How do I prevent a plant that needs lots of water from developing mold, fungus, or root rot?


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The plant species (Kratom) that I have requires more water than most plants and also prefers warm and humid air. I always hear not to over water, and it's for understandable reasons. Root Rot being at the top of the list as far as I know, which I really don't want.

I want to keep the plant healthy but by the soil always being damp, and the temperature and humidity being in the 80's, that's a good environment for things like mold (which is my current issue) The top layer of my soil has some white fuzzy mold that's developed over the last couple days.

I've read that it probably won't hurt the plant and that I can just scrape it off. I'm about to do that, but I'm unsure how to prevent this problem or worse ones from developing again.

Any tips on how to reduce mold, fungus, or root rot would be greatly appreciated. I tried watering less but the plant starts to wilt.

Thanks in advance
 
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I honestly have no idea. Your plant getting root rot should depend on whether or not the plant has proper drainage, of course, it can't be sitting in water. They live in the southeast Asia rainforest and it rains almost every day there, they need good soil so the water can pass quickly through, saturate all the roots, and dry out so the soil can be ready for the next rain. Maybe add some sand to your soil mixture? Do some research on what Rainforest soil is like and make up a proper mixture. You can also water the soil with a little bit of diluted hydrogen peroxide, here is a page detailing how you do that, pay attention of what percentage of peroxide you use. The peroxide will kill all fungi and the white stuff on top. Sand will also kill that white stuff. The thing about jungle plants is that you need to simulate their environment as much as possible, I don't think hydrogen peroxide would help much because you aren't simulating the environment. Make a beter soil mix!

posiblhttps://dengarden.com/gardening/Hydrogen-Peroxide-for-Plants
 
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Air circulation is very important in the reduction of mold and mildew. That white fuzzy stuff is probably tricoderma, a beneficial fungus, but if you don't know for sure mix the peroxide as stated above
 
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Pablo, Chuck

I tried watering with peroxide, thanks for the tip. It sounds like it oxygenates the soil as an added benefit which is great. I did a light watering to start just in case the plant doesn't like it.

About the drainage, the soil that I have it in seems to retain water which wouldn't be good from what you're saying. That may be in part because it's moisture control soil but it may also be due to the fact that the environment stays humid and keeps the soil wet that way, I barely have to water it, it stays well watered but spraying the leaves and inside of the greenhouse provides enough moisture to reduce the amount that I have to water the soil directly. So there's never a flow of water that drains through the bottom of the pot, the soil is more like a wet sponge that stays wet.

Since the soil is retaining water, is there anything that's commonly added to soil to reduce water retention? If sand helps with that as well I do have some beach sand I could add, but I'm unsure if that's a good idea, it probably has salt content.

As far as the air goes, the plant is in a homemade greenhouse to help mimic the temperature and humidity that Kratom plants like but that also reduces air circulation. (Some pics of the plant and greenhouse)...

https://www.dropbox.com/s/eyzbbx4r7lpat24/16999141_1353336238087944_7943373414892112724_n.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/w1plfsprtkx4bgt/17021952_1353336308087937_5329803396670874614_n.jpg?dl=0
https://www.dropbox.com/s/upv76n80yqiqkwr/16999053_1353336394754595_107716142967891958_n.jpg?dl=0

I could perhaps vent it more to help, although that reduces the humidity so it's been a struggle to find a balance.

I've almost lost this plant once due to bad soil conditions or perhaps bugs, but I'm babying it and addressing problems when they come up so any recommendations here I'll put to good use unless I read it's incompatible with this species. In other words, thanks again for any tips :p
 
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I think that if you put a reciprocating fan fairly close to your plants that it would add to evaporation and also help to reduce fungus. If you did this and the plants dried somewhat it would reduce the chance of root rot. You can always water if needed. By looking at the pictures it seems to me that your are making this more of a problem than is warranted. Humidity is a relative factor. By using a slow speed fan it would be advantageous in more ways than one. You can always turn it off if needed. To keep the soil at the proper moisture level have you considered using a mulch, perhaps leaves, to maintain the proper moisture level in the soil?
 
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Where would I put the fan if I did this, inside the greenhouse? Or remove the plant from its habitat and let it fan dry that way? It doesn't do good for too long unless I get the apartment up to 80 degrees, that's doable but not for too long of a duration due to us being uncomfortable lol.

The pics are a bit deceiving, I scraped the fungus off before I took them, although I will say that the plant is healthy at the moment. That being said, it almost died once before (perhaps do to the soil being wet for too long) and had to be repotted. :/

I haven't tried mulch, does that help with reducing water retention? Also would I mix it in the soil, or would it be on top as I've seen in gardens sometimes?
 
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The hydrogen peroxide should be killing the fungus that would usually be growing on roots if overwatered. I don't really think there is much of a problem. Maybe you are over thinking things? Are we sure that it really needs to be watered this much? How quickly does it dry out normally, though? It's indoors so I'm guessing it doesn't dry out that fast especially with the humidity and water retentive soil. Where do you live, how much sun does it get, and how much do you water it? Maybe just let the soil dry out and see how it turns out. If a plant lacks water requirement you'll be able to tell pretty quickly so keep an eye on it. If you want to mix sand with your soil. try straining the sand with water, maybe hot water and the salt may just flow out.
 
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Where would I put the fan if I did this, inside the greenhouse? Or remove the plant from its habitat and let it fan dry that way? It doesn't do good for too long unless I get the apartment up to 80 degrees, that's doable but not for too long of a duration due to us being uncomfortable lol.

The pics are a bit deceiving, I scraped the fungus off before I took them, although I will say that the plant is healthy at the moment. That being said, it almost died once before (perhaps do to the soil being wet for too long) and had to be repotted. :/

I haven't tried mulch, does that help with reducing water retention? Also would I mix it in the soil, or would it be on top as I've seen in gardens sometimes?
You would put the fan in near proximity to the plant where the plant normally lives, in the greenhouse I presume. Mulch helps retain moisture and you put it on top of the soil.
 
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Pablo, I really hope that I am over thinking this. I'm pretty sure about the watering aspect of it due to how the plant has behaved in the past. The plant wilts if I let the top layer of the soil dry out before watering as many people recommend to prevent root rot. I water it twice daily, which usually means just spraying the leaves and the inside walls of the greenhouse. The soil itself is only watered every few days since the high humidity environment keeps the soil wet.

It's tricky to dry out the soil and takes days because Kratom prefers this high humidity environment. I don't spray the leaves more than is required to make sure they're all wet, drying out the soil means spraying the leaves less than I'd want to.

When I do spray less (to dry things out) the newer leaves don't point up anymore (which I believe indicates it's not as strong), and after a couple days (sometimes less) the whole plant starts to wilt.

I live in North Carolina which is not the ideal environment for Kratom, I took this on knowing it'd be a challenge so it's been interesting. I've read of some people growing it even further north, but for half of the year (or more) it needs to be in a greenhouse in these types of climates. It gets some indirect sunlight during the day, and when I need to I use the High-Pressure Sodium grow light.

Good tip on the sand, I'll do that if I use that sand and try some mulch for humidity purposes. If it does okay with the moisture from the mulch I could spray the inside walls of the greenhouse and leaves less than I am which would help I'm thinking.

Chuck, thanks for the clarification.
 
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I planted the seeds and cover with cellophane membrane. When they germinate, mold appeared on the ground. It is clear that I flooded them. I spread ground cinnamon powder on the ground between the shoots. Mould disappeared. Next, the seedlings began to grow rapidly.
 
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Interesting, I'll have to look into that as well. There's less chance of hurting the plant when using something natural.
 
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Root rot can be caused by several different organisms including types of bacteria, fungi and parasitic oomycotes. Although the symptoms are similar between different types, they don't always look exactly the same. However, growers generally refer to all types of unhealthy root browning as just "root rot."

But because cannabis root rot can be caused by different pathogens, a solution that solves the symptoms for one grower may not necessarily work for another grower. That being said, there are ways to fight against root rot no matter what kind you have!

Some types of root rot affect the roots below the surface of the water
 
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Thanks for the info, and to everyone else for the help. :) I have another issue with the plant that I'm going to make a thread for, then I should be good unless something else comes up.
 

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