Anyone who has just watered a plant and then noticed a few hours later that it is wilting is likely to feel confused. Most of us associate wilting plants with thirsty plants, and peace lilies certainly wilt when thirsty. However, if you have just watered it, that clearly isn’t the issue – so what’s going on?
A wilting peace lily that has just been watered is usually a sign that the plant has been overwatered. Root rot will be preventing the plant from getting enough water (rotten roots can’t absorb it), so your peace lily may be parched even though it is sitting in water. It may also be struggling to get oxygen through its roots.
Why Is My Peace Lily Wilting?
If your peace lily has been overwatered, it will wilt. This is because its roots will have started rotting, and without its roots, the plant can’t take up water or nutrients. Your plant might be very thirsty, but it cannot drink if the roots have been damaged.
It also cannot take in oxygen effectively because the soil is too saturated. So you might see the plant’s leaves starting to turn yellow and floppy, or you might just see wilting, but either way, you need to take action.
If you aren’t sure whether or not you have overwatered your peace lily, try pushing your finger into the pot. The plant has probably had too much water if the soil is very wet to a few inches down. You might also notice a damp or stagnant smell.
Water standing in the dish below the peace lily’s pot for more than a day or two is another sign it has had too much water, so pay attention to this as well.
Can My Peace Lily Die If It Is Overwatered?
Yes, overwatering is one of the most typical causes of death in houseplants because people are so anxious about making sure their plants get enough water. But, unfortunately, they may not realize that too much is dangerous too.
If your peace lily has been overwatered, it is often possible to save it if you act quickly. However, if you don’t act, you risk the roots rotting away and fungus starting to take over the soil, potentially attacking the plant.
If you think you have overwatered your peace lily, you need to try and rectify this situation immediately if you want to save it.
What Should I Do If I Have Overwatered My Peace Lily?
You need to remove as much water from the roots of the plant as possible. The easiest way is to empty the entire container onto some newspaper or clean paper and brush the soil off the plant’s roots.
You then need to trim off any rotten roots with sterilized scissors or pruning shears. If you don’t remove the rotten roots, they will add saturation to the new soil and potentially introduce mold or fungal infections.
Compost the roots and keep working until you only have healthy, pale roots left. Next, dry the roots gently with an absorbent cloth and leave the plant in a cool, dry place for a few hours until its roots have air-dried some more.
Prepare a clean container with some fresh potting soil mixed with perlite or fine gravel, and then plant your peace lily into this container. The gravel/perlite will help to ensure that the pot drains well going forward.
Put the peace lily somewhere cool and semi-lit and give it a few weeks to recover.
How Can I Avoid Overwatering My Peace Lily In The Future?
Prevention is better than cure, and you ideally should not overwater your peace lily again. To reduce the risks, don’t water on a schedule, but always check whether the plant needs a drink before you supply one.
To do this, push your finger into the soil up to your second knuckle and see if it is dry. If it feels reasonably dry, give your plant a drink, but wait a while longer if it is still wet. This should help to reduce the risk of overwatering.
Peace lilies need watering about once a week as a general rule, but this will vary depending on the temperature, the humidity, and the size of the peace lily. That is why it’s better to use the fingertip check rather than just supplying water based on the time of the week or the appearance of the soil’s surface.
Your plant will also let you know if it needs water; peace lilies wilt dramatically when thirsty.
The most likely explanation for your peace lily drooping when you have just watered it is that the plant has already had too much to drink. Make sure that the soil is not saturated, and dry out and repot the peace lily if necessary.
Overwatering a plant will usually lead to a swift death, so be careful!