Browning/blackening of Peace Lily leaf tips

tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)October 4, 2012

As I was checking on all the plants today, as I do everyday, I noticed the peace lily had several browning/blackening of the tips. Is this because it is adjusting to the repot or is something going wrong? She had brown tips once before about a month or so ago and I snipped them all and she was fine.(that was with the wet MG soil) Now their back and we have the 511 mix in her pot now.

I hope this is just her was of adjusting. I dont like cutting her tips off. Now they are straight edged and not actual tips. Phooey!

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Mine does that when it's
1) too hot
2) too cold
3) soil dries out (or the plant has suffered from root-rot)

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 8:24AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Describe what you did when you repotted?

.... remember what I said about putting yourself on plant time? Plant organs (leaves/roots .....) don't simply restore themselves to pristine condition because we repot, change our watering habits, or change fertilizers. It takes time. If you had a plant with brown tips, those tips will ALWAYS be brown - until the leaf dies and you remove it. Plants are generating organisms - not REgenerating, like animals. Look for evidence of improvement in NEW foliage that occurs after a short recovery period instead of old foliage the next day. ;-)

When you DO cut tips off, cut at an angle from both sides of the leaf, so you're forming a point at the leaf tip. If a leaf continues to go brown and needs trimming again, don't trim back to live tissue - leave a very thin strip of dead tissue on the leaf; this, because after you cut the leaf will die back a little anyway and you'll STILL have that thin brown strip.

Keep the soil moist but not wet (easy to do if you made the soil well), give the plant good light, and make sure you're using a well-reasoned nutritional supplementation program and your plants will start to show their appreciation ...... on their own terms.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 8:41AM
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Bugs will have no hold on your plants if you are checking them everyday. Good job!

When you did your repot, did you rinse off all the old mix down to thr roots?

Mine use to do that when they were affecetd by salt burn or dying roots, plus whatTax says. Hopefully your repot if you barerooted will stop the progression of that as soon as posible. It should.

Good luck and have a good day.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 8:48AM
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tifflj(6 Pitts, PA)

Thanks Mike!!!

My plant might be warm. The weather has been real weird here and we recently turned off the air conditioner and it got real warm in the house for a few days.

My Repot:

!. I took the plants to the laundry room and laid newspaper down.
2. I took a saller gardening tool and loosened the soil around the sides of the pot and tilted the pot and carefully and slowly scooped dirt out until the plant was loose.
3. Once the plant was out I loosened the dirtas much as I coul around the roots. I then got another smaller, miniture size actually garden tool with 3 prongs so to speak and loosened the dirt more to get as much as I could off. Then I took the plant to the wash tub and rinsed the roots until I had all the dirt off. Granted there was still like a little dirt. Maybe .5 - 1% left on the roots.
4. I mixed the ingredients and began filling the pot until I could put the plant in. Then filled around the plant until it was filled.

The only thing different about the peace lily is I did this plant last because ithas been a very very healthy plant and I wanted to get the troubled plants done first. I did not see anything wrong with her roots at all when I cleaned them off. But Her mix is a litle different as I ran short on bark. So she has a little more cactus soil that the other plants but not an exuberant amount.

Which alo bring me to one question I had been meaning to ask. How much soil are you suppoed to have at the bottom before you put the plant in? I am sure I have enough, I just wondered.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 9:33AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

As long as you kept the roots moist while you were working on them, it sounds like you did a really thorough repot - just like I would have hoped you would describe it. Good job.

Your question about how much soil should go into the bottom of the container before you pot the plant is a REALLY good one, and the answer isn't as simple as many would think it to be. The answer begins with, "It depends", because there is no 'one size fits all'.

Your question actually calls a number of questions into consideration. You're asking about the depth of the soil column, and that comes pretty firmly attached to a variance in the o/a volume of the soil as the ht of the soil column rises. In addition to those considerations, two other important influences on your decision should include the mass and type of plant material you're working with, and probably the most significant factor the soil you're using. I'll make some generalizations about how deep it CAN be without creating problems, and you can then decide how deep it SHOULD be.

Let's look at two extremes - a very water-retentive soil and a well-aerated soil that holds very little perched water, which is the soil property that has the most influence on what the wisest choice might be.

When you have a water retentive soil, the deeper the soil column is, the higher the % of well-drained soil there will be. We know that a soil that supports 4" of perched water will be 50% saturated if the soil column is 8" deep and only 12.5% saturated if it's 24" deep - so let's grow in 24" deep containers and forget all that PWT stuff - right? Well, that 4" of perched water at the bottom of a 24" deep container is likely to remain wet for a LONG time, producing lots of noxious gasses the soil would be better off without, even if a high % of the soil IS free of perched water; so, we need to be extra careful about how much soil goes under our plants when using water retentive soils.

After you have a little more experience you'll learn through your own observations that plants in soils that give roots room to run but still need watering every few days are going to exhibit the best growth and vitality. If you were using a water-retentive soil, in your mind, you might be making a calculation that goes something like, "If I use this much soil I'll probably have to water every X number of days when the plant is growing well". Then, you'll decide if that is too often or not often enough and adjust the depth/volume accordingly.

On the other end of the extreme scale are soils that are well aerated and support little/no perched water. Because they are porous, there is MUCH more surface area near the top of the pot to hasten evaporation. This allows rapid diffusion of any water existing as perched water at the bottom of the pot, so in soils like you're using or the gritty mix, there is very little concern about the possibility of 'over-potting' or PWTs. If these soils DO support perched water, it's quick to be used or evaporate, so you can quite literally plant seeds or tiny seedlings in 55 gallon drums if the soil doesn't support perched water.

If you're looking for a guideline without going over-board, you'll always be safe if you're using a well-made 5:1:1 or gritty mix if you plan on the depth of your soil being up to about 2X the ht of the main root mass, but it could be more or less without problems. You really have to work very hard at over-watering to create issues related to soggy soils with these types of soils.

If you're using a water retentive soil, and for repotting - not potting up, you should use a container the same size as the one the plant was in or slightly larger. If you are potting up, you should try to limit the SIZE of the soil mass to about 1 " larger than the main root mass (top & sides) if plants are going in pots under 1 gallon; maybe up to 1-1/2" if pot sizes are 1-3 gallons; and 2-3" if the plants are in 3-5 gallon pots.

For you, using the 5:1:1 mix, the bottom line is - use as much soil as you want, but if you decide to use a large volume of soil, pay attention to your plant's water needs - more specifically, carefully monitor so you don't over-water. The 5:1:1 mix doesn't hold much perched water if well made, but it doesn't come with a 'get out of over-watering FREE' card. You still need to use good judgment. The gritty mix though, is REALLY hard to over-water if it's made well because it's designed NOT to hold perched water.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 4:33PM
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