Are you tired of your houseplants looking, well, not so great? Do you feel like no matter how much you water and fertilize them, they just can’t seem to get the nutrients they need to thrive? If so, it might be time to consider introducing some helpful fungi into the mix.
If you are new to this blog my name is Ashley and I am a soil scientist. I am located in a Canadian Zone 3 and a USDA Zone 4. I write articles, make YouTube videos, Instagram & Facebook posts all designed for Canadians and Cold Climate gardeners using science-based methods. If you are looking for anything specific be sure to let me know in the comments down below.
What Is Mycorrhizae
Mycorrhizae are a type of beneficial fungus that form a symbiotic relationship with the roots of plants. Basically, they act as little helpers that assist the plant in absorbing nutrients and water from the soil. In return, the plant provides the fungus with some tasty sugars produced through photosynthesis. Sounds like a win-win to us!
But don’t just take our word for it – there have been several scientific studies that have shown the benefits of using mycorrhizae inoculants (which are basically just a fancy way of saying “fungus helper”) on houseplants. For example, a study published in the journal Mycorrhiza found that mycorrhizae inoculation increased the growth and survival of houseplants grown in a sterile potting mix (Rout, Samantaray, & Dash, 2010). Another study published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science found that mycorrhizae inoculation improved the growth and nutrient uptake of houseplants grown in containers (Bashan, de-Bashan, & Prusky, 2010).
But here’s the really cool part – there are actually several different species of fungi that can be used as mycorrhizae inoculants for houseplants.
Myco Species That Benefit House Plants Include:
- Glomus intraradices,
- Glomus mosseae,
- Rhizophagus irregularis, and
- Funneliformis mosseae.
There are several methods for applying mycorrhizae to houseplants:
- Soil drench: Mix the mycorrhizae inoculant with water according to the product label instructions and apply it to the soil around the base of the plant. Water the plant, as usual, to help the mycorrhizae colonize the roots.
- Root dip: Dip the roots of the plant in a mixture of the mycorrhizae inoculant and water before planting. This is a good option for plants that are being transplanted.
- Foliar spray: Mix the mycorrhizae inoculant with water according to the product label instructions and apply it to the leaves of the plant using a spray bottle. This method can be less effective than the others, as the mycorrhizae must travel from the leaves to the roots in order to colonize the plant.
- Dry powder application: Sprinkle the dry mycorrhizae inoculant onto the soil around the base of the plant and water it in according to the product label instructions.
It is important to follow the instructions on the product label when applying mycorrhizae to your houseplants, as over-application can have negative effects on plant growth. You should also make sure to choose a product that is appropriate for the type of houseplants you are treating.
Chart Of Current Microbe Products On The Market
This includes the total number of species, types of species, and the “density” of the species present.
If you wanted to make sure you have at least one species of every possible current microbe on the market you would want to grab the following:
- Root Rescue – Transplanter (Endomycorrhizal Fungi, Ectomycorrhizal Fungi, Trichoderma)
- Recharge – Real Growers (Bacteria)
- Extreme – Arkos (Bacteria)
- Extreme – Mykos (Endomycorrhizal Fungi)
- Wallace Organic Wonder (Endomycorrhizal Fungi)
|Product Name||Endomycorrhizal Fungi||Ectomycorrhizal Fungi||Bacteria||Trichoderma|
|Total Species of Microbes||Rhizophagus irregularis (Formally known as Glomus intraradices)||Glomus mosseae||Glomus aggregatum||Glomus etunicatum||Glomus deserticola||Glomus clarum||Gigaspora marginata||Glomus monosporum||Paraglomus brazilianum||Rhizophagus clarus||Clariodeoglomus etunicatum||Rhizopogon villosullus||Rhizopogon luteolus||Rhizopogon ampylopogon||Rhizopogon fulvigleba||Pisolithus tinctorious||Laccaria Bicolour||Laccaria laccata||Suillus granulatas||Suillus punctatapies||Scleroderma citrinum||Scleroderma Cepa||Bacillus lichenoformis||Bacillus Pumilus||Bacillus subtillis||Bacillus megaterium||Azosprillum brasiense||Azotobacter Chroococcum||Bacillus azotoformans||Bacillus Megaterium||Bacillus coagulans||Bacillus amyloliquefaciens||Paenibacillus durum||Paenibacillus polymyxa||Saccharomyces cerevisiae||Pseudomonas aureofaciens||Pseudomonas fluorescens||Streptomyces janthinus||Streptomyces cinerochromogensis||Streptomyces chromofucus||Streptomyces atratus||Streptomyces aurantiogriseus||Streptomyces rimosus||Streptomyces venezuelae||Streptomyces Violascens||Streptomyces griseus||Trichoderma reesei||Trichoderma hazianum||Trichoderma koningii||Trichoderma viride||Tricoderma longibrachiatum|
|Root Rescue – Transplanter||20||18 spores/grams||18 spores/grams||18 spores/grams||18 spores/grams||14 spores/grams||14 spores/grams||14 spores/grams||14 spores/grams||14 spores/grams||104,375 spores/gram||104,375 spores/gram||104,375 spores/gram||104,375 spores/gram||626,000 spores/gram||41,750 spores/gram||41,750 spores/gram||130,465 spores/grams||130,465 spores/grams||250,000 CFU/Gram||250,000 CFU/Gram|
|Recharge – Real Growers||8||6.4 CFU/gram||6.4 CFU/gram||6.4 CFU/gram||6.4 CFU/gram||10^8 CFU/Gram||10^8 CFU/Gram||10^8 CFU/Gram||10^8 CFU/Gram|
|Extreme -Arkos||1||10^6 CFU/g|
|Extreme – Mykos||1||300 propgulas/gram|
|Wallace Organic Wonder||1||300 propgulas/gram|
|Supreme Growers – Soil Blaster||6||10^8 CFU/g||10^8 CFU/g||10^8 CFU/g||10^8 CFU/g||10^8 CFU/g||10^8 CFU/g|
|OG Bio War – All Three||NO DATA||NO DATA|
|Oregonian XL||NO DATA||NO DATA|
|Mikro-Myco Mycorrhizal Superpack||18||65 CFU/g||65 CFU/g||65 CFU/g||65 CFU/g||31,143 CFU/g||31,143 CFU/g||31,143 CFU/g||31,143 CFU/g||31,143 CFU/g||31,143 CFU/g||31,143 CFU/g||10^8 CFU/g||10^8 CFU/g||10^8 CFU/g||10^8 CFU/g||250,000 CFU/g||250,000 CFU/g||250,000 CFU/g|
|Mikro-root||2||2×10^7 CFU/g||2×10^7 CFU/g|
|Mikrobs||11||28 CFU/g||28 CFU/g||28 CFU/g||28 CFU/g||4.8 X 10^8 CFU/g||4.8 X 10^8 CFU/g||4.8 X 10^8 CFU/g||4.8 X 10^8 CFU/g||1.5×10^8 CFU/g||1.5×10^8 CFU/g||1.5×10^8 CFU/g|
|Lush Roots||11||55 props/g||55 props/g||55 props/g||55 props/g||3,965,000 CFU/g||3,965,000 CFU/g||3,965,000 CFU/g||3,965,000 CFU/g||3,965,000 CFU/g||495,594 CFU/g||495,594 CFU/g|
|Soil Balance – Kind Roots||10||10^8 CFU/g||*||10^8 CFU/g||10^8 CFU/g||10^8 CFU/g||10^8 CFU/g||10^8 CFU/g||10^8 CFU/g||10^8 CFU/g||10^8 CFU/g||10^8 CFU/g|
|Myco Bliss Organic||5||35 props/g||35 props/g||35 props/g||35 props/g||35,175 props/g|
|Dynomyco||2||700 Props/g||200 Props/g|
|Rootwise||10||10^2 CFU/g||10^2 CFU/g||10^2 CFU/g||10^2 CFU/g||10^5 CFU/g||10^5 CFU/g||10^5 CFU/g||10^5 CFU/g||10^5 CFU/g||10^5 CFU/g||10^2|
|Great White Premium||32||83 Propgulas/g||83 Propgulas/g||83 Propgulas/g||83 Propgulas/g||11 Propgulas/g||11 Propgulas/g||11 Propgulas/g||11 Propgulas/g||11 Propgulas/g||5,219 Props/g||5,219 Props/g||5,219 Props/g||5,219 Props/g||5,219 Props/g||5,219 Props/g||5,219 Props/g||525,000 CFU/g||525,000 CFU/g||525,000 CFU/g||525,000 CFU/g||525,000 CFU/g||525,000 CFU/g||525,000 CFU/g||525,000 CFU/g||525,000 CFU/g||525,000 CFU/g||525,000 CFU/g||525,000 CFU/g||525,000 CFU/g||525,000 CFU/g||125,250 CFU/g||187,875 CFU/g|
|Empathy Rootgrow||NO DATA|
|ACF-SR Bacteria – Advanced Ag||NO DATA|
|Photosynthesis Plus||5||0.9296 prop/ml||0.9296 prop/ml||0.9296 prop/ml||0.9296 prop/ml||92.96 CFU/ml|
|Bigfoot & Bush Doctors Microbe Brew|
So there you have it – mycorrhizae inoculants can be a helpful addition to your houseplant care routine. Not only do they assist with nutrient uptake, but they also help your plants withstand stressors like drought and extreme temperatures. And with all the different species of fungi to choose from, you’re sure to find one that works for your plants. Happy gardening!
Bashan, Y., de-Bashan, L. E., & Prusky, D. (2010). The role of plant growth-promoting bacteria and mycorrhizae in the growth and stress tolerance of container plants. Frontiers in Plant Science, 1, 82. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2010.00082
Rout, G. R., Samantaray, S., & Dash, S. K. (2010). Role of mycorrhizae in growth and survival of houseplants in a sterile potting mix. Mycorrhiza, 20(5), 335-341. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00572-010-0297-y