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Two weeks I bought a $10 everbearing strawberry plant from Walmart. It looked the most alive out of all the Walmart options. I immediately repotted it into a larger pot that stays out on my balcony. I use a moisture meter and have watered her just about every other day so far.

Last week was very warm with a couple +30C days and she seemed to be quite happy in the sun. She started to bloom a few flowers, I cut off the first couple to encourage her to grow into her pot but now I just let them bloom. I quickly grew attached - but this week has been plagued with problems. She has been surrounded by fungus gnats for the past few days - and this morning I noticed she had a mushroom sprouting! I read that mushrooms aren't bad for plants- but I don't want them. Clearly I'm overwatering - but my moisture meter has been telling me her soil's right in the middle (not superwet but also not dry).

Are these temporary problems? Are Walmart plants just unreliable? I don't want her to spread mushroom spores and fungus gnats to my other plants. What steps should I take?

Strawberry plant with Mushroom

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The fungi is associated with the bits of uncomposted wood debris on top of the soil - is the soil you used like that all the way through, with lots of woody bits? If it is, then you will continue to get toadstools periodically - if it's not, scrape off the debris from the top and you can twist off the toadstool at the base if you don't want it there. You may still get some toadstools, since the mycelium that produced this one is present in the soil. Removing the debris means you can decide for yourself whether water is required - all you have to do is touch the top of the soil, and if it feels dry to the touch, water, if it doesn't, don't.

You should really let the soil dry out a bit to clear the fungus gnats, but that's not really an option given there are flowers present. The only other thing is, are there drainage holes in the pot? If so, do you have a tray at the bottom to catch water, and do you empty that out after 30 minutes so the plant is not left standing in water? If not, correct that now.

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  • The soil that this plant came with had the woody bits - it was really chunky when I repotted it because of the woody bits all through it. So I'm not sure if I can fully remove all the wood chunks - but I'll try scrapping off the top layer. When I repotted I filled the bottom and sides of the pot with an organic topsoil mix that doesn't have wood chunks so I'll replace some of the top layer with more of this. – Nicole May 31 '20 at 18:41
  • Well remove what you can and accept you'll probably get more toadstools at some point- their mycelium is what is breaking down the woody bits. – Bamboo May 31 '20 at 19:15
  • Did they charge extra for the mushroom? Looks like it could be coprinus comatus ( shaggy mane in US). If the cap turns to black liquid in a few days ,that would be confirmation and the next time they come up you have mushrooms. – blacksmith37 Jun 1 '20 at 1:59
  • Great answer. I've definitely noticed more mushroom growth when there are dead tree roots under the soil. I would think the same could be true for wood in houseplant soil. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Jun 25 at 22:57

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