Find out how to avoid nasty mould infestations when you have a planty home
Creating a planty home is a lot of fun, and highly beneficial to your home aesthetic, air quality and mental health. It doesn’t come without its issues though, when it comes to impacting your home decor negatively. Some plants can drop leaves and be messy, other plants might come with pests.
One issue that is common with having a lot of houseplants is mould. This is for lots of reasons including:
● Lots of plants together create a mini humid environment.
● Plants are watered, and hold water in their soil and cache pots.
● Plants guttate and drop excess water.
● Dying plant matter grows mould
● Some people use humidifiers for their plants which actively add moisture to the air
Mould can actively damage your home, whilst also creating a harmful environment for your family to live in. Black mould is really bad for your health, so if your plants are creating it, action should be taken as soon as possible. To help you avoid this nasty little side effect of being a planty house, try the following tips:
As with houses without plants, ventilation increases airflow and gives moisture in the air somewhere to go. When you have plants, opening windows is even more important. If there is any extra moisture, it has somewhere to go rather than condensing on your windows and walls. Decluttering also helps boost airflow, so if you can pop a few bits into your Storing.com unit that will help with ventilation too.
It isn’t great for plants to sit in water anyway because they can get root rot. In addition, allowing the water to sit and go stagnant adds to not only the potential for more moisture in the air, but also a really bad smell from the water going stagnant.
Plants should have proper drainage so that water can move through the soil and roots, rather than building up in the soil. As well as drainage holes, the bottom of the pot can benefit from gravel or sphagnum moss to allow water space to drain.
Check for mould growing and accumulating around plant pots regularly. This will let you know there is a problem, and give you the chance to aerate the area and treat the mould before it spreads.
Guttation is where a plant removes excess water from around its roots by producing droplets that appear on the leaves (rather beautifully) and then drop. Where the cache pot might seem empty, the plant itself could still be removing the water in this way. Keep an eye on where the water drops (especially if electrical sockets are around!) and try to wipe it up, and provide extra ventilation so the water is able to escape.
You can avoid the plant growing mould itself by taking away any dying or rotten detritus the plant has produced. Overwatering can encourage mould to grow on the soil so try to keep to a good watering regime that avoids that excess moisture being allowed to sit. In general, most plants should only be watered when the soil is dry.
If mould has grown on the soil, it is a good idea to remove the top layer of soil and replace it with fresh soil. If this doesn’t get rid of the problem, you need to replace the entire pot of soil and disinfect the pot in order to remove the infestation.
You can add some antifungal to the plant in order to prevent spores. Cinnamon, for example, is an antifungal that is natural and harmless to the plant.
Humidifiers are incredibly popular because they help produce a tropical, moist, warm environment for tropical plants that don’t do well in a standard house environment. They add moisture to the air and letting that moisture escape may then reduce the effectiveness of having it in the first place. Do your research and regularly ventilate the space to manage the excess moisture. Ideally, create a closed environment like a terrarium where the moisture from the humidifier is trapped. You can even make terrariums from jars with lids, or other glass containers you might have in your garage or self storage unit. This Youtube video shows how to make a terrarium with an Ikea cabinet, with stunning results!
The tips above can help you to keep your plants happy and healthy, without having to live with mould. It might take a little effort, but the reward is a beautiful house and plant collection free from nasties, which is well worth your time.