Written by Ivy
Feb 15 2023
The Peace Lily (spathiphyllum), a fantastic choice for a houseplant, has tall, white flower spathes and glossy spear-shaped leaves. Overwatering is the biggest issue when caring for Peace Lilies. This article will show you how to spot the typical signs of overwatering a Peace Lily and how to get your plant back to full health.
Common yellowing foliage, peace lily brown leaf tips, generalized drooping, leaf spot diseases, and brown, mushy roots are the main signs of an overwatered Peace Lily. Major causes of overwatering include overpotting, soil that doesn't drain well, and regular watering.
Some of the early signs of root rot, like drooping stems and discolored leaves, can also show up in a dehydrated plant. The difficulty in distinguishing between these two issues is exacerbated by the fact that root rot can harm your peace lily even after the soil dries out.
You'll need to consider your watering practices in order to determine whether your Peace Lily is overwatered or underwatered. Your Peace Lily is most likely just thirsty if it has been two weeks since you last watered it. But if you watered the plant two days ago and the foliage is still wilting, overwatering is probably the problem.
Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum), like most indoor plants, are incredibly simple to overwater. In fact, because Peace Lilies droop so spectacularly when underwatered, there is always the temptation to water them when in doubt. The main signs of an overwatered Peace Lily are widespread yellowing foliage, brown leaf tips, generalized drooping, leaf spot diseases, and brown, mushy roots.
The first symptom to look for is the foliage becoming paler and becoming generally yellow. The lower leaves are frequently more impacted than the upper leaves by this.
Small water blisters on the leaves and indications of leaf edema may appear as a result of persistent overwatering. If a Peace Lily continues to be overatered, the roots start to struggle, and other symptoms will soon develop.
The leaves may turn brown or black at the tips or edges, and occasionally they may be afflicted with a bacterial or fungal disease that shows up as brown, black, or yellow spots on the leaves. (Read More: Peace Lily Turns Black - 10 Causes How to Save)
The soil will eventually start to smell rotten as a result of root rot, which develops as a result of persistent wetness. At this stage, the roots should be mushy, brittle, smelly, and brown or black. The news is extremely bad for your plant. (Read More: Why Do My Peace Lily Leaves Tips Turning Yellow)
While it may appear that overwatering results from the apparent act of watering the plant more frequently than is necessary, this is not entirely true. Yes, that is the main reason. However, other additional factors also contribute to the plant's overwatering symptoms.
Choosing the correct pot size for your plant is crucial. The soil may take longer to dry out and lose moisture if a small plant is grown in a large pot. Your peace lily plant is concerned about wet, mucky soil. (Read More: What Is The Best Soil For Peace Lily)
Want to know the real reason terracotta pots are so highly recommended? They are porous, which allows water to drain out, causing the soil to stop being always damp.
It is best to stay away from non-porous materials like plastic and ceramic that retain water for longer periods of time.
(Read More: How to Propagate Healthy Peace Lily)
The absorption of water by the roots is directly linked to the rate of transpiration. Transpiration is the term used to describe the evaporation of moisture from the aerial parts of leaves. When the humidity is low and the weather is hotter, the rate is higher.
Winds also increase transpiration as they enhance the process of evaporation.
The roots take in more water during transpiration, which causes the soil to dry out more quickly.
In contrast, low rates of transpiration during the colder seasons prevent roots from absorbing water, resulting in the soil remaining primarily moist. (Read More: Why Is My Peace Lily Not Blooming)
A situation that leaves your Peace Lily's soil soggy for an extended period of time is considered overwatering, so keep that in mind. Let's look at the main factors that cause overwatering.
Fixing an overwatered Peace Lily involves two main steps. In the section below, I'll discuss the urgent action you must take. The other is prevention, which comes from offering your Peace Lily favorable growing conditions. Read More: Why Is My Peace Lily Dying - 5 Reasons & How to Revive
One of the surest ways to revive a waterlogged plant is to repot Peace lily into a free-draining potting mix. Although repotting will get the plant out of the wet conditions much more quickly in extreme situations than waiting for the current mix to drain, you could also do it.
Remove the plant's pot by tipping it over, then dig out as much of the soggy soil as you can without damaging the roots. You can now replant it into the same size pot or a pot that is one size larger.
Depending on how big the root ball is, this choice will be made. Use the same pot if it appears to fit there without any difficulty. Repot the plant into the next larger pot if, on the other hand, the roots appear to be beginning to crowd each other.
Avoid the temptation to plant into a much bigger pot because the extra soil will retain water and cause you to risk creating the same mucky environment that you are trying to eliminate.
To improve drainage, use a high-quality house plant potting mix and add 1/3 perlite or coarse sand. Avoid overcompacting the soil; doing so will restrict the air and water circulation around the root system.
The potting soil you buy will typically come in a plastic bag and ought to be slightly moist. If that is the case, don't water at all for the time being but give the plant a chance to catch its breath.
Applying water shouldn't be done until the soil has begun to dry out. Don't water on a schedule, but instead rely on checking the feel of the soil. This is most reliably done by plunging your finger into the growing medium.
The top 1-2 inches of smaller plants in pots under six inches in diameter should be dry, and anything deeper should be slightly moist. The top six inches of soil can dry out between waterings in pots larger than that.
When you do decide to rewater your Peace Lily, do so until water is pouring out of the drainage holes in the pot's base. Wait a few minutes until excess water stops draining then tip any water in the saucer away and don't water again until the soil meets the criteria just mentioned.
The reason I prefer to water when the top of the soil feels dry rather than on a weekly basis, for example, is that evaporation will vary according to local conditions.
Sometimes you will need to only water every 1-2 weeks and at others, every three to four days. The amount of transpiration a plant produces is influenced by its size, which also has an impact on the moisture of the soil.
Even a novice gardener will quickly master the skill of detecting soil moisture retention. When growing houseplants, it is one of the most important skills to have.
Firstly, examine the pot and ensure that it has drainage holes and that these are not blocked. If there is insufficient drainage, water will pool around the root system and rot will unavoidably result.
If drainage is not the problem, make sure there is no water in the saucer the pot is standing in. Because of the water in the saucer, the pot won't be able to drain, and you'll once more have a bog instead of a soil that drains freely. Read More: How To Grow Peace Lilies Outdoors
Once you have repotted your overwatered plant don't feed it immediately. Overwatering can weaken a plant, and fertilizing it after repotting can make it more stressed.
For three months, don't apply any fertilizer, and then start a feeding schedule. Feeding promotes regrowth, but right now we want to concentrate on healing.
After about one month you can start feeding your plant with a balanced house plant fertilizer. Feed it once per month during the growing season and then once every two months during the winter.
Move the plant to a spot where it is in bright light but not direct sunlight once any drainage issues have been fixed and the plant has been repotted. The gardener does not want to exacerbate an overwatering issue with poor lighting because this is the plants' preferred growing environment.
In its natural environment, this plant grows in the shade of other plants. It enjoys the light but not the sun. A plant's ability to recover from direct sunlight would be severely hampered if it had already been damaged by overwatering. (Read More: How Much Light Does a Peace Lily Request)
The ideal temperature range for the Peace Lily is 65–80°F (18–27°C). A healthy plant would be unsatisfied at anything below 40°F (4°C), despite being tolerant of temperatures outside of this range in general.
Your plant is in recovery mode, so I advise trying to keep it as close as you can to the ideal range. Additionally, make an effort to prevent any drafts from coming in contact with it.
Humidity is another factor to take into account with Peace Lilies. They are from humid tropical environments, so the dry air in homes and apartments may not be the best for them. If you are able to surround them with companion plants, they will create their own micro-system and should keep each other humid enough.
If you're unable to do that, place some pebbles in the plant saucer and then fill it with water until it reaches just below the pebbles' surface. The base of the plant should be clear of the water but the steady evaporation will raise humidity levels.
One brush with root rot is enough to last most houseplant owners a lifetime. Let's discuss how to prevent future overwatering of your Peace Lily.
To start with, stop scheduling a watering for your plant. Only hydrate your Peace Lily when the soil is almost dry to reduce your risk of overdosing. Test the potting mix with your finger in the top inch every few days. Give it another day or two if it still feels damp, then repeat the test.
Additionally, you must ensure that water can exit once it enters. Bad soil is often worse for a Peace Lily than bad watering habits, because it holds moisture in the base of the pot instead of letting it drain away.
Large-grained, slow-decaying ingredients should make up at least 50% of the growing medium. Some examples include perlite, pumice, and orchid bark. 40% bark chunks, 30% perlite, 20% coconut coir, and 10% vermicompost could be used to create your own blend. Choose a mix made for aroids like Peace Lilies and Monsteras if you'd rather purchase a ready-made blend.
Don't forget to provide a pot with holes in the bottom for your Peace Lily. When water drains from the soil, it needs to go somewhere!
An overly large pot is also a bad idea. The time it takes for the moisture in the container to evaporate will be slower if there is a lot of soil present compared to the root mass. For root rot to develop, more time is provided. Select a pot that is no more than one-third the volume of the root ball.
Last but not least, be sure to give your Spathiphyllum plenty of indirect sunlight. When the lighting is poor, your plant absorbs water more gradually.
The most frequent issue with caring for this wonderful houseplant, overwatering peace lilies, can be easily avoided by adhering to the tips in this article.
If your plant is beyond saving, don't worry too much; learning how to grow houseplants is a lifelong endeavor. I definitely learn far more from my failures than my successes, so take the positives from every experience.
Indications of overwatering include drooping leaves on your Peace Lily plant. Excess water clogs up the plant's air spaces and inhibits its growth as it does not receive sufficient oxygen for respiration. You should act quickly to save the plant if the leaves start to develop curled-up brown tips and yellowed edges. (Also Read: Peace Lily Drooping & Keep Wilting - How to Save It)
If the overwatering symptoms are identified at an early stage, then proper treatment can save the plant. It would be best if you replanted it right away, took good care of its necessities, and watered it carefully.