To repot a peace lily with root rot, you’ll want to depot it, remove excess soil, cut the diseased roots above the damage with a clean knife, and repot the plant into a clean container with fresh soil. A fungal infection causes root rot, so these steps work by removing any fungus in the roots or soil. If you feel it is needed, you can also apply fungicide to the roots.
This article will cover the step-by-step process of healing a peace lily suffering from root rot, with descriptions of what to look for and how to help your plant recover after repotting.
Step 0: Prepare Your Workstation And Tools
You’ll want to have the following tools and materials on hand:
• Newspaper or a way to protect your workstation (optional if working outdoors)
• Gloves and an apron or a way to protect yourself from dirt (optional)
• Small hand rake or chopstick for removing dirt
• Garbage can
• Hose, water bottle, watering can, or another water source for cleaning the roots
• Clean knife or scissors for pruning roots
• Fresh dirt – essential for solving root rot
• Fresh (or cleaned) pot
If you’ve got a patio, yard, or outdoor garden with a hose, that would be a great place to work since it’ll be easy to wash the plant off and clean up when done. However, if you’re apartment-bound or don’t have a lot of outdoor space, a kitchen counter with some newspaper, or the bathtub, can be a good workstation.
Step 1: Depot The Plant
If you suspect your peace lily has root rot, your first step will be to depot the plant. Turning it horizontally, hold it firmly near the base of the leaves with your dominant hand, and pull the pot off with your other hand. If you have a very large or very rootbound peace lily, you may need someone to help you pull the pot off. Once you have the pot off, you should be able to see if any roots are damaged.
Step 2: Identify And Prune Damaged Roots
Healthy peace lily roots will be firm and pale cream to white. Damaged roots will be brown to black and limp. They may even smell. Your goal here is to remove any rotting roots. To do that, you need to be able to see all the roots.
Start by gently removing as much dirt as you can by hand into your garbage can. Next, you can rinse the root ball with your hose, in your bathtub, or with a water bottle, which will help you see all the roots clearly. Next, pull out clods of dirt with a small rake or chopstick.
Next, using a clean, sanitized knife (washing with hot water and soap is sufficient) or scissors, cut back the root above the damaged region, and throw the dead parts into the garbage. Again, it’s best to hold the plant near the base where it’s sturdiest. Don’t be afraid—you need to trim off all the diseased regions since they will spread the mold back into the soil or other roots if you leave them.
Step 3: Apply Anti-Fungal (Optional)
If you’d like, you can apply fungicide to the remaining roots and root tips. As a fungicide, you can use hydrogen peroxide or even cinnamon. Pour out a small saucer or bowl of either, and dip the end of each root in it. This can help eliminate any residual or unseen fungus, dry out the freshly-cut roots (which helps them close the cut), and prevent fungus from re-growing.
Step 4: Repot Your Peace Lily
You’ll want to repot your peace lily in a clean pot. You can either re-use your old pot after washing thoroughly or choose a new pot. You may consider a larger pot if it seems like your peace lily was becoming root-bound.
Do not repot your peace lily in the soil you just removed. It is infected. You can still use it in the garden and lawn, but it won’t be suitable for potted plants where drainage can be an issue.
Peace lilies like well-draining, loamy, nutrient-rich soil. You can buy soil ideal for flowering plants or houseplants, which your peace lily will love. Place a heap of soil in the bottom of the pot, gently place the peace lily over it, arrange the roots down into the pot, and then cover the roots with more soil.
Step 5: Water And Enjoy!
After you’ve finished adding soil, you’ll want to water your plant gently. Sprinkling water from above will help tamp down the new soil. At first, you’ll want to water sparingly since you just cut out a bunch of roots, and they won’t be able to absorb water as they usually do. Too much moisture will lead to root rot again!
If you suspect your peace lily might be suffering from root rot, follow these steps to investigate, fix, and repot your plant.
It may take up to a month to see the benefits of trimming your plant’s roots, so be patient. Hopefully, your plant will recover in time, and you can once again enjoy the vibrant green leaves and beautiful white spathes!