I recently bought some clay pots and put a one year old date palm in it using a potting mix of 1 year old compost, leaf mold and very few of bought horse-manure-mix. For drainage I used some stones.

Today I noticed that there is some white foam visible pn the outside of the pot. It looks like a fungi. I read somewhere that it could also be salpeter.

So what it is and is it dangerous for my plants?

EDIT: as requested I upload a photo: (click for a larger version)

  • Please post some photos. Also: related or duplicate? gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/5823/…
    – Niall C.
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 20:31
  • @NiallC. I added a photo. Your link is related, but not duplicate in my opinion. Thanks for finding it, I didn't.
    – Patrick B.
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 21:24
  • Thanks for the photo. I agree it's not a duplicate, but I think the answer there will help you as it looks like lime efflorescence to me -- I frequently see the same thing and I use vinegar to clean it.
    – Niall C.
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 21:29
  • One of my questions is whether it is dangerous for the palms in the pot (or in general for any plant). IOW, do I need to remove it?
    – Patrick B.
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 21:56
  • Plz check : gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/5823/…
    – jaczjill
    Commented May 3, 2013 at 15:28

1 Answer 1


It is efflorescence or mineral salts. They are not harmful to the plant. I assume if the whole outside of the pot was covered in a solid crust it could slow down the transfer of water from the soil to the air through the clay walls. At this is quite small you could just use a wire brush to remove it or vinegar as Niall mentions.

It was likely to be the choice of horse manure that caused this as some manures, even after being composted, still have a high level of dissolved salts. Don't let this stop you from using it. Composted manure is a good source of organic matter for soil mixes.

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