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Does Your Houseplant Have Furry Soil?

Jo.Baker
Published on November 12th 2018
65

Plant Care

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Throughout my gardening journey, I've probably killed more plants from over watering then neglect. Learning through my mistakes and disciplining myself against the watering can (atomisers are my best friend) I have now covered most of the house's windowsills in fabulous foliage.
One of the main signs you could be overwatering is a white "fur" appearing over the soil of your tender babies.
Most of the time it is a harmless fungus called saprophytic fungus happily eating away on the naturally decaying matter in the soil. Like most moulds, it thrives in warm humid locations with little airflow.

It won't do damage to your precious but it is a sign you need to change a few things.

  • Take the plant outside and remove it from it's container. If the soil is dripping wet then it will need to have all of the growing medium replaced, gently knock away all of the compost and repot it with fresh.
  • This is an ideal chance to improve the drainage by adding additional grit/stones to the bottom of the container.
  • It is also a perfect opportunity to sterilise the pot by cleaning it with a bleach solution (1 part bleach to 9 parts water).
  • If the soil is just moist then you only need to replace the surface layer, clear this away it by scraping with a spoon or using your (gloved) hand.
  • Use a good quality compost that hasn't been stored for too long as fungi exist in all soils and will have multiplied in the warm, humid setting of a plastic bag.
If you've no outside space to work in you might want to pop on a breathable mask while cleaning, as some folk can have an allergic reaction to the mould spores.
Once you brought the plant back indoors it is probably worth finding a sunnier and well ventilated area for it to live.
If those spots are already taken, give the original area a good clean and on sunny days you could take your precious on a day-trip to the outside. The natural sunlight & airflow will help prevent the re-emergence of the mould.

Watering

My main tip is as daylight hours decrease so should our watering, I tend to use the clock change as my guide to change from weekly to monthly watering.
  • Only water when the top layer (5cm or 2") of the pot has dried out.
  • Water slowly and stop when the water starts to appear out the bottom.
  • Don't leave plants stood in drip trays full of water, tip excess water away after 20 mins.
Do you have any tips to share?

Please share your experiences using the hashtag #FurrySoil, I'm always looking for new ways to keep my babies growing.

Looking for some houseplant inspiration? Have a browse of these plants:
A close up of a green succulent plant

Succulents

Succulent Plants

A green cactus plant from the Cactaceae family

Cacti

Cacti Plants

Orchidaceae

Orchids

Orchids spp.

Monstera deliciosa 'Thai Constellation'

Monstera 'Thai Constellation'

Monstera deliciosa 'Thai Constellation'

A close up of a variegated Monstera leaf

Monstera 'Albo Variegata'

Monstera deliciosa 'Albo Variegata'

A close up of a potted Monstera adansonii plant with green holey leaves

Monkey Leaf

Monstera adansonii

A close up of a green and white variegated Philodendron 'Birkin' plant

Philodendron Birkin

Philodendron 'Birkin'

A green and cream white leaved Dieffenbachia 'Camille' plant

Dumb Cane 'Camille'

Dieffenbachia 'Camille'

Crystal Anthurium

Anthurium crystallinum

A close up of the green spikey leaves of an Aloe Vera plant.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera

Sansevieria bacularis

Cylindrical Snake Plant

Dracaena bacularis

Some red tinged green leaved Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ plants

Jade Plant 'Gollum'

Crassula ovata 'Gollum'

Boat Lily

Tradescantia spathacea

Fairy Washboard

Haworthiopsis limifolia

A Portulacaria afra plant in a pot in front of a brick building

Elephant Bush

Portulacaria afra

Curio herreanus

String of Tears

Curio herreanus

A white pot containing some Ceropegia woodii 'Silver Glory' String of Hearts plant with succulent leaves

String Of Hearts Silver Glory

Ceropegia linearis ssp. woodii 'Silver Glory'

Anthurium hookeri

Bird's Nest Anthurium

Anthurium hookeri

Ficus pumila

Creeping Fig

Ficus pumila

Cobweb Spiderwort

Tradescantia sillamontana

Peace Lily

Spathiphyllum spp.

Ctenanthe setosa 'Grey Star'

Never Never Plant 'Grey Star'

Ctenanthe setosa 'Grey Star'

Ctenanthe burle-marxii 'Amagris'

Never Never Plant 'Amagris'

Ctenanthe burle-marxii 'Amagris'

A large green Dieffenbachia 'Reflector' plant with patterned leaves

Dumb Cane 'Reflector'

Dieffenbachia 'Reflector'

Stephania erecta 'Craib'

Stephanie erecta

Stephania erecta 'Craib'

Philodendron erubescens 'Pink Princess'

Philodendron Pink Princess

Philodendron erubescens 'Pink Princess'

A Dracaena plant in a pot

Dragon Tree

Dracaena spp.

Lizard Tail

Crassula muscosa

A Ficus elastica houseplant with green leaves

Rubber Plant

Ficus elastica

Rubber Plant 'Tineke'

Ficus elastica 'Tineke'

A close up of a Ficus elastica 'Ruby' plant with attractive leaves

Rubber Plant 'Ruby'

Ficus elastica 'Ruby'

Ficus benjamina

Benjamin Fig

Ficus benjamina

A pot of Ficus benjamina ''Variegata'' next to a window

Weeping Fig 'Variegata'

Ficus benjamina ''Variegata''

Maranta Lemon Lime

Maranta leuconeura var. erythroneura 'Lemon Lime'

Rock Rose

Echeveria elegans

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