The Q&A Archives: Salt In Potted Plant Soil

Question: I have an asparagus fern and ivy in a pot. Even before the ivy, I have had what appears to be salt rising to the top of the soil. I added a soil mix when I added the ivy and both plants are dying. What do I have, besides dead plants?

Answer: That could indeed be salt deposits. Salts in water and fertilizer (chemical fertilizers are basically mineral salts) accumulate in the soil and over time can kill the plant as it is absorbed through the root system. When you water, let the water run slowly and deeply through the entire pot and out the drainage hole. Do this at least once per month, or perhaps more often. This helps leach the salts away. It wasn't clear to me if you just added some more soil or completely repotted in all fresh soil, which is what I would suggest. Hope this helps!

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