yellow fungus in potted plant

Fungus & Mushrooms in Indoor Potted Plants

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Leucocoprinus birnbaumii, also known as Lepiota lutea, is a yellow mushroom commonly found in indoor potted plants. Some indoor plant enthusiasts find the mushrooms unsightly and annoying, while others consider the fungus a fascinating surprise. Due to the rounded tops, the mushrooms are familiarly known as flower pot parasol or yellow parasol.


Yellow mushrooms appear in potted plants suddenly, either one at a time or in clumps, also known as colonies. The slender-stemmed mushrooms are generally about 3 inches tall. The tops, which emerge as ovals and gradually flatten into bell shapes, measure 1 to 2 inches across. The mushrooms have a smooth surface and are often pale to bright lemon yellow.

Growing Conditions

Mushrooms survive by breaking down organic material in the soil — primarily dead and decaying plant matter. Indoors, the mushroom spores are probably in the potting mixture, as commercial potting mixtures consist of organic material such as compost and peat. Although it is unlikely, it is possible that a mushroom spore floated through the air and landed in the potted plant. Outdoors, these mushrooms grow in cultivated areas and are also found under evergreen trees in conifer and hardwood forests.


Yellow mushrooms are not harmful to the plant and present no danger to people or pets unless they are eaten. When ingested, the mushrooms have varying degrees of toxicity. Some people experience only mild diarrhea, while others may suffer with severe diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and other gastrointestinal upsets. According to the North Carolina State University Extension website, the mushrooms may be fatal when eaten.


Some gardeners prefer to leave the mushrooms in the potted plant, as the yellow fungus provides an interesting topic for conversation. However, Christine Engelbrecht, Plant Pathology at Iowa State University, advises that the mushrooms are best removed if there are pets or young children in the household. The best way to remove the mushrooms is to pull them by hand and to keep pulling them if they reappear, as commercial fungicides are generally not effective. While you can remove the potting soil and replace it with fresh soil, there is still a good chance that the mushrooms will return. Unless you are allergic, touching the mushrooms is not dangerous.

Fungus & Mushrooms in Indoor Potted Plants. Leucocoprinus birnbaumii, also known as Lepiota lutea, is a yellow mushroom commonly found in indoor potted plants. Some indoor plant enthusiasts find the mushrooms unsightly and annoying, while others consider the fungus a fascinating surprise. Due to the rounded tops, …

Getting Rid Of Mushrooms Growing In Houseplant Soil

Most of the time when people are growing houseplants, they are doing so to bring some of the outdoors indoors. But normally people want green plants, not little mushrooms. Mushrooms growing in houseplant soil is a common problem.

What Causes Mushrooms Growing in Houseplant Soil?

Mushrooms growing in houseplants are caused by a fungus. The mushrooms are the fruit of that fungus. One of the most common mushrooms found growing in houseplants is the Leucocoprinus birnbaumii. This is a light yellow mushroom with either a balled or flat cap depending on how mature they are.

The spores that are the cause of mushrooms growing in houseplant soil is normally introduced by contaminated soilless mix. But occasionally, they can be introduced through other means such as airborne movement or spores brushing off clothing.

Most frequently, mushrooms will appear in houseplants in the summer when conditions are right for them. Unlike lawn mushrooms (which prefer cool, moist conditions), mushrooms in houseplants prefer that air be warm, moist and humid.

Getting Rid of Mushrooms in Houseplants

Unfortunately, this is no easy task. Once soil becomes infected, it is very difficult to remove the spores and fungus that causes the mushrooms, but there are a few things you can try:

  • Remove the caps – By removing the caps as soon as possible, you are removing the source of the spores which result in mushrooms growing in houseplant soil. This will also help keep mushrooms out of your other houseplants.
  • Scrape the soil – Scraping the top 2 inches (5 cm.) of soil off the houseplants pot and replacing it may help, but the fungus may regrow and the mushrooms will return.
  • Change the soil – Changing the soil may possibly help with getting rid of mushrooms. One of the problems is that it is not healthy to remove all of the soil from a plant’s roots (through washing or rinsing) and the fungus may still be present and regrow from the soil left on the roots of the houseplant.
  • Drench the soil with fungicide – Drenching the houseplant’s soil with fungicide may help with eliminating mushrooms in houseplants, but again, if not all of the fungus is killed, the mushrooms will return. You may need to try this treatment several times before the fungus is killed completely.
  • Change the conditions – If the air is less humid, the soil less moist or the temperature less warm, this will reduce the number of mushrooms that appear. Unfortunately, the conditions that are ideal for mushrooms are also ideal for most houseplants, so by changing the conditions you may harm the houseplant itself.

Getting rid of mushrooms in houseplants is hard, but mushrooms growing in houseplant soil won’t harm your plant nor will they harm you unless you eat them. You may want to consider just letting them grow. If you want to get whimsical, you could add a few animal or fairy figurines near them and create a little forest garden right inside your house.

Mushrooms growing in houseplant soil is a common problem, though one that can lead to much worry in the indoor gardener. Put these worries to rest by getting help for mushrooms in this article.