Red/pink mold on palm houseplant

Oz MartinNovember 26, 2012

Hi there,

I�m hoping that someone can tell me what this pinkish mold on my palm might be. I have a sensitivity to mold and I�m concerned that this mold may be toxic to my family�s health.

In the past, this plant has had a number of white mold clumps sitting on top of the soil. I do not water this plant excessively, so I�m at a loss as to why this may be.

Any information would be helpful.

Many thanks!
Carlee

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

welcome to GW ....

does it matter what it is..

why is the refuse being left there.. cleanup the old dead stuff.. and your problem is gone ...

and on what basis are you presuming its toxic ??? .. any symptoms???

and why do you think its a mold???

many assumptions.. many fears ...

just put on the dish gloves.. if you still have some.. and remove all dead material ...

ken

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 7:18PM
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Oz Martin

It's true, I'm not 100% sure it is mold, but because of the appearance I have a suspicion it is some kind of mold. This plant has a history of mold issues and I have been recently experiencing many symptoms of mold sensitivity (burning eyes, sneezing and skin irritation) while I've been in close proximity to the plant. I'm hoping these symptoms will clear up now that the plant is out of the house.

There is such a thing as red mold in your house and, from my understanding, some types of these molds are quite toxic. The reason I posted this question and picture to the forum is to see if anyone knows of a similar thing in plants; I didn't post to be instructed on how to clean up a dying plant.

While I appreciate your response and your assumption that this is not a mold, I do not appreciate such a dismissive and condescending response. If you had a good idea about what this "pink stuff" may be, I would be more assured by your comments.

So to answer your question, Ken, yes - it does matter what it is.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 1:07AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

All of the dead stuff is a breeding ground for molds and mildew. I'd cut that off at ground level. I don't know what the pink is, but that black mold can become airborne in a hurry.

Could the 'white clumps ' be perlite? I see some of that in your picture.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 7:02AM
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Oz Martin

Thanks, rhizo_1.

I actually discovered this pink fuzzy stuff when cleaning the plant. I had pulled out a dying stalk and noticed a pink powdery substance on it. �I then pulled back the layers of a neighbouring stalk and discovered more of the pink stuff. �Soon after, I brought the plant outside and just left it there for some time where it proceeded to die off. �I experienced eye irritation and other symptoms soon after handling the palm and a few days after, while sitting next to it. I then made the connection to the plant and just decided to moved it outside.�

You're absolutely right - that is perlite in the soil, but these are not the clumps of mold that I had twice earlier. �The white/pinkish clumps I took out were double in size.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 12:08PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

It sounds/looks like your plant is being kept too soggy. That's not good for the plant, but is good for mold/mildew and the like. I'll 3rd the advice to remove the dead stuff, which will attract any kind of airborne decomposers that will do the job of breaking it down. Fungus gnats can also become a problem in soggy, mostly peat soils, and love mushy dead leaf matter.

Hard water deposits are sometimes mistaken for mold on soil surface.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 2:07PM
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Oz Martin

Thanks, purpleinopp. Yes, it does seem likely that the plant was too soggy. I had put a number of rocks on the bottom of the pot that already had drainage holes, but it appears that the drainage still was inadequate for this fussy palm. I'm still mystified as to why this happened to this palm and not another identical palm that is in the same moisture/lighting conditions. I water(ed) them both very infrequently. The reason the picture of the palm is in such rough shape is that I neglected it once I took it outside (when the picture was taken.) It wasn't in this bad condition when it was inside my home. Great tip on keeping plants clean though. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 3:14PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Glad to try to help. Your plants are a great example of how plants just use moisture at their own mysterious rate, even those that seem identical to us. Your plant may have gotten sunburned while outside, even in the shade, which would also cause brown leaves.

I can't tell for sure but it looks like a nursery inside of a cache pot. Does the cache pot also have holes, or could it have been keeping water in it? If the outer pot can't drain, it would help to make sure there's no water hiding in the bottom after you water the plant.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 4:38PM
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Oz Martin

You're right, purpleinopp, that is a nursery pot inside a cachepot. And it does have a drainage hole. The only thing I can think may have happened is that there wasn't enough space between the nursery pot and the clay pot to allow for proper drainage. I never saw it sitting in water, though.

My cat had actually urinated in the soil of this plant some time ago. I rinsed the plant's root ball off and replanted it into a larger pot, but perhaps the new potting soil mixture I used was not what the palm needed. Or perhaps I didn't rinse all of the cat urine out of the plant and this has negatively affected it.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 5:38PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Awww poor plant. You gotta admire it for going through all of that. And you for your continued efforts to keep it growing! At this point, just let it dry almost completely before watering again. Should help a lot. There's a lot of good reading around these forums about container soil options, you might want to investigate for the next time a soil change is needed. Maybe what's in the pot now is not as helpful to the plant as something else, hard to say from 1 pic but it just looks soggy.

I think one good rinse would get rid of cat pee, but who knows what the effects were before you did that. That may be something slow that's showing up over time.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 6:03PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Perhaps the fungus Fusarium. If so, will be deadly to the palm.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 1:27AM
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ronalawn82(z9FL)

cbilo1, might this be it?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 6:45PM
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