Green is my favorite color! Having houseplants is not only a great and fun hobby but they make a beautiful addition to any décor and help to purify the air. The downside of houseplants is that sometimes they can grow mold on the leaves or in the soil allowing for mold spores to be released causing adverse health effects. Things like over watering, sunlight deprivation, poor ventilation and improper care can be harmful to both the plant and the individuals inside the home.
Not all is lost, however. There are some ways to help decrease mold growth in your houseplants or even prevent it from happening.
- Check your plants to identify if there is mold growth and if it is dormant or active. If you notice a powdery light (white) color, then the mold is dormant but if it looks fuzzy, then the mold is active. Either way, take your plant outside when removing the mold. Make sure when dealing with active mold, you move the plants to a space outside to not affect any of your other outdoor plants or shrubs when cleaning them.
- Use a damp paper towel (never dry) to wipe leaves gently while supporting the underside. *Use a new damp paper towel or a clean area of the same paper towel on each additional leaf as not to spread mold from place to place. Have a plastic bag nearby to discard each used paper towel so any mold removed is contained. If mold is still visible after wiping the leaves, clip the affected stem(s) and dispose. Make sure to wear gloves and not touch anything while removing the mold and thoroughly wash your hands upon completion.
- If you notice mold growing on top of the soil, you can scoop out the affected soil with a large spoon and place in a bag for disposal. Make sure you remove all the soil that has any visible mold, however if you notice it is running too deep you will have to replace the entire container with new soil. Make sure to wear gloves and not touch anything while removing the mold and thoroughly wash your hands upon completion.
- After removing the damaged soil, consider using an anti-fungal to ward off mold growth. Some natural and healthy anti-fungal options include sprinkling either cinnamon, baking soda or apple cider vinegar on top of the soil as all will not harm the plant. Neem oil is also a good choice as a natural pesticide option which is available at home and garden retailers.
- A good practice to help induce proper drainage of your houseplants is to place a thin layer of gravel at the bottom of the container.
- Sunlight and proper ventilation are key to helping houseplants thrive and remain mold free. Keeping the humidity between 30 – 50 percent inside your home not only will help to keep you and your family comfortable but it will aid in the ventilation to help prevent mold growth in your plants and overall space.
- Remember to only water your houseplants when the soil is dry and do not over do it! Overwatering is a common cause to faster mold growth in addition to other negative affects to the plant. Determine water is needed by touching the soil and not by sight or using a water schedule.
- Keep an eye out for dead leaves or decaying stems. Mold loves to feed on organic matter so good plant keeping is key.
A clean indoor air environment is important to overall good health. Proper care and maintenance of houseplants is essential to preventing mold spores from growing and spreading while still experiencing the joy and aesthetics that in-home gardening provides.
At Coastal Air Assessments, we’ll provide a detailed indoor air quality assessment that will get to the root of a potential mold issue and identify sensible solutions so that you and your family can breathe a little easier. Contact us today for your free consultation.