Why Are There Mushrooms Growing On My House Plant?

Mushrooms are fungi, so when you find them growing in your houseplants, it is a sign you may be watering too much, and you may not be giving your plants enough light.

Fungus thrives in the dark, damp settings, so unless that’s the setting your plant likes, mushrooms are an indication you need to change your care methods and possibly repot your plants.

mushroom in a potted plantPin

This article discusses mushrooms in houseplants and provides tips and advice on getting them under control.

Houseplant Mushrooms Q&A

1. How do mushrooms get into potted plants?

Mushroom spores are often introduced by a soilless planting mix that has not been sterilized properly. It is also possible to introduce mushroom spores by accidentally carrying them in from the outdoors on your hands or your clothing. 

2. When is the most likely time for mushrooms to grow in houseplants? 

When the weather warms up in the spring and summer, you can expect any mushroom spore to make its way into your houseplant to begin growing. 

3. What can you do about mushrooms in potted plants? 

You can begin by removing the tops (caps) of the mushrooms. This is where the spores are developed, so removing them as soon as you see them prevents more spores from being spread. 

You may also wish to remove the top couple of inches of soil and replace it with clean, fresh soil. This may get rid of all the underground mushroom growth. 

Treat your plant with an excellent systemic antifungal product following packaging instructions. Antifungals are not especially effective against mushrooms, but they may help with mushrooms a bit and help prevent other types of fungi from growing. 

4. What if the mushrooms come back? 

You can completely repot your plant with fresh soil mix and a new or sterilized pot. Be sure to rinse the plant’s roots and give it a systemic antifungal treatment when you repot it. 

You may wish to repeat the antifungal treatment several times to be sure of getting any mushroom entities that may be lurking in your plant’s roots.

Related: Brown Mushroom Benefits

5. How can you prevent the growth of mushrooms in houseplants? 

Be sure to maintain conditions conducive to your houseplants, but that will not be conducive to fungal growth. 

  • Provide plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. 
  • Use an antifungal treatment monthly. 
  • Provide good air circulation. 
  • Control excessive humidity.
  • Water the right amount.

6. Will mushrooms hurt my plants? 

Opinions are mixed on this. Mushrooms are relatively benign. Some houseplant gardeners think mushrooms are attractive and allow them to grow. 

It just stands to reason that if you encourage this fungal growth, you promote the growth of undesirable, damaging fungi. For this reason, it’s probably better to get rid of them and keep them gone. 

7. Will houseplant mushrooms hurt me?

The typical type of mushroom that grows in houseplants is highly toxic, so you should not eat them. Furthermore, it’s wise to wear disposable gloves and a face mask when removing them. Handling them could irritate your skin, and you should always avoid inhaling spores of any kind. [source]

8. What is the fungus that causes mushrooms to grow?

Leucocoprinus birnbaumii (lew-ko-KO-prih-nus bern-BAW-mee-eye) is the fungus most often found in the soilless potting mix that has not been properly processed. If your mushroom invaders are bright, lemony yellow with a flat cap or a round cap, this is probably what you have. 

9. What are some other names for Leucoprinus birnbaumii? 

This mushroom used to be called Lepiota lutea. You may also hear it commonly called: 

  • Yellow Houseplant Mushroom
  • Yellow Pleated Parasol
  • Lemon-Yellow-Lepiota
  • Plant Pot Dapperling
  • Flowerpot Parasol

10. Is this the same kind of mushroom that grows in the woods?

It may be if you live in a tropical or subtropical setting. In temperate regions, this toxic toadstool is present mainly in imported potting mixes and thrives in-home and greenhouse settings. 

A similar (non-toxic but not edible) mushroom, Bolbitius titubant (aka Yellow Field Cap), grows in temperate grassland and woodland settings.

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