House Plants & Fungus

Overview

House plants are normally safer from dangers such as adverse weather conditions, harmful insects and other ailments. But these house plants are still susceptible to fungus, particularly root rot and fungal leaf spots. These fungi can eventually overwhelm vital parts of the plant and cause the plant to decay and eventually perish due to insufficient nutrient absorption.

Identification

A variety of different symptoms can occur with root rot. The leaves can start to yellow and the new leaves can be quite stunted. This is a result of the lack of nutrients arriving at the leaves as the root fungus absorbs nutrients. Leaves will often turn brownish at the tips and the plant might start to wilt. The leaves may begin to fall out even. Another type of fungus that can occur on a house plant are fungal leaf spots. While these symptoms often indicate a fungus, they can also be indications of other problems such as changes in the environment, too little water, hot and dry air, accumulated salt, a lack of nutrients and a lack of light.

Root Rot

The root rot fungus is often found in soil and enters the roots of the plant through feeder roots. Root rot usually cannot harm the plant, but if the plant is watered excessively, the conducive environmental conditions can lead to the entire root system of the plant becoming infected, which can lead to the plant dying in 7 to 10 days if conditions are not changed.

Prevention

Pasteurized and disease-free soil will prevent root rot. Root rot can also be prevented by not overwatering your house plant. Pots that don't have good water drainage holes will often become overfilled with water, making the bottom of your pot swamp-like. Heavy soils will also prevent adequate water drainage. Determining how much water a house plant needs is difficult because different plants and different soils will need to be watered different amounts. One approach is to water the pot until the drainage holes are seeping with water. Then, avoid watering that plant until the soil is almost completely dry. Make sure that the potting media has pores in it.

Root Cure

Plants that develop root rot will have roots that have black and slimy tips, as opposed to healthy plants that usually have white tips. Plants that only have minor root rot can be saved by improving the drainage of the pot and watering very minimally. Plants that have more extensive root rot might need to be discarded.

Fungal Leaf Cure

Plants that develop fungal leaf spots on their leaves will possibly infect other plants in the house. Therefore, houseplant owners should try to keep new house plants with fungal leaf spots away from other plants. The leaf spots can be eliminated by keeping those areas dry. When watering a plant with fungal leaf spots, try to avoid getting water on the leaves.

Keywords: root rot, fungal leaf spot, overwatering

About this Author

Charles Pearson has written as a freelancer for two years. He has a B.S. in Literature from Purdue University Calumet and is currently working on his M.A. He has written three ebooks so far: Karate You Can Teach Your Kids, Macadamia Growing Handout and The Raw Food Diet.