Recently a couple of repotters reached out to inquire about a rather fuzzy situation they encountered.
The culprit: a white mold they found growing in their potted plants. To solve this quickly growing issue, we turned to knowledgeable source, William A. Torello, Ph.D. and Agronomist.
First things first, is this mold bad?
Well, to answer that we first need to clarify that mold is actually a collective term for fungus (plural: fungi) which is most commonly associated with “bad things” that can happen in your house, on rotting food or organic matter.
However, there are literally thousands of types of fungi with most being benign or even helpful. This is particularly true with fertile soils where only a few out of thousands are “pathogenic” and may infect your plants under the wrong circumstances.
Is it a fungi or a badgi?
The thousands of “good” species of fungi found in most soils are beneficial and, in fact, make soils and plants healthier. In fact, the more you can stimulate activities of the good fungi in soils the better the soil structure will be, which results in much better water and air infiltration as well as the release of essential plant mineral nutrients found in soil organic matter and organic fertilizers.
How is the mold not bad for my plants?
Fungi in soils look like a microscopic network of “strings” called hyphae which permeate throughout the soil profile along with beneficial bacteria which feed on organic matter and organic fertilizers. This increases soil structure, and also releases the mineral nutrients that plants need to survive and thrive. This is called “mineralization.” The more types and numbers of fungi you have in a soil the more effectively mineralization happens.
Why does mold grow on some of my plants?
In many cases when fresh organic matter or organic fertilizers are spread onto the surface of soils without being “worked” into the soil, the fungi pounce on the organic materials and start to mineralize – AKA break down – the organic matter/fertilizer.
While this may seem bad, it’s actually a good thing.
Most often mold flourishes in wet, highly-humid conditions and you should not be concerned. You’re most likely to encounter this fuzzy white fungus on your indoor potted plants after you sprinkle some organic fertilizer on the surface and water.
If you don’t thoroughly mix the fertilizer into your soil, you’re more likely to end up with mold. In the case that you do, just scratch the fertilizer into the soil and don’t be afraid to touch the fungi … it won’t hurt you.
Why does organic fertilizer cause mold?
The formation of fungi on soil surfaces happens more when using organic fertilizers, especially if they’re derived from clean food waste. TrashCan™ in particular is a very “complete” organic fertilizer — unlike most that are currently on the market. The formation of “mold” from soil fungi after application is a sure sign that you are using the most effective organic fertilizer in the marketplace.
So, there you have it folks. Straight from the mouth of an agronomist.
We hope this questionnaire helps assuage your fears about that little white fuzz, and that you feel comfortable picking up a trowel, mixing the dirt and letting the fungi help your soil be its healthiest self. TrashCan feeds your plants with food waste, without burning out your soil. Learn how to use it here.