Similar to humans, plants are susceptible to many diseases and infections. One of the most common problems plants encounter is mold growth.
Mold can wreak havoc on plant health, affecting their growth, appearance, and overall vitality.
In this article, we’ll learn more about ZZ plant mold, its causes, safety implications, and methods to eradicate them effectively.
There are five most common types of plant molds that could attack a ZZ plant: Powdery Mildew, Downy Mildew, Gray Mold, White Mold, and Sooty Mold.
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that appears as a white or grayish powdery coating on the leaves, stems, and flowers of plants.
It’s caused by several fungal species such as Erysiphe or Sphaerotheca, which commonly affect a wide range of plants and thrive in warm, humid conditions.
Downy mildew is a plant disease caused by water molds, not fungi. It’s characterized by yellow or pale green patches on the upper surface of plant leaves, accompanied by a fuzzy or downy growth on the undersides. Additionally, it tends to thrive in cool, moist conditions.
Gray mold is also known as Botrytis blight or gray mold rot. It’s caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea commonly affects a large number of flowering plants.
It appears as a grayish-brown fuzzy growth on plant tissues, including leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits causing decay and damage. Also, it thrives in humid conditions.
White mold is a highly destructive disease that affects a wide range of flowering plants, causing significant damage through stem rot, whittling, and eventual plant decay.
It’s caused by several mold species such as Sclerotinia, Rhizoctonia, or Sclerotium.
Moreover, during spring and summer, white molds produce tiny mushrooms from sclerotia. Spores from these mushrooms then travel over miles by wind, infecting neighboring plants.
When these spores land on aging or wounded plant tissue, such as old petals or leaves, they germinate and initiate new infections.
Sooty mold is a common issue that affects evergreen shrubs like azaleas, camellias, and gardenias. It can also be found on trees and shrubs such as crepe myrtles, Chinese elms, and hollies.
The sooty mold’s black powdery coating appears on leaves and twigs, sometimes adhering tightly to the surface. Additionally, spring rains may flake off parts of the dark layer, revealing green patches and black mold.
Additionally, these fungi spread through water-splashed spores, hyphal fragments, and air-borne spores, allowing them to move from one plant to another.
Treating ZZ plants with existing mold infection is cost-efficient. Rather than relying solely on commercial preventive products, you can focus on home remedies that can be gentle on your plants.
Here are some examples of home remedies:
- Baking Soda Solution: Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda and ½ teaspoon of liquid soap into a gallon of water, then mix well.
- Potassium Bicarbonate: Add 1 tablespoon of potassium bicarbonate and ½ teaspoon of liquid soap into a gallon of water. Stir the mixture and use it right away.
- Milk: mix 1 part milk with 2 to 3 parts water.
- Neem oil: You can add neem oil to the above mixtures for extra strength.
- Vinegar Solution: Mixture of 3 parts water and 1 part vinegar or apple cider. Apply this every 7 to 10 days.
- Copper-Based Fungicides: Copper sulfate or copper soap can be effective in controlling downy mildew.
On that note, it’s advisable to cover all affected regions and not just the area they come in contact with when you use spray mixtures.
Additionally, it’s recommended to apply once a week for three to four weeks and repeat as needed.
Preventing plant molds from growing is crucial for maintaining healthy ZZ plants. Here are some effective measures to prevent mold growth:
Good air circulation around plants helps prevent moisture buildup. Avoid overcrowding plants and maintain proper spacing between them for sufficient airflow.
Water plants at their base, avoiding wetting the leaves unnecessarily. Also, allow the soil to dry out slightly between watering sessions to prevent excessive moisture.
Well-draining soil and containers with drainage holes allow excess water to flow out, reducing the risk of mold-friendly moisture retention.
Regularly remove dead leaves, flowers, or any other decaying plant material from around your plants. These organic materials can harbor mold spores and contribute to mold growth.
Regularly sanitize your tools and containers to minimize the chances of introducing mold to healthy plants.
Research and select plants that have a natural resistance to mold or fungal diseases to minimize the risk of infestations.
Consider using dehumidifiers or fans to maintain optimal humidity levels.
Trim back branches and foliage to ensure better airflow. This way, mold growth is discouraged.
Use organic treatments to minimize the risk of mold infestations.
Keep your gardening area clean and tidy. Remove fallen leaves or plant debris promptly, as they can create a breeding ground for mold.
Growing a ZZ plant in the household is great. It could improve aestheticism and oxygen flow. However, it’s still susceptible to plant diseases like powdery mildew, downy mildew, gray mold, white mold, and sooty mold.
By learning to identify plant molds, you’ll be able to minimize plant decay and continue living with healthy plants.
Take care of your ZZ plants just as how you take care of yourself. Give them the suitable environment they need and in return, they’ll provide you a home of lushness and vitality.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.