‘Worst’ tip to avoid watering your peace lily- will cause ‘root rot’

Royal Horticultural Society offer advice on Peace Lily plants

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Peace lilies can be simple to care for once owners understand their care needs – particularly when it comes to watering. Natively, these houseplants grow on the floors of tropical rainforests, appreciating the moisture, humidity and heat in these areas. The shade provided by the trees above is what makes them suitable for low-light areas of homes, although they may not flower as prolifically in these conditions.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Vladan Nikolic, a former plant shop owner, and a houseplant care expert with over 10 years of experience, has shared everything households need to know about watering and where to place peace lilies to get the best out of them.

He explained: “When it comes to watering practices for peace lilies, it’s important to find balance. Both underwatering and overwatering can harm the plant. 

“If the plant is underwatered, its root system will start dying. On the other hand, it’s also important not to overwater your peace lily, as this would make it susceptible to root rot.

“The worst way to water a peace lily is to blindly stick to a watering schedule without checking the soil first.”

He noted that while one watering schedule might work well during spring and summer, once the seasons change and there is less light in homes, the same watering schedule might lead to “root rot” and end up killing the plant. 

The houseplant pro urged the importance of always checking the soil and water once the top half of the soil has dried out.

There is no need to stick to a common watering schedule when it comes to peace lilies as they will let you know when it is time for a drink. 

The leaves will begin to droop when the plant is thirsty. Vladan noted that this is an indication plant owners need to water their houseplant.

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He explained: “The best way to water is to wait for the plant to get droopy and then water your peace lily thoroughly. 

“The watering schedule will depend on many environmental factors, such as humidity, light, plant size, pot size, temperature, etc. 

“Measure how many days it takes for the plant to become droopy again and the next time water a day before that happens.”

However, if the plant remains droopy after watering, it could be a sign that the peace lily is receiving too much water.

The expert said: “If you water your peace lily and it’s still droopy after 24 hours, that means that it’s likely been overwatered. 

“Wait for the soil to dry out fully to the bottom of the pot, and then water again. After you repeat several rounds of watering like this, the plant should stop being droopy.”

To avoid the roots absorbing too much water for those who have overwatered the plant, a well-draining, porous potting mix and pots with drainage holes are “essential”, according to the pro.

He said: “This way you will ensure that the roots absorb just the right amount of water, and that excess water can run out the drainage holes.”

When hydrating peace lilies, the houseplant pro noted that the “best type of water” to use on them is rainwater or distilled water. 

Vladan explained: “Peace lilies are sensitive to certain minerals in tap water, such as fluoride, so if possible, it’s better to water them with distilled water or rainwater.”

In terms of where to keep these houseplants, the “best place” is in an area of bright indirect light. The expert said: “Peace lilies are very low light tolerant, they can literally grow anywhere, so I wouldn’t say there is the worst spot to keep them. 

“The best place would be in front of a south or west-facing window with plenty of bright indirect light. If you keep them in places where they can get plenty of bright indirect light, they can also flower.”

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