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Root Rot in Peace Lilies — ID, Treatment & Prevention

Root Rot in Peace Lilies — ID, Treatment & Prevention

The peace lily (Order Spathiphyllum) has about 47 different varieties. It is one of the most popular houseplants due to its beautiful, shiny green leaves and gorgeous cupped flowers, which are reminiscent of a Calla lily. 

It’s the perfect plant to make your home look leafy and green mixed with its elegant white blooms. Peace lilies are water-loving plants, so it can be easy to overwater them if you’re not careful. They’re not like other plants that can sometimes go two months without watering and still thrive. 

A peace lily needs plenty of water, but it’s essential that you stick to that fine line of giving enough water without overwatering. If you overwater your peace lily, you can expect it to develop root rot, which can be debilitating and even cause the entire plant to die. 

However, there are ways to identify, treat, and prevent root rot, and we’re going to talk about all of them. We want your peace lily to look lush and shiny green, not wilted and yellow. It should have big and beautiful white flowers that look healthy. 

 

How to Treat Root Rot in a Peace Lily

A peace lily with root rot will have wilted yellow leaves that can swell and become spongy. The plant’s roots will also be brown, smelly, and soft. You can fix root rot by trimming away damaged roots, spraying with a hydrogen peroxide solution, and repotting with full-drainage soil.

 

Identification of Root Rot in Peace Lilies

With some quick detective work, you can identify root rot in your peace lily and then treat it. You can also use some prevention methods to help you avoid your lily getting root rot in the future. We’re going to discuss all the best ways to do this, so keep reading. 

 

Identification of Root Rot

Root rot in peace lilies is caused by two different reasons: overwatering and fungus in the soil. Unfortunately, root rot doesn’t always cause immediately visible symptoms. 

If you suspect that your peace lily has root rot, there are a few different symptoms that can indicate that’s the problem. 

First, the leaves will start to turn yellow, droop, and wilt. This usually happens from the bottom up, so check the lower leaves first. If the overwatering and root rot is allowed to flourish, they’ll eventually cause the leaves to swell with edema and feel spongy. 

It can also cause the stems (from the bottom upwards) to look brown and feel soft and mushy. You can also look for stunted growth, as the root system will be unable to absorb the nutrients it needs to flourish and thrive.

If you suspect your peace lily has root rot, turn the pot upside down and gently shimmy the plant out of it. First, look at the dirt: is it spongy and moist, or does it feel slimy and overly wet? Next, look at the roots. 

Healthy roots will be a creamy white color and feel firm to the touch. Roots suffering from root rot will be a brown color, often smell decayed or swampy, and they’ll be soft and mushy to the touch. If this is the case, your peace lily has root rot. 

 

Treatment of Root Rot in Peace Lilies

Once you’ve accurately identified the problem, the next step is treating root rot on your peace lily. Unfortunately, there’s no way to reverse the damage caused by root rot. Really, the best treatment is prevention. 

Take a look at the roots. Are they all brown, or are there any white and healthy roots left? If the entire root system is brown and decayed, then there’s no chance of saving the plant.

Instead, you’ll have to throw it away, or you could save some healthy leaves (if there are any left) for propagating. 

If there are healthy roots left, you can most likely save your peace lily. First, gently trim and prune away the brown, rotted roots, leaving only healthy and white roots. Then, you’re going to dump all the soil that was in the container. 

If you’re using the same container, you’ll want to use hydrogen peroxide to spray the interior. You can also use a solution that’s one part bleach to three parts water. 

The pot’s interior can harbor root rot bacteria that will attack your plant again, which is why you should spray the pot. You should also spray the remaining healthy roots with this solution. 

Then, choose sterile potting soil or another kind of dirt or soil-like material, as long as it’s got excellent drainage. Remember, you don’t want to overwater—that’s most likely what caused the problem in the first place. 

After you’ve sprayed the container and roots with the hydrogen peroxide solution, it’s time for repotting. Prune a few leaves to encourage rapid new growth. Place your soil or other material in your container, and firmly place your newly-pruned peace lily inside. Pat down the soil, and give it some water. You should only water once a week or when the soil feels dry. 

 

Use Fungicide

You can also try treating your peace lily with a fungicide. Sometimes, root rot can be caused by a fungus that attacks the plant. 

Some of the most common root rot pathogens include Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, and Pythium. These will all flourish in overly wet soil and can spread to other pots quickly. 

If you’re going to use a fungicide, look for one that contains metalaxyl, fosetyl aluminum, and triflumizole. Always use these according to the manufacturer’s instructions, which is incredibly important to avoid harming other plants in the vicinity. 

 

How to Prevent Root Rot in Peace Lilies

The best way to avoid dealing with root rot is to prevent it. First, pay close attention to your plant to ensure that it’s in optimal conditions and you’re not overwatering. 

Next, check the soil frequently to ensure that it’s not too wet. The container you use should also have plenty of drainage holes.

You should try and use sterile potting soil or loamy-type soil rather than dirt from the ground, which can contain the root rot pathogens. 

Make sure to dry the leaves of your peace lily often with a clean, dry cloth to avoid the constant presence of excess moisture and avoid creating conditions in which root rot fungus can thrive.

You can also use about a three-inch layer of fresh mulch at the base of your peace lily, which is a suitable method if you’re growing it outdoors or in a pot.

You can also add things like bark chips, straw, and other organic matter, which will help eliminate any fungal spores that could cause root rot. 

Remember, water about once a week. If the soil still feels wet, skip the watering until it feels dry or almost dry. 

 

Conclusion

Peace lilies are one of the most beautiful that you can grow, which have dark, shiny green leaves combined with gorgeous white blooms. They make the perfect addition to your home or apartment, even your garden. 

If you think your peace lily has root rot, there are a few different signs to watch out for. The leaves will be drooping and yellow, and the roots themselves will be brown and decayed rather than healthy and white. 

Once you’ve identified that your peace lily has root rot, you can treat it by trimming away the damaged roots and treating the remaining roots and the container with hydrogen peroxide. 

Then, repot your plant with well-draining soil and water once a week. Be very careful not to overwater. 

With the proper treatment and prevention methods, your peace lily will not just grow; it will thrive and flourish.

Before you know it, your peace lily will have the big, beautiful white flowers they’re so famous for.

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