There are a number of different fungi that affect household plants. Mold is the term used for the fungus found on the majority of household plants. Mold spreads when the fungus releases spores into the air. The spores grow on organic material in a dark, warm environment.
Active and Dormant Mold
Houseplant mold has two stages, active and dormant.
When the fungus that forms mold is active it has a soft, furry appearance and smears when touched. Dormant mold becomes powdery to the touch and can be wiped from the plant easily.
When mold is active on the top layer of soil around a houseplant the top inch of soil should be removed and replaced with fresh soil. When the mold has become dormant on the top layer of soil it can easily be scraped away or blown away with a fan. When removing mold spores, take the plant outside to avoid spreading the fungus to other plants or parts of the household.
There are many easy cures for removing mold from houseplants.
Add milk to the plant's daily feeding. When watering, make 10 to 20 percent of the fluid milk. This gives the plant's immune system a boost and helps it fight off the mold.
Or, try mixing baking soda in the plant's water. One teaspoon of baking soda to one quart of water also can be mixed with a few drops of dishwashing detergent and canola oil to create an even more effective mixture than the baking soda alone. Many chemical and natural fungicides also are available at plant nurseries.
Mold can be prevented by watering plants at the base instead of watering over the plant itself, and by removing leaves close to the soil as damp conditions encourage mold.
Houseplants should always be grown in areas with good air circulation and plenty of sunlight. In the winter a constant temperature should be maintained with low levels of humidity.