I recently found these little things growing in the soil of our mother-in-law-tongue house plant and have no idea what they are.

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I couldn't find anything on the internet about what they are and am concerned some creature is going to pop out of them at some point. Any ideas what they are and if I need to do anything about them?

1 Answer 1


These are fungi, specifically, Nidulariales, commonly known as cup fungi or birds nest fungi. The little 'eggs' inside are actually spores, though yours look like they may already have dispersed. The cup fungi themselves are just the fruiting bodies of mycelium within the potting soil. Whilst they will not harm your houseplant, the soil it's sitting in does appear to be overly wet, which will not only encourage this type of fungal growth, but more importantly, may also cause your plant to rot. Hopefully, there is a drainage hole in the pot, and you do not leave any water sitting in an outer tray 30 minutes after watering - assuming that's the situation, you should reduce the amount and frequency of watering. Let it dry out between waterings, so water when the surface of the potting soil feels dry to the touch, water thoroughly, let it drain freely and empty out any excess as described.

  • Thank you for the quick response. In the meantime, do I need to do anything to remove this or will less watering take care of it over time?
    – T James
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 14:55
  • 1
    These visible bodies will disappear on their own, but you can always scoop them off if you don't like the look of them. They may recur at some point.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 14:56

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