I just checked my houseplants and discovered that my favorite plant, a beautiful fern has a whitish film over the soil surface. Well, that must be mold! I was worried thinking that mold will affect badly my plant, but after asking my neighbor, which is a professional gardener, I was reassured that my plant was ok. However, moldy potted soil might indicate that your plant is not getting what it needs in terms of sunlight, air circulation and moisture. Also, mold in potted soil might also be competing for nutrition and you need to pay more attention to your plant.
How to remove mold from potted soil
- The first step is physical removal. Wearing a breathing mask, scrape off and discard the affected bits of soil.
- Lightly dust the soil with ground cinnamon. Cinnamaldehyde, the stuff that gives regular cinnamon its flavor and scent, acts as the perfect natural fungicide and prevents mold growth. Try to get an even distribution and remember that it only takes a thin layer.
- Do not water until the top two inches of soil are dry. For smaller containers (a gallon or smaller), wait until the top quarter inch has dried before returning to a water regimen. Use your finger to gauge moisture levels.
Tips to prevent mold in potted plants
1. Never let pots sit in saucers full of water for more than 5 minutes. Drain off excess moisture.
2. Place plants in sunlight or strong artificial light to help them dry.
3. If you see any mold, take the plant outside for a day to expose it to natural light and air. When you bring it back in, choose a new home for the plant in a spot that is slightly more sunny and breezy.
4. You might also consider transplanting to a larger pot full of fresh dirt. Make sure you choose a pot with plenty of drainage holes.