White Mold on Dirt Around Plant

Overview

That white mold on your plant's soil is not harmful, but it does indicate that something is out of balance. This is a common issue with house plants, especially for beginning gardeners.

Appearance

If you're not sure whether that's white mold on your soil, it probably isn't. White mold on the soil looks like white freckles or drips of paint on otherwise dark soil.

Cause

The most common cause of white mold on soil is excess moisture in the soil. This is usually caused by overwatering; cut back on your watering habits and ensure the underlying layers of soil are dry, not wet, before you water.

Prevention/Solution

Plants with adequate drainage are less likely to develop white mold. Always plant house plants in containers with drainage holes; if using nonporous containers, fill the bottom three to four inches of the planter with crushed rock.

Tip

Plants benefit from light and air circulation. Increase air circulation to your houseplants with a fan or move them outside for fresh air if temperatures are above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Solution

Scrape the mold off the dirt with a spoon and add fresh soil. If you suspect your houseplant may be too small for its container, transplant it into a larger container and use new potting soil.

References

  • North Dakota State University Agriculture and University Extension: Proper Care and Management of Pest Problems (PDF)

Who Can Help

  • Dave's Garden Forum: Beginner Houseplants - Mold in Soil
Keywords: white mold, houseplants, overwatering, dirt

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.

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