Identification: Strange growth on containers

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by Energenetics, Sep 5, 2020.

  1. Energenetics

    Energenetics New Member

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    Hello,
    This is my first post, hope Im in the right place.
    I have a few containers with this growth around the water outlet holes. The plants are showing signs of being overwatered so I was thinking it could be phytohthora mycelium but couldnt find anything like this on google. It looks crystallized on the soil.
    Anyone have any idea what it could be?
     

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  2. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Welcome the the UBC Forums @Energetics.

    From what I can see, the white deposit around the drainage holes is not fungus but an accumulation of soluble fertilizer salts. "In house plants, signs of excess soluble salts include reduced growth, brown leaf tips, dropping of lower leaves, small new growth, dead root tips, and wilting."

    There are several websites that explain the problem and what to do about it. This is a good one: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/hpgen/leaching-indoor-plants.htm

    Luckily, leaching soil of excess fertilizer salts is not as gruesome as it sounds.
     
  3. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @Energenetics good morning and welcome to the forum, can I ask if you are in a hard water area? This does look very familiar to what happens where I live. Hard water calcium deposits are so common in these areas and it looks like you may have the same problem.
    On a positive note, it will not do your plant any harm, but can I suggest you collect rain water from now on for your plants. So much better and no chemicals added. You will see a marked improvement to their overall health.
    But do not over water, that is the one thing that so many people do that causes the downfall of nearly all plants that appear to be flagging.
    Check the soil before watering every time!!
    Agree with @Margot advice, but just thought I would add this from someone in a hard water area.
     
  4. Energenetics

    Energenetics New Member

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    Thank you both for your responses.
    I am in Western Oregon. It doesnt rain here for months at a time during the summer so collecting rain water would be difficult.
    I was also considering calcium deposits since I recently added some oyster shell flower to the soil. I only use organic solid soil amendments so I dont think there should be any salt in the soil.
    The first pic is of a highbush blueberry var. Blueray. This next pic is a stevia start.
    The reason I am thinking fungus is because of this picture. If you look close, you can see spider webbing coming out from the brown area. I am very familiar with mycelium growth and this looks just like it.
    I am totally open to there being more than one problem. Thats what I am trying to figure out. I will test the ph of the deposits and let you know.
    Thank you.

    Look at the area between the holes.
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2020
  5. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I keep moving Energetics around here - I'll move this back to Fungi.
     
  6. Energenetics

    Energenetics New Member

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    Well, I am fairly certain that its not calcium deposits. The ph measured a 3.0, Wow. Although, it is coming off of a blueberry bush that should have low ph. I will test the run off next time I water.
    I dont have an ec tester but it seems that might be good to have even though I no longer use commercial fertilizers.
    I should also mention that these plants are kept outside on the deck and in the yard.
     
  7. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    I should have clarified the meaning of 'salts' when I mentioned soluble fertilizer salts as a probable cause of the the whitish deposits around the drain holes in your pots. These are not the same as table salt - NaCl. Technically, any chemical compound that is composed of a positively charged ion and a negatively charged ion is a salt. Salts of calcium and magnesium principally as bicarbonates, chlorides, and sulfates can be found in hard water too. If you want to learn more, there are lots of good websites that can help.

    I don't see photos of Blueberry or Stevia.

    Even the calcium in oyster shell flour dissolves quite slowly in the soil so I'd be surprised if you would already see significant deposits around the drain holes of your pots.

    Frankly, if I were worried about Phytophthora, I would look first at the health of the plants growing in the pots before worrying about deposits on the bottom. Whatever the reason for the buildup, flushing the pots would seem to be a good first step. Then reduce frequency of watering if you think you're watering too much. Allow a few weeks to see how the plants respond . . . also resist adding amendments to the soil unless you know it is deficient in a specific nutrient.
     
  8. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    @Energenetics good morning, I would be interested to see a photo of the plant in that pot, to see what the overall health is like. So as @Margot has asked, where are the photos of the Blueberry etc etc. Might help with a better diagnosis of what is going on!!?
     
  9. Energenetics

    Energenetics New Member

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    Lol... The pictures are of the containers not the plant. It would not do much good to take a picture of the plant since it looks ok at the moment. I am very worried about the health of the plant, thats why I am here.
    So lets back up a little and reevaluate this.
    The stevia plant was transplanted into fresh new top soil about a month ago. I always add amendments, pine bark mulch, rice hulls, peat moss, sand, biochar, worm castings, fish bone meal, oyster shell flower, epsom salt in small quantities. It has received no other fertilizer. It has not been watered for almost a week. The other day it started to fully wilt as soon as the sun hit it in the morning. I was thinking maybe over watered because others had even less water but did not wilt. The fact that I hadnt watered in a few days made me think root rot. I looked at the containers and found this stuff on the side. I brought it in the house and after a couple hours, it perked up again. Next day, same thing. It seems like the plant is barely hanging on. I am afraid to flush if the roots are in bad shape. I am considering taking it out of the pot to inspect the roots but dont want to kill it. Also considering adding a hydrogen peroxide solution to the bottom tray for a few minutes and then dumping it and then add some worm tea to get the beneficials going again.
    The blueberry has been in the same pot for over a year. Thats why I showed the deposits on that one. It looks ok too except for very slow growth and hardly ever needs water.
    Thank you for the links. I will look in to it.
     
  10. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Perhaps you should let those from who you seek advice to be the judge of that.

    What do you mean by 'fresh, new, topsoil'? Do you have a reason for choosing the soil amendments you do?

    I have read that Stevia needs consistently moist soil and 15 hours sun a day.

    Here's what I would do for the Stevia - take it or leave it - remove it from its existing pot, shake off excess potting mix, replant in a new 10" - 12"pot with good-quality, light-weight, store-bought potting soil. Then water thoroughly, place somewhere it will receive the recommended 15 hours sun a day (with a little shade on hot afternoons) and keep moist. You may need a grow light as days get shorter.

    Try not to over-think what may or may not be wrong with it for a few weeks and see how it responds.
     
  11. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I am sorry to not be of help here, but I can't see enough detail in photo to tell if this looks like fungal structures, or if it is something else ie. the possibilities raised above by folks with plant cultivation knowledge. I realize that it might not be possible to provide a closer view.
     

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