You have to be careful not to overwater your peace lily because an overwatered peace lily is susceptible to root rot. Root rot is a well-known disease in potted plants that, if left untreated, ultimately can kill your peace lily. Before you start to panic, I will teach you how to recognize root rot, how to save your plant if it already suffers from it, and how to prevent it in the future.
Early signs of root rot include:
- Soft stems near the base
- Wilting and drooping
- Yellowing of the leaves near the base
As the disease progresses, you might notice:
- Unpleasent odor from rotting plant material
- Besides yellowing, the leaves develop brown spots
- Affected leaves will spread from the bottom to the top of the plant
If you remove a peace lily suffering from root rot from its pot, you will find weak, mushy, and dark roots.
Signs Of Root Rot
Early detection is key if you want to save a peace lily from root rot. Unfortunately, the early signs are somewhat unspecific. If you suspect your peace lily suffers from root rot, I recommend removing it from its pot. If the roots are weak, mushy, and dark brown, you will know for sure, and you can take action.
Typically, symptoms, such as leaves turning yellow and stem softening, will start at the bottom of the plant. As the disease progresses, it will spread towards the top. Another early sign is wilting foilage, which is easy to misinterpret as lack of water!
Brown spots tend to appear on the leaves as well if the root rot is not properly dealt with.
Finally, a peace lily suffering from root rot can develop an unpleasant odor due to rotting plant material. It is definitely time to remove the plant from its pot and check the roots if you notice this.
How To Save Your Peace Lily
If all signs point towards your peace lily suffering from root rot, it is time to swing into action. To save your plant, you should get rid of the affected roots and repot your peace lily.
First, lift the plant out of its pot and discard all the soil. You are looking for healthy roots—they’ll be white, strong, and firm. Rotten roots will be brown, weak, and feel spongey or mushy.
- Sterilize a sharp pruning scissors with 1 part bleach to 3 parts water. Prune away the unhealthy roots.
- Wash the healthy, remaining roots gently under lukewarm water, removing any fungal spores and rotten materials.
- Remove any yellow, blackened, or dead leaves.
- Remove any dead stems.
- Replant the healthy remaining plant in the smallest pot the roots will fit in. You do not want it to have a lot of space. Remember: You’ll want a pot with good drainage, and a well-draining potting mix.
- Don’t water your Peace Lily. It needs a few days to a week to establish itself and adjust—it will not be taking in any water after its transplant.
Hopefully, this will be enough to save your peace lily. As mentioned, early detection is the key, as you will have a much higher chance of finding healthy, remaining roots.
How To Prevent Root Rot In The Future
Prevention is always better than cure – and, trust me, it is much easier to prevent root rot than to try and cure it. So here are 3 ways you can avoid your peace lily catching root rot.
- Stop Overwatering Your Peace Lily
It’s easy to fool ourselves into thinking more water is good for our peace lily—but that’s not necessarily true. In fact, overwatering is more dangerous for your plant than letting it dry out (but seriously, find the middle ground).
Why is overwatering so dangerous? It’s the number one cause of root rot in peace lilies. Too much water oversaturates the soil, drowns the roots, and weakens them enough to allow harmful fungi and bacteria to breed.
- Increase Drainage In Your Peace Lily’s Pot
If excess water can’t escape your plant’s pot fast enough, it means your peace lily’s roots are sitting in soggy soil. This is what is in the plant world sometimes refered to as “wet feet”—and peace lilies are adamant they don’t want wet feet.
Drill a few extra drainage holes for a quick fix.
- Stop Underwatering Your Peace Lily
Remember before how I said you need to find a watering middle-ground for your peace lily. This is why:
If you are notorious for forgetting to water your plant, over time its roots will start to shrink—to economize on your meager water rations. If you suddenly flood it with water, you’ll overwhelm its root system.
Effectively, you’ve overwatered it by underwatering it for too long.
Think your Peace Lily has root rot?
Now you know how to spot it. Look for soft stems, wilting, yellowing of leaves, brown spots, and a funky smell.
To treat root rot, find the healthy roots, get rid of the rest, and then repot your peace lily.
To make sure you never have to deal with it again, find a good routine for watering your plant and ensure you have appropriate drainage!