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Gardener at wit’s end over mysterious ‘white fuzz’ coating soil of indoor tree: ‘The plant has been dying’

“There’s no need to change the soil or repot as suggested.”

"There’s no need to change the soil or repot as suggested."

Photo Credit: iStock

Having a lush garden can be beautiful and relaxing, but sometimes caring for your plants is more complicated than it seems. One gardener took to Reddit to get help with a problem regarding their lemon tree.

"Please tell me this is fake?"
Photo Credit: Reddit
"Please tell me this is fake?"
Photo Credit: Reddit

In the subreddit r/gardening, one home gardener shared photos of “white fuzz” covering the soil of a beloved plant. In a comment on the post, they added some context. 

“There has been a blooming white fuzz mold on the soil, and the plant has been dying — leaves have been drying up and falling off en mass,” the OP wrote, noting that they moved the lemon tree inside in December when they went on vacation. 

“Whenever I have watered the mold has flourished. I’m not sure what to do short of dumping all the soil and repotting,” they continued. 

While some houseplants can be more difficult to care for, the benefits of having greenery indoors are worth it. According to Time, houseplants can reduce stress and anxiety, increase happiness and productivity, and even speed up healing. One research paper found that simply looking at plants, gardens, and nature benefits patients in hospitals. 

Having plants in your home can also help filter and purify the air. Some scientists have been trying to increase how effectively plants do this by making genetically modified versions called Neoplants

Thankfully, the helpful folks on r/gardening had some ideas for how to care for this particular plant.

“Simply spray h2o2 [hydrogen peroxide] to kill the mold, then just bottom water from now on. There’s no need to change the soil or repot as suggested,” one person recommended.

There was some debate in the comments about if the mold could be helpful or harmful, with one person suggesting: “Ask r/mycology to ID it. Some fungi are helpful to plants, while some are parasitic. They can help you there [to] figure out which type you have.”

There really are answers to everything on Reddit.

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