Types Of Mushrooms In House Plants

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Having house plants really makes your house feel like home. The oxygen inside is improved and depending on the plants, you might even get a fragrance. When you factor in the color factor and the sheer joy of being surrounded by life, it’s really easy to see the appeal.

The thing about life, however, is that it tends to pop up just about everywhere, even when you weren’t planning for it. Today we’re going to talk about types of mushrooms in houseplants, an example that you’ve probably seen before in the form of tiny, yellow-capped mushrooms that sometimes appear in your flowerpots uninvited.

Known as Plantpot Dapperlings and a few other names that we’ll share today, they’re not necessarily a bad thing – although there’s a little more to it than that. Read on and we’re going to tell you all about Plantpot Dapperlings, what they’ll do in that flower pot, whether or not they are toxic and more!

While we’re on the subject, we’ll also tell you how to get rid of them and what you can do to try to prevent them. So, if you’re ready, then let’s talk about the Plantpot Dapperling and what you need to know about these mushrooms!

Main points about different types of mushrooms in houseplants

Those little yellow mushrooms that you see in your flower pot are called Plantpot Dapperlings and they’re actually quite good for your plants, as they eat dead materials and convert them into soil nutrients without harming your plant at all. They are, however, TOXIC to humans and pets, so this needs to be considered when you are deciding what to do with them.

We’ll outline some strategies for prevention and removal later in this article, so be sure to stick around and we’ll tell you how it’s done!

Why are there sometimes mushrooms in my house plants, anyways?

Plantpot Dapperlings growing in a houseplant
Plantpot Dapperlings growing in a houseplant

Mushrooms can end up in your flower pots for a number of reasons. You could simply be bringing them inside in the form of spores, for instance. Most commonly, however, it’s contaminated soil. Spores end up mixed into batches of commercial soil from time to time and you won’t know that they are there until the conditions are right.

As soon as the soil is moist enough and it’s warm, little mushrooms will start making their appearance, and disappearing from time to time as well when it gets too dry for their liking. Usually, it’s not so much of a problem if you don’t mind the aesthetics of the suddenly-yellow soil and if you don’t have pets.

That’s because the most common culprit is a little yellow mushroom called the Plantpot Dapperling. 

Introducing the Plantpot Dapperling – Leucocoprinus birnbaumii

Leucocoprinus birnbaumii close-up.
Leucocoprinus birnbaumii close-up.

The Plantpot Dapperling has a lot of names, although Leucocoprinus birnbaumii is its proper one. That’s a change from the name that it had before, which you might have heard — Lepiota lutea. Of course, aside from the proper classification names, Dapperlings are also known as ‘Yellow Parasols’ and ‘Flowerpot Parasols’, and have gathered other nicknames as folks have inevitably come across them.

They’re quite common, as it turns out, so let’s move on to the first question that’s probably on your mind.

Are Plantpot Dapperling mushrooms toxic to my plants?

Not at all. Plantpot Dapperlings are actually beneficial. Those cute little yellow mushrooms eat only dead matter, including dead roots, and they convert what they eat into useful components for your plant’s soil. 

The problem, unfortunately, is that they ARE toxic to humans and pets. Plantpot Dapperlings are considered a ‘medium’ level toxin and ingestion of them by you, your children, or your pets can cause gastrointestinal distress. While you’d probably have to eat a dozen, children and pets have a lower body weight, and thus are going to be more susceptible to stomach cramping, diarrhea, and nausea if these are ingested. 

As such, if you have kids or pets, then it’s best to try to get rid of the mushrooms to avoid accidental ingestion, or at least place the pants somewhere that they cannot easily be reached. In cases of ingestion, be sure to see a physician or if it’s your pet, then to get to the vet right away to determine the best course of treatment. 

Wait, what if my flower pot mushrooms are brown?!

While Plantport Dapperlings are the most common mushrooms that you’ll find in your flowerpot, you can end up with lots of different kinds as long as the spores are present and the conditions are favorable for their growth.

That said, the most common mushrooms that you’ll see when it’s not Dapperlings paying you a visit are simply other varieties of Coprinus or mushrooms from the genus Conocybe. Conocybes tend to have flatter caps and they are a little darker brown, while Coprinus mushrooms often have distinctively conical caps. 

While these brown varieties are generally non-toxic, as a rule if you don’t know what kind of mushroom you’ve got, it’s always best to assume it’s poisonous until you can prove otherwise. Either remove the mushrooms immediately or relocate the potted plant somewhere that your pets and/or kids can’t get into it and then you can look for the species online to see if you can identify it.

If you confirm that it’s non toxic then consider cutting your little mushroom friends some slack and letting them stay – they’re very good for your plants and kind of charming, really, but ultimately that decision is up to you! 

How do I get rid of Plantpot Dapperling or other mushrooms?

Mushrooms growing.
Mushrooms growing.

If you have pets, children, or simply don’t like having mushrooms in your flowerpots, then there are certainly a few things which you can try in order to get a handle on things. Just keep in mind that we can offer no guarantees here – mushrooms can be hard to manage, especially when they’ve gotten their pesky little spores all over the place. 

With that disclaimer, below is a list of strategies that we’ll detail for you in the sections that follow:

  • Stealing their little hats
  • Being a rude host
  • Feed ‘em some cornmeal
  • The Baking soda trick
  • Fungicidal fury
  • Scrape and pray
  • Transplanting your plant
  • The Nuclear option

Stealing their little hats

One way that you can sometimes get rid of mushrooms (if you’ve caught them early) is the removal of their caps. The caps of the mushrooms are where the spores will be coming from that help the mushrooms to spread around your house and to possibly affect your other houseplants. 

So, you can pop on some rubber gloves and remove the tops or snip them with a small pair of scissors, and then clean your gloves (unless they are disposable) or scissors and move on to our next strategy to help finish the job. 

Being a rude host

Mushrooms like environments that are warm, dark, and moist. Since you don’t want them in the pot, why not make them uncomfortable? If the moistness is from overwatering, then you might have an easy remedy right away, so check your plant’s watering needs first. Many plants won’t need watering until the top 2 inches of soil are dry, and switching to a strict watering regimen will definitely make it harder for the mushrooms to thrive.

Consider also the temperature. If you can make it a little colder without harming your plant, then this is another way to get rid of those pesky mushrooms. The biggest problem, really, is that the stems and cap are only what you see – there are also components in the contaminated soil. This means that any environmental changes will need to be a permanent thing, otherwise those mushrooms will just come back once it’s warm, dark, and moist again! 

Feed ‘em some cornmeal

Cornmeal may be used to help get rid of mushrooms and other fungi, as it has some natural antifungal properties. Get your mixing cup and add 1 cup of cornmeal to 1 gallon of water, mix it well, and spread the cornmeal goo on the affected areas. Try this for a few days and if you don’t see any results, then go ahead and move on to our next strategy.  

The Baking soda trick

Depending on the type of soil that your plant needs to thrive, the Baking soda trick is another potential solution. All you would need to do is mix two teaspoons of regular baking soda into a 1 gallon bucket of water and then fill up a sprayer-bottle with this solution. Spray the affected areas daily and watch your mushrooms – they should start disappearing fairly quickly. 

The reason that this can sometimes get rid of them is that the baking soda solution is changing the alkaline of the topsoil. Fungi generally prefers their soil with a bit of bite, or more specifically, they like it acidic. That said, whether or not you can do this will depend on your plant. If the houseplant you’re hosting also happens to like acidic soil, then you’ll need to try a different strategy to avoid harming your plant. 

Fungicidal fury

When natural fungicides won’t do the trick, you can always go with a chemical fungicide, though Plantpot Dapperlings are fairly resistant to this so don’t get your hopes up. Mushrooms are pretty resilient once they are fully-formed, but you can certainly try a commercial fungicide if the cornmeal or baking soda hasn’t helped.

We recommend that you check out some of the commercial fungicides that employ natural ingredients. One of the perks of the information age is that many garden-savvy folks just like you have their own formulas and can now market them online. 

Just be sure to read the reviews and Google their ingredients, however, to avoid ordering what amounts to modern ‘snake oil’ type treatments – if all the ingredients aren’t listed or Googling shows them as ineffective, then it’s probably best to look at the next fungicide.  

Scrape and pray

In some cases, removing the top 2 – 3 inches of soil may work a treat to get rid of those mushrooms and keep them from coming back. This is especially effective if one of your houseplants is already affected and seems to have spread mushrooms to their neighbor, but you can try it in even on a solo pot to see if it helps. 

For added effectiveness, don’t forget about changing the environment – you might even try a dehumidifier if the space is enclosed enough to see if the soil-scrape and the drier air will be sufficient for keeping those pesky parasols at bay.

Transplanting your plant

If the soil scrape still doesn’t suffice to keep those Plantpot Dapperlings out of the pot, then your next step is a little more drastic – repotting your plant in fresh soil in another pot. You’ll have to transplant it carefully, of course, and there are no guarantees – if spores got on your plant and are missed, then the mushrooms might just come back. Consider trying a different soil than you originally used, as well, since the mushrooms may well have come from a contaminated batch. 

The Nuclear option

When all else fails, you may have to simply start over by getting rid of both the soil and the affected plant. It’s rare that you’ll have to do this, but it can happen, and if it does then be sure to clean the pot out well with a little bleach and soapy water and let it dry in the sun outside. 

Hopefully it won’t come to this, but when all else fails, sometimes all you can do is start over and try the preventative measures approach to keep the problem from occurring in the first place. 

Don’t worry – we’ll go over some methods for that next!

Are there ways to prevent mushrooms from popping up in the future?

Mushrooms growing in the field.
Mushrooms growing in the field.

Prevention is never a bad thing and if you get in the habit now, then you’ll avoid a lot of headaches in the future. So, how do you keep mushrooms from popping up in the future? Well, we have a few basic strategies and we’ll elaborate more on them in the sections below. Here’s the short version:

  • Sterilizing soil and your tools
  • Create a hostile environment for mushrooms
  • Be precise with your watering
  • Shower and change clothes after outside walks

Sterilizing soil and your tools

Sterilizing your soil is one way to deal with hidden fungi before they have a chance to get a foothold in your flowerpots, but it’s a bit time consuming. Basically, what you need to do is heat it to 180 degrees, and some folks will do this in the oven but there is limited space, so it takes a bit of time.

You also want to sterilize your gardening tools from time to time. When you are outside and gardening, spores in the air can get on your tools and if you decide to trim an indoor plant and you’ve accidentally brought in spores… well, you know the rest!

By keeping your tools as clean and sterile as possible, they’ll always look their best and you’ll be much less likely to bring in spores by accident.

Create a hostile environment for mushrooms

We touched on this briefly earlier, but the environment indoors can make a huge difference when it comes to keeping mushrooms at bay. If your plants are fairly cold resistant, you can move them closer to AC vents, and this will create a chill that can help to keep fungus away. Just be sure to check the temperatures that your plants prefer FIRST, of course, otherwise the temperature reduction could harm them.

If you live somewhere with high humidity, such as Louisiana, then you might try indoor humidifiers in the rooms where you have the most plants. By drawing moisture out of the air, it will be dryer and therefore much less accommodating to fungal growth. 

Finally, if your plants like full sunlight every now and again and they’re only getting indirect light right, then try moving some into the sun. Start with small periods of time – even with plants that like full sunlight, they need a little time to adjust if they haven’t had it in awhile. 

Slowly increase exposure and again – check to make sure your plants really like full sunlight first – and if you do it gradually, then plants that thrive in partial shade of full sunlight will have a little extra mushroom insurance, courtesy of the sun.

Be precise with your watering

Moistness can make your flowerpot a perfect little environment for fungi, provided that it’s also shady and warm. One simple way to combat this is to learn exactly how much water your plant needs and then stick to using that amount. With many plants, you can simply put your index finger into the soil about 2 to 3 inches deep and simply water when this is dry, but check each plant individually online or in your favorite book.

Shower and change clothes after outside walks

If you live somewhere where there’s a lot of nature or simply like visiting your local park often, then you need to be wary of bringing home spores this way. While the odds are small, they aren’t zero, and a nice shower when you get back from the park is refreshing in any case.

By showering and changing clothes, you’ll feel fresh, and any spores that might have hitched a ride on your clothing, skin, or hair will be relegated to the shower drain or the laundry bin!

FAQs

It’s almost time to bid you adieu, but before we go we would like to share a handful of frequently asked questions on the subject of mushrooms in the home. It never hurts to have a few extra facts, after all, so let’s take a look at them and see what you think!

There is a brown fungus in my potting soil — will it turn into mushrooms?

Mushrooms close-up.

No, what you are seeing is very likely to be a saprophyte, which is a kind of harmless mold that you’ll see in soil that’s been enriched with organic matter. It is completely normal and should not be dangerous to your indoor or outdoor plants.  

Can I grow mushrooms in my home like houseplants?

Mushrooms growing in the field.

If you like the idea of growing mushrooms separately inside your home, then you can certainly do so, but you’ll need to research the specific type in order to see the best way to grow them. 

Examples of mushrooms that do well in the house include shiitakes, oysters, and white button mushrooms, and each of these wants a different medium. Oyster mushrooms like straw, while shiitakes prefer to be grown in a hardwood medium, and white buttons need a growth medium of compost.

With edible mushrooms, you’ll usually be growing them in a trough or another kind of large, plastic container, so that you can produce a volume that will be adequate for eating the delicious mushrooms when they’re ready!

Will vinegar get rid of mushrooms?

Mushrooms growing.

Yes, it will , but you really have to be careful not to get the vinegar on your plants. Careful application or a focused spray on just the mushrooms can often kill them within 2 – 3 treatments, but it’s best to try other methods unless you can be very, very careful in your application of the vinegar to those mushrooms.

What is the best fertilizer to get rid of mushrooms?

Leucocoprinus birnbaumii close-up.

One little last-minute tip for getting rid of unwanted mushrooms is nitrogen fertilizer. You’ll want to go with powdered nitrogen fertilizer, just adding a bit to the soil, and don’t use a time-released or liquid variety. What the nitrogen does is it will speed up the decomposition of dead matter in the soil, so that those pesky mushrooms won’t have anything good to eat! 

All plants love nitrogen, so be sure to try this the next time that you see mushrooms making their appearance and you might just be pleasantly surprised!

Some final words on types of mushrooms in houseplants

 So, there you have it! Mushrooms can and do make surprise appearances in your flowerpots and usually when they do, it’s going to be Plantpot Dapperlings or on some occasions, Conocybes, or Coprinus mushrooms. While some strategies, such as scraping the topsoil or using baking soda and water can help, it will really depend on how deep a foothold these mushrooms have in the pot already.

If you don’t have kids or pets, you might consider just letting the mushrooms stay – they aren’t actually hurting the plants and are quite beneficial to them, they just also happen to be toxic.

Finally, prevention strategies such as lowering the temperature, using a dehumidifier, and careful watering strategies can also help to reduce the odds of favorable conditions for those mushrooms to make an appearance. 

We hope that you’ve found today’s tips useful and until next time, we wish you and yours the best!

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