Does Your Houseplant Have Furry Soil?

Published on November 12th 2018
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.


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:
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