign of a bigger problem.
White mold on top soil usually means the soil is receiving too much water and not drying out. The soil could also be too dense or compact so that air and water are not flowing freely through it.
If the white mold is only on the top layer of soil, scrape it up with a fork and decrease the frequency of watering the plant receives. You can also replant your plant in fresh soil and a clean container.
Always plant house plants in containers with drainage holes to allow access water to flow out. Add several inches of crushed rock to the bottom of the container before you plant to improve drainage.
Better light and air circulation help keep all plants healthy. Shift your plant to a sunnier location or place a fan nearby to improve air circulation and prevent fungus from occurring.
- Horticulturist Ron Smith: Questions on House Plants
- Gardening Knowhow: Preventing Mold on Soil
- Ask a Scientist: Fungus vs. Mold
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About this Author
Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.