The peace lily is an excellent houseplant and a darling to most gardeners. It is pretty low on maintenance and requires less attention.
However, the trouble starts brewing when you mess up the watering requirements. You won’t know what is happening to your plant until you see adverse symptoms.
This article discusses peace lily, its ideal growing conditions, and how to identify excessive watering and correct it.
Signs Of An Overwatered Peace Lily
Peace lily thrives well in a range of environments with moderate watering, sunlight, and fertilizer requirements. That said, overwatering the plant is pretty commonplace.
You first want to know the symptoms of an overwatered lily. It is easier to work a solution from this point.
The leaves droop and start turning pale, eventually turning yellow. Next, their tips develop brown color with clear signs of stunted growth. Finally, the roots rot, turning mushy.
Consequently, this stops the water supply to the leaves, causing them to wilt or shrivel up. In addition, continued overwatering leads to leaf edema, a condition that causes your leaves to have water blisters.
Here is what you need to look out for when observing your peace lilies for signs of overwatering.
- Brown leaf tips
- The tips of the roots develop black patches
- Stunted growth
- Yellowing of the leaves
- Drooping and wilting in leaves
- Roots turn black and grow weak
There is a slight difference between the symptoms of an overwatered peace lily and those of an under-watered one. To check for underwatering, look for the following symptoms.
- Dry and brown spots
- Curled and wrinkled leaves
- Brittle roots
- Topsoil being dry for 1-2 inches
- Leaves turn yellow with a dry and crispy feel
The signs above depict a terrible condition you wouldn’t want your lilies to be in. Understandably, the plants are sensitive to environmental extremes, and any stress affecting them will likely manifest in some form.
What you want to do is to apply corrective measures that will take care of the problem. Correctional measures involve repotting optimal watering and general maintenance.
Factors That Contribute To An Overwatered Peace Lily
Peace lilies love water just like any other plant for normal physiological processes. The burning question is why they develop disease-like symptoms when you water them.
We discovered various factors that lead to overwatering.
1. Pot Size And Material
The peace lily is a typical houseplant and requires an appropriate pot to grow well. However, there are some factors you want to consider when selecting the pot. These are the size and the material of your pot.
Large pots keep your soil or potting mix wet and soggy for a long time, especially when planting a small lily.
Another factor you want to look at is the material from which the pot is made. Some materials retain water longer than others, making your plants overwhelmed.
The best choice in this regard is terracotta. The material is porous and drains out water fast.
2. Growing Season
The watering requirements of your peace lily also depend on the seasons of the year. Plants usually require more water during summer than winter.
During summers, the plant has a high rate of transpiration.
Transpiration, in this case, refers to the phenomena of the plant losing water through the aerial parts of the plant, such as the leaves. They require more watering to replenish the lost moisture.
The rate of evaporation is also higher in summers than during cooler seasons. You want to water your peace lily with this foreknowledge in mind.
3. Not Emptying The Drip Tray
If you use a drip tray underneath your pot, ensure to empty it after watering to prevent the pot from sitting in water for long hours. This often leads to overwatered plants.
Why Should You Avoid Overwatering Peace Lilies?
This advice applies to every plant in general:
1. Suffocates The Roots
Unlike water plants, peace lilies are not accustomed to excess water, nor can they survive in swampy conditions.
The excess water suffocates the roots of the plant, denying them oxygen. It also becomes impossible for your roots to absorb micronutrients in an environment of excess water.
2. Causes Many Fungal Diseases
A flawed root system affects the flow of water and vital nutrients from the roots to other plant parts.
What follows is a stressed-up plant that is highly susceptible to diseases. Common houseplant diseases are fungal and usually manifest as root rot.
Here are some potential diseases that could attack your peace lily.
Phytophthora is characterized by yellow leaves in houseplants that eventually shrivel up. The root tips typically go from white to black or sometimes brown or gray.
Rhizoctonia is a soil-borne fungus that affects the plant’s stems, leaves, and roots. It thrives in moist soils and can be identified by its fine webbing and reddish-brown lesions on stems.
Houseplants affected with Cylindrocladium exhibit typical disease symptoms, including yellowing and wilting of the leaves. Infested petioles are dark and brown.
Pythium is a root rotting disease that causes minor to severe wilting in infected plants.
Overwatered Peace Lily Care
An overwatered peace lily needs proper care to regain its optimal health. You want to give it a chance as early as possible before the hopes of keeping it alive dwindle.
This section gives you steps you can take to bring back your plant to normalcy.
Dry Out The Plant
The first and foremost step is to rid the plant of excess water. Stop watering the plant and put it out in bright sunlight.
Trim Diseased Parts
- Pull the plant out of its container or pot.
- You may notice the roots appear brown and enveloped in a damp and smelly substrate. Trim off the brown dead parts of the roots. You also want to prune all the leaves that are shriveling and wilting.
- The next step is to wash the remainder of the roots under running water.
Treat The Roots
- Disinfect the root system. You can do this by applying activated charcoal to the cut part of the roots.
- The other treatment methods involve the use of a fungicide or potassium permanganate. Use a weak solution of the chemicals to help get rid of root rot and any fungal diseases.
- Allow the plant to dry for 3 hours.
Transplant In A New Pot
- Place the peace lily in a rooting hormone solution and regularly change the water. Wait until the plant starts developing new roots.
- Transplant it into a new pot with fresh potting soil. Ensure the pot has drainage holes.
- You can also use the old container after disinfecting it with a detergent.
Maintain And Take Care
- Place them in an area with bright and indirect sunlight.
- At this point, you should only water it when the soil begins to dry.
- Maintain a temperature range of 18-27 degrees celsius.
- Surround your peace lily with companion plants to give them a warm and humid environment.
- Use disinfected water to irrigate your peace lily after 2-3 days when the new soil dries out.
- Avoid feeding the potted plant immediately. Adding fertilizer to a plant recovering from water stress leads to more stress.
- Instead, introduce a feeding schedule after about a month with a general-purpose fertilizer. What you want to focus on now is recovery, then regrowth.
With these steps in check, you can save your overwatered lily and keep the fungal diseases at bay.
How To Prevent Overwatering In Peace Lilies?
To avoid fixing your overwatered lily again, you want to take good care of it upfront by ensuring you meet optimal water requirements. Here is how you can go about this:
1. Change The Watering Routine
You should only water your peace lily when it needs water. Daily watering without checking the soil for dryness should be avoided.
To get this right, poke your index finger into the topsoil up to the first knuckle and pick up some of it.
- It needs no watering if it can form a ball without releasing water when squeezed.
- If it releases water on being squeezed, that is a clear sign of excess water.
- If the soil can’t form a ball, it’s clearly dry. Go ahead with the watering in this case.
A foolproof way to determine when you should water your lily is to use a water sensor. Like a thermometer, stick it to the potting mix and take the reading.
- A reading around 5-7 indicates your lily is receiving sufficient water.
- Anything below 4 indicates it is under-watered.
- A reading above 7 means it is overwatered.
2. Water During Daytime
It would be best to water your peace Lily during the day rather than the night. Excess water is likely to evaporate during the day.
Night watering is a precondition for diseases.
It’s easy to overwater your peace lily even if you mean well for the plant. An overwatered plant may require a lot of effort on your part for full recovery, but it is very much possible.
However, by following the pre-watering checks mentioned above, you can skip the problem altogether.