Mushrooms Orchids Repotting

Mushrooms Growing in an Orchid Pot

Mushrooms growing in the potting mix at the base of an orchid. Photo: http://www.asociacionmicologicamairei.com

Question: Small white mushrooms are growing next to my orchid. It finished flowering 2 weeks ago and seemed healthy until today. What should I do? Repot it? Or is the presence of these fungi a sign that the plant is doomed?

Charline Chevalier

Answer: The fungi you see live on decaying wood and other organic particles, not on plants, and are therefore harmless. So, no, your orchid is not in any way doomed nor is it even bothered by them.

The mushrooms we see are just the fruiting body of the fungus. The real fungus is the mycelium, the white filaments that inhabit the potting mix. Photo: http://www.sign-lang.uni-hamburg.de

You can cut the “mushrooms” off if they bother you, but that won’t really kill them. They’re only the fruiting body of the fungus, the real fungus being largely composed of mycelium (filaments) largely out of sight in the potting mix.

Time to Repot

The presence of fungi in an orchid pot is, however, a sign that the potting mix is starting to seriously decay and that, if it progresses too far, can negatively affect the future growth of the plant.

It would therefore be wise for you to repot your orchid eventually, perhaps in the spring, replacing the old mix with fresh mix. For that purpose, don’t use ordinary houseplant potting mix, but rather one especially designed for orchids and probably composed of bark, coconut fiber, sphagnum moss, perlite, clay pebbles, charcoal or similar products. 

You can find an orchid mix in any garden center as well as online.

Here’s an article to help you repot your plant: How to Repot an Orchid.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

1 comment on “Mushrooms Growing in an Orchid Pot

  1. My orchids are not bothered at all by fungi. In fact, I plant some of the common (and overly prolific) ones in rotting tree stumps full of oak leaves, to get the stumps to rot faster. I typically find neighbors to share the orchids with before the stump is completely decayed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: