I was growing some potted plants in my container garden and saw mushrooms growing in the potting soil. I wanted to check if these mushrooms were harming the plants so I did some research that you will find in this helpful article.
So, why does my potted plant have mushrooms? Mushrooms grow well when there is excess moisture in the soil, a nutrient-rich soil, and spore transfer. Wind may carry the spores to your potted plant where they will settle and grow into mushrooms.
If you read further, you will know how to find out which mushrooms are harmful. And you can learn how to get rid of such mushrooms.
Are mushrooms good for potted plants?
Some people think that mushrooms take nutrients out of the soil and harm the potted plant. But it’s the opposite situation because mushrooms put more nutrients back into the soil and help them grow better.
Mushrooms form a symbiotic relationship with other plants. They share nutrients with one another.
The fine mesh-like roots of mushrooms sit on the roots of your potted plants and excrete nutrients. The nutrients are uptaken by your potted plant and it excretes its own nutrients which the mushrooms use.
Clumps of mushrooms also decompose what they are growing on. Whether it is fallen branches, dead leaves, or animal poop. Mushrooms break down organic matter and serve an essential part of the ecosystem.
Therefore, mushrooms are good for potted plants because they increase the nutrients in the soil which makes your plants grow stronger and healthier.
The problem is that some mushrooms can be bad if consumed by humans or pets. And if you allow them to grow in the potted plants, you need to ensure they are not such mushrooms.
Are mushrooms bad for potted plants?
The problem is that some of these mushrooms can be toxic if you touch them or accidentally consume them. They can be dangerous to your curious pets who may wander near the potted plants.
It is a good idea not to eat them unless you really know what type of mushroom it is. You should also wash your hands well after tending to your potted plants.
Here are some mushrooms that are toxic and you may find growing in your potted plants.
Death Cap mushrooms
These aren’t very common, but they are found on the West Coast and the Northeast. They are small with a white stem, and a bowl-shaped cap. You will vomit after eating them.
Your internal organs will shut down and if untreated you will die. For full information about it, you should read this Wikipedia article here.
This is a small thin and tan-colored mushroom that is found around the world. They have similar negative effects on the body when consumed as death cap mushrooms.
They are commonly known as funeral bells or deadly skullcaps. For the full description and identifying characteristics, you should read the Wikipedia article about it here.
Jack o’ Lantern
The Jack o’ Lantern is orange in color. It glows faintly a blue-green color when the light is low. You can see it if you look at it in a dark room.
This mushroom is not lethal but will cause cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea if you eat it. To see a detailed description of it you should read the Wikipedia article by clicking here.
Also known by its scientific name Amanita muscaria. This mushroom is not deadly if eaten, but causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and hallucinations.
It has a bright red cap with white spots. It is found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. When it is growing the cap is initially white, it then turns yellow, and then red. You can find a detailed description of it here.
What is the best way to remove mushrooms from my potted plant?
The mushroom caps spread the spores in the wind and grow more mushrooms. That’s why the first thing you need to do is remove the caps carefully.
You should use gloves or grab them with some paper towels to avoid contact with your hands.
You can then pull the mushrooms from the stem and put them in a plastic bag. Seal the bag and throw it in the trash making sure no one will touch them.
The other method to get rid of mushrooms from your potted plants is to use a natural fungicide. This will kill the mushrooms without harming your plants.
What are some natural fungicides that can kill mushrooms?
Tea tree oil. This an oil derived from a tree that is native to Australia called the tea tree. It has a strong pleasant smell. You can purchase organic tea tree oil at health food stores and the grocery store.
Citronella oil. This oil is derived from lemongrass. Lemongrass is a fragrant grass that has a sandpaper-like feel to the leaves. It can cause irritation when handled. It is often used in herbal tea and has a smell lemony flavor. Citronella oil can be purchased from health food stores and specialist online retailers.
Jojoba oil. This oil is derived from the seeds of the Jojoba plant, which is from Arizona, California, and Mexico.
Nimbin or Neem oil. Nimbin is extracted from the neem tree. A neem tree is also called a nim tree or Indian lilac and is native to the Indian subcontinent.
Oregano oil. Oregano is a common herb which most people have heard of. The leaves are crushed and heated to extract the oil. Oregano is in the mint family and is regularly added to food as a garnish.
Rosemary oil. Rosemary is a fragrant herb that produces edible flowers. Similar to oregano oil the oil is extracted by crushing the plant. But, rosemary oil is only made from the flowers.
Milk. Milk has been shown to be effective in some cases of stopping mushrooms from growing. This is due to it creating a bad environment for mushrooms to grow. Though no formal studies have been done it’s worth a try.
How do mushrooms grow in plants?
Mushrooms grow from spores. Spores are too small to be seen with the naked eye. The spores need a nutritious medium to begin to grow. This can be sawdust, grain, straw, or wood chips, and manure.
Much like worms, they uptake nutrients and grow upwards. The cap is the last part of the mushroom to form. It springs open like an umbrella. Here is a cool time-lapse of mushrooms growing from start to finish.
When they produce a cap, the mushrooms release spores which are carried by the wind, and animals and insects that brush up against them. When the spores reach another nutritious medium they will grow into mushrooms and the cycle continues.
Mushrooms reach your potted plant when the wind carries their spores over. They will grow in the potted plant when the environment is favorable. They like the moist soil that is in a shaded environment and full of nutrients.
You need to remove them by using gloves or paper towels because some of them can be toxic. Or you can use essential oils that work as a natural fungicide to get rid of the mushrooms.