Thursday, January 27

My plant has white mold: what do I do?


If we see that the soil on our plants is turning white, we should be concerned. This whitish layer is mold, which can affect both the soil and the leaves of our fellow floor plants.

Basically, our monstera or our beloved poto is launching an emergency message that translates into two scenarios: either it is receiving too much water or it lacks power. But do not panic, because it has a remedy.

This white layer is technically a saprophytic fungus, which lives in the soil and feeds on decomposing plant material. But we can rescue our plant with these four steps.

Step 1. Get rid of that white layer of mold

The first thing is isolate the plant, as mold (its spores) can quickly spread to other pots. In a ventilated area, let’s take the plant out of its pot to assess the problem and, incidentally, take a good look at its roots: in case we find soft or rotten roots, let’s give them a good snip.

Now, with the help of a gardening shovel or rake, you have to remove the first between six and ten centimeters of soil, the most superficial, to replace them with new soil for plants. If mold hasn’t been on the plant for too long, this little trick should do the trick.

Now: if this is not the case, and the fungus has reached greater depth, or reappears after a few weeks, we need to change all the soil in the pot, and transplant our life plant companion.

For this, it is convenient to use a good substrate or organic compost, especially for plants, because we will know that the drainage will be good. Just what we need so that water does not accumulate, and the happy mold does not come out again!

Another trick: add perlite or garden gravel lightens the soil and prevents it from compacting, as we said when we were talking about the best substrate for our cacti and succulents. Either of these two options will improve drainage.

Another tip: we can cover the surface of the pot with a layer of expanded clay balls, which controls humidity and prevents mold from reappearing.

Step 2. Clean the pot with soap and baking soda

We also need to clean the pot, with dish soap (a normal detergent), a little baking soda and water. The grandmothers were right: the baking soda acts as a mild scorcher, which helps scrape the mold off the inside of the pot quite well.

Baking soda doesn’t attack fungi, as is sometimes said, but it is a very good dehydrating agent, removing water from surfaces (just what fungi love). And let the pot dry completely before filling it with new soil. [Aquí van otras siete utilidades de la sal de bicarbonato que tal vez desconoces.]

Step 3. Clean the leaves well

Afterwards, the affected leaves must be cleaned with water, before drying them well with a kitchen paper; one for each leaf, so as not to spread mold. Also, any damaged or dead leaves must be removed or cut.

To make this cleaning more effective, we can use an ecological fungicide, or make one ourselves at home: for this, we need a tablespoon of sodium bicarbonate (for the same reasons that we counted before), half a teaspoon of liquid soap, a tablespoon of horticultural oil (we find it with this name in nurseries) and half a liter of water.

Let’s not skip the oil because, in addition to having antifungal properties, it helps the mixture adhere well to the fungus.

Step 4. If the thing is serious, cut a piece of healthy stem

If the plant is very affected, let’s give it a good cut to restore its vitality; it is enough that we keep a piece of healthy stem. We can put it in the ground so that it can grow roots; or submerge part of it in a jar with water: this trick is used to multiply many indoor plants for free; and let it sprout again.

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