Is my Peace Lily dying?

kmarie1978May 6, 2011

I received a Peace Lily for my mother's funeral in December. It has done really well up until we left for spring break in March. We were gone for about a week and when we came back it was droopy, some of the leaves were totally dead, and some were still alive but were dead around the edges. I watered the plant and the leaves that are still alive did perk up, but of course still have the dead edges. I clipped off the totally dead leaves...leaving just the stems, but not sure what to do about the leaves that have dead edges.

There is a new flower growing, so I assume that the roots are not dead, however I do not know the first thing about plants as this is my first one.

I am not sure if the lack of watering it while we were gone caused this to happen, or the fact that my husband turned off our heat while we were gone and it got pretty cold in the house.

Anyway, if anyone can give me suggestions on what I can do (if anything) to revive my plant, I would be very grateful. I can post pictures if that would help. Thank you!

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Hello Marie. First, I want to say I'm sorry about your mom, and certainly understand the importance of keeping your PL in good health.

Peace Lily's need water. Your soil dried too much, which is what caused wilted/brown leaves.

You said you cut off the brown leaves but left the stems. Remove the stems, leaves will not grow from these stems. No sense leaving them on.

As for brown leaves. If a leaf is more brown/yellow than green, you might as well remove the entire stem and leaf, but for leaves with brown edges, using a sharp pair of scissors, cut off edges leaving about 1/8th" of brown on. In some cases, if you cut into the green part, the leaf may continue browning.

How cold did your house get? Unless it was below freezing, 'which btw, isn't good for your pipes, either,' cold isn't the problem.
I'm sure your leaves wilted and browned from underwatering.

Marie, does your plant have aluminum or some type of foil around the pot? If so, toss it.

Ironically, my PL is really root bound..'roots are crowded.' On occassion, I forget to water. After it gets a drink, it too flowers. But under-watering has drawbacks..when soil gets too dry, leaves brown and need clipping. Similar to your situation.

It's possible your PL may need a larger pot..or, more waterings. As much as PL's love water, it's important not to keep soil muddy.
Water until you see it seep from drainage holes. Since I don't know its pot size, or your house conditions, I can't give you a time to test soil for dryness.
Start with every four days..if soil is still wet/moist, wait a few more days then recheck.
Soil should dry a little between waterings. If leaves wilt, it needs a drink.
Are roots growing out of pot holes/bottom of pot?
Repotting is up to said you don't know much about plants, but if you want to keep your plant thriving, you really should learn. Care, potting, etc. Of course, that's the reason you're here. :)

Keep soil moderately moist, but not continuously drenched.
Place in medium light..An east window is perfect.
Repot if necessary. 'roots growing out of drainage holes.'
Fertilize once a month with an All Purpose Fertilizer.
Remove brown, yellow leaves.
Once a week, haul to the sink, and shower leaves.
Keep away from a heating source.
Mist..'not required, but it helps,' daily.

Marie if you have any other questions, ask away..Toni

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 12:34PM
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Toni- Thank you for your reply! You mentioned that I should remove the stems where the leaves are more brown/yellow than green...Is there a particular way to do this? Do I just cut them off from the bottom?

No, my plant does not have any foil around it. It is inside of a black plastic pot which is inside of a wicker type pot. The wicker pot has a plastic lining inside. This is the way that it came...should I put it into something else?

No, there are no roots growing out of the bottom. How do I know when I need to plant it into a bigger pot?

Thank you for all of your help:)

    Bookmark   May 6, 2011 at 3:22PM
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Marie, yesterday I replied, but my computer froze..lost everything..sigh. So sorry.

Here's an example where you need to cut..


Marie, X's are the main trunk.
0's are stems.
In the first horizonal line, let's say that's where the brown/dead leaf is. L in line one is where you'd cut off the stem and leaf. Nearest the trunk (X) Hope you understand.
This isn't the greatest example, but it's the best I can

The problem with foils and lined baskets...when a plant is watered, and something is blocking water from draining, water builds up inside the foil/liner/pot without holes.. Roots sitting in water, constantly, causes root rot.
Hope you understand why it's so important a pot needs drainage holes.

Roots sitting in water emits a terrible odor. Stagnant. They eventually get mushy and die. PL can't live without roots.

How will you know when you need to repot?
If soil dries out completely, and you find yourself watering daily, it needs a larger pot.

You can remove the entire plant from its pot. If there are more roots than soil, it needs a larger container.

It doesn't need too large pot. Increase 1-2 sizes bigger.
Actually, PL's like to be a little snug, they tend to flower more. But as I stated, if the soil dries to a point it's cracked or there's more roots than soil, it should be repotted.

If you decide to remove plant from the pot, and find mostly roots...measure the pot size..To do this, using a ruler or measureing tape, set the ruler on the top edge directly across to the other side. This number equals the pot size. Let's say it's a 4" pot. You'd need to increase to a 5-6" container.

When you shop for a pot, the size is usually labeled. I suggest a plastic pot. Don't forget a saucer.

After you repot, water thoroughly until water seeps from the drainage holes.

PL's do best in medium, bright light..An east window is fine. West and South summer sun could burn the leaves unless you place your PL a few feet away from the window.

Test soil by sticking your finger or a stick inside soil. If it comes out wet, the bottom soil is still wet. It varies.
You don't want soil too wet or too dry. PL's need more water in summer, 'depending on your house temps, light and humidity.'

You'll need to fertiilze a few weeks after repotting. Look for an All Purpose Fertilizer or equally balanced, like 10-10-10.
My PL's are fertilized in spring and summer. Once daylight hours shorten, all they get is water.

One thing about PL's, they can flower year round. BTW, sometimes plants take time to bloom after repotting. It's a matter of adjusting to their new home.

This is optional, but I spray leaves daily. It takes a few seconds..Once a week, my PL's are brought to the sink, leaves are showered. 'Not soil.'

That's about it. The only other tidbit is..I clean out old milk containers, save water. When a plant is ready for a drink, I use the water from the milk container.

Marie, I hope your plant does well, Toni

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 12:58PM
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