Spathiphyllum problems

JustaguynamedJeffFebruary 6, 2011

My parents have a spat, that they have had for about a year. It usually looks okay, but one problem it always has.....The leaves are always kind of droopy, not upright as they normally are. They have tried more difference, less water, also no difference. I am pretty sure it is getting enough light. (They can take anything from low to high light, right?) Why is it so bloody crabby?

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Jeff..when I read the first five words in sentence one, I thought we were in for some juicy gossip. lol.

Spaths are said to do fine in low light, but medium bright is best.
Stems grow weak, and there's less chance of flowering in a shady spot.

Do you have a picture?

What size is its pot? Too large, plant takes longer to grow, let alone bloom.

Soil shouldn't be too heavy or too light. Well-draining, but not to the point water runs through. Half and half is best..meaning: half soil and half well-draining mix.
Do you know what type of medium it's in? Toni

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 1:40AM
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dellis326 (Danny)

Spaths do best in an always moist soil mix but not wet. You want a mix that is about one third potting soil and something else that allows for quick drainage such as pumice, turface, small lava pieces or bark. Mixed well.

You'll want to be able to water it well and have water drain out of the bottom of the pot but hold enough to be damp to touch without water sitting at the bottom of the pot. Do not let it dry out between waterings as some folk recommend, it only stresses the plant.

Medium to bright indirect light is best but they can adapt to a range of lighting. Mine get morning sun but shade all the rest of the day.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 7:43AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I agree with Dellis. Droopy leaves indicate a loss of turgidity (water pressure inside the plant) because the roots aren't functioning properly. Using a soil that drains freely enough that you can water so the soil is flushed each time you water is a big advantage in that it much more forgiving and provides the grower with a much wider margin for error in both the watering and fertilizing depts, and it's much better for root health. Your plant doesn't appreciate high fertility levels or a high level of soluble salts in the soil. Fast draining soils allow you the added benefit of fertilizing more frequently at low doses, which goes a LONG way toward keeping this plant's foliage unspoiled by burned leaf tips and margins. Soils that don't allow you to water copiously so water flows through the soil to flush out the accumulating solubles ensure a build-up of those soluble salts (from fertilizer and tap water) unless you make the effort to flush the soil frequently.

I like these plants in very bright but indirect light. The nicest plants I've grown were grown outdoors in open shade (shade with open sky above - like on the north side of a building or fence) or in dappled sun. Outdoors, an eastern exposure is usually good if it gets some shade after 11, but temper that comment by considering where you live. (It doesn't say in your user info. Would you consider adding it? It would help those replying to you offer more concise advice in many/most cases) Indoors, if I could, I would pick a south or west window & site the plant where it will be out of direct sun.

There's really not enough info to tell you exactly why the plant is so crabby, but usually it's due to poor root function or root metabolism issues related to over-watering or salt accumulation in the soil. I would suggest that you allow the plant to dry down to the point of wilting (not at every watering interval) so you get a feel for how long it can go between drinks. You'll need to do this regularly, maybe once each month, because water use changes with where the plant is in its growth cycle and with cultural conditions. Then, when you water, flush the soil very thoroughly. If you're worried that if you flush the soil it might create issues with root rot (may be an issue already), I can help you with ways to avoid that & still water so you're flushing the soil - with a fertilizing strategy too, if you're interested.


    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 10:36AM
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