It is a popular trend right now to include vertical gardens in the home, and many people include plants in their home to act as air purifiers. Humans are drawn to natural elements in a home, a concept known as biophilia. However, these plants could be causing more harm than good when their soil becomes the perfect environment for mold growth.
1. Avoid moisture. Of course, you need to water your houseplants, but over-watering can lead to a constant moist environment where mold will thrive. Either invest in plants that don’t require a lot of water, or make sure you are only watering when it is critical for the plant’s survival.
2. Good drainage. The type of soil you choose for your houseplant will also affect its susceptibility to mold growth. Make sure it has good drainage, and make sure it is sterile, so it doesn’t come pre-bagged with mold spores.
3. Air flow. Like any place in your home, proper air circulation will limit mold growth because stagnant moisture will not be allowed to remain. In other words, putting your plants in a small, windowless room without a fan is not a good idea.
4. Sunlight. Ultraviolet rays are actually one good way to kill mold spores. This doesn’t mean you totally eliminate the risk just by placing your plant near a window, but it will help prevent some mold growth.
5. Attentiveness. Lastly, pay attention to your plants. Look at the soil. Is it fuzzy? Are you having respiratory issues that are unexplained by anything else? Make sure you are putting your plants in an environment where they will not support mold spores.
This is in no way a post meant to dissuade you from having plants in your home. Plants bring life to the setting, and they are generally perceived as items that increase emotional health and bring peace to the setting. We are hard-wired to favor plant life, so you should put plants in your home.
However, there are many hidden risks in any home, and one of them is the chance of mold growth in the soil of those precious potted plants. Mold growth can have serious health consequences for those living in an affected home. The general rule is to eliminate moisture, make sure there’s ventilation, and be aware of mold risks. Otherwise, enjoy your plants!