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Why are mushrooms growing in your plants?

Got a fungi problem? Let’s talk about why mushrooms are growing in your plants and yard and the best ways to prevent and treat them!

Growing plants – indoors and out – is so excited. When I have a new plant, I find myself checking in on it every day for little signs of progress and growth.

But, what if you see something unexpected pop up?

During the spring and fall, we have a lot of mushrooms pop up around our plants. I’ve shared pictures in the past and gotten lots of questions about them.

So, today I want to talk about mushrooms and what causes them to grow by your indoor and outdoor plants, what they mean, and what you should do about them!

why are mushrooms growing in my yard

What does it mean when mushrooms grow in your garden?

Mushrooms growing in your plants mean that there is high organic matter and/or high moisture, usually paired with low light, in the space.

We usually see mushrooms appear in the yard after long periods of heavy rain without much sun. They are most likely to appear in plants after they have been watered and sitting wet but not gotten much bright sun for a while.

Mushrooms can also be grown from organic material. This might be from deaf roots, a stump, or anything dead or decomposing nearby.

mushroom in plant

Do mushrooms mean healthy soil?

A lot of healthy soil has plenty of organic material in it. Organic material means that there are likely mushroom spores present, just waiting for the right conditions to sprout.

It takes a combination of the spores and wet/shady conditions for mushrooms to grow.

Are mushrooms in your garden OK?

Mushrooms are a part of a healthy ecosystem. They indicate that there is a lot of organic material and they help to break that material down!

However, mushrooms could also be a sign that your soil is too wet and not draining well. Sitting moisture can kill plants and lead to a variety of problems with your lawn, so improve the drainage situation and act accordingly!

Should you remove mushrooms from your garden?

You can choose to knock mushrooms down if you want, but they are not hurting your garden. Mushrooms are completely natural and not a problem in most spaces!

If you have pets or kids who might pick and eat a mushroom, you might want to remove them. While they aren’t necessarily poisonous, you still probably don’t want them being eaten by curious mouths.

mushroom in planter

How do you prevent mushrooms growing in your yard?

If you decide that you don’t want mushrooms in your yard, you need to just take away the conditions that attracted them in the first place.

Remember, mushrooms like:

  • high organic material
  • shade
  • moisture

So, address each of those issues and you should decrease or completely cut your mushroom growth.

Organic Material

Check your yard (or pot) for decomposing material. This could be old root systems, stumps, or even leaves. Clean it up so there are less liekly to be mushroom spores in the area.


Mushrooms like to grow in shady areas, so cutting back branches or plants that provide shade can help to cut down on mushroom growth.


Mushrooms also like moist soil, so be sure that your yard and garden has plenty of drainage! Aerating your lawn can also help to improve flow and decrease mushroom growth.

Additionally, mulching your garden will help to better manage moisture levels and decrease the mushroom growth.

If you want to treat for mushrooms, copper sulfate is the most common treatment to prevent mushroom growth.

Are backyard mushrooms poisonous?

Most common backyard mushrooms are not poisonous. However, there are a few that are poisonous to humans, cats, and dogs. If you have curious mouths in your yard, it’s better to knock them down.

mushroom at base of fiddle leaf fig

Why are mushrooms growing in my grass?

Mushrooms grow in your grass as a result of a perfect combination of the conditions that they love. One of their primary functions is breaking down organic matter.

When dead plant material like fallen leaves, tree roots, or grass clippings decompose, fungi assist in the process by breaking them down.

As this decomposition occurs, it creates an ideal environment for mushrooms to emerge, especially after periods of rain when moisture levels are high.

Managing Mushroom Growth in Your Grass

Mushrooms do not have to be removed from your grass unless you don’t like their look or are worried about kids or pets trying to eat them.

Otherwise, you can work to manage your mushroom growth instead of eliminating them.

Here are some practical tips to manage mushroom growth effectively while ensuring a healthy garden environment:

Improve Drainage

Proper drainage helps prevent waterlogged soil. Soggy soil creates an ideal environment for mushrooms to grow.

Amend Soil: Incorporate organic matter like compost into your soil. This improves soil structure and drainage.

Raised Beds: If you’re interested, consider installing raised beds, which naturally drain better than ground-level soil.

Install Drainage Systems: For larger gardens, consider installing drainage systems like French drains to redirect excess water away from garden beds.

Reduce Organic Debris

Decomposing organic matter is a food source for fungi. By reducing debris, you limit their food supply and decrease them in your yard.

Regular Cleanup: Remove fallen leaves, twigs, and other debris from your garden regularly, before they have a chance to decompose.

Mulching: Use mulch sparingly. When using mulch, opt for inorganic mulch like gravel or rocks, which do not decompose.

mushrooms in grass

Adjust Watering Habits

Overwatering creates excess moisture, promoting mushroom growth.

Water Early: Water your garden early in the day, allowing excess moisture to evaporate during sunlight hours.

Use Soaker Hoses: Soaker hoses deliver water directly to the base of plants, reducing water splashes that can spread spores.

Well-Draining Soil and Proper Aeration

Well-draining soil and proper aeration reduce moisture retention, making it less favorable for mushrooms.

Choose Suitable Plants: Select plants that thrive in your soil type. Some plants are more adaptable to wet soils, helping with drainage.

Aerate Soil: Regularly aerate your soil to improve its structure. Aerating reduces compaction and allows water to penetrate deeper, preventing surface water accumulation.

mushroom grass

Organic Methods for Controlling Fungi

Organic methods are environmentally friendly and help maintain the balance of your garden’s ecosystem.

Natural Fungicides: Use natural fungicides like neem oil or copper-based solutions, which are effective against various fungal diseases without harming beneficial organisms.

What does it mean when mushrooms grow in your potted plants?

If there are mushrooms growing in the potting soil of your indoor plants, that is usually an indicator that the soil is staying too moist. The potting mix is retaining a lot of moisture.

This isn’t necessarily bad, but could lead to bad things like gnats and of course, mushrooms.

Drill drainage holes in your pot and consider moving it to a brighter or sunnier spot to help the soil dry faster. Adding a fan nearby can help, too!

Mushrooms feed off of decaying matter so if you have a lot of dead leaves, roots, or similar in your soil, that will feed them. Keep the soil cleaned up dead debris if you don’t want mushrooms!

What to do when mushrooms grow in your houseplants?

You can simply knock down mushrooms in your plants or pluck them to remove them. However, you will also want to address the issue causing the mushrooms or they will keep growing back .

Usually this issue is too much water or not enough sunlight. Moist, shady soil mixed with decaying organic matter (present in most potting soils) is what leads to mushroom growth.

Should I remove mushrooms from potted plants?

Mushrooms don’t hurt your plants. But if you don’t like them aesthetically, or are worried about pets or kids getting them, then it is no problem to pull them mushrooms.

If you don’t want to pull the mushrooms by hand, you can mix 1 part white vinegar with 4 parts water and spray that on the mushrooms. Be careful getting this on your houseplants, though, as it can damage them.

Repotting the plant in fresh potting mix is another way to get rid of mushrooms and ensure that the soil is healthy.

mushroom at base of fiddle leaf fig

Are mushrooms that grow in potted plants poisonous?

Most types of mushrooms that will grow in in houseplant soil are completely harmless. However, if you are concerned about kids or pets that may eat them, it is better safe than sorry – remove them!

Any more questions about mushrooms growing in your plants?

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