dying peace lily?

stargirl1August 14, 2011

first of all i'm not sure if this is a peace lily. but from what i've been able to google i think it is. 2nd of all, it needs help. :(

it's actually my husband's plant from since before he was married. he's left me in charge of watering the indoor plants. bad idea as i definitely don't have a green thumb.

for the last three years the plant has done really well, producing one white lily once or twice a year. this year the plant started looking a little more sickly. hubby thought it might need new soil, but we only talked about it for several months. he finally brought some home with him and i repotted it just about 2 weeks ago. we thought it might have root rot so i removed the ends of some of the longer roots (not sure if this was the right thing to do, but there were a lot of them and crowded to the edges of the pot and hanging out through the drainage hole) and cut off some of the bigger leaves that looked like they were brown and dying. now more of the top leaves that are left are starting to get brownish-whitish spots. this seems to only be happening to the larger section of the plant. (i also read something about dividing peace lily's but not sure if this is the right thing to do either).

one afternoon we did leave the plant outside. i'm hoping that didn't kill it either, being in direct sun. hubby wants to throw it away, but i'm wanting to save it if possible.

it had been growing new leaves quite regularly but now even those seem to be stunted and not growing.

is it still worth saving? or should i throw it away :(

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dellis326 (Danny)

I think it's worth keeping but I keep everything until I know it's hopeless.

Looks sun burnt and over watered, They can take a few hours of full sun if acclimated gradually over time. The soil looks too fine which will hold too much water. I would un-pot it, knock most of the soil off and mix the soil with at least equal parts (or as much as 2/3s) of perlite to increase drainage. You can also add to that mix some orchid bark mix, shredded bark (for landscaping) or hardwood charcoal.

Other things you can add to increase drainage are floor dry products from auto parts store that are made of diatomaceous earth or calcined clay.

Take a few minutes and use the search function and look up "gritty mix" It may not be practical for you to use it with just the one plant however you will learn why commercial soils can cause problems like this and what makes up a quality growing media.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 8:13AM
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ugh...i just noticed something else today for the first time...it seems to be 'sweating'. i see beads of water on some of the leaves. it's a very damp and rainy day here though but i guess i over-watered it when i repotted it?

thanks for your reply, i will definitely look into what you suggested. unfortunately the shops where i live are closed until tomorrow afternoon...hope it survives till then at least! :(

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 9:29AM
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dellis326 (Danny)

That is probably guttation, All aroids and many other types of plant do this.

Follow the link to a basic explanation.

Here is a link that might be useful: wiki / Guttation

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 12:15PM
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i thought it was somemthing like that but i'd never seen our plant do this before. maybe the new soil and/or the shock of being transplanted? as soon as the rain stopped i didn't see any more drips on it.

how long do these plants live anyway? my husband seems to think he's had this one quite a while, like 20 years. i find it a little hard to believe though. but if true maybe it's just dying of old age?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 5:12PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

Many of my aroids drip all the time, especially the plants I have growing semi-hydro. It'll be more dripping, the wetter you keep the plant so if you've been over watering you'll see it more.

I've seen the raspberries in my yard have a steady stream of tiny drops of water shooting out of the tips of the leaves after a good rain.

20 years wouldn't surprise me, I have some that are over 10, I don't really know how long it'll last though.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 9:49PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I agree with the sunburn diagnosis. PL's burn very easily. The light coming through mini blinds and sheers isn't enough, though. Somewhere that's not outside in the sunshine but is more brightly lit than the location it is pictured in would be good.

Also agree with changing to soil to improve aeration but would personally do it with mulch instead of perlite. I don't like the looks of "white-top" soil and perlite just takes up space in the pot without offering any benefit to the plant. That soil is hard to see clearly but looks like it has a lot of peat which is hideous stuff that never seems to dry out until suddenly it's so dry it won't get wet again. Also "floats to the surface" like perlite.

Read some of the other posts on here about PL's and other plants which contain root pruning advice from AL. You may decide more root pruning than you already did would be good.

PL's make "pups" to increase themselves. Each individual part makes 1 leaf at a time and over time a PL can develop a whole family. Yours looks like 2 clumps where the biggest one has one growing eye and the other clump has 2 eyes. These clumps are probably still connected to each other by a root which could be severed so you could but each clump in a separtate pot, or back together in the same pot. It's been my experience that when PL's get severed from each other they usually send up new eyes and/or whole new pups.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 6:05PM
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Mine is in it's mid 20s and still growing strong.... I would cut those leafless stems off that are jetting out the sides by cutting them flush to the main stem, it will look a lot better once you do. As new growth comes in, you can take off the damaged ones.
Like others stated, keep it out of hot direct sun, water well when the top half inch or so feels almost dry to the touch.

Billy Rae

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 8:59PM
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i am glad i didn't cut away the dying leaves on the bigger plant...i have just discovered today curled up inside one of the bigger leaves what appears to be the white flower starting to peak through?!

i actually curled back part of the stem of leaf i thought was half dead to see if some new leaves might be coming in, but was surprised to see what looks like a curled up white flower! hope it still blooms with all the trauma this poor plant has had recently.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 7:07AM
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Is anyone successfully growing peace lily in gritty mix? I recently planted one in a mix of turface and bark, and it promptly died. I didn't do anything to the roots, which were white and healthy.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 9:18PM
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