How To Save An Overwatered Peace Lily

If you have accidentally overwatered your peace lily, you are probably pretty concerned, and for good reason. Unfortunately, a plant that has been overwatered is in danger unless you take action to save it as soon as you realize there is a problem. In this article, I am going to talk you through saving an overwatered peace lily.

How To Tell If You Have Overwatered Your Peace Lily

First, you need to find out if your peace lily is overwatered.

If your peace lily is wilting, it is likely either from too little water or too much water. Your peace lily’s leaves may go limp and flat, and if this happens, you’ll need to take quick action.

Check the soil the peace lily is potted in. If this is very wet, you have located the source of the problem. The roots of the plants will be rotting, which stops them from absorbing enough water – ironically – and nutrients. It may also be struggling to get sufficient oxygen.

Discolored leaves and white mold growing on the surface of the plant’s soil are further signs that there is an issue, so watch out for these. You may not see all of these signs at once, but overwatering could still be the issue.

How Do You Save An Overwatered Peace Lily?

First, it is important to be aware that not all plants can be saved. Sometimes, when you notice there’s a problem, there will be too much damage for it to recover. However, you have little to lose by trying, so have a go, but act swiftly.

  1. Spread some sheets of newspaper on a table, and gently work the peace lily out of its pot. You need to handle it very carefully to avoid doing further damage.
  2. Shake and brush away the soil from the plant’s roots. You might find that they are mushy and black, and they might stick to the soil. Remove as much soil as possible so you can see what you are doing.
  3. Sterilize a pair of sharp scissors in boiling water or using alcohol, and then trim away all of the damaged roots on the plant. Do not leave mushy bits, as they make the plant vulnerable to disease. If all of the roots are mushy, the plant is almost certain to die. Keep trimming until you only have healthy roots left. These should be pale cream or yellow, and firm to the touch.
  4. Brush away any remaining soil and inspect the roots for signs of mold. You may wish to treat them with a mild fungicide to try and reduce the chances of fungal infections spreading through your plant. If you don’t have anything available, don’t worry; it is more important to try and get rid of the rotten root and dry the rest out than to treat the plant.
  5. Get a clean, absorbent cloth, or paper towels. Use them to blot excess moisture away from the healthy roots. Work slowly so that you don’t damage the plant, and allow them to soak up as much moisture as possible. You really want to dry the roots out here.
  6. Place the plant on a sheet of clean, dry newspaper. Leave it in a cool but dry place for a few hours. Do not allow direct sun to fall on it, or expose it to sudden temperature changes. The air will help the roots to dry, although you don’t want to leave them exposed for too long.
  7. Wash and sterilize your peace lily’s container (or use a new one) and then fill it with fresh potting medium. Do not put any of the old soil in the container as it may have fungi in it. Putting some gravel at the base will help to ensure that the peace lily drains better the future, or you can mix perlite through the soil.
  8. Check if your peace lily’s roots are dry, and then carefully repot the plant in the new soil. Put it in a shady (but not dark) spot and leave it to recover.

If your work has been successful, it should start to look happier in about a week or two, but it will take some time for the roots to recover and the plant to resume its regular growth rate.

Final Words

It’s unfortunately easy to overwater your peace lily. If this happens, prioritize getting it out of the wet soil, remove as much moisture as you can, and cut away any rotten root. Once it is back in dry soil, hopefully, it will start to recover.