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Mushrooms Growing in Houseplant Soil? Here’s What You Need to Do About It

Tiny mica cap mushrooms growing in a potted fern.

It’s one thing to find a mushroom on your walk in the woods; it’s another to find one peeking out of the potting soil of one of your houseplants. How did it get there? Does it mean something is wrong? And most importantly, what the heck should you do with it?

Believe it or not, finding a mushroom growing in the potting soil of your favorite plant isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Mushrooms love moist soil with lots of organic matter, so if one pops up in your houseplant, it’s a sign that you’ve got some good things going on in your potting mix.

However, not all plants grow well in the same conditions as mushrooms.

Many tropical houseplants will develop root rot if the soil is too wet. Here are a few things to consider when you find a mushroom hiding among your houseplants.

Mushroom growing in a pot with a houseplant.
Look at how damp the soil is and all the organic matter on the top.

How Did It Get There?

Potting Soil with Mycorrhizae

If you use a potting mix inoculated with mycorrhizae, you’re much more likely to have friendly little fungi popping up to say hello.

I like Fox Farm Happy Frog potting soil. It comes inoculated with mycorrhizae and humic acid, and my plants always do well in it. That being said, I know to expect a couple of mushrooms within the first month that I use it. I usually let them decay in place, and they don’t come back.

Mini container salad garden with mushrooms growing in the soil.
My annual indoor salad garden. I’ve also found them in my Monstera adansonii and my pothos after repotting with Happy Frog.

One of these days, I need to do a spore print and ID the species that shows up.

Have Spores, Will Travel

One of the ways fungi spread is by releasing spores, which wind, animals and water carry. Some mature mushrooms can release as many as 16 billion spores! If you put your houseplants outside during the nicer months, it’s almost certain they will come back indoors with a spore or two in the soil. If the conditions are just right, voila – mushrooms in your soil.

Even if you don’t put your plants outside, you can bring spores home on your clothes and your pets in their fur.

I remember one summer as a kid; we had tiny parasol mushrooms sprout up out of the carpet next to the shower in the bathroom. My mother was mortified, but I thought it was pretty cool, and I was 100% sure we had fairies living in the house.  

Agaric mushrooms growing in potting soil.
Okay, I don’t remember planting you.

Pick It or Leave It?

Whether you pick or leave it is entirely up to you. You can gently pull the mushroom from the soil or leave it to wilt and return to whence it came. It will break down and add some nutrients back to the soil. They will rarely keep coming back.

Don’t eat it. Yeah, yeah, I know. But I have to say it.

Are You Overwatering?

Mushrooms love moisture, so make sure you aren’t overwatering your plants. Allow the top inch or so of the soil to dry out before watering again. It’s especially important to ensure you aren’t keeping the soil too moist for epiphytic plants. These guys are prone to root rot – plants such as Christmas cactus, Monstera and Pothos.

Using Soil That’s Too Heavy or Doesn’t Drain Well

Maybe the soil you use for your houseplants doesn’t drain well or holds more moisture than is good for your plants. There are numerous moisture control potting mixes on the market. While these are great for container gardening outdoors, they’re a recipe for dead houseplants as they always hold too much moisture for indoor plants. Not to mention, this stuff is usually filled with fungus gnats.

Is Your Plant Getting Enough Light?

Snake plant with mushrooms growing in the pot.
Move your plant to a sunnier location and the invaders will quickly wilt and disappear.

Mushrooms like shady, dappled, sunlit forest floors. They don’t really do well in bright light. If your houseplants aren’t receiving adequate sunlight, this could also create the perfect conditions for a flourish of fungi.


It’s important to remember that in nature, fungi are a healthy part of a diverse microbiome below the soil. In fact, mycorrhizae offer some incredible benefits to your garden. Having one pop up in your potting soil isn’t always a bad sign.

As long as your houseplant is healthy, your little mushroom friend could just be a welcome reminder that all is well in the soil.

Lawnmower mushrooms growing in the same pot as an arrow plant.
It’s a good thing these guys are short-lived.

However, if you notice the soil is especially damp or cold, and your plant isn’t getting enough light, that mushroom could be a harbinger of other things to come – white mold. If you don’t correct the issue, you could soon be dealing with an entirely different fungus altogether.

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Tracey Besemer

Hey there, my name is Tracey. I’m the editor-in-chief here at Rural Sprout.

Many of our readers already know me from our popular Sunday newsletters. (You are signed up for our newsletters, right?) Each Sunday, I send a friendly missive from my neck of the woods in Pennsylvania. It’s a bit like sitting on the front porch with a friend, discussing our gardens over a cup of tea.

Originally from upstate NY, I’m now an honorary Pennsylvanian, having lived here for the past 18 years.

I grew up spending weekends on my dad’s off-the-grid homestead, where I spent much of my childhood roaming the woods and getting my hands dirty.

I learned how to do things most little kids haven’t done in over a century.

Whether it was pressing apples in the fall for homemade cider, trudging through the early spring snows of upstate NY to tap trees for maple syrup, or canning everything that grew in the garden in the summer - there were always new adventures with each season.

As an adult, I continue to draw on the skills I learned as a kid. I love my Wi-Fi and knowing pizza is only a phone call away. And I’m okay with never revisiting the adventure that is using an outhouse in the middle of January.

These days, I tend to be almost a homesteader.

I take an eclectic approach to homesteading, utilizing modern convenience where I want and choosing the rustic ways of my childhood as they suit me.

I’m a firm believer in self-sufficiency, no matter where you live, and the power and pride that comes from doing something for yourself.

I’ve always had a garden, even when the only space available was the roof of my apartment building. I’ve been knitting since age seven, and I spin and dye my own wool as well. If you can ferment it, it’s probably in my pantry or on my kitchen counter. And I can’t go more than a few days without a trip into the woods looking for mushrooms, edible plants, or the sound of the wind in the trees.

You can follow my personal (crazy) homesteading adventures on Almost a Homesteader and Instagram as @aahomesteader.

Peace, love, and dirt under your nails,