‘Huge mistake’ when caring for peace lilies – How to avoid ‘root rot’

How to care for a peace lily

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There are few other houseplants that bring such calm, tropical vibes to your space as effortlessly as peace lilies. Though this tropical perennial is fairly resilient, there are some common peace lily mistakes gardeners may fall victim to. However, the good news is that on the whole peace lilies are resilient plants and most problems can be fixed with the right gardening advice. 

While peace lily plants rely heavily on light and humidity to survive, water is also a key factor.

Silver Spence, CEO of independent houseplant site Friends or Friends, shared that giving these houseplants the wrong amount of water is a “huge mistake” peace lily owners are at risk of making when caring for the popular plant.

Silver said although peace lilies like to be quite wet, she warned that overwatering can be a problem.

The expert said: “Peace lilies can stay wet or like to be a little bit wet.

“But a lot of people misinterpret that for soaking wet which is not very good for the plant.

“Think of it like going outside in your socks. You’re okay if it’s a light sprinkling [of rain] – that’s going to dry out.”

Peace lilies should be kept in two pots – a nursery pot and another plastic pot one to two sizes bigger to give them room to grow, claimed the experts at Patch Plants.

Having the second pot is also important as it will catch any extra water that isn’t being absorbed by the plant.

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Silver noted that if there is a few millimetres of water at the bottom of the pot, that is fine.

She added: “Leave it be for a while. Then, allow it to dry out by – depending on how big your plant is – a couple of centimetres. Then you can top it up with water.

“Otherwise, a huge mistake people make with peace lilies is making them too wet because they like to have water.”

Peace lily experts at Petal Republic also warned that overwatering is a common mistake many make when caring for peace lilies and that this can lead to “drooping leaves” and “root rot”.

They said: “Although peace lily plants need moist soil that replicates their natural habitat, it’s possible to go too far. 

“Overwatering is a common cause of drooping leaves in peace lily plants. If peace lily plants are left in waterlogged soil, they can develop issues like root rot.”

Thankfully, drooping leaves can be a good indicator of overwatering. When the leaves of the peace lily are drooping, test the soil using your finger. If the soil feels wet, you’re watering the plant too much or too often.

If owners have overwatered their houseplant that should try and let it dry out longer until the top layer feels dry to the touch.

If this doesn’t work, the experts advised making sure there are drainage holes in the nursery pot to allow excess water to drain away. 

They said: “If the soil is still too wet, then you’ll need to repot your peace lily plant with fresh soil that isn’t waterlogged.”

Peace lily plants can’t tolerate dry conditions and usually need watering about once a week.

For those who feel as though they are watering their peace lily correctly but it isn’t looking as vibrant as it should, try using filtered or distilled water, or rainwater instead.

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