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Rescued Peace Lily » Indoor Plant Consultant | New York, NY | (917) 887-8601

Rescued Peace Lily

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Question:

My brother recently gave me his peace lily, that was given to him, to see if I could rescue it. I have never had one and have no idea on the care for it. I live in Arkansas and our summers are very hot and humid, my indoor house plants are hardy enough to go out in summer. I know this can not. Originally when I got the plant, it was all bundled together in a much smaller pot, most of the flowers were brown or turning brown, looks like lots of the stalks were bent but not sure how. All in all it looks like it’s been through a frat house (best way I can describe it). I have re-potted it in two pots, there were a total of 12 plants in a 10′ planter. None of the roots were damaged but definitely root bound. Took some time to get them all separate with little to no root damage. My Question: is how to get it back to normal? I did trim all the dead foliage.

Answer:

For future reference, it would have been simpler to remove the dead leaves and flowers, water the plant very thoroughly and leave it in its original pot. It is not commonly understood that plants do best when they are kept quite potbound. Yours was on poor condition simply because the watering had been neglected, not because it was root bound.

As careful as you were, it is likely that many tiny root hairs that go unnoticed were damaged in the process of dividing your plant in two. That will be your biggest problem going forward. Any deterioration or unusual wilting that you see can be attributed to damaged roots for which there is no cure.

Normally, wilted leaves are an indication that the soil is too dry and needs water. Simple. However, because of the potential root damage, wilting now may also be caused by that rather than lack of water. Hence, it makes watering problematic.

In general, it is best not to add any water until the main sections of each plant start to wilt just a bit. When you do water, add just enough so that it reaches the wilt point again in about a week. You will have to adjust the water volume as you go along to find the correct amount. Knowing just when and how much to water will be your biggest challenge.

Provide as much sunlight as possible, but just beyond the reach of the direct rays of the sun falling directly on the leaves. So keep it close to a window – within a few feet, not across the room – and provide warm temperatures. Misting is unnecessary and it should not be fertilized for at least 6 months.

Finally, your Peace Lilies are unlikely to flower again until they are potbound once again. Be patient.