Greetings! Today I’m going to tell you about a problem that often occurs not only in Aerogarden, but in any other hydroponic system. Here you will learn the causes, how to fix, and how to prevent this problem.
Why Is There Mold On My AeroGarden?
The reason mold appears in AeroGarden is because mold spores are present almost everywhere. When the environment gets wet enough, mold germinates and gives off an unpleasant odor.
When it comes to AeroGarden, there are three types of mold:
- Mold on AeroGarden grow sponges.
- Mold on AeroGarden seedlings.
- Mold on roots.
The most dangerous type of mold is mold on sponges. It usually appears when the plant is already quite large. The surface of the sponge becomes covered with a white substance and as a result stem rot can occur. This can lead to the death of the plant.
At the same time, mold on seedlings is a beneficial fungi. And mold on roots is often confused with air roots. Further I will tell in detail about each type and what to do about it.
How do I get rid of mold in my AeroGarden?
If mold has appeared on the sponges after the plants have grown large enough, you must remove the mold to avoid stem rot.
Scrape the mold off the sponge using any tool you have handy, but be careful not to damage the stem of the plant. Or simply wipe off the mold with a paper towel.
It is important that no mold is left on the surface of the sponge when you are finished to avoid re-infestation.
Next, you need to treat the sponge with hydrogen peroxide. Dilute hydrogen peroxide in water in a ratio of 1 to 10. For example, dilute 1 milliliter of hydrogen peroxide in 10 milliliters of water.
Use cotton swabs to apply the hydrogen peroxide to the surface of the growing sponges. Alternatively, you can use a sprayer and just spray the sponges.
These steps are enough to get rid of the mold and next I will tell you how to prevent it.
How to prevent mold in Aerogarden?
By following some rules, mold can be avoided altogether. This approach is much better than removing mold if it has already appeared on the sponges.
Ensure air circulation
Mold usually grows in places where there is no air movement. Fresh air can greatly reduce mold activity.
All you need to do is install a fan in front of your hydroponic system. Turn it on a few times a day or set a timer.
In addition to fighting mold, the fan will provide ventilation for the leaves. As you know, leaves evaporate moisture and if this moisture stagnates around the leaves it can cause leaf spots. A fan can solve this problem.
Also provide a fresh air supply to the hydroponics room. Fresh air is what mold dislikes the most.
If possible remove the lower branches and leaves of your hydroponic plants. This will improve air movement underneath the plant and around the sponges.
Use disinfected water
Poor quality water can also be a stimulant for mold development on growing sponges. For this reason, you should only use clean and disinfected water.
Regular tap water has already been disinfected and is quite suitable for hydroponics. However, if mold continues to appear in your Aerogarden, you can further disinfect the water.
To do this, buy an UV sterilizer and run tap water through it before pouring it into the bowl. This will reduce the possibility of not only mold, but also slime on the roots.
Alternatively, you can use distilled or bottled water. This water is usually very high quality and is suitable for hydroponics.
What you don’t want to use is rainwater or pond water. Such water is not suitable for hydroponics at all.
Change the water and clean the system regularly
Water contamination in hydroponic systems is often the reason why mold develops. To remove this cause you need to change the water and clean the system constantly.
Personally, I change the water in my Aerogarden every two weeks. During the water change I clean the entire system. To do this, I disassemble the pump and clean the filter. Next, under the running water, I wash all parts of the system and the bowl.
If you have a mold problem in your hydroponics I recommend you do the same. I also recommend washing the system with hydrogen peroxide.
After cleaning the system, fill it with water but do not put plants in the holes. Add 10 milliliters of hydrogen peroxide for every liter of water. Turn on the system for 10 minutes making sure the pump is running.
After that, drain this solution and rinse the bowl with water. You can then fill the system with disinfected water and place the plants.
Use quality sponges
Poor quality growing sponges may contain too many mold spores. In addition, they may not be made of peat moss like the original Aerogarden, but of some other material. All of this can lead to mold growth.
I recommend using only quality growing sponges from reputable manufacturers. In all the time I have been using original Aerogarden growing sponges, they have never had mold on them. I have also had successful experience using alternative sponges from brands such as:
- Urban Leaf;
- Park Seed;
- Vic VSEE.
In any case, before buying, read reviews of the product you have chosen. This way you will protect yourself from buying low-quality sponges.
Avoid overheating the water
Heat is an excellent environment for mold growth. The warmer it is, the faster the mold will grow and the more mold there will be.
Water in hydroponic systems is usually heated because of the powerful pumps. However, this is not the case with Aerogarden. This hydroponics system has a small pump which is not able to heat the water. Therefore, the cause of water overheating can be external sources.
I recommend that you do not place the Aerogarden near heating devices or any device that emits even a little bit of heat. Also avoid placing this device near a window in direct sunlight.
Mold on seedlings
The second case I want to discuss is mold on seedlings in Aerogarden. This case is different from mold on sponges and the approach is quite different.
As soon as a seedling has emerged from a seed, a white fuzzy substance that looks a bit like mold often appears on its stalk. This is actually a beneficial fungus that helps the plant to absorb water and micronutrients.
Plants create a symbiotic relationship with different types of beneficial fungi. As a result of this symbiosis, the plant develops faster and is not harmed in any way.
It follows that you don’t need to do anything about it. If you try to remove the white fluff from the seedling mechanically or chemically, you will damage the seedling and it will probably die.
The only thing I recommend doing is to remove the growing dome immediately after the seedling has emerged from the seed. This will improve the ventilation of the seed pod and the white fluff will disappear after a while.
Mold on roots
Separately it is worth talking about mold on the roots of hydroponic plants. There are some misunderstandings here, so let’s get to the bottom of it.
People often notice that over time on the roots form a white fuzz that looks a bit like mold. This is not actually mold, but air roots that supply the plant with additional air.
Usually air roots appear above the water level in the bowl, and anything in the water is regular roots. If you add more water, the water level will rise and the aerial roots may disappear.
You don’t need to do anything to the aerial roots as they are part of the plant and only benefit it. You can see what the aerial roots look like in the picture above.
However, mold can still form on the roots. It is usually gray in color and is located at the top of the root system above the water. You can see what mold looks like on the roots in the picture above.
This mold is bad for the plant so it must be removed. To do this, take the plant out of the bowl and wash off the mold under running water. Next, cut off the roots that are badly damaged.
Then dilute 30 milliliters of hydrogen peroxide in one liter of water. Immerse the roots in this solution and hold them for about 5 minutes. Then rinse the solution under running water and transfer the plant to the hydroponic system.
Now you know all about mold in Aerogarden. Here I have given you examples of what mold is beneficial and what is not. By following my recommendations you can easily control it in your hydroponics.
I hope my article will be useful for you. I wish you good luck and all the best!