yellow fungus in potted plant

Getting Rid Of Mushrooms Growing In Houseplant Soil

Most of the time when people are growing houseplants, they are doing so to bring some of the outdoors indoors. But normally people want green plants, not little mushrooms. Mushrooms growing in houseplant soil is a common problem.

What Causes Mushrooms Growing in Houseplant Soil?

Mushrooms growing in houseplants are caused by a fungus. The mushrooms are the fruit of that fungus. One of the most common mushrooms found growing in houseplants is the Leucocoprinus birnbaumii. This is a light yellow mushroom with either a balled or flat cap depending on how mature they are.

The spores that are the cause of mushrooms growing in houseplant soil is normally introduced by contaminated soilless mix. But occasionally, they can be introduced through other means such as airborne movement or spores brushing off clothing.

Most frequently, mushrooms will appear in houseplants in the summer when conditions are right for them. Unlike lawn mushrooms (which prefer cool, moist conditions), mushrooms in houseplants prefer that air be warm, moist and humid.

Getting Rid of Mushrooms in Houseplants

Unfortunately, this is no easy task. Once soil becomes infected, it is very difficult to remove the spores and fungus that causes the mushrooms, but there are a few things you can try:

  • Remove the caps – By removing the caps as soon as possible, you are removing the source of the spores which result in mushrooms growing in houseplant soil. This will also help keep mushrooms out of your other houseplants.
  • Scrape the soil – Scraping the top 2 inches (5 cm.) of soil off the houseplants pot and replacing it may help, but the fungus may regrow and the mushrooms will return.
  • Change the soil – Changing the soil may possibly help with getting rid of mushrooms. One of the problems is that it is not healthy to remove all of the soil from a plant’s roots (through washing or rinsing) and the fungus may still be present and regrow from the soil left on the roots of the houseplant.
  • Drench the soil with fungicide – Drenching the houseplant’s soil with fungicide may help with eliminating mushrooms in houseplants, but again, if not all of the fungus is killed, the mushrooms will return. You may need to try this treatment several times before the fungus is killed completely.
  • Change the conditions – If the air is less humid, the soil less moist or the temperature less warm, this will reduce the number of mushrooms that appear. Unfortunately, the conditions that are ideal for mushrooms are also ideal for most houseplants, so by changing the conditions you may harm the houseplant itself.

Getting rid of mushrooms in houseplants is hard, but mushrooms growing in houseplant soil won’t harm your plant nor will they harm you unless you eat them. You may want to consider just letting them grow. If you want to get whimsical, you could add a few animal or fairy figurines near them and create a little forest garden right inside your house.

Mushrooms growing in houseplant soil is a common problem, though one that can lead to much worry in the indoor gardener. Put these worries to rest by getting help for mushrooms in this article.

What Are Those Yellow Mushrooms in My Plant Pot?

Do you have yellow mushrooms in your potted houseplant?

I receive a lot of emails from people questioning this strange mycological manifestation that suddenly graces their plant pots. To these folks I say: you’ve just met Leucocoprinus birnbaumii , the yellow houseplant mushroom!

Leucocoprinus birnbaumii (also known as Lepiota lutea ) is quite common in potted plants and greenhouses. This species is considered inedible, although the exact toxicity is unknown. So don’t eat them, no matter how candy-like they appear!

This mushroom pops up as a result of contaminated potting soil or mulch. The mushroom spores infect the soil, and are widely distributed as it’s packaged and shipped. Infection can happen at any point, from a contaminated ingredient from a factory or farm to spores on the clothes of an employee.

Let’s take a look at how to identify these yellow mushrooms and what to do about them. We’ll start with identification, move on to what to do about them, and end with an infographic summary.

Leucocoprinus birnbaumii Identification

Indoor identification of Leucocoprinus birnbaumii is pretty easy. If you have small yellow mushrooms growing in a potted houseplant, chances are you have this species.

That said, here are some basic facts:

  • Bright to pale yellow in color throughout, including the inner flesh.
  • Cap is a 1 – 2 inches tall and oval when young, becoming more bell-shaped with age. The cap is also textured with scales or dots.
  • This is a gilled mushroom, although the gills do not attach to the stem.
  • The stalk (or stipe) is a few inches tall and has a ring around it, although this ring often disappears with age. The ring is a remnant of the partial veil, a thin layer of tissue that protects the gills as they are developing.
  • Prefers wet soil and hot weather.
  • The spore print is white.
  • These are saprotrophic mushrooms, meaning they feed on dead organic material. Thus they won’t hurt a living, healthy houseplant.

Know Your Yellow Mushrooms – Now What?

What do you do about these yellow mushrooms?

First off, know that they will not hurt your houseplant. They also won’t disturb you, your kids, or your pets unless they’re eaten. If there’s no danger of anyone eating them, it’s perfectly fine to just leave them where they are and enjoy their beauty.

However, there is a chance that spores from Leucocoprinus birnbaumii will travel to your other plants and infect them as well. So if you don’t want a house full of yellow mushrooms, or if you fear kids or dogs eating them, you can try one of the following to get rid of them:

  • Remove the plant from the house – Either put it outside or get rid of the plant entirely. No doubt the simplest solution.
  • Attempt spore removal – Pick off all visible mushrooms from their base and replace the top few inches of potting soil. This may or may not work, depending on how deeply the fungus has grown into the soil.
  • Replace the soil entirely – As a last resort, you can try replacing the potting soil entirely. Remove the plant and try to get as much dirt as possible off its roots. Know that by doing this you may stress the plant, and the mushrooms could very well come back anyway.

Truthfully these mushrooms are very hard to get rid of. As the spores and mycelium (the vegetative growth of the fungus) are deeply settled in your plant pot and roots, it’s difficult to remove them entirely.

The plant should be removed if there’s a chance the mushrooms will be eaten by pets or children. Otherwise you may want to just leave them be, and enjoy the splash of color. They won’t hurt you by sitting there, and they make a great conversation piece.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about Leucocoprinus birnbaumii , the yellow houseplant mushroom. The next time one pops up in your plant pot, you’ll know what it is!

What Are Those Yellow Mushrooms in My Plant Pot? Do you have yellow mushrooms in your potted houseplant? I receive a lot of emails from people questioning this strange mycological