Houseplants are a phenomenal addition to any home environment for many reasons, and it’s not just because they aesthetically enhance an indoor space.
On the one hand, more and more studies are showing that indoor plants can have a significant positive impact on mental health. Not only can they boost productivity, but they can also help reduce anxiety and increase optimism. Some studies have even started linking plants to helping recover faster after surgery. The results showed that just looking at plants led to a significant improvement in physiologic responses in patients.
Your favorite houseplant may also be helping improve the quality of your indoor air. Reducing carbon dioxide in an indoor space is a fantastic perk, but it’s not the only way to create a healthier home. Some studies have shown that these natural beings reduce indoor air pollutants like formaldehyde, ammonia, and benzene.
And all of this is on top of the aesthetic benefits they can provide, such as adding color, reducing noise pollution, and helping reduce energy costs by maintaining lower indoor temperatures.
It seems like adding indoor plants to a home is a no-brainer, right?
It’s not all sunshine and daisies, though. These bringers of health and positivity can have a negative effect on health if they’re harboring an indoor contaminant like mold.
Mold and Indoor Plants
Mold generally only requires two main elements to begin growing: food and moisture. If they’re provided with these components for 24–48 hours, the mold spore can transition into a living mold colony.
Now picture a houseplant. Food is in abundance, from the components of the soil to the microscopic organic matter floating around the home. As for moisture, this is the variable component that can allow or prevent this fungus from moving in on your potted friend.
Why Avoid Moldy Plants?
An awakened home is one that supports the health and wellness of those living inside. Indoor mold growth can have negative impacts on our bodies, making it an unwelcomed addition to our spaces.
As mold grows, it releases microscopic spores into the surrounding environment. Some species of mold also create microscopic toxins called mycotoxins, which are toxic to the human body. The longer the mold is growing indoors, the more particles it releases, lowering the indoor air quality. For those who are sensitive to this exposure, it can trigger a long list of potential symptoms.
This negates the positive benefits of our beloved houseplants, which is why it’s important to actively take steps to avoid this phenomenon from occurring.
Preventing Mold on Indoor Plants
There are several little maintenance tricks that plant owners can follow to help keep their potted friends safe and free from mold growth.
These preventative steps include:
- Keeping an eye on the soil and avoid overwatering your plants. Remember that mold can grow in as little as 24–48 hours, so soil that stays moist for too long can allow this indoor contaminant to grow on the topsoil.
- Keeping plants in a sunny area where they’re able to dry completely. Again, this helps eliminate a component needed for mold growth.
- Adding some cinnamon into the soil to help prevent mold growth thanks to its antifungal properties
- Spraying the soil with a probiotic like Homebiotic to help keep the biology of the soil balanced.
- Using a pot disc for pots and not setting plants in clay pots on wood furniture or stands. The water sitting at the bottom of the pot can create condensation, allowing mold to grow below the pot.
- Keeping plants out of the bedroom. This is where our bodies rest and repair each night, so we want this to be a sanctuary. You do not want to bring anything into your sleeping sanctuary that could possibly harbor mold.
- Sticking to low-water plants like succulents or cacti. This will help decrease the amount of water in the equation. Less water means fewer opportunities for mold.
- Remove any dead leaves or other dead organic material. These can act as a food source for mold and trap moisture.
Collectively, these help ensure that your home is reaping the benefits of indoor plant presence and not suffering from toxic side effects.
For those suffering from mold illness, it may be a good idea to ask a friend to take care of any houseplants until you’re feeling better. When it comes to your health, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and remove anything with the potential to harbor mold growth.
Ashley · @AwakeningSpaces
Awakening Spaces is a full service interior design and consulting firm that support health conscious individuals and those who have been impacted by mold, chemicals, and EMFs create safe nurturing spaces.
Whether you’re renovating, building new, or looking to improve your existing space, we’re here to help you navigate the massive project you’re taking on by looking at your environment holistically and outlining the steps you need to take so that you can feel confident that your home is supporting your health and you can get back to your life.