Most molds found in homes can be harmful, while others that help make penicillin can be useful. However, any mold has a bad rap, and seeing white powdery mold on your plants means you may have a severe issue.
Powdery mildew is the name for the white mold, which is immediately identifiable. It starts as white spots on the upper surface and then covers the plant’s leaves, giving them the appearance of being coated in powder or flour.
Powdery mildew diseases spread to stems, blooms, and fruit and infect many plants, from lawn grass, flowers, and certain vegetable plants. Powdery mildew affects many species and occurs in most regions depending on the time of year and seasonal conditions.
In our guide, you can find out the answer: is powdery mildew harmful to breathe, and are there any powdery mildew health risks such as respiratory infections you can get from actual molds?
By the end, you’ll be lucky to find that powdery mildew effects on humans aren’t as harmful as the health problems on your veggies. (Learn How To Get Rid Of Mold On Succulents)
Can Breathing In Powdery Mildew Make You Sick?
A fungal infection like this is the most common threat to plants. Powdery mildew isn’t deadly, but it’s not good for your plants either.
Many plants can be severely harmed, and if left untreated, it quickly spreads. You can find it on various plants in different regions and seasons. Every gardener should know of the threat of plants infected with powdery mildew, the prevention, and treatment.
The fungus damages roses, fruit, vegetables, and other plants.
Infected plants can spread rapidly where it strains the plant and presents slow growth. In addition, powdery mildew harms flowers, fruit, and vegetables where fruits and vegetables lose fruit, thus resulting in reduced yields.
The fungi “feed” on the plant’s nutrients, and it isn’t directly harmful and doesn’t kill plants but damages them as it feeds from them.
Many people equate fungal diseases with wet, cool weather, while powdery mildew favors warm, dry settings (60-80°F/15-27°C); however, it can thrive in humid environments.
Besides this, shade plants are more prone to this disease than full sun plants. Also, you can find the fungus is host-specific, where one infection strain prefers a particular plant or plant species.
One thing not to do is confuse this persistent fungus with downy mildew. While they appear the same, downy mildew is more common on the undersides of leaves, while powdery mildew is more common on the top.
Habitats for this mold exposure vary where powdery mildew thrives in dry, hot temperatures with high humidity, and downy mildew prefers moist, cool settings.
While severe infestations damage plants, it takes considerable exposure for the fungal disease to infect humans.
Not every person is susceptible, yet if you were in a confined space such as a grow tent tending to young cannabis plants, you might find yourself wheezing or coughing, although it can be a rare occasion.(Learn How To Mix Neem Oil For Plants)
Can Powdery Mildew Spread To Humans?
Powdery mildew can harm over 10,000 plant species, so it’s vital to keep a watch out for it and treat it swiftly. Although it does not kill the plant, it is a pest you do not want on your weak plants, therefore treating it quickly is a must.
Home solutions for killing powdery mildew spores:
A sodium bicarbonate solution is a safe, affordable, and effective home remedy for multiple uses in the garden, including preventing and curing powdery mildew.
- Combine one tablespoon baking soda with 1 quart of warm water to dissolve.
- Drench your plant with the mixture using a spray bottle.
- The solution is only effective when it comes into contact with the fungus.
- You can add horticultural oil to the mixture to improve its effectiveness. Add around two tablespoons of oil to the baking soda mixture.
- You can add a couple of drops of liquid soap to your mix as this helps it stick to the leaves where you want to control powdery mildew.
Like many of these therapies, apply the mixture liberally regularly at around once or twice a week to stop powdery mildew spreading.
Note: too much baking soda can slow iron absorption and lower magnesium and calcium levels, leading to some nutrient deficiencies. Potassium bicarbonate is another solution you can use as an alternative to baking soda.
Apple Cider Vinegar
For many years, this form of acetic acid has been used to prevent and kill powdery mildew fungal disease.
- Spray the plant well with a solution of 2 teaspoons vinegar to 1 quart of water.
- Spray frequently and monitor your plant to ensure it’s still alive.
- Like the above, you can add non-detergent soap to the mix to help it stick to the leaves where you are killing powdery mildew spores.
Compost tea is another popular antifungal treatment to stop this mold growth. It is straightforward to produce, yet you can find commercial kits to help. In addition, compost tea can be used as a nutrient boost to your plants besides stopping mold growth and fungal disease.
You can find many oils suitable for treatment, either commercial or ones you can readily make. For example, canola oil works, yet you need liquid soap to mix the oil with water to treat powdery mildew.
Add three tablespoons of oil a quarter-teaspoon of liquid dish-washing soap to a quart of water.
You can use Neem oil, in the same way, to remove powdery mildew and protect them from other pests and diseases.
Can White Mildew Make You Sick?
It can take severe infections of plants to make humans sick, and if an infestation were to reach this stage, you will need to remove infected plants covered in white mold growth to stop the spread to healthy plants.
While white powdery mildew isn’t a direct threat to humans, it could be indirectly harmful.
It causes no harm if you touch it, unless you are allergic, and you come into contact with a plant infected with mildew. (Read Do Strawberries Ripen After Picked)
This mildew prevents plants from blooming and fruit forming without killing them. If an infected plant produces fruit, it will be a smaller and inferior taste.
Certain plants affected by the fungus are:
- Cucumber & Zucchini
- Rosemary, Roses and Peonies and other delicate flowers
When warm, dry days are followed by cool, damp nights, this fungus thrives on roses. It won’t take long for it to spread throughout your entire garden if you aren’t vigilant.
To prevent severe powdery mildew infections, never water at night and space plants to allow airflow between them.
If you grow plants indoors, you can combat the early stages of powdery mildew and cut down the chances of allergic reactions by using air purification systems, which reduce the risk and spread of powdery mildew.
Fans are in use and help disperse heat and prevent the spread of airborne pathogens.
Powdery mildew on buds:
Powdery mildew on the buds is caused by the same fungi that cause powdery mildew on the stem and leaves of cannabis plants, especially Leveillula taurica and Podosphaera macularis.
The fungus will grow on mature plants’ young leaves or younger plants. It will then spread to the buds.
Powdery mildew on marijuana buds is a disaster because there isn’t much that can be done at this point.
- Mildew can be removed from buds in several different ways.
- You can bag up the diseased plants and remove them from the grow space.
- Use a plastic bag to cut off any infected leaves and buds.
- If the fungus has spread to other plants, the only thing you can do is cut and remove the infected buds and leaves.
Remove powdery mildew on cannabis buds:
Mildew-infested plants don’t take long to wreak havoc on the entire harvest. That is why you must take precautions before the infestation spreads.
You’ll need good air quality and other conditions for this. Only then will you determine the precise steps you need to follow to resolve the problem effectively.
Control and prevent powdery mildew:
There are a variety of techniques to avoid and control powdery mildew from forming on your plants, including providing proper airflow, allowing your plants to grow freely, and trimming during the growing season.
However, you can use a few mixes to combat this fungus before it affects your entire crop and you can’t produce fruit.
Use Milk For Cannabis and Roses
Use a 40 to 60 mix of milk-to-water and spray biweekly. Experts are unsure why this works, yet it appears salts and amino acids in milk kill the fungus and help the plant’s immune system.
Vinegar for Cannabis
Use common apple cider vinegar by mixing 4 tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar to 1 gallon of water.
Mist your plants every three days to treat powdery mildew and prevent the powdery texture of this white mold from growing back.
Is Powdery Mildew Harmful If Ingested?
To offer some final thoughts, powdery mildew, when consumed, shouldn’t create any problems. However, if you find such mildew in your crops, such as your green vegetables, you’ll want to kill powdery mildew before it takes hold and cripples the growth of your fruits and veggies.
You won’t want to eat powdery mildew spores intentionally from a severe infestation, yet fruits infected with these can have a bland flavor.
The secret is understanding what causes this disease to prevent powdery mildew before it starts.