Please help Re:white crystal substance in house plants

David Hershey dh321 at
Thu Jul 15 17:10:09 EST 1999

One way to combat salt buildup in potted plants is to leach them every
few months by putting them outside or in a tub or bucket and watering
them heavily so a lot of the salts that have accumulated are leached

A chemical analysis of your tap water would allow a better evaluation of
the problem. If you have a municipal water supplier, they should be able
to give you a detailed water analysis including hardness, pH, and the
concentrations of carbonate, bicarbonate, sulfate, chloride, calcium,
magnesium, potassium, etc. It may be a goodly portion of the salts are
from your fertilizer, rather than water. What kind and how much
fertilizer do you use? 

If the plants are doing well, the salts deposits may not be harmful
especially if they are just on the soil surface.  

David Hershey
dh321 at

lorrt at wrote:
> Need help.  I have been renewing dirt in house plants at least once a
> year because of the crystal formation in the soil.  Local plant store
> told me it was formed by hard water and to use ph up to bring water to
> normal.  This has slowed the process but has not eliminated it.  Is
> there anything else I can do?  My plants are very large and not easy to
> repot, any suggestions would be more than welcome.

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