Houseplants forum: Dying Peace Lily

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Los Angeles
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krystenr1
Aug 23, 2017 11:16 PM CST
Help! What did I do? I brought this home maybe two weeks ago and it's drooping like crazy. I did water it once directly from the tap and read that they are super sensitive to the chlorine in water and ever since then I've only been watering it with water that has been able to sit out for 24 hours, but I don't think that's helping at this juncture. Any advice on saving it or is it gone?


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Name: Sue Taylor
Northumberland, UK
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kniphofia
Aug 23, 2017 11:24 PM CST
The problem with drooping is that it can be from both under and over watering. How often are you watering your plant? They are very thirsty plants and are sometimes grown in water. Looking at your photos it seems the compost is fairly dry. When watering give the plant a good soak or water until the water runs out of the bottom of the pot into the saucer. You can throw out any excess that hasn't been absorbed after 10 minutes or so.
Good luck with it, it's a lovely plant.
Los Angeles
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krystenr1
Aug 23, 2017 11:45 PM CST
kniphofia said:The problem with drooping is that it can be from both under and over watering. How often are you watering your plant? They are very thirsty plants and are sometimes grown in water. Looking at your photos it seems the compost is fairly dry. When watering give the plant a good soak or water until the water runs out of the bottom of the pot into the saucer. You can throw out any excess that hasn't been absorbed after 10 minutes or so.
Good luck with it, it's a lovely plant.


I think I've been underwatering then! It's pretty dry and warm here, I suppose I should actually be watering it daily. I have it in a location with bright but indirect light (created by both north and east facing windows) that stays pretty warm during the day (when I get home from work this room is the only one that has retained heat from the day's sunlight). Should I consider moving it to a cooler place?
Name: Sue Taylor
Northumberland, UK
Charter ATP Member Bookworm Amaryllis Houseplants Annuals Garden Photography
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kniphofia
Aug 24, 2017 12:20 AM CST
Try watering more frequently first. The plant will already be stressed so I wouldn't add to that by moving it around too much just now. Your climate will be very different to mine so I'm not sure what your winter conditions or heating is like. I would imagine that watering daily in summer would be fine. You will get used to what the plant needs.
Name: Laurie b
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids Tropicals Region: Mexico
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lauriebasler
Aug 24, 2017 12:37 AM CST
Spaths are what I call drench then dry plants. Their roots want a big drink, really soaking up as much water at a time as the soil will hold, with the leftover water discarded. Then their roots require a good period of drying. This is very important because it gives the roots the oxygen they must have. Wet soil prevents oxygen from getting to the roots. That is also why it is important that soil drains well, as a plant staying wet too long will cause rotting.

I think you would really enjoy searching the web for watering advice and tips of all kinds.
Also, Google using a dowel to measure houseplant soil moisture, I think this method would really be great for you.
Los Angeles
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krystenr1
Aug 24, 2017 12:17 PM CST
Will do, thank you!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Aug 24, 2017 2:20 PM CST
Peace Lilies are semi-aquatic plants that do not tolerate dryness. But at least they let you know very loudly when they are too dry and they do perk up after the soil is moistened again. It is best to water thoroughly just as or before the leaves start to wilt a bit. That will be more frequently in good light and in warm temps and in small pots.

I have some that I service weekly, so I have to leave them sitting in water so they will last through the week. They are thriving.

It is true that Peace Lilies, Spider Plants, Dracaenas and other species are chlorine sensitive. However, the amount of chlorine used in standard drinking water is not strong enough to harm your plants. Chlorinated swimming pool water would cause a problem. If your tap water is good enough to drink, it is fine for your plants.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Georgia (Zone 8a)
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Hamwild
Aug 24, 2017 5:31 PM CST
@Willc,
I have an issue where I kept mine moist (let the top half inch dry and soak again) and the roots would rot. Is there something I should do different?
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Aug 24, 2017 6:56 PM CST
krystenr1, during summer time, my Peace Lily is very thirsty, so I frequent more often. I just use tap water no choice for it, so it got to survive on that. You will have to adjust watering when the seasons change. For now, allow it to drink as much as it can.
[Last edited by tarev - Aug 24, 2017 6:57 PM (+)]
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Aug 24, 2017 7:20 PM CST
Hamwild - Not knowing the particulars of your Peace Lily, it is hard to say what hppened to it. How do you know the problem was root rot? Was it in a very large pot? Did you add soil to the surface when you repotted?

In general, it is best to allow the leaves to start to wilt just a bit to tell you when it needs water rather than relying exclusively on your subjective sense of how dry the soil is.

Hope that helps.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Houseplants Cactus and Succulents Annuals
Foliage Fan Birds Critters Allowed Hummingbirder Butterflies Bee Lover
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Hamwild
Aug 24, 2017 8:51 PM CST
@willc,
My mistake, it was never repotted and I didn't add any soil to the top or make any adjustments in that manner. I had it for about a month and when I was looking underneath the pot one day, I noticed what looked like dead roots. I unpotted it and found dead, rotted roots circling the pot. It was in about a 4 inch pot and sat next to our patio door which receives bright, but not direct light. Maybe I was overwatering? I seem to have this issue with every peace lily I purchase. :/
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Aug 25, 2017 8:46 AM CST
Hamwild - It's hard to know what the problem was. Roots encircling the rootball are not necessarily a problem, but given the pot size and the extensive root system, it would seem to be a difficult plant to over water unless it was sitting in water constantly.

Did it wilt routinely between waterings?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
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joannakat
Aug 25, 2017 9:05 AM CST
I know that what I'm about to write isn't what people usually advise, but this is how I do it and I'm having wonderful results.

My houseplants all sit in some type of bowl or dish with a good rim with a diameter not much larger than the diameter of the pot. I water a bit at a time. The first douse is just to touch and moisten the soil. After a minute or so, I will add a bit more. I keep doing this until water comes out the bottom of the pot and accumulates in the bowl enough to cover any holes in the bottom of the pot. I'm careful to be sure that it never gets to more than an inch or so. I then leave it there and allow the plant to soak the water up into it's thirsty roots. I've left them like this for a day or two and never had any harm from it. Quite the opposite, they seem to love it.

With a peace lily, the first sign that it's thirsty is when one or more leaves begin to bend downward. It's okay not to water when this begins to happen, but don't wait too long.

I also recommend a really good plant food. I usually use Buddha Grow, once every-other week. Just make sure that whatever food you're using, use the correct concentration for potted plants. It's substantially less than for garden plants.

Good luck!
AKA Joey.
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
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joannakat
Aug 25, 2017 9:07 AM CST
P.S. Another cause of a plant not being able to absorb enough water is being root bound. Fall is a good time to repot!
AKA Joey.
Los Angeles
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krystenr1
Aug 25, 2017 9:27 AM CST
I was very skeptical that it would come back after such significant drooping, but you guys were completely right! Here it is after a substantial watering.

I think it may be getting to the point of needing a repot - whenever I water, soil splashes out of this pot.


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Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Aug 25, 2017 9:42 AM CST
Yaay @krystenr1! Congratulations! It's a hardy plant, and did you know that it's one of several that cleans the air?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
AKA Joey.
Georgia (Zone 8a)
Region: Georgia Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Houseplants Cactus and Succulents Annuals
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Hamwild
Aug 25, 2017 10:27 AM CST
@willc,
Nope, no wilting. Maybe a slight droop, but never to the point of a downright wilt. Maybe it was in poorer condition when I purchased it?
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Cat Lover Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Region: California Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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tarev
Aug 25, 2017 12:36 PM CST
krystenr1, it is still okay with the current pot. My Peace Lily has been repotted once and gradually of course the soil goes down as it gets consumed, and it does not bother the plant at all. I think it actually allows the roots to breathe nicely while getting a good watering and draining out.

joannakat, your watering method is quite good! Especially during summer! Thumbs up

With any plant I have, when it is showing visible distress, I do not apply fertilizers. I delay it till I see marked improvement on the growth.

hamwild, the seasonal timing when you do repot is something you need to take a note of. Don't know when you did it, but if I can, I try to do my repot in Spring, when temps are still nicely cool and warms up gradually and light levels just about starting to go longer. As long as the rhizome of that plant is still okay, it will actually strive to grow again.

I try not to do my repot in winter, the plant is not growing actively, not in summer here either, since it is distressfully super dry and hot here. Early Fall is still doable, still 3 months to go before the shorter light duration comes about. But Spring is my preference for a peace lily repot time. Smiling
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Aug 25, 2017 12:42 PM CST
I've heard that spring is the time for plant growth, the above soil parts, and fall is the time for root growth. I've had great success with repotting in the fall although I don't get to see that success until the spring!

AKA Joey.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Aug 25, 2017 12:42 PM CST
Hamwild - What are the symptoms that are concerning to you?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care

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