Why do Peace Lily sag over time? Remedy?

jala4260(10a)May 9, 2012

I've been wondering why my Peace Lilies have been sagging over time. When I first get them at the store, the leaves are all pointing upwards like a Prayer Plant at night sleeping. After I take them home, the peace lily leaves start sagging overtime as if the stems and veins lack strength to hold them up.

I grow them in 75% screened Turface MVP and 25% granite otherwise known as 3 parts turface and 1 part grit.

I have them in indirect light next to the window facing North. Glass reduce transmission of light so I'll list my window specifications as well. They are double pane (two flat glass) soundproof windows, insulated, and UV film protection.

They need to be watered every 2-3 days or they start drooping. I use tap filtered water with ppm around 24 otherwise known as my drinking water. Fertilizer is 1/4 teaspoon Dyna Foliage-Pro per 1.5 litter (.40 gallons) of water every other time.

Plants are in an enclosed room, very low air flow with steady temperatures around 80F plus/minus 5 degrees. Humidity in room is 53% to 59%.

What can I do to have my leaves stand up and not have the tips point downwards??? The leaves that are pointing downwards seem to have soft middle veins than the ones pointing up. Could it be a specific nutrient deficiency?

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dellis326 (Danny)

My first guess is that your mix doesn't hold enough moisture. Spathes are bog plants and should be constantly damp. Does your plant perk up after you water it and then droop after a day or two?

Also many aroid can benefit from adding a little bit of epsom salt to the water.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 8:36AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Peace Lilies are so famous for this. The SIMPLE answer is that you are watering incorrectly...too much or too little.

An excess of moisture at the roots for too long will cause the tiniest root hairs to begin rotting. Those root hairs are how plants obtain their water from the soil. When they begin to die, the plant may begin to wilt...from too much water, though it may 'look' like too little.

At the opposite extreme, we may not give our plants enough water on watering day. The entire volume of soil needs to be saturated until the point of run-off through the drainage holes. Turface actually holds a great deal of moisture when watered properly....are you certain that you are using enough water at any one time?

My best guess, based on the fact that your plant wilts after a few days then perks back up after watering, that you are not drenching your potting medium to the saturation point. You should not be hesitant to do that with the type of mix you are using.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 11:06AM
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I run one gallon of water through my Peace Lily that is in a 6 inch container. The water drains down as soon as I water.

With my 'properly' screen turface and grit, I don't even think it's possible to overwater. Another thing is note... I believe my Turface holds less water than other people as it has less tiny turface particles. It seems people use windows insect screen to screen their turface and lot of the tiny particles remain. Even the picture Al has shown for his properly made 1-1-1 Gritty Mix has turface particles that are 1/3 the size of the largest one.

I screen much thoroughly by using something coarser, larger --- metal sifter/drainer with round holes so only the large and more uniform Turface pellets stay. When I'm done, I lose 40%-65% of my Turface MVP depending on batch. You won't see Turface pellets that are half size of the the largest one. Same with the grit, same thing.

Is it even possible for my mixture to hold excess moisture and cause root rot? The particle size is large and uniform that I don't see a possibility for a PWT.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 2:35PM
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Correction on my previous post.

Peace Lily is in a 8 inch wide container that is 7 inches tall. Soil level is just bit below 6 inches. That container, I run one gallon of water through it each watering.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 3:16PM
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If the only symptom is drooping, I wouldn't assume that root rot is a problem. I have plenty of plants in various cultural conditions that will start to wilt after a couple of days--most of them do dry out and don't hold much water. That's a normal thing--once the soil moisture drops below a certain level, there's not enough for osmosis and the plant loses turgor pressure (droops), if it isn't adapted to its roots drying out.

You could always investigate if you're concerned about the roots, but sounds unlikely to be an issue.

I guess then your problem is that you're watering more often than you'd like? Seems like a common complaint for gritty mixes. There are probably things you could do to retain more moisture, although from what I hear turface holds a lot of it. What's the container made of? I wonder if letting it sit in a tray/dish with some standing water would buy you some time between waterings.

I'm asking questions due to my inexperience with peace lilies. If it's a bog plant I bet it doesn't mind wet feet though.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 4:19PM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

Could you post a photo? There are step-by-step guides on the African Violet Gallery for both WebShots and PhotoBucket.

How long after you get them home to they change their look? Do you mean drooping or wilting?

This is my smaller variety of spathiphyllum. (Sorry about the yellowish cast...fluorescent light bulbs.) Click on the thumbnail for a larger image.

This is their growth habit. Mine sits in a south window that's under a porch overhang. They do well in bright but not direct light so yours *may* not be getting enough.

Hope this helps,


    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 11:56PM
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I see the confusion many have regarding my original question. I wanted to know a remedy to Peace Lily leaves with their tips starting to point downwards over time and towards the side instead of straight and tips pointing upwards when I first get them. The wilting or the plant getting thirsty was to give some info on how often my plant needs watering. I did that once to see how long the Lily can go without water.

Referring to stonesriver Linda's post, similarly to your Peace Lily, mines have many leaves that looks like your outer leaves that forms a rainbow which is exactly the question I'm asking. I feel they are weak leaves being unable to support their own weight.

I was thinking of getting answers of "bending towards light, lack of light, or lack of a XXX nutrient causing weak vein and stems." With my light meter, I measured around 3000-6000 LUX with sensor on top of the leaves that are facing my North window which is getting indirect light (light that is bounced off). For comparison, I have two 100-Watt equivalent full-spectrum fluorescent bulbs attached to a ceiling light fixture with my max ceiling height being 8 feet. Placing the peace lily on the ground and measuring from the top leaves gets around 400-600 LUX when the bulbs reach full brightness.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 1:09AM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)


I'm not very scientific in how I grow my plants. :-) All my foliage plants get natural light but I can only tell you exposure and not exactly how much.

It's been my experience that spaths have a mixture of foliage growth: Some straight up and some not so much. I don't think your spath is weak or lacking nutrients. But I'd just be guessing without a photo.

You might try asking your question on the Aroid forum, too. If you don't have photos of your plant but mine will do as an example, feel free to use it.

For the heck of it I Googled images of spath and the link is what I found. It seems none look alike.

Good luck,


Here is a link that might be useful: Peace Lily Differences

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 6:45AM
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dellis326 (Danny)

Linda's right about that. There are many spathiphyllum species (somewhere around 40), also many more hybrids and cultivars. Often they are unlabeled as to which one they are. All have various growth habits, some more upright and others with a spreading nature to them, some have both habits.
The only types I have ever seen that have all or most of the leaves standing straight up are smaller varieties that are only 6 to 10 inches tall and even those weren't 100% upright, generally the lower or outer leaves spread and the upper or middle leaves point upwards(ish), especially in fuller, well grown plants.

The only times I've seen larger varieties growing with all the leaves growing up were plants fresh out of the green house where pots are right up against each other and there is no room for the plant to open up and grow naturally, over time they will spread out.

It still seems to me that your growing mix is too lean and provides little more than humidity. The same mix with some shredded bark might be much better.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 8:56AM
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Spathiphyllum is a genus of perennial herbs native to central and southern South America. They are not bog plants but aroids which inhabit lowland areas in jungle settings were moisture content and organic matter are quite high.

They are not deep shade plants as well preferring dappled sunlight but shade from direct mid day sun. It sounds like at the very least soil type is poor for this plant. Over time as each stem grows more leaves on many varieties will have the older leaves bend down. As in most cases you are purchasing a juvenile plant and it's adult characteristics will not show as such. In SoCal I would at least provide an eastern exposure and repot into a better potting soil such as Miracle-Gro. This is an excellent potting soil for tropical plants do to the organic matter along with a neutral Ph which can be easily adjusted.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 1:45PM
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Of course, Peace Lilies wilt when allowed to become too dry or if the roots stop functioning due to root rot. They perk up after watering excpet where there is root rot.

Jala used the word "sagging" and I assume deliberately. Plants that have large heavy leaves will sag gradually over time due to gravity - just like people! Allowing the plant to wilt frequently will exacerbate the problem. But it is not caused by soil mix or light or temperature or fertilizer. Gravity is a force of nature that must be honored.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 8:00PM
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The plant is adjusting the angle of its leaves to collect the most light. When they're grown in a greenhouse, all the light comes from overhead (because the other plants are blocking light coming from the side), so the leaves lie more or less horizontally to present as much surface to the light as they can. When you buy one and put it by a window (I doubt you're getting much out of the ceiling lights, compared to the window), all the light is coming from the side, so the most effective light-collecting orientation for the leaves is vertical, so it looks droopy. I've also seen leaf orientation change in response to light direction on Dracaena marginata, Aglaonema cvv., and Yucca guatemalensis indoors. If moved to a spot where light comes mostly from overhead, the newer leaves should eventually start looking more like you want them to, though the oldest ones are likely to stay the same.

This isn't to say that there may not also be problems with some aspect of the care you're giving the plant,[1] just that you don't have to be doing anything wrong for this to happen.


[1] Which I am not even going to try to get into, lest I get into an argument with one of the Garden Webbers who believe that they have found the One True Way To Grow Peace Lilies.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 10:52AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Peace lilies aren't unlike a very high % of other houseplants in that they prefer a damp (not wet), well-aerated soil; and soils that hold significant volumes of perched water (get soggy at times) are inherently limiting.

Leaves can droop as a result of any one or a combination of several cultural conditions, or because they are genetically predisposed to do so as they age.


    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 3:15PM
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