Intro: Let me mention this important fact at the beginning: Yellow mushrooms will NOT harm your houseplants in any way. Nor will they poison you through your fingers if you touch them. These are a few misconceptions people have about houseplant mushrooms.
Hereās what happens: Yellow mushrooms can spontaneously pop up, literally over night, in your houseplant pots (see photo of my bamboo plant, above). There are a number of conditions that have to be met in order for these mushrooms to grow. If youāve never seen one, thatās a good thing! Chances are, you wonāt want one growing anywhere near your plants! Iāll just tell you what sort of environment they thrive in, so youāll know how to avoid them.
For a yellow mushroom to grow, you need these conditions (all of which you can change or learn to avoid altogether):
1) Lots of constant moisture ā overwatering!
2) Old soil, or soil unchanged for several years
3) āBadā or cheap soil
4) Lack of good pot drainage
Mushrooms canāt develop in the soil unless your plants meet more than one of the above conditions. If youāre just a chronic overwaterer, donāt worry! Mushrooms likely wonāt bother you. But in case your plants meet many of these conditions, keep reading:
Condition 1 only happens if you consistently overwater your plant AND you also meet Condition 4 ā a lack of good drainage. If the pot stays very wet all the time without drying out, the conditions are ripe for mushroom development! Ever had mushrooms pop up in the garden and/or your grass after it rains for days? The reason this occurs is because mushrooms grow wherever thereās a ton of moisture. To a lesser degree, fungus also thrives in shaded areas. If your plant is largely shaded, often damp, and lacks efficient drainability, the chances are very good you might see mushrooms soon!
Conditions 2 and 3 are most certainly related. If the soil is old, itās more prone to mold development and lacks nutrients your plants will need for continuous growth and prosperity. Of my plants that had problems with mold/mushrooms, one was my aloe plant (I was forced to repot it 2 times!), then my spider plant, and finally my bamboo plant. The mold I saw in the soil quickly turned into mushrooms, so watch out! If you observe any mold (particularly yellow) on or in your plantās soil, itās time to change the soil, refresh it completely, and repot your plant!
Refreshing the soil is a good idea even if you arenāt experiencing mushrooms, especially if your plantās growth has slowed down significantly. Also, pants need to have their soil changed every 3 years or so (sometimes more) since the nutrients will be used up over time. Think of potting soil as a plantās vitamins; eventually, youāre going to run out and need to buy another bottle. In the same way, your plants will need new soil to keep reaping the benefits of their own āvitamins!ā Sorry if that sounded corny, but it seemed to fit!
If your soil is cheap (you bought a lot of soil for only a little money) thereās a chance mushrooms might be present in the soil BEFORE you even buy it! But soil cost aside, the fact is, ALL potting soil contains bacteria necessary for mushroom development and therefore canāt be avoided (unless you follow the steps at the end of this post). The mushrooms need to develop roots and grow, just like any plant you might care for. If you give them the optimum growing conditions [listed above] (even unknowingly) they will appear!
The only difference between the yellow mushrooms and houseplants is that these particular mushrooms are less than desirable, basically useless, and mostly ugly. At best, they could be called upon for interesting conversations amongst your plant/fungi/nature savvy friends and family members, if you have any.
Of course, you really are looking to avoid these conditions altogether ā Then, you donāt have to suffer a mushroom invasion! However, if it happens to you (like it did to me) and DO see a mushroom, hereās what to do:
1) Remove the mushroom and discard.2) Unpot the plant
3) Clean out the original pot, if using again, with soap and water
4) Using brand new potting soil, repot the plant, removing all the old soil from the roots. This ensures all the mold has been cleaned away, and canāt produce any more mushrooms
5) Make sure your plant has better drainage than before
6) Finally, do your best to not overwater!
In case of mushroom attack, follow the above 5 steps, and your plants wonāt have to develop the icky, gross, fleshy yellow mushrooms like mine did!