What Does An Overwatered Peace Lily Look Like? (With Pictures!)

Overwatering is a common problem with house plants, and it is far too easy to overwater your peace lily as you attempt to care for it. Unfortunately, many make this mistake, and although peace lilies are hardy, they will not enjoy getting too much water. If it keeps happening, your plant might even die, so be careful about this.

If your peace lily has been overwatered, it will probably respond by wilting dramatically. The leaves curl and turn yellow with brown – or even black – tips. White mold sometimes appears on the soil’s surface, and you might see black spots on the plant’s leaves. If things get bad enough, the soil might take on an unpleasant, rotting smell.

Pictures Of Overwatered Peace Lilies

To help you identify an overwatered peace lily, we will take a look at some pictures.

Overwatered Peace Lily With Yellow Leaves And Brown, Burnt Tips

Notice the yellow, curling leaves and the brown edges. This poor peace lily has been overwatered! Photo credit to ahnwesa.

Peace Lily With Mold Appearing On The Soil’s Surface

This peace lily has mold growing on the soil. It is time to consider changing the soil, adding drainage, and watering the plant less. Photo credit to maskofmagnaminty.

Peace Lily With Root Rot

This peace lily suffers from root rot. Notice the mushy, darkening roots. It is time to cut off the affected roots, apply fungicide, and repot in fresh soil and pot. Photo credit to gscha.

What Are The Key Signs Of Overwatering?

There are quite a few signs of overwatering. Some are more visible than others. If your peace lily has suddenly gone limp and floppy and you know it hasn’t dried out, it is probably drowning.

This may be accompanied by brown leaf tips, curly and yellowing leaves. The plant is not getting enough nutrients because its roots are rotting, and therefore it is dying.

Strangely, an overwatered plant may be dying of thirst because it can no longer absorb water if its roots rot. It also won’t be able to get enough oxygen. Peace lilies enjoy being kept damp, as they are rainforest plants, but you should avoid overwatering them.

Other signs of over-watering that may be harder to spot include:

  • Some mold on the soil’s surface. This may just look like white flecks, but it will spread.
  • Rotting roots. You will not be able to see these unless you take your peace lily out of its pot, but if you think it has been over-watered, that is exactly what you will need to do. I’ll talk about how to approach this next.

How Can You Fix Overwatering?

To be clear, overwatering very frequently can kill the plant. However, if you catch it early enough, you may be able to save your peace lily.

The first thing to do is insert your finger into the soil a couple of inches down. If the soil feels very wet, you might have overwatered your plant.

You should get some sheets of newspaper and spread them out on the table, and then get your peace lily and carefully tip it out of the pot and onto the newspaper. It will probably slide quite quickly if it is in wet soil but work very gently, so you don’t do further damage to the roots.

Set the pot aside once you have the peace lily out and start shaking the soil off your plant. Work gently, but try and get as much soil away from the roots as possible.

Next, inspect the damage. You may find that the roots have turned mushy and black, but with any luck, areas of root will be okay.

You should take some sharp, sterilized scissors and cut away any mushy bits of root. Compost these, and keep cutting until you are only left with healthy roots. This might feel brutal, but it’s necessary.

Get some clean paper towels and use them to pat the roots dry and soak up as much water from them as you can. Then, treat the roots with fungicide.

Allow the roots a few hours to dry out, and then get a clean, dry container (or sterilize your peace lily’s current pot) and fill it with compost and drainage material. Next, plant your peace lily, and water it very lightly to help the soil settle around the roots.

Place your peace lily in a warm spot with indirect light, and keep an eye on it. Then, hopefully, it will start to pick up and recover.

How Can You Prevent Overwatering?

Prevention is better than cure, and you can avoid overwatering your peace lily in the future by checking whether it needs water.

Push your finger into the pot to a couple of inches down. If the soil feels dry all the way down, give your plant a drink. If it’s still wet, wait a bit longer.

Peace lilies are good at reminding their owners to water them because they will wilt dramatically if they don’t get enough to drink. So keep an eye on your plant’s foliage, and if it starts to droop, check whether it is thirsty or drowning, and take action accordingly.

Final Words

An overwatered peace lily will typically look like this:

  • Yellow and drooping leaves
  • Brown or blackish leaf tips
  • Mold on the soil’s surface
  • Mushy, dark (and smelly) roots

Make sure you keep an eye on the moisture levels in your peace lily’s soil and don’t water it on a schedule – instead, check whether it is thirsty before giving it a drink.

Photo of author
Alexander Verdes
Just a stay-at-home dad who loves taking care of my home, my kids, and my plants. Actually, I kind of consider my plants to be my babies too, so I could just say that I love to take care of my home and my kids :-)

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