First Time Peace Lily Owner, Its sick! Please Help!

butterfly31286(3)September 28, 2008

Ok. I am new here and have just become interested in plants, mainly house plants. Over the summer I got a peace lily. It is one of the huge ones. I named it Sofia. She was about 5 feet tall and had a leaf span of about 3 feet across and around. I am at school in an apt at the moment so she doesn't have as much room as she needs but will be getting a new home in a week in a house with plenty of room. Two weekends ago I went home and left her with my roommates. Have done this before and she was fine. I watered her and others and left. When I got back she was severely droopy and about a quarter of original size. Roommates said she drooped Sat night after I left Thurs. I gave her some water with delluted miricle grow plant food on Tuesday and she pereked up some but is still droopy. Some of her bottom leaves have turned yellow, (which I have trimmed off) and she has a few black spots on two of her leaves. About a week and a half prior to this I repotted her into a ceramic pot instead of the plastic one she came in due to her being top heavy and toppling over. If anyone could please help me figure out what is wrong and how to revive Sofia that would be absolutely wonderful. Thanks.

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Sounds like a case of watering much too often - black spots and yellowing are tip offs, the spots being indicative of fungal root rot. You need to do two things, get rid of half the present soil and replace it (well mixed first) with aquarium gravel to let water drain quickly through the soil and out the drain holes (no drain hole = dead plants). The second thing is to never, ever let the pot sit in either drain or humidifying water as roots can rot too. A wide tray with stones for the pot to sit on, and water to just below the top of the stones, is a good way to humidify plants indoors, where central heating can kill them. After repotting, use an ordinary "houseplant" fungicide in the water according to directions on the bottle, then allow more of the soil than you've been doing to dry out between waterings.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 3:42PM
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Ok. so If I rerepot it (if that makes sense) I wont be able to till this weekend when I have help from fiance. Plant is just to big and heave for me alone. So when I do this is how would I best change the soil because most of it is caught up in roots. Should I use the smaller aquarium rocks/gravel? Is there a certain type of potting soil that would work best? Also there are three big clumps of leaves or stems. (don't know how else to describe it) They are not evenly placed with two close together on one side of pot and one on opposite side. How would I best rearrange them with the roots all twisted together? Would it be possible to repot one of the sections in another pot to have a separate plant? I also want to make sure it is secure and set in the soil far enough so that the top doesn't lean. I know I have a lot of questions but I love this plant and don't want it to die and am sad that I am going to be giving it to my fiance while I'm at school. I need as much information about the care and keeping so I can make a list of things for him so he doesn't kill it.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 7:06PM
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I agree on the overwatering suspicion. Buy one of those moisture meters at walmart, they look like this and are only about 4 bucks.

They aren't always fool proof, but it gives you an idea of how wet or dry your soil really is down there below the surface. In my home, my peace lily usually gets watered once every 5 days on average. It really varies, I have a smaller variety peace lily compared to yours.

Secondly -- fertilize healthy plants. If a plant isn't doing well, you need to get it healthy first before fertilizing it. And make sure it's a weak fertilizer, don't use too much.

For repotting, you could simply lift it out of the pot, try and shake off the soil and inspect the roots. If the roots aren't white and they are brown and mushy, that's root rot. You could cut out the bad roots and try replanting in new soil. Drainage is important, so you want a pot with a hole in it and a well draining soil (if you're just using standard houseplant potting mix, you could throw some perlite in to aide in drainage).

Watering -- In the future, watch your watering. You'll definitely kill plants like this if you water everyday, even every other day. All plants need to be watered when they need it, not based on a weekly or every X days schedule. A moisture meter will help with that. Finally, don't let the water go from your kitchen sink to the plant. If you water using tap water, let the water sit for at least a day to allow chlorine and anything else the plant won't like to evaporate from the water. And you want it to be room temperature or slightly warmer, not cold water that will shock the plant. I like to fill up a gallon jug of water, let it sit out without a lid for a couple days, then i just put the lid back on and leave it on my fridge. Anytime I need to water, I just use that.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 7:32PM
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