Terracotta pots are a popular option. However, they’re at risk for growing white mold.

White mold is usually not dangerous. But it is inconvenient. 

Since terracotta pots can develop white mold, we’ll go over why this happens. And we’ll discuss steps you can take so you can protect the plants in your home. That way, this minor inconvenience can be a problem no more. 

Why terra cotta is a gardener’s favorite

There’s a reason people prefer these pots over other options like plastic. 

  • They’re affordable while being aesthetically pleasing. They’re great for planting on a budget. But they don’t look cheap.
  • These pots are versatile. Use them in your home for all of your indoor plants. Or use them outdoors in your garden. 
  • They’re porous, allowing for water and air to move through the pot easily. And this helps keep your soil healthy and protects against root rot. Plus, it helps keep your soil dry.
  • They have natural insulation. And this means that your plants will be safer in cold weather.
  • These are compostable. So they’re not just good for your garden. They’re great for the environment as well.

So if you’re not using terracotta pots, you’re missing out. These are popular for many reasons. 

But that brings us back to the topic of white mold

The benefits of terracotta pots can help your plants thrive. But those perfect conditions for plant health may also grow something unexpected. 

That’s the fungus that is white mold. 

The white mold that you see growing in your plants is likely saprophytic fungus. And while it’s not harmful, it’s also not a welcome guest in your garden. 

There are several conditions in terracotta pots that lead to white mold. The first is humidity. Moisture is a key factor in mold growth. And since these pots easily absorb moisture, humidity can create an environment ideal for mold. 

Second, human error can play a factor. This can include everything from overwatering your plants to not giving your plants proper drainage.

Pots placed in darker areas are more at risk for mold. The darkness makes it more challenging for the pots to dry, increasing mold inducing moisture. .

The bottom line is that an excess moisture situation will place your pots at risk for white mold. But the good news is that once you find white mold on your plants, there are remedies. 

How to get rid of white mold

There are a few different options to destroy the white mold growing in your pots. 


You may want to start with a mixture of 3% hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar and water. Add it to a spray bottle and spray a thin layer to the outside of your pots. Make sure to not get the mixture on the soil. 

If the first application doesn’t do the trick, you can add a second layer. Now take a scrubber to help remove the mold. Rinse with water and scrub a second time. 


There are a few more steps to this method due to the toxicity of bleach. So before you start, make sure to remove the plant from the pot.

Now mix one part bleach with 20 parts water to a spray bottle and spray it on the outside of the pot. Make sure to scrub afterwords.

Before returning the plant to the pot, make sure to soak it in water. That way you know you’ve removed all of the bleach. 

Neem Oil/Dish Soap

Finally, you can fill a bucket with one gallon of water and a tablespoon of neem oil with a tablespoon of dish soap.

Now dip a sponge into the mixture and wash the outside of your planters. Since neem oil is a fungicide, it helps break down mold and keep it from growing in the future. Plus, it keeps pests away too. 

Future white mold prevention

Now that you’ve gotten rid of white mold on your terracotta pots, how do you avoid it in the future? There are a few things to do.

  • Reduce humidity.
  • Keep your pots away from dark areas where they can’t properly dry.
  • Make sure that pots are draining correctly to reduce moisture.
  • Ensure that you aren’t overwatering.
  • Improve the air circulation.

Terracotta pots are a terrific choice

They’re perfect for keeping your indoor and outdoor plants healthy. And they look great too.

Stockslagers greenhouse and garden center near Dayton Ohio has beautiful terra cotta pots of all shapes and sizes for your Ohio container garden. Come by and see our full selection.

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