Do peace lilies dislike clay pots?

orangeleavesNovember 25, 2012

My peace lily is 3 months old. It came in a funeral basket and stayed there for maybe 6 weeks. I potted it in an old terra cotta pot and moved it from a southeast window to a few feet from a northeast window. It's getting yellow spots but I really don't think it's getting too much sun! All the other plants it was with were medium or highlight plants so I had it right in front of the window for the first 6 weeks. Can yellow spots be from too little light too? Too little water? I definitely have a tendency to underwater more than overwater my plants. I'm a somwhat experienced houseplant grower and am surprised to be having trouble. I really want to save this peace lily!

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Hi Orange,

Yes! Terra cotta pots, being unglazed, allow water to evaporate at a faster rate than a glazed or plastic pot. Since peace lilies like damp/moist conditions, your pot will dry out quickly, making your PL very unhappy. I can't say that this is what is causing the current problems with your plant, but I think it may cause problems in the future. I just repotted my plant from a glazed pot with no drain hole to one with a drain hole and am already seeing an improvement. My problem was excessive salts in the soil. Hopefully, Al (Tapla) will be along shortly to give you the 411 as to why all this stuff is important and how it affects your (our) plants.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 2:43AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

brodyjames - I should suspect that any problems you had were due to the lack of a drainage hole, rather than the pot being ceramic. Besides you say both your pots are glazed so they would behave the same as a plastic pot regarding evaporation.

I think it is a little harder to keep plants happy in terra cotta but I don't think that is necessarily the problem with the OP's Spathiphyllum. The change of pot is only one of the variables, the others being the light, root disturbance and, presumably, a new medium. You could test one of those variables by putting the plant back where it was and seeing if that makes a difference. As well as having reduced the plant's light by change of aspect there is the concomitant reduction due to less light overall at this season. So the plant has had quite a lot to deal with.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 5:29AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

PLs, like virtually all plants commonly grown as houseplants, love pots that allow gas exchange through the walls, which terra cotta does. I have a very high % of my plants in terra cotta and another form of unglazed clay pots that are more highly fired than terra cotta, made by Tokonoma. The more water-retentive your soil is, the greater the advantage offered by terra cotta. The shorter the required interval between waterings, the better .... from the plant's perspective.

Peace lilies may live in riparian settings in situ, but in containers they like a damp, not a wet soil. Damp = about as wet as a well-wrung out sponge.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 7:39AM
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This is what the sad little flower looks like that popped up :( I rescued two peace lilies from near death at lowes and they are doing better than this one. One was repotted, the other was not.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 11:54AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

That's a flower that's past its' prime. Not an indicator of the plants' health. The individual flowers don't last long.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 12:06PM
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It never even bloomed as a full flower. It grew as a green flower then when it reached height turned yellow. Never was white or pretty like the ones that were on it in August. Is that typical for late year blooms?

    Bookmark   November 26, 2012 at 1:03PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

AFAIK, PL's don't have a particular bloom season and just bloom when they get the right mix of conditions.When folks find a spot where theirs blooms, they don't usually then move it again, except to repot when necessary.Its' reputation for resenting changing conditions is accurate, IMO/E.

*Adding test sentence in regard to new edit post feature.*

This post was edited by purpleinopp on Tue, Nov 27, 12 at 12:24

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 12:13PM
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