Why Your Terrarium is Growing Mushrooms – Here’s Why

Mushrooms are a common sight in a terrarium's landscape. Indeed, they can be beautiful when they appear. But that's not the only reason they appear—it's also because of the moisture level inside your terrarium.
A person holding a terrarium.

Creating an open or closed terrarium remains one of the best ways of decorating your indoors. Terrariums usually need little care and maintenance to stay healthy and look good. A common feature of many terrariums is mushrooms growing inside them. However, the big question is; where do the mushrooms come from, and what can you do about it? Do you let them stay and be part of your terrarium, or eliminate them? We shall find out shortly.

So, why do mushrooms appear in a terrarium? Mushrooms often appear in terrariums since they thrive in moist and humid environments. This makes them very suitable to live in the mini-world you have created for your plants. The spores of mushroom fungi can be found almost everywhere, including in the soil and on plants. As soon as you open your terrarium, the spores will float around and settle on surfaces or be distributed by air currents, thus making their way into your terrarium. They can also come from organic material, such as dead leaves or wood, which may have been used to decorate your terrarium.

This blog post discusses everything you need to know about mushrooms appearing in your terrarium. Read on to learn more.

Why Do Mushrooms Appear in a Terrarium?

The truth is that you neither planted mushrooms in your terrarium nor did you envision having them there. So, where did they come from if you did not plant them?

To answer this question, you must first understand the environment in a terrarium. Terrariums are often moist and humid; an ideal condition for mushrooms to grow.

Since spores of mushroom fungi can be found almost everywhere, including in soil and on plants, they will find their way into your terrarium when you open them.

Ajar converted to a closed terrarium.
The mushrooms will feed off them and grow without any extra effort from you.

The spores float around and settle on surfaces or be distributed by air currents, thus making their way into your terrarium.

They can also come from organic material, such as dead leaves or wood, which may have been used to decorate the terrarium.

Once the spores get favorable conditions, they automatically start to grow. With time, they create a dense nutrient transport network in your terrarium.

You have to remember that mushrooms usually feed on decaying matter. As more leaves fall from your terrarium plants and decompose within the terrarium’s environment, the mushrooms will feed off them and grow without any extra effort from you.

Mushroom mycelium can be beneficial if it wraps around the roots of your terrarium plants since it provides your plant with water and essential minerals while taking sugar from it.

Should I Get Rid of the Mushrooms?

Most people believe that mushrooms absorb nutrients from soil affecting the growth of their terrarium plants. However, that is not the case. Instead, mushrooms tend to add more nutrients to your terrarium soil.

They freely share nutrients with your terrarium plants and are not harmful. In fact, mushrooms pose no safety concern to you or your terrarium plants.

On the contrary, they can be highly beneficial to your plants since they are natural decomposers. Being decomposers means that their lifecycle is different from other plants.

A person holding a terrarium.
The topmost part of the mushroom is the only productive part of the fungi.

When they decompose, they increase the level of nutrients in your terrarium soil, making your plants healthier and stronger.

Their presence in your terrarium can play a crucial role in breaking down unwanted waste by recycling the materials into valuable nutrients.

The topmost part of the mushroom is the only productive part of the fungi. Below the surface, you can see a root-like structure known as mycelium.

The mushroom mycelium can quickly spread throughout the potting mix, causing it to appear as if there are many mushrooms growing.

The top part of the mushroom only appears once the reproductive cycle is over. Therefore, getting rid of them is unnecessary; you can consider them a part of your terrarium setup.

However, some mushroom species may harm your health if you consume them. You should not allow them to grow in your terrarium.

This brings us to the next question; what can I do about mushrooms if I don’t want them in my terrarium? Let us find out.

What Can I Do About Mushrooms If I Don’t Want Them in My Terrarium?

We have already mentioned that mushrooms growing in your terrarium should not be a cause of concern since they are harmless to your plants. However, you should remember that some mushroom species are toxic and must be avoided at all costs.

So, to play safe, you should consider removing them as soon as possible. You can get rid of the mushrooms from your terrarium in two ways; pull them out manually or increase the temperature and light levels.

A cylindrical closed terrarium.
You should remember that some mushroom species are toxic and must be avoided at all costs.

The easiest way to get rid of mushrooms is to pull them out manually with the help of a stick or tweezers.

Be sure to wear gloves while doing so, as some mushroom types have toxins on their spore surfaces that can cause skin irritation and allergies in some people.

Another way to eliminate mushrooms from your terrarium is by increasing the temperature or light levels. This will make the environment unfavorable for mushrooms, and they won’t be able to survive.

However, we must mention that the sight of mushrooms growing in your terrarium is a clear sign of a relatively healthy ecosystem, and you should be happy about it.

The growth of mushrooms is quite normal in moss terrariums. These plants like to grow in low-light and humid environments, which are ideal for mushroom growth.

Therefore, if you have moss terrariums in your home, it is likely that mushrooms will start to appear over time.

Although they may not be the most attractive sight, they add a lot of nutrition to the soil without taking away anything from it.

Some people assume that the best way of dealing with mushroom growth in such a situation is overwatering the terrarium.

Unfortunately, the results can be catastrophic. You must avoid overwatering your terrarium since it can lead to root rot, and your plants could die.

Can I Create a Mushroom Terrarium?

Yes, you can create a mushroom terrarium using the same principles as moss terrariums. The key is building a closed environment with enough humidity and moisture for the mushrooms to thrive.

To do this, you must use soil/peat moss mixtures with adequate drainage and provide an indirect light source. You can also add compost and mulch to the mix depending on your specific requirements.

You then need to create a suitable environment for the mushrooms to grow by adjusting the humidity, temperature, and light levels.

Once the environment is suitable, you can add a few mushrooms from your local store or even gather them from your outdoor environment.

As a result, you should be able to grow edible mushrooms in your home without any hassles.

How Else Can I Use Mushrooms in My Terrariums?

Mushrooms can also be used as decorations in your terrarium. They look pretty attractive and are a great way to add a bit of color or texture to your terrariums.

You can use them for educational purposes, such as teaching your kids about fungi and the environment, or use them to add a bit of life to your terrarium without taking up much space.

What Is the Average Lifespan of Mushrooms?

The lifespan of mushrooms depends upon the species and their environment. Generally, most mushrooms have a short lifespan ranging from a few days to weeks, depending on their growing environment.

A garden terrarium with mushroom.
The lifespan of mushrooms depends upon the species and their environment.

However, some varieties can live for several months and even reach up to 2 years with favorable conditions. The average mushroom typically lasts about 2-4 weeks before drying up and decaying away.

To ensure your terrarium mushrooms live longer, consider keeping their environment as ideal as possible. This means providing enough moisture, light, and temperature while avoiding drastic environmental changes.

Are Mushrooms Plants?

You may be wondering if mushrooms are plants since they usually grow in soil and behave like conventional plants.

But the answer is no: mushrooms are not plants; they belong to the fungi kingdom and have features that separate them from true plants.

Mushrooms do not contain chlorophyll and thus cannot produce their own food like true plants. They obtain nutrients from decaying organic material present in the terrarium environment.

They also have a relatively short lifespan and reproduce using spores rather than seeds. Some of the common mushroom species that can be found in terrariums include morels, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms.

Final Word

Mushrooms appearing in your terrarium are perfectly normal and should not be a cause for concern.

They come from spores that have likely been present in the soil or organic material used to decorate the terrarium and can be beneficial to the environment.

If you want to add mushrooms to your terrarium, create a suitable environment and introduce a few spores or mushroom pieces from the local store.

With proper care, you can easily grow edible mushrooms in your plant terrarium without much hassle.

Last update on 2023-07-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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