Peace lily conditions

cj_speciosa(7a)June 13, 2014

So I keep reading conflicting information about the best way to keep a peace lily in terms of moisture. Some sources say to keep them consistently moist whereas other sources say to let them dry out between watering? Obviously there is only one way that is best. Can anyone shed some light on this for me?

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Also, this is what has been happening to a few of the leaves on my smaller plant.....

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 12:54PM
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I have read somewhere that in nature, they grow near bogs (or was it stated as moving bodies of water?). From my experience, they're water hogs and don't want to dry out between waterings. I allow mine to dry out maybe an inch or two (depends on the size of your pot, mine is about seven inches deep) and water again.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 2:28PM
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And that keeps them looking good? No brown tips or discolored leaves?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 3:04PM
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Peace lilies will adapt to either watering method as long as it is consistent. I have had peace lilies a long time. I have watered them anywhere from every two weeks (in the winter) to every day.

The least happy one was the one i underwatered (every two weeks) but of course I was depressed at the time and it was calculated neglect- just enough water to keep it alive through the winter. It didnt wilt much because it went into a state of relative dormancy. But all the leaves became brittle and the tips died back.

My happiest peace lily was watered every single day. However, it was relatively pot-bound and did not retain a lot of water. It was also fertilized every week to two weeks, religiously.

My peace lilies now (pictured) are watered once or twice a week, and arent fertilized very regularly. Maybe once a month to every other month. But they are happy, with no browning of the leaves.

There are a few things which will cause the brown tips. One is a sensitivity to chemicals in the tap water.

The other cause is low humidity.

And, of course, incorrect watering (both over- and under-watering).

I will say that my peace lilies are the only plant I grow in plastic- this is because they like water a bit more than your typical houseplant.

However keep in mind that an underwatered plant will survive longer than an overwatered one. You do not want the soil to be soggy, by any means.

My peace lilies used to have brown tips. This tendency decreased rapidly after switching to bottled water. So that can make all the difference.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 4:03PM
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I will say that from the look of your leaf, you have been overwatering.

This does not exactly mean you are watering too often. It means that the soil is kept soggy, and the roots are not able to breathe.

This means that, in your current soil, you should water less often. Or you can change out the growing medium to something that is fast draining, and then the plant will appreciate the extra water.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 4:06PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I agree the leaf appears to be symptomatic of over-watering because odds favor that as causal, but under-watering, over-watering, a high level of soluble salts in the soil, and soil compaction, either individually or in conjunction, are the 4 most likely reasons for the spoiled foliage in the picture. PLs adapt easily to aqua culture, but won't/can't transition back and forth between soggy soil conditions to favorably aerated soil conditions w/o complaints made manifest in the plant's appearance and vitality.

Constantly saturated conditions as in aqua culture are fine, but the key word is 'constantly'. You can't keep the plant in soggy soil for a few days until air returns to the soil, and then water again when it's dry. The plant adapts to saturated conditions by growing a root system with a tissue called 'aerenchyma' (instead of the normal 'parenchyma' seen when grown in a solid, well-aerated medium) which allows the plant to obtain the oxygen it needs to drive root function from the air surrounding the top of the plant instead of air in the soil.

Aquaculture is fine, or a well-aerated medium that holds little or no perched water and can be kept evenly moist is fine, but you'll be fighting a soil that is soggy half the time and well-aerated half the time - just as you would with any other plant. Another issue (for all plants) with saturated soils that drain poorly is, low oxygen levels cause iron and manganese to become electron acceptors, which means they form insoluble compounds with other elements. This leads to their precipitation (iron and manganese) and, even though these elements might be present in soils, the plantâÂÂs inability to assimilate them. Soggy soils also make it difficult or impossible for plants to assimilate Ca, which leads to all sorts of problems.

The plant will perform best in well-aerated media that don't support a soggy layer of soil near the bottom of the pot, or when grown in water.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 5:30PM
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I grow some in a pond with water around half way up the pot. Overwatered? Definitely not. The issue is whether the water is oxygenated. In soil water can stagnate quite quickly. It becomes anaerobic. That's what PLs don't like. It's not the water per se.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 5:57PM
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That is why I mentioned that peace lilies adapt to a CONSISTENT watering schedule. I dont believe anybody suggested 'too much water' in an incorrect context. I also grow some in my aquarium, completely submerged. They can survive a long time that way.

Potting mix is made to contain pockets of air. If it is constantly soggy, the roots quickly use up the available oxygen and then, starved of oxygen, begin to rot. If you wish to grow your peace lily 'aqua culture', im sure they make a better soil for it than regular potting soil.

Peace lilies do flourish under daily watering, if you can get the conditions right for it. Mine used to grow like a weed. The ones I have now arent compaining. But they dont compare.

That one was stolen :-( so sad... Anyway, I dont get as much light here, so no reason to force quick and vigorous growth.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 8:36PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The issue isn't whether or not the water is oxygenated. Plants grown in water don't obtain O2 to drive root function from the water, they form a root tissue (aerenchyma instead of parenchyma) that is filled with open-celled air spaces that allow oxygen to diffuse from the air surrounding the top of the plant so it can be used to burn fuel (carbohydrates) for root energy use.

When it comes to media made of solid materials, the less water held in interparticular air spaces, the better the plant should grow under a daily/very frequent watering regimen. A soil that holds all its water intraparticularly (inside of soil particles instead of in between the particles), offers much better promise for a healthy plant.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:26PM
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I dont doubt what you say, Al. There must be some oxygen exchange going on underwater, though, right? I put a single leaf in my aquarium well over a month ago, and it is still as green and alive as the day I put it in there. ONE LEAF (O_O) How does it do that, Al? It sort of blows my mind...

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:44PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

Grown in hydroton. 1-1/2 to 2" of water.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 4:48PM
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