When it comes to finding sources for mold around the home most people often don’t think to look in their potted plants as a source for mold.
In general, caring for houseplants only takes little time and a little bit of “green thumb” effort; but there is a potential problem that can be hiding in your pots and even on the leaves of your houseplants and can become a serious health threat to not only you and your children but also your pets. We are referring to MOLD. Mold growing in your houseplants’ soil, or sometimes mold growing directly on your plants’ leaves, is an issue that can be harmful for both your plants and yourself.
More than 8,000 species of fungi can cause plant diseases, but chemical fungicides can be harmful to other plants, children, pets and the environment. Tea tree oil is a natural product that has been used for centuries as an antimicrobial for a wide variety of conditions. If used properly, tea tree oil can help control fungal diseases on plants without many of the dangerous side-effects of chemical fungicides.
Most components of tea tree oil are active against a range of fungi, with terpinen-4-ol the most active agent in the oil. A study published in 2007 in “Letters in Applied Microbiology” demonstrated that tea tree oil was effective at fighting the fungi that cause Fusarium head blight in wheat, barley and oats, as well as barley leaf stripe and powdery mildew. Other studies have found tea tree oil beneficial in controlling fruit rots, anthracnose and leather rot in strawberries; early blight disease in tomato plants; alternaria solani on potato; and cercospora beticola on sugarbeets.
Preventing Future Infections
Remove infected plant materials and leaves around plants and dispose in the garbage to avoid spreading disease. When using tools to cut diseased wood, dip the tools into a tea tree oil solution to disinfect them. Keep weeds away from plants, as they can harbor insects and pathogens. Water plants regularly but avoid overwatering, which can encourage fungal growth. Use a variety of plants since fungi tend to be plant-specific, and purchase certified disease-free seeds and cuttings when possible.
Also, make sure that your exterior plants are trimmed and not touching the exterior of your home; this can cause unwanted moisture intrusion into your home and can become a breeding ground for mold.
Another way to avoid moisture in your home is to make sure all planters that are touching the exterior structure of the home are removed, this will ensure that when you water your plants water doesn’t seep into the structure.