Peace Lily

mwhcrewJuly 20, 2011

I went out of town for 2.5 weeks, and my roommates didn't water my peace lily until yesterday (the day before I got back). It was doing really well before, had about 5 blooms and a lot of foliage. Now it's completely wilted, even though it was watered yesterday and I watered it again just now when I got home. The water seems to be running right through the pot even when I try to just drizzle it on. Is there anything else I should do like spray it? I'm so worried it's just dead since the wilting leaves don't seem to be getting any better. Help!

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dellis326 (Danny)

You're going to over water and then it'll rot if you keep that up.

Don't mist it, The best thing you could do is let it drain for a day or two and then repot it in a looser well draining soil. If you don't want to repot it now, still wait a few days and then water it heavily so the water runs out of the bottom, do this in the sink or outside, someplace all this extra water won't ruin anything. then allow it it just sit and start to dry out again.

Most species of spathaphylum are bog plants and enjoy a damp soil as long as it it well aerated and free draining. It sounds like you have a peat based soil that turns hard when it dries.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 11:36PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Sorry, but from my experience with PL's, I disagree. The soil has become hydrophobic and must be rehydrated. I've had the exact same thing happen when asking people to water plants while I was away. Imagine you have a dry sponge. If you pour a glass of water over it, most of the water will just splash off and the sponge will still have dry spots, or even still be mostly dry. If you submerge the sponge, it will fully absorb moisture.

Set the pot in a tub of water for a few hours. If the root ball floats up to the top, gently and slowly push it down and hold it under for a minute or two. It may continue to float after that but should have absorbed enough water to be able to completely get wet again. If the roots have not fully penetrated all areas of the soil, the soil may start to "fall apart" when you put it in the water. If it does that, stop. Pour most of the water out of the tub, then put the plant back in. And slowly, over a few hours, add more water. Either way, allow it to drain after it is no longer floating, and it is heavy again. Never allow a PL's soil, no matter what it is "made of," to completely dry out.

She said it was doing fine until it dried out completely, so if it lives through being dehydrated, there's no reason to assume it will get like this again (and I think she'll know now to call and remind people to care for the plants.) The soil didn't cause the problem. It just couldn't go that long without water. Attempting to repot this plant now, or do anything but let it rehydrate, would almost surely kill it.

I totally agree with you, Dellis, about peat. It's awful stuff to put in pots, and this dehydration is only 1 reason why.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 11:27AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Agree with purple that it has likely become hydrophobic. Whether it will recover or not, only time will tell. The leaves will likely turn yellow and you may lose some of them.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 1:19PM
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Thank you all! I soaked it with a slow drip in the sink and it's coming back now. Still a lot of brown/yellow leaves but there is also some new growth so I'm pretty hopeful that everything will be ok. Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 11:49AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

A cautionary note: once the potting medium has been thoroughly wetted, you'll need to find the right balance between too wet and too dry. Peace lilies are very fussy about this. A good rule of thumb, I think, is to allow the plant to dry out somewhat between drenchings. No little sips of water, which will cause dry pockets again.

Using a very porous, fast draining medium is always a good that has more bark fines in it than peat, for example.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2011 at 1:58PM
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