While tiny mushrooms can be an interesting find on a forest trail, they are a bit more alarming when they pop up in your tomato plants. Are these tiny fungal growths cause for concern? Where do they come from, and what causes them? But perhaps the most important question is, “why is my tomato plant growing mushrooms?”
Your tomato plant is growing mushrooms because the soil is moist. Moist soil mixed with warm, humid air is perfect for funguses to thrive. While these mushrooms are not cause for concern alone, the wet soil can be. Mushrooms do not hurt your tomato plant, but by the time they have emerged, deeper problems can negatively affect the plant.
Read on to learn more about what causes mushrooms and what you can do to treat and prevent this issue from happening again.
What Causes Mushrooms in my Tomato Plants?
Potted tomato plants proved many gardeners. Not only are they portable, so you can move them if necessary, but they also are easier to care for in cases of disease or distress. One of the cons of growing your tomato plants in pots is the watering required for maintenance.
Tomato plants planted in the ground require less water since the soil around them stays moist for longer periods. Water and moisture are stored in the ground under the tomato plant, and the roots can pull in the water much longer than potted plants.
Potted plants need to have enough drainage holes to prevent water pooling at the bottom and causing root rot or other moisture problems. Mushrooms are a common problem that affects potted tomato plants that sit in overly moist soil.
When the weather is warm and humid, the moisture from the soil creates the perfect environment for the mushrooms to thrive in your potted plants. Mushrooms spores are carried in on breezes and will settle into your potted plants before sprouting.
How Do I Prevent Mushrooms From Growing in My Potted Plants?
The best way to prevent mushrooms from growing in your potted tomato plants is to pay attention to the moisture levels in the soil. Mushrooms need ideal conditions to grow—two of the most important things mushrooms need to thrive in wet soil and humid weather.
Avoid letting water sit and puddle in your pots. This will help prevent root rot, fungal diseases, and bug infestations. Over watering plants also can cause the plant to begin to die.
Be sure that you space your plants out appropriately. Even potted plants need enough space to allow for adequate air circulation. You want to ensure that your tomato plants can breathe and dry fully between waterings or after rainfall.
You also want to ensure that your tomato plants receive enough sunlight. Tomato plants need at least 6 hours of sunlight every day. While 6 hours is the minimum, most tomato plants thrive when they are exposed to 8-9 hours of sunlight a day.
In addition to helping the tomato plants grow healthy and full tomatoes, the sun also helps keep the plant and soil dry. However, if the soil is overly wet and there is a lot of sun, the environment around the plant can feel humid and allow for mushrooms to sprout.
To check the moisture levels of the potted plant, use your finger. Placing your finger in the soil can provide all the information you need. If you remove your finger and the dirt sticks to it, the soil is moist enough, and you should avoid watering for a few days until the soil has dried out.
If your finger is not coated or covered in sticky soil when you remove your finger, it is probably time to water your tomato plant.
You can also purchase a moisture reader at your local garden center. This is a tool similar to the way a meat thermometer works. You stick the metal part down about 2 inches into the soil, and the tool will read the moisture level. It will then display it on the tool’s face display.
This is a more scientific way to calculate a watering schedule, but it is unnecessary. Gardeners can tell when their plants need watering by looking at them for generations.
Some gardeners rely on the fact that tomato plants tend to be dramatic when thirsty as a way to tell they need water. A tomato plant becomes droopy very quickly when it needs water. If you notice a droopy tomato plant, generously water the bottom and watch it perk back up in a few minutes.
A plant will bounce back from lack of water almost every time. If the leaves have become brown and crispy or fallen off, the plant has a less likely chance of revival and survival.
What Do I Do About Mushrooms In My Tomato Pots?
If you find yourself with mushrooms in your tomato plant’s soil, do not panic. Luckily, the mushrooms themselves are harmless to the tomato plants.
Pick and remove the mushrooms from the pot and throw them away. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling mushrooms as they have tiny spores that can get on your hands and be transferred to other plants or soil rather easily.
In addition to removing the mushrooms, pay attention to their soil moisture level. If your notice your plant’s soil is extremely moist, check for the proper amount of drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Drainage holes are the best way to prevent wet soil from accumulating in the pot.
If the pot has proper drainage and is still waterlogged, avoid watering for a few days and let the plant dry out. Place it in a spot with lots of air circulation and direct sunlight. You want to ensure that the tomato plant gets at least 6-9 hours of sunlight, especially when hoping to fry the soil.
If all else fails, you can always repot the tomato plant in fresh dry soil. This can create stress on the plant, but sometimes it is the only option for survival. Be sure to watch the moisture level once the tomato plant is repotted to avoid mushrooms being a problem again.
Sometimes potting or garden soil will have mushroom spores in it. They are impossible to see and impossible to avoid. The best prevention technique is to not allow the ideal environment for the mushroom spores to grow.
Moist soil and humid temperatures create the perfect world for mushrooms. Be sure to place your plants where they get enough air circulation and sunlight. This will aid in the drying of the soil.
Being on top of water levels in the soil will also help prevent overwatering. Some gardeners wait until the tomato plant looks droopy before watering it heavily. Then they wait and repeat the cycle. This allows the soil to dry out almost completely in between waterings.
Regardless of how diligent your prevention methods are, there is still a chance that mushrooms will grow in your tomato pots. If they do, removing them is simple and quick. Just pluck them out one by one and throw them away. Then address the environment of the plant to prevent more mushrooms from growing.
Hi there, my name is Allie and welcome to my blog; GareningWithAllie!
Much of what you see written here is just our personal experiences with gardening. Along with the content I write here, there is also a unique collection of gardening topics covered by some of our close friends. I hope you find everything you read here to be helpful, informative, and something that can make your gardening journey the most lovely experience ever! With that said, Happy Gardening!