Sep 2, 2010

The Yellow Houseplant Mushroom...Eww!

There is a phenomena known as the “Yellow Houseplant Mushroom!” wreaking havoc on Southeastern Michiganians and their plants…. Okay, so I’m exaggerating a bit. But seriously – these mushrooms are actually kind of gross! Unless you love fungi, that is.

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.

Note: One thing NOT to do is eat the mushroom; these certainly aren’t of the culinary kind!

Here’s 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 you’ve never seen one, that’s a good thing! Chances are, you won’t want one growing anywhere near your plants! I’ll just tell you what sort of environment they thrive in, so you’ll know how to avoid them.

For a yellow mushroom to grow, you need:
1) Lots of constant moisture – overwatering!
2) Old soil, or soil unchanged for several years
3) ‘Bad’ or cheap soil
4) Lack of good pot drainage

Mushrooms can’t develop in the soil unless your plants meet more than one of the above conditions. If you’re just a chronic overwaterer, don’t worry! Mushrooms likely won’t 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 – 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 there’s 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, it’s 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 plant’s soil, it’s time to change the soil, refresh it completely, and repot your plant!

Refreshing the soil is a good idea even if you aren’t experiencing mushrooms, especially if your plant’s growth has slowed down significantly. Also, older 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 plant’s vitamins; eventually, you’re 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 ‘vitamins!’ 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) there’s 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 can’t 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 – Then, you don’t have to suffer a mushroom invasion! However, if it happens to you (like it did to me) and DO see a mushroom, here’s 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 can’t 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 won’t have to develop the icky, gross, fleshy yellow mushrooms like mine did!

If anyone has experienced this, or needs help getting rid of described mushroom producing conditions, please let me know.
Leave a comment, or email me at: espressomocha86@hotmail.com
Add me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/eirinn.cunningham
Find my Myspace page: www.myspace.com/artist8604

116 comments:

  1. I just seen one of these in my plants. Good info!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh and about the mushrooms. I find them adorable and was wondering if they are harmful to the plant or you just feel they are unsightly? I understand the conditions that need to be corrected so they will not show up again, but is there any harm in leaving them?

      Delete
    2. and they grow REALLY fast!!

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    3. three yellow mushrooms actully popped up overnight in one of our tomato plants growing in our screenroom here in florida. they weren't there yesterday that's for sure.

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    4. i just found a ton of these in a new bamboo plant that i started from an old bamboo plant new soil which is not cheap but i like them they are interesting i love pretty much anything that grows though do i need to get rid of them or will they kill my bamboo plant?

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    5. my mum has this aloe vera plant in her bathroom and i went to wash my hands and they just popped up ovr night

      Delete
    6. These do NOT harm your plants, late ass comment but to anyone else who sees this, you dont have to remove them unless you have a fear of mushrooms. Also, the '4 conditions' of which 2+ had to be met isn't fully true, I have brand new, fresh, homemade soil mix, that is so loaded with organic matter it created a haven for the shrooms. I'm letting them go because I like em (even if they're creepy) and the cuke that has em is 4x the size of it's sibling so....

      Delete
    7. I set my aloe out on porch, it is getting rain, just noticed the mushrooms today, I think they are cute and may keep them.

      Delete
    8. I don't know I kind of like them,they are really cute and very interesting to look at

      Delete
  2. Noticed some in mine after feeding compost tea. We actually love them and find them beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also think they are quite attractive because of their bright yellow color and because it is a great conversation piece. : )

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  3. Thank you!!!! I was so scared, when I saw a yellow mushroom appear out of nowhere in one of my houseplant pot. Literally, over night, as you say. Very helpful info!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks that cleared my mind when I saw a yellow mushroom in my house plants I was wondering what it was, and I got good information

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for the info...This plant has been in this soil for 3+ years and these yellow mushrooms started appearing a couple weeks ago.
    Now I know what must be done.. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I repotted my ficus tree 2 months ago with Miracle Gro Moisture Control Potting mix. During te past few weeks I have been getting giant yellow mushrooms. It was fine before I added the new soil. I cleared out the mushrooms twice already. What should I do, and what kind of soil should I use instead???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bought Miracle gro as well!

      Delete
    2. Me too, the bugs we so bad, put the plant outside for a week. Now the mushrooms have started.

      Delete
  7. We have some yellow mushrooms going in a plant at work. Thanks so much for the info, it's good to know it's not dangerous.

    Now we want to know how big we can grow them, haha!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for the information. We've got a bunch of these cute little suckers (their texture reminds me of peeps) growing on our elephant ear plant and were wondering if they were bad for the plant or not. As much as I'd like them to keep appearing, I'm more interested in the elephant being healthy. We shall now replant. Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's exactly what my sister said, Peeps!

      Delete
  9. Eirinn - this was just the info I needed! I have a smaller version of a peace lily and just yesterday noticed three yellow mushrooms... Yikes! A little scary when you're not expecting it... the soil is definitely old, and now I know what to do. Thanks Much. :o)

    ReplyDelete
  10. We have developed a small community of these bright yellow mushrooms in a gardenia tree we keep on our front porch (so they aren't limited to house plants) We actually find them beautiful and interesting how they change shape, texture and color during their life span (which is very short) We just clean them out once they have died and within two days we have a brand new crop to observe. Here is a very good botany link that tells more about them. http://botit.botany.wisc.edu/toms_fungi/feb2002.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree - beautiful and interesting. A surprise gift presented by nature. Can't imagine why anyone finds them disgusting.

      Delete
  11. I too used miracle grow moisture control potting soil and now have had these "weird yellow things" popping up. I didn't know what it was at first, when I realized they looked like mushrooms decided to do a search. Low and behold, thats exactly what it is.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks so much to all the readers of this post! They truly are fascinating, if not for the sheer shock and surprise they can cause for people who haven't seen one before. It seems a rare person (or persons) will find them attractive -- and even allow them to flourish. Most of you, it seems, would like them better if they didn't make their home in a favorite planty companion! Email me your photos at espressomocha86@hotmail.com and I can upload them to this post! =) =) =)
    Have an amazing day!

    ReplyDelete
  13. To you who have fallen victim to the mushrooms, ask yourself this: are you using Miracle-Gro products? I noticed some of you are mentioning Moisture Control mix.

    It's not my wish to call out the good folks over at Miracle-Gro, but please be aware that the amount of peat moss in their soils (in general) prevents the mix from drying out at times (esp. if you find you are a chronic over-waterer). This, in turn, does lead to the eventual development of the dreaded mushrooms!
    (Other soils made from organic materials, such as Lucky-Frog, do not include peat, and thus increase drainage with your houseplants.)

    What to do: 1. Cut back on your watering just slightly 2. Provide more light to the plant (if needed - this will aide in drying of the media). If this doesnt help, and the mushrooms keep coming back, 3. Repot in fresh soil. Your soil is probably old and needs replacing!

    Personally, I love Miracle-Gro Potting Soil, and ususally ammend mine with Miracle-Gro Cactus mix, just to lighten it up a bit!

    ReplyDelete
  14. To reader k.staines: Thanks for the link!! =)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thanks for the info... your 2nd pic. showed up #3 on google images and was exactly what I wanted to know about! I did a regular search and noone was talking about the same thing.

    I think the issue is #1,3 &4 and gonna have to fix this quick. A good way to look at them then is as yellow "caution" shrooms ;)

    Thanks again from Ypsi

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh thank goodness for your advice. I can't imagine why the above person would want to keep them! They look like yellow penises.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I concur on all accounts! "Yellow penises" for sure!

      Delete
  17. Just noticed my tomatoe and sweet potatoe pots had these mushrooms! Was curious .. and this website answer my concerns!I'm going to repot.
    Thank you:)

    ReplyDelete
  18. THANK YOU! Had me quite concerned. Love the colour of them but that's all.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love that i can type "yellow mushroom houseplant" and some one else has valuable information on it. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you so much for this page :) I moved my dragon tree outside and we had some heavy rain and hot muggy conditions and I have a LOT of the powdery chalky yellow mushrooms popping up in the pot. One of them is already 5 inches tall!! I think they might be the ones in the second picture. I'm in Illinois so I guess i'm in the "mushroom zone" ;D ty again for this helpful page!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. These are coming up in my potted strawberry plants.
    Should I be concerned about eating the strawberries?

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a freak show these little mushrooms are. Beautiful color but freaky looking and stinky. We have a banana plant indoors, about 2 years now and one day voila ~little yellow mushrooms. I pulled them out by the roots, went on vacation for a week and kazam ~mushroom mania. They were BIG. Wish I would have taken pictures but just dug them right out. Roughed up the soil and haven't seem more but watching closely. Thanks for the info!

    ReplyDelete

  23. Thank you I will try repotting

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi, I just noticed these exact same mushrooms starting to grow out of an otherwise very healthy-looking orchid I have at my office. However, the idea of repotting does not sound too appealing, since my experience with repotting orchids has usually ended up with their death. They seem VERY sensitive to manhandling, and I've had a few casualties in the past. Do you think it's a good idea to repot even with an orchid? Aren't there any other solutions that might eliminate the mushrooms?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Generally, orchids do weel if you repot them in ORCHID potting material. However, potting SOIL will definitely kill an orchid plant. In the wild, orchids grow on tree trunks - not in the ground at all. So repot with orchid medium and you'll do fine. Just avoid soil.

      Delete
  25. Haha!! I noticed some of these growing on my mint and basil plants a few days ago. I thought they'd go away by now, but they're just getting bigger, so I had to figure out what the hell they were. Since, they won't be doing any harm to me or the plants I think I'll just leave them there. They're kinda cute.

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  79. I just got some last night. Its in a snake plant which I water about every 6 weeks, when I do I soak it, but it is drained. Maybe the store had old soil.

    I actually like them and think I will keep them, but I will check into the drainage.

    I usually kill plants (which is why I know only have a snake plant and bamboo) so its nice to know that I grew something!

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  80. Please tell me what the yellow houseplant mushroom eats.Like, what is its food source? Thank you♥

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  81. There were 3 mushrooms yesterday and today there are literally 20 of them in my plant.

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  85. I just recently discovered yellow mushrooms growing in my very large split-leaf philodendron. I also am starting to see a yellowish/whitish powder on top of the soil in my peace lily. A couple months ago I used miracle grow houseplant spikes in these plants. Could that be causing the mushrooms?

    ReplyDelete
  86. I've found some white mushrooms in my sansevieria. Are they the same as the yellow houseplant mushrooms. Because the mushroom wasn't yellow and not as big and it only looked like the first picture, but I just want to make sure.

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  87. Two weeks ago these pesky mushrooms started growing in the self watering bottom of my philodendron, not up on the top of the plant. I started this plant last spring with Moisture Control Miracle Grow. Will be repotting with different soil. Thanks for the advice.

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  88. The over watering part is hard to avoid, these mushrooms have appeared in the pot of my Bat Flower which is a VERY thirsty plant...

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  89. These things are taking over the world!!
    I'm on the Gold Coast, Australia & they've suddenly shown their yellow heads in my pots - they grow so quickly!

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  90. Thanks for the info! These have been coming up at the border of my tomato garden. Now, what I would like to know is, what, in the wild, eats them? There was a good sized one in the garden yesterday that disappeared overnight. With the fencing, it must be a snake, a mouse, a bird, a bat, or a squirrel...

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  91. They just started popping up in my outside plants. I live in south Alabama and we have had tons of rain everyday for the past few weeks. I kind of like them though, they grow really fast! If they don't harm my plants I think I will leave them there.

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  92. This is probably too late of a post, but I was wondering if anyone else uses aloe for skin care use. I noticed mold on the surface of my aloe pot today, and I'm worried that the aloe plant itself has been infected with something that might be hazardous to my skin and have not used it since. Does anyone know about this?

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  93. Some magically appeared in my oregano and that only. I kept pulling it out and then later more would just pop up. Then I asked my friend that works for TruGreen and he said I have very good soil and it's very fertile. It won't hurt my oregano and to just keep pulling it out every time it pops up. I haven't changed the soil but I ocassionally top it with new soil and sort of mix it in with the old soil. My oregano is growing like crazy and is super healthy. Even new growth just keeps popping up. It is in a drainage pop within a nondrainage pot in my carport....but it does tend to dry out quickly. I water it more in the spring and summer which is why this just started happening. Never had this happen before until this year. Anyway.....I may just repot it with new soil.

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  94. I looked at my lavender plant the night before. I was debating whether or not to pick out all the dead leaves.
    I bought organic soil and an organic fertilizer called Bloom.

    To my shock this morning I have 3 in mushrooms in my flower pot and I'm freaking out. The look pretty cool and if it doesn't harm the plant I'm going to leave them be. I'm amazed at the rapid overnight growth rate. WOW

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