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Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily) problems

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by jandh18 on February 20, 2006 04:46 AM
Hi! I just got a spathiphyllum (may be known as peace lily) from my grandfather's funeral yesterday. I brought it home.. and yes it was very cold for the drive from the funeral home ot our house.. it was only like 9 degrees Farenheit yesterday.. we got it inside immidiately.. It was in the car maybe 15 minutes. We put it in a shaded area where sunlight still kinda comes in.. and are trying to keep the temp above 65. But the leaves are all wilted and curled under. What can I do to save this plant? I tried watering it last night because the soil felt sorta dry. Everything I have read said if it needs water.. it will do that but it will bounce back almost immidiately once watered. I also bought a saucer to catch he water and a little stand to keep it off of the floor. What can I do to save this plant?? It means a lot to me and I want to make sure it lives a long time. I want to take care of it right. Please, any help would be so much appreciated!!
by jandh18 on February 20, 2006 05:23 AM
After reading another post on here.. I just tried cutting back all of the dead leaves. It made the plant pretty then. But it will continue to grow more right? I believe it was just frozen from being outside that short time. I just want to make sure that it will be ok even though it is so thin after cutting off the leaves? I cut them as close to the base as I could. I'm praying this plant perks back up now and starts growing. I know I can keep better care of it now. It won't have to go out into the cold anymore. I still need any help with it I can get. This is my first houseplant and since it was from my grandfather's funeral it means so much to me.

by jandh18 on February 20, 2006 11:53 AM
I meant to put pretty thin*
by Cricket on February 20, 2006 02:10 PM
I'm sorry for your recent loss.

You are right to trim the dead leaves. Any leaves that were frozen will die but unless the roots were also frost-bitten, your spath will probably recover given proper care.

Spaths do best in bright indirect light but will survive in lower lights. Keep out of direct sunlight, especially midday sun, as the leaves burn easily. Right in front of a north or east-facing window is best. You already know to keep peace lilies in a location above 65F.

Water the entire soil surface thoroughly until a little water runs through the drainage holes, then wait until the top quarter of soil dries out before watering again. Peace lilies wilt dramatically when allowed to get too dry. They will recover within a couple hours of watering but repeated wilting stresses the plant so, if possible, best to water just before it begins to droop.

Peace lilies prefer to be rootbound and rarely need repotting. Fertilizing monthly when the plant is actively growing with a balanced half-strength fertilizer might promote flowers but isn't really necessary. Many of the hybrids on the market today are cultivated more for their foliage than flowers and don't bloom prolifically outside the greenhouse, frequently producing only 1 or 2 flowers once or twice a year.
by jandh18 on February 21, 2006 01:53 AM
Thank you for that reply. Honestly I don't really care about the flowers or anything. They would be nice and I'm sure beautiful.. but all I care about is keeping it alive. I don't think the roots were frozen.. because down onthe very base of the plant where it meets the soil.. are several new baby leaves and they are very healthy. I didn't cut off all the big leaves.. I didn't want it to be completely bare. Is it ok if I wait until a few more grow in before I do that? I cut off all of the ones that you could tell were completely dead. It's a very large peace lily. I just want to do what i can to keep it alive. I was told it only needs to be fertilized a couple times a year if inside. My mom has some stuff that they say is safe for it. But i'm not too worried about the flowers. Once I get teh plant restored then i'll worry about that. I may have overwaterd by a bit.. but I don't think too bad because of the baby leaves i mentioned earlier. I hope everything I am doing is ok.
by Cricket on February 21, 2006 11:57 AM
Hi Heather,

From your description it sounds like your peace lily has a good chance of fully recovering. If you can post a photo it might be helpful in case something was missed.

If you don't mind the appearance, waiting to trim all the dead leaves won't hurt the plant.

You are right not to worry about fertilizing at least until the plant has made a full recovery. Fertilizers are not medicine and only provide small to moderate benefits to vigorously growing plants.

Plants with fewer leaves consume less water so be cautious about overwatering until new leaves grow in.

You are obviously committed to nursing this special peace lily back to health and I think with proper care, time and a little patience, it will make a full recovery. And we look forward to photos of that, too! (We LOVE "baby" photos here! [grin] )
by jandh18 on February 21, 2006 01:39 PM
Thanks, I will try to take a picture tomorrow with my digital camera... so you can see it. Some of the big leaves look pitiful and will probably end up being trimmed off but as i said you can see new life. It looks kinda funny right now.. after trimming all those leaves.. but it will be worth it to have it healthy. How long does it usually take for the leaves to grow out on the peace lily?
by jandh18 on February 21, 2006 10:23 PM


The top picture is where I see the new life forming.. the 2nd picture is the whole thing right now.
by jandh18 on February 21, 2006 10:24 PM
sorry date was wrong on 2nd picture lol. I took it today too.. before i realized it was wrong.
by jandh18 on February 21, 2006 10:26 PM
Sorry I keep sending too soon and I can't edit.. but i also thought I might add that the soil is still very moist and I watered it saturday afternoon. Is that normal for a peace lily?
by Cricket on February 22, 2006 04:10 AM

There are definitely some leaves that will eventually have to be cut off but the plant doesn't look too bad and it is encouraging to see new growth.

I can't tell from the photos how close to a window the plant is located. If possible, placing it directly in front of a north or east facing window will provide it with optimum light which will aid the new growth.

There are many factors that influence the rate soil dries out but after only 2 1/2 days it is to be expected that the soil will still be moist. Most plants do not require watering more frequently than every 7-10 days provided they are in an appropriate size pot. Let the top 1/2" of soil dry out before watering again. It's better to slightly underwater than overwater. Peace lilies droop dramatically when they are too dry. Repeated wilting can stress the plant, however with careful observation you will soon learn to recognize just before wilt occurs - that's the best time to water peace lilies.

The longer days of spring and summer will substantially increase the plant's growth rate but it still might take a few months for your peace lily to fill out. Be patient and you will reap the rewards.
by jandh18 on February 22, 2006 09:00 AM
Well it is in a corner by a South facing patio door. It's the only place I really have. So I put it off to the side And turn the blinds so light comes in but not directly on the plant. I could probably move it upstairs and put it in front of a north facing window.. until it gets a little healthier. Would that be a good idea? If it's directly in front of a south window, it won't get direct sunlight at all?? I knwo it's not suppose to have direct sunlight but I didn't know that it still wouldn't get some. I don't nkow a lot about this. This is my first houseplant.. first plant period. I bought an african violet at the grocery store and when it died i just threw it away but this one means much more than that. I actually think all of the big leaves are going to have to be clipped eventually. None of them look wonderful. I clipped off a few of the really droopy ones after i took the picture earlier. Thank you for your advice. I hope we can save this plant.

by Cricket on February 22, 2006 10:10 AM
Heather, it seems your peace lily is in a great location. [thumb] It's normal to feel anxious about doing everything perfectly as a new gardener, especially when a plant has high sentimental value as does your peace lily. Rest assured you really are doing all the right things to care for it; I'm confident it won't be long before you begin to notice improvements. Already you have new growth! [clappy]
by jandh18 on February 22, 2006 01:46 PM
So you don't think I need to put it upstairs in front of the North Window?
by Cricket on February 22, 2006 01:52 PM
As long as direct sunlight is being filtered the peace lily should be fine where it is. It's a lovely plant and I look forward to seeing updated photos of it in a couple months once it fills out! [grin]
by jandh18 on February 22, 2006 09:33 PM
well i noticed today that one of the baby leaves is dying too. I th ink I"m gonna move it upstairs next to the southern window.. and just see if it helps.. plus it stays warmer upstairs right now.. since heat rises.
by jandh18 on February 22, 2006 09:37 PM
i've already almost cut off all of the big leaves... there's only 5 of them left.. once they are gone it will be a pitiful looking little plant. I know they are all gonna get cut off.. cause none of them look great. We'll just see.
by jandh18 on February 24, 2006 09:50 PM
I'm a little worried now.. because i noticed today that it looks like a few of the roots are on top of the soil.. but if you look.. they are sprouting out of the base of the plant right above the soil. Also.. where I cut of the leaves.. on a few of them.. there is something sprouting out of where i cut them off. Maybe I didn't cut them low enough. i tried to get as low as I could. But if it's growth.. I don't know if I should. Please help.
by Jiffymouse on February 25, 2006 03:17 AM
roots on top of the soil are normal... peace lilies send out "air roots" like a lot of other plants. are you sticking your finger in the pot before you water it? and when you water it, are you using non-chlorinated water? if your water has chlorine, you can let it sit over night and the chlorine will disappate.(if your "city water" has chlorimine, you need to get bottled or rain water). it isn't uncommon for a few of the "baby" leaves to die. if you can stand it, wait until each leaf is completely brown before you cut it off, that way, the green on the leaf can continue to feed the roots.
by Cricket on February 25, 2006 04:21 AM
Heather, don't worry about the air roots. New growth is a good sign. At this point the best thing to do for the peace lily is refrain from fussing too much, if you can, and give it time to recover from the move. Keep in mind that even if it hadn't been frostbitten, plants take up to several months to acclimate to their new environment during which time it's best to do as little as possible other than provide proper light and watering.
by jandh18 on March 03, 2006 02:54 AM
It's been about a week since I last posted. It is doing well. I haven't cut back anymore leaves.. I will wait till they are completely brown. There is lots of new growth. I even see new growth coming out of some of the stems that i cut off. Today was the first day I had to water it since the day i brought it home about 12 days ago. I check it everyday. I have it in front of a northern window.. so it doesn't get direct sunlight. I know with time it will just get better.
Thanks for all of your help.
by Cricket on March 03, 2006 04:32 AM
by jandh18 on March 07, 2006 06:40 AM
ok problem... I have 2 leaves coming out of the same stem.. one of them is in great condition.. beautiful.. no problems.. the other one is dead from being frost bit. How do I trim the dead one off without hurting the good one. Is there even a way? or am I just going to have to cut the whole thing off?
by Jiffymouse on March 07, 2006 06:58 AM
let it go for now. then, when the one is bigger, cut the dead one off.
by jandh18 on March 07, 2006 02:06 PM
problem is.. it's one of the really long leaves.. and it separates into the other leaf way at the top.. probably almost a foot and a half.
by Cricket on March 07, 2006 04:48 PM
It won't harm the plant to leave the dead leaf on it but if for aesthetic reasons you want to remove the dead leaf, try trimming it as close as possible to the healthy leaf. Don't worry if there is a bit of dead tissue left behind.
by jandh18 on March 07, 2006 09:36 PM
ok thanks
by Will Creed on March 09, 2006 05:52 AM
Lower your expectations a bit and you should be OK. Your peace lily has undergone a lot of stress and it is not a particularly fast-growing plant anyway. It will take several months or more before you have half the number of leaves that it originally had. In addition, the new leaves will not likely be as large as those that were grown under ideal greenhouse conditions. Expect to see some deformed leaves with odd shapes and perhaps some brown and yellow spots.

Be patient and follow the excellent advice already provided here and everything should be okay!

Best of luck.

Will Creed
Indoor landscaper
by jandh18 on March 09, 2006 09:46 PM
Thanks, I know it's not going to bounce back over night. At first I was just worried about it because it means so much to me. But, I see the progress it is making already.. and know that with time it will be really nice again. It already has several new leaves growing... and they all seem to look pretty normal. I'm not too worried anymore.. I know it'll take time and I appreciate everyone's help more than you know!

by jandh18 on April 02, 2006 03:04 AM
Hi! Just an update.... my peace lily is sprouting leaves all over the place that are healthy and beautiful.. it's till not even as close to as full as it was, but I know it's going to take some time.. BUT... I looked at it th is morning... and it has a LILY on it!!! I am so happy.... I just can't believe a lily is blooming because of the weather here.. and I can tell you I haven't been so good at letting the indirect sunlight on it and i haven't used any fertilizer.. I water it and I spray off the leaves to keep dust off of them.. about once a week.. I got it from my grandfather's funeral.. maybe this plant alive is showing me that he is still alive to.. in Heaven... and he's watching over me.
I will add a few pictures later today.. but we have to leave now.


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