White mold on indoor gardening plant is commonly called powdery mildew. The fungal infection occurs at any time on indoor houseplants and can quickly become a year long problem if not cured. The fungal spores spread through the air to infected other plants within the house. The fungus grows prolifically when the humidity in the house is high, from over watering, low house hold light and poor air circulation.
Identification of Powdery Mildew or White Mold
The leaves of the houseplant will take on a white or grayish appearance. The mold or mildew may appear as a light fur covering. When you rub your thumb across the surface of the leaf the mildew will rub away. As the disease progresses the foliage will turn yellow and fall from the plant. The leaves and flower buds may appear stunted or deformed as they grow.
The fungus robs the plant of valuable nutrients that will result in the plant’s overall decline and eventual death if the fungus is not successfully treated.
Disease Management and Treatment
Remove any diseased leaves from the house plant. Pick up any fallen leaves and promptly discard. Increase the air circulation by placing a fan by the plants or move the house plant away from neighboring plants so their foliage is not touching. Sprinkle the plant lightly with baking soda once all signs of infection have been removed. Also consider sprinkling all the house plants lightly with baking soda to make sure they do not become infected.
Commercial products, such as those containing potassium bicarbonate, are also available for treatment of powdery mildew and mold on house plants. Products containing the natural product neem oil have also been shown to be successful at treating the fungus. Neem oil products can be successfully purchased at most health stores and some garden supply outlets.
House Plant Varieties
Certain plants, such as African violets and begonias, appear to suffer from mold and powdery mildew more than other species. Miniature roses, commonly grown as house plants, also appear to suffer from powdery mildew and other fungal infections more than other plant species. Watch the leaves of susceptible plants closely and consider treating with a fungicide prior to the symptoms of the disease appearing. Certain fungicides will help prevent the mold from forming.
Take care to handle plants with clean hands and to sterilize gardening tools prior to using on house plants so they do not spread the fungus when used. Every gardener should consider quickly controlling white mold. Indoor gardening means close proximity of plants, and all the foliage or other neighboring house plants can soon become infected. A plant that is allowed to suffer for too long with mold will often die or be so weakened by the onslaught that it takes months or years to recover.