Can anyone tell me what is in the dirt and on the roots of my plant?

Angela A
by Angela A
I was getting ready to split and pot up this houseplant (sorry can't remember the name) when I noticed all these little white-ish spots in the dirt around the plant doesn't seem to have suffered from it, but I don't know what they are? Do I need to wash off all the roots really good? Are they harmful?? Does anyone know and/or have seen this before? Is this eggs? Spores?? Help!
small white spots, eggs? spores?
  10 answers
  • Lorraine Lorraine on Mar 11, 2015
    They may be springtails, soil inhabitants that help decompose organic material into soil. Usually seen in a healthy environment. Check out Red Worm Composting: Worm bin creatures ( for more info. I do vermicomposting--it's a great way to compost your kitchen food waste, and will make lots of wonderful compost fertilizer for your plants!
    • Angela A Angela A on Mar 11, 2015
      Thanks, I looked at the video, they're not springtails, they're to small....BUT they could be mites... I'll have to get a magnifying glass to see! LOL
  • Julie Dever Julie Dever on Mar 11, 2015
    Maybe aphid eggs.
  • Joan Joan on Mar 12, 2015
    There are many beneficial bacteria and fungi in healthy soil. If the plant was fine, I would just re-pot, adding good soil mix. If you are still concerned, isolate from others for a month or so and observe.
  • Linda B Linda B on Mar 12, 2015
    Your local Cooperative Extension office likely has someone on staff (or an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer) who can help you figure out what you have.
  • Cheryl Cheryl on Mar 12, 2015
    Are you sure they are alive? I've used builder's grade perlite, which is smaller than the regular garden stuff in my potting mix and it looks just like that. I doubt they are eggs or larva or nematodes (but have been wrong before). If it isn't perlite, I'd suspect a fungus and if the plant is healthy, leave that fungus in the roots - it may be a beneficial one.
    • See 1 previous
    • Cheryl Cheryl on Mar 13, 2015
      @Kristen Rikli Thanks - you're right about having someone look at them.
  • Barbie Barbie on Mar 12, 2015
    Do you use well water? Could be deposits from the minerals in the water.
    • Kristen Rikli Kristen Rikli on Mar 12, 2015
      @Barbie I have always had well water and have always had plants. I have never seen any type of deposits that would be white, in a certain given shape at all. Usually, someone might see some lime formation, or a rusty red from iron, but it would be more of a film not a certain shape to it
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Mar 12, 2015
    I'm not sure what they are, but if you plant seems healthy I would not be inclined to intervene.
  • Looks like fungi, no harm to the plant. It sometime grows on the surface of soil. I usually just fluff the soil and turn it under although yours is not on the surface maybe the same.
  • Kristen Rikli Kristen Rikli on Mar 12, 2015
    Regardless of the comments everyone has made, please do get your plant checked out. If it is some sort of eggs or larvae, you wouldn't want it spreading. You would certainly regret that. It's great that you are repotting that plant. It's all roots :) Wish you the best!
  • Angela A Angela A on Mar 12, 2015
    Thank you all for your comments and info.... I did go ahead and remove all the dirt from the roots and washed them good hoping to remove what does look to me like tiny eggs....although I'm no expert....But I though, better safe than sorry....I also threw away the pot it was in originally. The plant looked fine and healthy but again, better safe than sorry. I'll just baby it for a while and hope for the best! :-)