I was transplanting seedlings of chives and parsley and noticed white fuzzy specks clustered in the soil. Because it exists in both sets of seedlings - neither of which started with this fuzzy stuff - I imagine it is something in the soil or it is a mold they both got.

White fuzzy specks in potted seedlings' soil

White fuzzy specks in potted seedlings' soil

White fuzzy specks in potted seedlings' soil

White fuzzy specks in potted seedlings' soil

These seedlings grew indoors under a grow light by a window, occasionally with a heating mat on beneath them. The soil was kept pretty moist - rarely fully wet or dry - and to keep it that way took frequent watering since the grow light would dry the soil of these small seedlings daily.

What are these white fuzzy specks? My guess is some kind of fungal activity, but I'm not sure if it's bad. These seedlings have been growing well. I plan to transplant some of these to the garden soon, or bigger pots, or keep in their pots - any precautions or steps I should take in light of this fuzz's appearance?


It is fungal in nature, some sort of saprophyte trying to break down the organic components of the potting soil. Try less water or better ventilation/drainage. You could try taking it outside for awhile which will give the better ventilation.


I think these are mealy bug eggs or aphid eggs or spider mite eggs. Is there a gelatinous thingy holding these tiny eggs together? I am unable to tell. great article on pest suppression My guess is mealy bug. This soil must be non-sterilized garden soil which would have no beneficial insects or controls once separated from the larger body of garden soil? Sure an awful lot of them! Where did you get this soil? insect eggs in soil Look through this site of pictures to see what you think. I don't think this is fungus at all. Please don't reuse this soil whatever you do. Putting this soil in your compost is perfectly fine. Make sure you add some nitrogen to your compost and keep this towards the center where the heat will kill and disable the eggs. Bagging to send to your land fill or landscape debris collection would be not so nice? Wash those buckets/pots with bleach. Amazingly prolific dudes, huh!

  • It does look a lot like the picture in your link for mealybug eggs. Do they lay eggs in soil? Worm or slug eggs might be other possibilities. May 9 '17 at 4:53
  • Slug eggs are clear/transparent. As are snail eggs. Worm eggs...I've not noticed in all this time. I thought worms...earth worms just pooped out live baby worms? Grins. Seriously, I've never thought about worm eggs. Aphids, mealybug eggs are definitely laid in the soil. I've never seen this MANY of them in a container?!
    – stormy
    May 9 '17 at 18:33
  • Just one more reason to not use garden soil in pots! Subjecting a plant in a pot to whatever is in the soil is like staking a lamb out to be eaten by a tiger...is that an ok analogy?
    – stormy
    May 9 '17 at 18:35
  • Looking at those pictures I agree, it looks like mealy bugs. This soil came from an old bag of potting soil that sat around on a porch for a long time. The thing is, the soil didn't have these eggs when I potted these plants. I potted basil, parsley, and chives with this bag of soil, and the basil plants are growing slower but had no eggs, while the parsley and chives grew faster and had tons of these eggs. They have been (and still are!) all gathered nearby one another under a grow light.
    – cr0
    May 9 '17 at 20:48
  • 1
    No harm in trying to transplant these little starts in fresh, sterilized potting soil but remember just one of those tiny little eggs could easily get a ride to a new environment with no brothers and sisters with which to compete. You planted via seed, yes? Shoot, I'd just start all over again. Get rid of that soil is the main thing and use potting soil to make your garden starts. Will these be transplanted into the garden later? I'd probably try though. The onion sets will be easier to transplant and not have to take old soil with the sets. Parsley is another matter.
    – stormy
    May 9 '17 at 21:46

Definitely fungus and I have the same on my seedlings. I have looked and looked with a microscope but there are no bugs anywhere.


I have the same thing in my plants, everything I found online pointed to mold / fungi.

This is the first website I have seen where people have said mealy bugs. If the white balls aren’t on the plant it’s probabaly fungi because mealy bugs go on the plant as well, not just the soil. Mine are only on the soil not the plant itself


I don't think it's mealy bugs. Or at least, this is completely unlike any stage of a mealy bug I've seen yet. Unfortunately I've been battling an infestation this season, the big fat grayish mature mealys, the little tiny white baby mealys that are almost sesame seed shaped but a bit smaller, as well as the fuzzy/gooey egg sacks.

I now have these fuzzballs in a completely different plant that was not hit with the mealy bug infestation. But this fuzzy thing with all the little balls looks nothing like the fuzzy mealy bug egg sacks, even when those are smaller. I also didn't have the eggsacks from the mealy bugs in the dirt like this, just on the stems or at leaf nodes.

It's like a blob of little balls that are uniformly shaped and have a fuzz clouded around them. And only on the topsoil. I assumed it was mold at first glance but closer inspection and a few finger pokes revealed a different story. It's very delicate and kinda disintegrated when I touched it and had no smell. Very fungus-ey.

I plan to repot with fresh soil (needed to anyway so now sooner than later)


This year I started my seeds in Miracle Grow Potting Soil. For the first time my seeds also developed a white fungus and seeds did not germinate. I have always been very sucessful in the past using soil from previous years seeds and left outside without any need for sterilization. This fungus happened with both bags I purchased. They were not even purchased at the same time. Now I am wondering if it could a problem with Miracle Grow potting soil. Did you use the same brand by any chance?

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