Troubleshooting Sad Peace Lily

jessiac_3(5 WI)August 22, 2005


I had a Peace Lily plant that was very sad looking. It had droopy leaves, and although there was no yellowing or blotching in color, it just looked depressing. I found on the web that the cause might be that it is pot bound. So, I divided it a month or two ago. Now I have two Peace Lilies with the same problem, and I am pretty sure they aren't pot bound. I just repotted them a month or two ago! Please help.

Thank you!

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GrowHappy(z7 MD)

What size pot was the mother plant in before you repotted? What size pots did you repot to when you divided?


    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 8:32PM
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jessiac_3(5 WI)

I believe it was in a 9" pot, and I divided it into two 9" inch pots.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 6:57PM
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GrowHappy(z7 MD)


I think you might have gone too big on pot size when you divided it. Remember, after dividing, you no longer had a rootball that would fill a 9-10 inch pot. By dividing, you've made the rootball smaller. You should have gone down in your pot size. I'm thinking a 4-6 inch pot for each division would have been fine. You don't want too much soil around the root ball. By placing the smaller plants into such larger pots, you now have more soil around those rootballs than they like. They're being forced to drink more water than they can hold. The more soil you have, the more water it holds. The more water it holds in relation to root size, the more likely the plant is to suffer from root rot.

I hope this all make sense. It's early in the a.m. and I haven't had my first cup of coffee yet! Hopefully some of the more experienced growers will come along and add to my post, make corrections, e.t.c


    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 6:14AM
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jessiac_3(5 WI)

Thank you for your help Grow Happy! I just wanted to give an update. The leaves in the middle of the plant are getting perkier, but the ones on the outside are still droopy and sad looking. Also, the plant looked like that before I repotted it, and I believe most of the time it was in the pot before I repotted it. I give it Miracle Gro's standard fertilizer for houseplants, and I let the water sit in a milk jug overnight before I water, so I don't know what the problem could have been! Or is now! It seems to fit well in the 9" pot, it only has about 1 1/2 - 2 inches of soil around it between the plant and the edge of the pot.



    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 11:49AM
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GrowHappy(z7 MD)

I'm glad your PLs have started to perk up and are fitting comfortably in their new homes! Be careful not to over fertilize. In fact, since you just potted up and have given it a feeding since doing so, I would not fertilize again. You don't want to shock the plant too much. Stop fertilizing and see what happens. Can you post a pic of your plants?


    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 12:14PM
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jessiac_3(5 WI)

I have a digital camera, but I'm not sure how to go about posting a picture on this site. Can you tell me how?



    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 12:28PM
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I've been struggling with droopy peace lilies for a few years and tried everything I could think of (changing watering habits/fertilizer/humidity/soil/pots). Everything I ever read about them was that they were "low-light" plants. Out of sheer frustration, a month ago I placed them a foot from a south window (with a blinds to deflect direct sun) and bingo! They are perky and I have over 10 blooms on the darn things. Try higher light and see if that's the magic answer.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 1:04PM
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jessiac_3(5 WI)

Thanks, I'll try that. I used to have them right in front of the window, but I think they were getting sunburn. I'll move them a little closer and see what happens...

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 7:31PM
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I have 2 peace lilies. One big beautiful p.lily that came from my Father's funeral. I was determined to keep it beautiful. The poor thing has run the gamut and all I can say is plants really try to stay alive despite what I do to them! It did very well for about the first 9 months, but then it wilted, showed leaf burn, and my Mom & I both watered it one day w/o knowing it for a few days. That about finished the poor thing off. I researched p.lily and then decided to repot it even though it was already sick and I knew it would shock it more. I took the plant out w. the soil on it and then wrapped it in many sheets of newspaper and let the paper soak up the extra water. I did this twice. I was afraid the plant would literally rot if I waited for it to "dry out" on its own. I then repotted it and placed in the study at a north window--within 2' of the window. It is also three ft. from a vent, but I keep it closed for the plant's sake. That has been about two yrs ago. It is sloooowly coming back and although it only has small leaves they all look healthy and happy.
Next plant, my very dear friend gave me this big beautiful p lily when she moved and could not take it with her. It is going through the same process as my first lily. It is at the stage of looking wilted. I have waited to water it until the soil is very dry, but the last two times I have watered it, I haven't waited so long to water; but it still looks very wilted and sad. It also has crispy dry leaf edges on some of the leaves. I put it in the atrium door this summer (south) but in the winter, the sun is too direct and I moved it about 8" from the window.
Now, the problem--along with me being pretty much a failure at growing p lilies, my girlfriend is coming for a visit and I feel awful that she will see the plant is such condition.
I plan to cut off the dead leaves. I did put some diluted miracle grow in the last watering as I had never fertilized it in a year and a half. I will wipe the leaves clean-hate doing it - it's so time consuming. In fact, I am thining of putting it in the kitchen sink and running water over it with my sprayer--bad idea?? Also, I use filtered water.
The soil is the same as when I got the plant and it was flourishing.
I am just puzzeled as what to do with this once gorgeous plant.
It did bloom a small bloom this summer when it was in more light.
I am thinking of putting a lamp light on it over night.
So, if anyone can give suggestions, please do so.
Is it a water problem, light problem? Actually I think it may be both. I have a debilitating disease and sometimes I am just tooooo tired to water my plants. So, some of it is not watering often enough perhaps.
Please don't just tell me what you think my problem is, but also give me suggestions as to how to "fix" the problem. While proof reading this, I just remembered from reading other threads that bad gases can be bad for plants and they also talked of Neem oil. I just put the two together and I have Neem oil on the lower shelf of my plant table that has teak wood slats. Perhaps this too is the problem---but the Neem oil was not there w. the first plant from my Dad's funeral. Well, I am looking forward to your comments.
Sorry this is so long. Beth

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 10:56PM
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I still have mine that I bought in 1989-1990 and here's what I do....

Make sure the pot and soil have good drainage and is only an inch bigger around than the rootball. If the pot is too big, the roots can easily rot, or, in some cases, not get enough water. In most cases, if your peace lily is wilting, that can mean too much water, not enough, or getting too much sun, way too cold or way too hot.

Water the whole top of the soil and keep watering until it comes running out the drainage holes, get the whole rootball wet, then dump out the drained water. Don't water again until the top inch or two feels very close to dry. Peace lilies like the soil a little on the moist side. They don't like to be soaking wet all the time or dry out like a dust bowl. Both dry or constant wet soil can cause brown tips, as well as hardwater and overfeeding.

Place in bright light, but not in direct sun and they will be happy. If all you had was a sunny window, put it off to the side.

I wouldn't feed it at all until it's healthy and growing well again, then feed at only half strength or less once every other week or once a month is fine in the spring & summer months.

Billy Rae

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 11:54PM
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irina_co(z5 CO)

Hi Beth,

I agree with what Billy Rae said plus want to contribute a bit more.

2 years in one pot is too much. The soil deteriorates. becomes too dense and needs to be replaced. But the first thing I would do is leach the soil - put the pot in a sink and flush it with the tepid water, wash the leaves at the same time and keep flushing until the runoff will be more or less transparent. Let's say send a gallon of water through the pot. Wait until it will stop dripping and return to its spot.

Next time you water only when the leaves become a bit droopy - and not too much. If the water accumulates in a dish - get rid of this water.

Fertilizer - I use 1/8 of a teaspoon of a fertilzer per gallon of water on everything every time I water - but I agree with Billy Rae. You need to wait till it perks up a bit.

The leaves do not live forever, they age, become yellow and die to be replaced with a new growth. So you can remove the old ones, you can trim dry edges on a middle age ones trying to preserve the shape of the leaf more ore less - that's what the plant lady in our office does - just walks around with sharp scissors and trims the brown edges.

Mine is a big one, it lives in a 3 gallon pot and blooms often shedding lots of a flour white pollen on its leaves. Finally I found the good place for it - it is in a sunny room but near the opposite wall from the window - so no direct sun - and I do not have sheer curtains at all. I think if you have sheer curtains - you can move it quite close to the window.

Good luck


    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 8:29PM
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I think I waited too long to water it--the leaves got real droopy and then it hasn't ever completely recovered. I watered it today from the bottom as I had read somewhere to do that. I had been watering from the top. I do pour off any extra water. I cut off my first leaf today. It has put on one bloom and I noticed I had some new small leaves coming on. So, maybe it's not too bad yet. Maybe, I can bring it back. I hope so, esp, since it was entrusted to me to take care of it.
Irina, by leaching the soil are you doing this to get rid of the salts?
Billy Rae: The fact that it can be "too much water or too little water" is the hard part for me. I have been using a moisture gauge as my cuticles are tender and a little scabby from the disease I have. Recently, I read that they are not very acurate. I bought mine from Garden Supply & think they have good quality stuff.
Irina: Don't you think that leaching the soil would be a shock to the plant? I am wondering if I should wait until it recovers a little first?? I also wasn't sure about moving it to the sink, I have heard some plants "don't like to be moved around". I will spray the leaves in the sink--it's so much easier than wiping ea leaf.
Thanks for the specail suggestions. Beth

    Bookmark   December 1, 2005 at 12:11AM
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poetrydiva(z8 TX)

I am having trouble with my peace lily as well. It was from a friend's funeral. We got it August of 2004, the day after the funeral. We were living in Houston, then. It sat on the kitchen table of our small apartment about 4' from a window. No clue if it was N or S facing, or somewhere in between. We have since moved to Queen City, TX. My father-in-law put both my potted ivy and the p. lily in the back of our moving truck. I could have killed him afterwards. They both looked very, very sick and sad by the time we got to the new apartment. The ivy looks quite spry again. However, the p. lily hasn't recovered. It was too big for its pot, so I repotted. There is about 1.5" of soil between the side of the pot and the root ball. All of the leaves have died and there are only 4 new shoots. It also had tiny white bugs crawling around near the main bulb at the dirt level. I sprayed it with insecticide for house plants at my grandmother's instruction (she's never killed any of her plants). That didn't seem to help much. I also use miracle-gro with every other watering. I've also tried moving it to a low-light, north-facing window. No luck. The only thing left is to wash the roots and repot. I'm going to do that today since the time to do that for this area was between Dec. 1 and today.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Please email me with suggestions. I'm at a loss and don't want it to die.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2005 at 12:29PM
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Here's another Peace Lily problem....As context, I have a small one at home where I break all the rules and it has flourished for years (potbound, overwatered, underwatered, drafts, erratic light, you name it), and I have a larger one at work that just keeps on being happy.

I have a small one at work, in the same conditions as the happy one, which keeps getting black areas spreading in from the edges of some of the leaves. I snap the offending leaves off at the base. New growth keeps coming, some develop the black areas and some don't.

I recently re-potted it, same pot but fresh potting soil (MiracleGro). It didn't seem to notice the repotting at all but continues to put out new leaves, some healthy and some sick.

I haven't been able to find a picture or description of the black leaf ailment. Any clues? Thanks a bunch.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2005 at 9:42AM
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Hi i am Sasha. i bought a peace lily when it was in full bloom. Now it will never flower. I have it on an eastern facing window. I water it twice a week and fertilize it ones a month. What could be wrong

    Bookmark   January 7, 2007 at 3:16AM
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I have a peace lilly that is in my bay window since this is the only place in my house that gets any sun during the day. I live on the east coast (NJ) The window faces the east and the plant receives sun from early morning to approximately 11:30 am. My problem is the tip of the leaves are drying out. The stems is healtly, but the leaves are dying out from the tips to the stems. HELP - I am not very good at keeping plants alive.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 1:13PM
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You can use something like a pencil with a two to three inch line marked on it with a magic marker. Push it down into the soil to the line, then Pull it up and feel the pencil, if it's not feeling wet or moist at the one or two inch mark, it probably needs a nice drink of water.


That's a big complaint of peace lilies, that once you see them flower one time or maybe a few times, that's it, no more flowers.
Mine hadn't flowered for like ten years, then all of a sudden it put out one healthy flower. Weird!
I'm not sure why that is. Dividing them and putting them into their own smaller pots might help. Possibly more brighter indirect light and keep the soil a little bit on the moist side. If it dries out too much and and droops between watering, that might keep flowers from coming. If the fertilizer is not diluted, it could be causing the plant to send up more new leaves instead of flowers. Personally I don't care if mine flowers or not, they seem to flower when they want to. This leafy plant looks good either way!


I mentioned above what can cause brown tips, but if your getting brown leaves, your peace lily could be getting too much direct sun/heat.If you put it off to the side so it still gets bright light and no or little direct sun, you might see some improvement.

Billy Rae

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 9:54PM
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Hi everyone

Let's face it peace lily can be sort of a headache, i have had two and couldn't save not one. I went to my plant book just to see if i could be of help. The plant hates to much sun, draft y rooms,and cool temp. It it is sensitive to watering and will root rot quickly if not in well drain soil. I did agree with one writer if you separated the plant to give it more room keep the pot small at first so the root can regroup so to speak. This type of plant can "stress" easily. But if you become a master of this particular plant, you truly have a "green thumb" haha. GOOD luck

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 12:02AM
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If you can't seem to grow them in soil, try growing them in plain water in a nice fat clear vase with colored stones at the bottom. My neighbor has one like that in water and it looks great!

Billy Rae

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 4:02PM
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Hi. My mom bought me a gorgeous peace lily about three weeks ago. Like a fool, I over-watered it and it began to wilt. HORRIBLY. I also didn't realize that it spent a few days standing in water. I have repotted it into a soil mixture of potting soil, peat and perlite that I read about online. It sits in front of a window that gets a fair amount of light but has a sheer curtain to diffuse it. But I'm so very afraid that I've caused her permanent damage. I know she won't perk up overnight but I really need to know what the next step to take is! Have I done enough or is it too late? Please help me!!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 7:36PM
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I have had my peace lilly for about 3 years now, I just re-potted it 2 months ago and now there is some white fuzzy stuff growing on top of the soil. What is this and how can I get rid of it?

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 11:24AM
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Have you been fertilizing your PL? If so, it could be salt buildup, but I'm not sure how fast salt builds up. But that's my guess.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2009 at 3:04PM
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Well, when I re-potted the plant 2 months ago I used the Miracle grow potting soil, but I have not used anything else since. I am not sure what it is but I am afraid it will kill the plant.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 9:02AM
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If you have fuzzy stuff/mold growing on top of the soil, there are a few reasons for that happening.

1. Keeping the soil too wet/over-watering. (Keep the soil a little on the moist side) I water once a week. Not keeping it soaking wet all the time. Let the top inch dry out, or close to it before watering.

2. Soil is too heavy. needs to be airy & fast draining, (add something like Perlite for better drainage)

3. Pot size is VERY important! The pot your using may be too big for the plants roots. Use a pot that's an inch larger then the root-ball. (Keep the roots on the snug side)

4. Keeping water in the saucer. Always empty the saucer once all the water has drained out through the soil.

5. Better air flow, or circulation around the plant.

6. Don't mist, not necessary, can keep soil too wet causing fungus to grow on soil and possibly the leaves.

Fixing one, or all of the reasons listed should help eliminate the problem.
In the meantime, take out a couple of inches or more of the moldy soil, add new dry, fix any other problem if it applies to those listed.

Billy Rae

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 12:25PM
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Also wanted to comment, this a a very old post, new questions about peace lilies should be started on a NEW THREAD.

Billy Rae

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 12:33PM
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I have a Peace Lily that, unfortunately, got urinated on twice by the neighbors dog. Both times I have removed the lily from the pot, rinsed off the roots, thrown away the potting soil and repotted it in a different pot with new soil. While it appears to be trying to recover, it is still rather droopy and obviously displeased with me and the entire animal kingdom. Is there anything else I can do to remove any traces of the urine that may have absorbed into the plant? Thanks, Bob

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 9:25PM
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mc_hudd(5 - MO)

Bob~ I would start a new post to get more answers, but...
It sounds like you've probably done all you can do, except for give the whole plant a good shower, not just the roots, I do this w/ my healthy PL & it loves it. Also, I'd put it somewhere the dog can't get to it... LOL.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 10:40PM
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I have had my peace lily plant for 4 years. It's in my office, which has florescent lights in the ceiling. I water my peace lily once a week. Suddenly, I've noticed a rust color mold on 2-3 leaves, as well as some darker brown spots on 1 or 2 leaves. What could this occurrence be in response to?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 3:58PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

The 'mold' sounds like rust, but difficult to tell w/o more info or a picture. If it IS, it's likely infecting a weakened plant. Perhaps it needs more light (if fluorescent is it's only source) and/or a repot. If the plant is not wilting between repots, it could be over-watering (not the direct cause, but indirectly because of the negative effect it has on vitality. There's no way to tell what might be an exact cause of decline with the info provided.

If you consider only the odds, the brown spots are probably the result of an accumulation of soluble salts in the soil.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 5:47PM
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I have a peace lily that I think is dying. I need to know what I can do to help it thrive. I live in my house 4 days a week. The other days the heat is at 50 deg. I make sure I water it once a week before I leave. When I am home its at a comfortable temp.

I had to cut out a lot of the plant because it was all withered away, Some to the point that when I touched the stalk it came out and the bottom was slimy.

Some of the leaves the stalk is all withered down.

I added some potting soil and fertilizer to it on Sunday in hopes it will help it thrive a little.

A piece came out and the bottom was white (no roots) I repotted it and I hope it will root and grow but I am not sure because the stalk is withered at the bottom by the soil.

They're all in somewhat low sun areas but the bigger one is right in front of the heat. If I move it to the other side where there is no heat it will get less sun.

Please Help.. I miss my plants beauty!!

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

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 10:17AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Is it the plant on the floor beneath the orchid? Hard to tell from the picture but it looks a lot like an overwatered Spathiphyllum, especially if it is rotting away at the base. When you say 'comfortable' temp do you mean for you or for the plant? It doesn't need to be particularly warm and certainly won't like sitting in front of the heating. I'd probably give up on the one in the picture, I'm afraid. Start again and put the new one in a cooler, lighter place and only water when it droops slightly. For mine (in the bathroom)that is roughly every 7 - 14 days depending on the season.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 1:35PM
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Jessiac, I've had a peace lily...made into three plants last year, and none, not ever, have I had bloom...but other than that, they are healthy plants.

The advice about 'not too large' a pot has merit. Without going to detail I invite you read further articles on why you should keep a plant in a pot according to its root size.
When changing, even if you think it merits bigger, go up one size only. One size usually means 1" - 2" diameter.
Thus putting those cut plants into a 9" pot was far too pointed out, the roots were being forced to draw nutrition from far and wide. The plant should not be forced to take up nutrition it cant use.
When you water such a large measure of soil, you are forcing the plant to be soaked by so much. Water is by far, the biggest cause of plant misery than all other causes combined.
The 4" - 6" pot would have been about right.

When you changed the pot, did you allow for drainage and when it drained did you let the plant sit in what excess flowed into the saucer, then it would take back up that water, furthering soaking the roots.
You can read further articles about how "salt" in water does harm to plants. Not table salt, salts that in fertilizer, and over time, can do harm to some extent.
The reason why water is allowed to sit overnight, gaining room temperature. Why plants should not be given water from a softening system...the salts can do damage.

Let the plant dry down between waterings, and when you water, always to drainage and dump the excess.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 3:11PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Slim - 50* is too cold for your plant. Both photosynthesis and water usage slow to a near stop at temperatures that low, so it sounds like you're almost assuredly over-watering. Adding potting soil and fertilize are likely to have provided the impetus for the death knell. Covering the crown just improves the living conditions for the organisms that have already been at work rotting the stems, and the added fertilizer may well have simply added to a high level of salts probably already in the soil.

Most houseplants do best at temperatures above 60*, and 55* is about the lower limit for both, for a variety of reasons. They like a soil that drains freely, so freely that if you water to the point of saturation, with a good amount of the water applied moving through the soil and flushing accumulating salts out, the soil drains well enough that you don't need to be concerned about root rot.

Watering on an 'as needed' basis when using heavy soils is a requirement, but became less of an issue with well-aerated, fast-draining soils. Appropriate pot size isn't determined by the size of your last pot, but rather by your choice of soil. You can pot plants in much larger pots, actually, pots with no upper size limit, with no ill effects when your soil is open enough to support no or little perched water.

You can't force a plant to take up nutrition it can't use, and it is a normal condition for plants to take their nutrition from far and wide - it's how plants in nature gather water and nutrients. All dissolved solids in the soil solution have the same effect on the plants ability to absorb water. Dissolved solids in fertilizers and tap water have the same effect that table salt, sugar or anything else that is soluble in water would have on a plant's ability to carry on normal osmosis.


    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 4:34PM
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Slim, first, your Orchid is very pretty.

About your Spath/Peace Lily.
First, the pot is too large. There's more soil than plant.

You said you water once a week.
Does the soil need water? If it's wet, and you're adding more water, it's going to rot. Moreso, with temps at 50F degrees.
Which, by what you described, sounds like your PL has rot. Leaves shouldn't slip off its trunk.

Fertilizing at this point isn't going to help either, on the contrary, it might have made things worse.

It it was my PL, I'd remove it from the pot. Check roots and main trunk. Test for firmness.
Remove dead roots.
Transplant in a pot 1-2" sizes larger than rootball, with fresh, well-draining soil. What type of soil do you use?
Water thoroghly.

Slim, do you tend to over-water? lol. Toni

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 5:00PM
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my peace Lilly I have had for 10 years. No matter what I do it seems to keep on fighting back. I even left it for 6months while i worked away and though it looked very pathetic when i got home it bounced back within days. It was divided into 3 pots over the years. Every year or so one of them sends out one flower but never more than one. I'd love them to flower more. Any suggestions? I never feed them with Anything but water- should I?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 7:39PM
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Mel, you said your PL was divided in 3 pots over the years..
Do you mean repotted three times or did you divide the plant, in three sections?

Yep, fertilize..An All Purpose or Balanced, 10-10-10, etc would be fine.
Another option is alternating with an All Purpose one month, then Flowering fertilizer the next. Follow directions..never fact, it's better to use half-strength.

Your PL does sound like a

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 8:32PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

If they're not flowering, there's a reason. If you would like to take the time to explore the cultural conditions they're being provided, we might be able to come up with something more specific in terms of what it might take to turn them around.

Things like describing how the foliage looks in terms of color and if there are dead leaf tips and/or margins would be a good place to start. When you water, are you watering so a good portion of the water exits the drain hole? We know you're not fertilizing, but that should change. You can't depend on the soil to provide sufficient nutrition for containerized plants, That is up to the grower. The fertilizer ratio that comes closest to providing nutrients in the ratio plants use them is 3:1:2. Examples of 3:1:2 ratio fertilizers are Miracle-Gro or Peters 24-8-16 (other brands as well), Miracle gro 12-4-8 liquid, and Foliage-Pro 9-3-6, which is my choice as my 'go to' fertilizer for all my houseplants.

Using 3:1:2 ratio fertilizers is beneficial because it allows you to fertilize at the lowest rate possible w/o having deficiencies. This makes it easiest for plants to take up water and the nutrients in water, and is especially beneficial for plants like PLs that don't tolerate high levels of (fertilizer) salts in the soil.

I recently (last week) had a long phone conversation with Dave Neal, the CEO of Dyna-Gro Inc. One of the things we discussed was the usefulness of using a high-P (bloom-booster) fertilizer in containers. My contention was that using any fertilizer that supplies more P than either N or K would be counterproductive because it adds unnecessarily to the level of salts in the soil by supplying more P than plants can use in relationship to N. He agreed solidly with that idea and indicated that he has been steadfastly advising his commercial customers to always go to the 9-3-6 (3:1:2) formulation as their fertilizer of choice.

Technically, since plants use about 6x more N than P, even 1:1:1 ratio fertilizers like 10-10-10 and the popular 20-20-20 supply much more P than the plant can use and are not the best choice for container culture for reasons stated.

If you describe your soil type & what kind of light the plant is in, as well as whether or not it is root bound, there should be enough info to make some informed conclusions about some direction.

Ball's in your court. ;o)


    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 9:15PM
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I have one that doesn't grow very much but always sends up a flower. Its been in the same pot for a long time (5 years+). It doesn't make many leaves but does send up some flowers.

I guess it should be transplanted, but it is in a big pot. Should I just add more potting mix? The plant just stays the same size.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 1:35AM
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Kate, what size is the pot?

No, don't add more soil. Remove your PL from its container. Check the roots.
Any dead roots should be pruned.

PL's like a comfy-cozy feel. If it's rootbound, increase pot size, 1-2 sizes larger.
If it's too large, 2 or more inches from rootball to inner pot, reduce down by one size.

Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer, like 10-10-10.

Place your PL in a medium bright window. No direct summer sun. Good luck, keep us posted..Toni

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 1:54AM
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thirdyearbonsai(Zone 4, VT, USA)

Hey guys,

I'd like to agree with several of the above posters regarding pot size, over-fertilization, etc...

One thing I'd also like to point out is that in my experience Peace lilies hate to be over-watered.

Don't let them become mummified, but let the top of the soil dry out between watering. And definitely avoid letting them sit in their own leachate.

Here is a link that might be useful: My peace lilies

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 6:42AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Hi, Kate - One of the first symptoms you'll observe when as plant becomes root-bound is stalled growth, followed by a decline in vitality. This can occur in almost all plants that are propagated widely by division because as new plants form, they 'squeeze' the older plants at the center of the clump, which is why regularly dividing them has a rejuvenating effect. It's a pretty good bet your plant needs dividing, so I would put that on my 'to do' list.

I'll leave you to decide what fertilizer is appropriate. Hopefully, what I said will sound well-reasoned & logical. Most commercial fertilizer programs are based on supplying other nutrients as a function of the amount of N supplied, with N being by far the largest fraction of the nutrient supply, because plants use more N than any other nutrient. Also, I don't know of any source of 10-10-10 that is soluble, and most granular fertilizers like 10-10-10, 12-12-12, etc are used for outdoor applications. If you actually DO decide on a 1:1:1 ratio fertilizer like 10-10-10, 20-20-20 is very commonly available by a variety of manufacturers (MG, Peters, Schultz, others) in soluble form. 20-20-20 is the same ratio as 10-10-10, except it has twice the amount of nutrients as 10-10-10, so you only use half as much to make the same strength solution.

When you divide, I think you can really do yourself a favor if you use a soil that allows you to water correctly without having to worry about root rot. This is important for ALL your houseplants, but especially so for plants like PLs that like a moist soil but don't tolerate wet feet, and that are heavy feeders yet don't like high concentrations of (fertilizer) salts in the soil. Using fertilizers that help keep your fertility levels in the adequate range (no higher) and soils that allow you to regularly flush salts that are accumulating from your soils will go a long way toward ensuring you can produce plants with consistently attractive foliage and good vitality. If you can keep your plants healthy & provide bright light but not direct sun, your plants will bloom for you.

Just ask, if you need more help with the soil issue, or have questions regarding dividing/fertilizing/repotting ....

Best luck! ;-)


    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 11:16AM
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Thanks for all the helpful hints. This plant doesn't seem to have any problems...just doesn't grow very much. The pot is quite big and it is inside a basket. It probably needs a better window but I like that it stays the same size.

Maybe some fertilizer more often would help it grow more. I don't think we water it enough either. It is always dry, we forget about it. I didn't know it likes to be damp.

The funny part is it sends up these white flowers sometimes, so we must be doing something right.

I'll follow the directions to move it to a sunnier window and water it more. I don't think it needs to be transplanted because it is small in a big pot. So it has lots of space to grow bigger. I don't want to 'rock the boat.'

Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 12:16PM
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I recently got a healthy peace lily and repotted it soonafter to a bigger pot.After a few days, i saw the leaves drooping so I put some water and put it outside in shade. It wan't too hot but soon the whole plant looked wilted. I immediately brought it inside and watered it.(too much I guess). Since then, a lot of leaves have turned yellow and wilted and I have removed them. I haven't watered it again since the top soil is still moist..the leaves continue to turn yellow and are wilting. Is my plant going to die?? Any suggestions will be much appreciated. Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 10:36PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

If you use a water-retentive soil when you pot up, it's very easy to over-water. I would unpot the plant and check the roots and crown for signs of root rot and correct if required; this, before you repot into a suitable size container and a suitable soil. Then, monitor your watering carefully, withholding water until the soil begins to dry deep in the pot. Many mistakenly think that because these plants live by stream sides where they naturally occur, that they like a boggy soil. That is soo untrue. They like a damp, never wet or soggy medium when grown in containers.

If you decide to do as suggested, there are some additional hints I can offer that will help you minimize the effects of an overly water-retentive soil or a hand slightly heavier than necessary on the watering can. ;-)


    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 10:48PM
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I have a huge problem with my peace lily! I got it a couple of months ago and I was watering it but the blooms and leaves were dying constantly. I went to a local gardening shop and explained this to the lady who told me to fertilise it and feed it from the bottom. I took it out of its original pot into a new 4inch one, only and inch smaller than the previous one but it had too much space in the old one. And it worked! Then my boyfriend tried to help and feed it the fertiliser with out diluting it and it has severely wilted as a result! the leaves are still green and it still even has some flowers on it. I have flushed it out with water and moved it into a cooler room but I don't know what else I can do! help please!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 4:29PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

Hi LaineyM20, It is always better to start a new thread when you have a new question rather than attach it to an old long thread like this one. I may end up getting over looked.

Anyways, you may just need to wait for your spathe to recover. Warmth shouldn't hurt it at this point either. You may consider re-potting it in a loose soil which there are many threads here dedicated to.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 9:32AM
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I have a peace lily & it looked healthy until today when I noticed the leaves were drooping, I watered it & spritz it, ease are still droopy. Can you tell me what's wrong with it?

    Bookmark   November 24, 2014 at 12:03PM
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