What Is It?


I love using plants in my home. They look nice and they clean the air. I have several plants around the house and a pretty easy one to keep alive is ivy. 

This ivy plant is several years old and is now sitting in the old ironstone punch bowl I bought last December. 

The plant is doing fine, but the problem is something that is on the outside of the ironstone bowl.

This was hard to get a good shot of, but do you see that white stuff?

Maybe this is better. There is a ring of this stuff all the way around the bowl.

It is airy and fluffy and wipes off easily. I can wipe it all off and it is back by the next day. 

Anyone ever seen anything like this before?

I have washed the bowl with hot soapy water and even changed out the plant that is in it. I had a different ivy in it before thinking it may be the plant. Nope, still doing it.

Oh, the scissors have nothing to do with it. I just liked taking this shot.

Maybe someone out there knows what this is. If not I will just keep wiping it away.

See y'all tonight at 7 ET for Wow Us Wednesdays!

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  1. I am wondering if salt is leaching onto the pot? That happens with clay pots sometimes. Try some bleach maybe?

  2. Kim, it appears to be an effervescence of sorts that's forming on the outside of your ironstone bowl, where the salt and other gases in the soil seep to the surface, depending on the humidity in the air. It's similar to what you see on brick walls and other structures after being exposed to the elements over time. I doubt it's harmful to the plant, just an aesthetic thing. Btw, this is NOT a professional opinion, just one from my personal experience.

    1. Thanks, Rita. The plant is in a plastic pot placed inside the bowl. The dirt is not in contact with the ironstone. I think something is coming out of the ironstone, but not sure why.

  3. Kim I have no idea what it is but I get the same stuff on one of my planters that I have a succulent in?!?

  4. The following quote is from: http://www.whiteironstonechina.com/careandcleaning.htm
    "You will sometimes find a piece of white ironstone that is covered by a white powder. It may have been cleaned with bleach. Often these pieces will smell like chlorine bleach, and the surface is crumbling to the point where the glaze is coming off. Over time, the piece will continue to deteriorate, and eventually the clay body will begin to crumble. Soaking the piece in vinegar will stop the deterioration, but won’t repair the damage."

  5. Hi Kim,

    Did you know that Ironstone is actually glazed clay? This white residue is probably the very same thing that collects on the outside of clay pots because they're porous. Any moisture creates salt and minerals that will collect on the outside of the pot. I hope this helps!

    Love your home and your blog.
    Peg : )

  6. I think it is some sort of mold.

  7. Strange....don't think it is salt leaching as the soil does not touch the bowl...some mites, etc leave a dusty mess....I wonder if you use a bleach solution it may kill any bacteria that may be on the bowl...I just checked my ironstone bowl with an ivy in it and no signs of anything that you have shown...Do you think it is something transferring from the leaves of the ivy plant?

  8. I have no clue, but I love the look of ivy in ironstone!

  9. It's called efflorescence, which is the migration of salt to the surface of a porous material, where it forms a coating. Not harmful to the plant or to the container.

  10. No clue on the "white stuff"......but I lust after that ironstone punch bowl!

  11. I agree with the others that it is a build up of salts. I get this on clay pots from time to time. A little does not damage the plant but a lot will kill the plant!

  12. Looks like you rec'd some very good answers - and appears as though vinegar is the way to stop it - thanks to Mildred, above a few.

    I get it on my bansai terra cotta pot, always wondered how to stop it. Now I know. You do too. : - )

  13. hmm..that's a mystery to me Kim. I can grow ivy though too:) It does look pretty in the ironstone.

  14. I'm thinking the answers you've gotten regarding it being built up salt could be it! I love that ironstone punch bowl and what a grand way to use it! Beautiful~

  15. It looks like salpetre or patassium nitrate, though I've never seen it form on ironstone... I've seen a lot of it on my stone walls, though...

  16. GREAT INFO! So good to know. I've seen this on one of my ironstone bowls too. You have very smart readers Kim!

  17. Always learning from our friends. Thanks for this post, Kim.

  18. I wonder if it's salt? Do you have soft water?