White Mold

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White Mold

What is white mold? White mold is a fungal disease that affects a variety of plants, such as beans, peas, lettuce, and members of the cabbage family.

Symptoms appear on blossoms, stems, leaves, and pods that have water-soaked spots. Leaves will wilt, yellow, and die; pods may rot.

How to identify White Mold

White mold symptoms vary depending on the environment and type of plant, but here are some common ones:

  • Wilting of individual stems
  • Infected stems may appear to have tan to dark brown lesions on them. From these lesions, a dense, cotton-like growth will form under conditions of high humidity.

How to Control White Mold

  • As soon as you notice any diseased plants, destroy them immediately.
  • If your soil is infected, remove as much of it as you can and replace it with clean soil.
  • You can use a barrier, such as plastic or mulch, to cover the infected ground to prevent the spread of the disease.


  • Be sure to use well-drained soil and space your plants properly to avoid crowding. Also, remember to avoid areas with poor air circulation.
  • When watering your plants, try not to water the tops of them. Or water the plants early in the day so they have the chance to dry before nightfall.
  • You can also spray your plants with an approved fungicide to help prevent infection. Spray the plants right before they bud, then spray again a week later.
  • Control your weeds. Weeds can host this disease and spread it to your plants.
  • If possible, remove all crop residue after harvesting. If residue is left, this disease may develop in it. White mold spores are long-lasting, so they will survive the winter if given the chance.

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It's spring time planting in

It's spring time planting in Michigan once again and tilling a second time before planting vegetables. Many gardeners had mold issues last year including me. What can I put in the soil as I till as a preventive to mold? Baking soda?

If you notice mold turn the

If you notice mold turn the soil over and bury the mold. Keep the soil as dry as possible and only water the individual plants not the entire garden. It also helps to add new fresh soil to the garden if the mold issue doesn't go away.

If I have what looks like

If I have what looks like white mold only on the soil, not the plants, can I just remove effected soil and apply a ground cover? Do I have to remove the soil? Can I just apply wood shavings? It appeared after we added chicken manure mixture to our garden. Is it related?

Hi, Jennifer: Just to be on

Hi, Jennifer: Just to be on the safe side, sure, go ahead and remove the affected soil, then proceed as usual. Mold is everywhere, though, and usually doesn't pose a problem in soil, as it will dissipate once its growing conditions (organic food, a lot of moisture) deteriorate. Mold on plants is another matter, as you recognize, as is nonwhite mold. Thanks for asking!

I have some indoor potted

I have some indoor potted plants. Some had begun to get "rootbound" being out of new soil I baked a lot of it to sterilize it. It was too late for the transplant for most and they died anyways. When removing from their pots for discard, I noticed white mold growing specifically where the inside of the pot meets the soil. I have one that survived and its pot has the mold in the same manner as well. So I watered around the edges with a peroxide solution. What else should I do? Can this kill my plant? Should I simply repeat the peroxide treatment and keep the problem at bay until I can harvest and discard the soil? This plant is 3-4 weeks from being ready to harvest

Hi Branden, We suggest that

Hi Branden,
We suggest that you remove the plant from the pot. Discard any soil that has mold on it and replant in a new bigger pot with light potting soil for containers.

can you eat the veggies after

can you eat the veggies after you remove the mold from the plants ?

Hi, P.J.: Excellent question!

Hi, P.J.: Excellent question! From a technical standpoint, the answer is yes. Assuming that you mean a leafy veggie, and not something that you would peel or de-pod anyway, it is indeed possible to wash them thoroughly enough to eat (say, with a very weak bleach solution, then assiduous rinsings), especially since some might end up being boiled anyway. From a practical and 100% safety standpoint, though, we wouldn't do it.

I can see there are white

I can see there are white powdery spots on some of the leaves of my yellow
zucchini. Do I have to remove and destroy the plant or will spraying these leaves with a fungicide help save the spread?

Hi, Lea: Meet powdery mildew.

Hi, Lea: Meet powdery mildew. Before doing anything drastic, just try washing it off with a water spray. (Some folks say plus milk, and/or plus baking soda, etc.; we say keep it simple, at least to start.) Do it in the morning so that the leaves have time to dry out before the humid part of the day, humidity being the main culprit, not water itself.

hello, your site and info has

hello, your site and info has been super helpful to me. I am growing quite a few things from seed right now inside and everything seems to be going great, only problem is white mold in some soil and on the containers I'm growing them in. Its not on the actual sprouts though. Any idea what I can do or if I leave it will it ruin all my plants? I'm growing veggies, fruit and herbs. Like I said though, they seem to be growing like crazy.

It sounds as if you may be

It sounds as if you may be watering too frequently. Make sure that you aren't saturating the soil; let it dry out and then deeply water and then let it dry out again between waterings. Take the seedlings off any watering trays so they're not wet on the bottom; let them drain and put on a cloth. You can scrape off the white mold; if it gets too bad, you might need to replant the seedlings in clean soil. You could also consider an anti-fungal product; ask your garden center. Finally, some readers suggest adding a little sand and others say sprinkling with cinnamon helps!

im scared that my lettuce

im scared that my lettuce plants will get white mold what is the best pesticide for this mold i live in detroit michigan and im making a garden in my grandmothers back yard and im choosing a moist area in her back yard what am i supposed to do when my plant gets white mold do i throw it away or keep it please answer my qustion i would kindly like an answer

To prevent white mold, avoid

To prevent white mold, avoid wet soil or overwatering. Just keep soil moist.
Use raised beds.
Create furrows in the soil for watering or irrigation so that the water doesn't just flow all over the bed surfaces.
Do not water from overhead and get the plants wet; water at the soil line.
Space plants extra far apart to allow good air circulation.
Remove and destroy entire infected plants and crop residues as soon as you see any signs of mold.
Hope this helps.

Kathy Joyce, Try watering

Kathy Joyce,

Try watering early morning.
When you water at night, a lot of water remains around the plant and its root. It facilitate rotting and development of diseases.

The flowers on both my

The flowers on both my petunia plants have polka dot-looking white spots on each bloom. They are separated from each other the length of the small patio. I did water each evening, they have drainage holes. What happened?

Thanks for answer to petunia

Thanks for answer to petunia white dots,

On my sunflowers, there is a

On my sunflowers, there is a sticky white drippy looking substance between the main stem and the leaf stem. What is this and how should I treat it? And, is it contagious to the garden generally?

Every once in a while we

Every once in a while we don't have a clear and specific answer and this is one of those times, Lad. You do not indicate where you are but it seems that the sticky white substance may not be from the plant itself but from whiteflies or aphids.
Now you wonder, what to do? If indeed this is the case, ideally, you would want to encourage "good bugs" (some wasps, predatory mites, black ladybird beetles, for example, depending on your area) into your garden to eliminate these pests rather than apply insecticides, which might destroy any good bugs that are present. A good bug welcome mat can not be put out in a day; it's often a gradual thing that can be accomplished by bringing in other plants.
To have a better idea of what you're dealing with and how to eliminate it, we suggest that you contact your local agricultural extension service. They would be more familiar with specific conditions in your area. Hope this helps—Best wishes!

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