Controlling Mushroom Growth in Potted Plants: Tips and Strategies for a Healthy Indoor Garden

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Written By Sharline

Sharline is an expert on Chinese export trade. With 10 years of experience in the field of sourcing in China, she is familiar with all relevant regulations and laws about China's exporting. She loves to share her experiences with people and has written many helpful articles.

Brown mushrooms growing in potted plants can be a surprising and fascinating occurrence, but they can also raise questions and concerns for plant owners. While mushrooms may seem harmless, their presence can indicate underlying issues with the plant’s health or growing conditions. Additionally, some species of mushrooms can be toxic if ingested, posing a risk to children and pets in the home. 

In this article, we will explore why brown mushrooms may grow in potted plants, the potential disadvantages of their presence, and steps to prevent and address mushroom growth in your plants.

Why are brown mushrooms growing?

One of the primary reasons brown mushrooms might be growing in a potted plant is the presence of decaying organic matter. Mushrooms are decomposers, meaning they feed on dead plant and animal material. If you have recently added compost or other organic matter to your potted plant, it is possible that brown mushroom spores were present in the material and have since started to grow.

Another reason why brown mushrooms might be growing in a potted plant is due to high humidity levels. Brown mushrooms thrive in warm, moist environments, and potted plants can provide the perfect conditions for growth. If your plant is located in a humid area of your home or is frequently watered, this could encourage the growth of brown mushrooms.

The disadvantage of mushrooms growing

While the presence of brown mushrooms in potted plants may seem harmless, there are several disadvantages and potential drawbacks. Some of the main disadvantages of brown mushroom growth in potted plants include the following:


While mushrooms can be fascinating to observe, they may not always be aesthetically pleasing in the context of a potted plant. Brown mushrooms can be particularly unsightly and may detract from the plant’s overall appearance.

Sign of underlying issues

Brown mushrooms growing in a potted plant may indicate an underlying issue with the plant’s health or growing conditions. For example, they may indicate that the plant is not receiving adequate light, is being overwatered, or has a nutrient deficiency. Addressing these underlying issues may be necessary to prevent further mushroom growth and ensure the plant’s health.

Compete with plant for nutrients

Mushrooms are fungi that feed on organic matter in the soil, including dead plant material and other nutrients. If brown mushrooms grow in a potted plant, they may compete with the plant for nutrients and other resources. This can lead to stunted growth or other issues with the plant’s health.

Risk of toxicity

While most mushrooms are harmless to humans, some species can be toxic if ingested. If you have children or pets in your home, it is crucial to be cautious about allowing brown mushrooms to grow in potted plants. Accidental ingestion of toxic mushrooms can lead to serious health issues.

Potential for spreading

If unchecked, brown mushrooms growing in a potted plant can spread to other areas of your home or garden. This can be particularly problematic if the mushrooms are from a toxic species or if they begin to outcompete other plants in your garden.

Difficulty in removing

Removing brown mushrooms from a potted plant can be challenging, significantly if they are growing deep in the soil or on the plant’s roots. If not removed properly, the mushrooms may regrow or spread.

How to get rid of brown mushrooms growing?

If you want to avoid growing brown mushrooms in your potted plant, you can take several steps to keep your plant healthy and fungus-free.

Choose the suitable potting soil

The type of soil you use in your potted plant can play a significant role in whether or not brown mushrooms will grow. It is crucial to choose a well-draining potting soil that is rich in nutrients and organic matter. Avoid using too heavy or compact soil, as this can create a moist environment ideal for fungus growth.

Water your plant properly

Overwatering is a common cause of brown mushroom growth in potted plants. Ensure to water your plant only when the soil is dry to the touch, and avoid letting the plant sit in standing water. You can also improve drainage by adding a layer of rocks or gravel to the bottom of the pot.

Provide adequate light

Mushrooms do not require light to grow, but healthy plants do. Ensure your potted plant is located in an area that receives adequate sunlight or artificial light. If your plant is located in a low-light area, consider adding a grow light to provide additional light.

Monitor humidity levels

Brown mushrooms thrive in warm, humid environments, so monitoring the humidity levels in your home and around your plant is crucial. Avoid overwatering your plant, and consider using a dehumidifier if necessary to keep the air around your plant dry.

Remove decaying organic matter

Mushrooms feed on decaying organic matter, so removing dead leaves or plant material from your potted plant can help prevent brown mushroom growth. Regularly check the soil in your plant for any signs of rot or decay, and remove any affected material immediately.

Sterilize your growing materials

If you are using compost or other organic materials in your potted plant, it is essential to sterilize them before use. This can help kill any mushroom spores or other fungi that could lead to brown mushroom growth. To sterilize your growing materials, heat them in an oven at 180-200 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 30 minutes.

The end

In conclusion, brown mushroom growth in potted plants is not necessarily a cause for alarm, but it is essential to be aware of the potential issues that can arise. Understanding the causes of mushroom growth, implementing appropriate growing conditions, and promptly addressing any underlying issues can prevent mushrooms from taking over your potted plants. 

Remember to consult with a gardening expert or plant care professional if you have any concerns about mushroom growth in your potted plants, and take proactive steps to maintain the health and well-being of your plants.