Overwatered peace lily occurs due to a lapse in plant care and leads to leaves turning mushy and droopy. It can also lead to more serious fungal and bacterial infections.
Our objective in this guide is to help you identify the causes behind overwatered conditions. We have also provided practical solutions that will help treat as well as avoid overwatering.
- Why Is Your Overwatered Peace Lily Waterlogged?
- How To Revive an Overwatered and Swollen Peace Lily
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is Your Overwatered Peace Lily Waterlogged?
Your peace lily house plant might be overwatered if it is watered too often without the soil drying out first. A container that is too large, made of the wrong material, or without effective drainage will also cause overwatered conditions. Some other contributing factors are compacted soil, high surrounding humidity and not draining the drip saucer on time.
Read up on all these points and more in the sections coming up ahead.
– Watering More Than Needed
While it is true that the peace lilies generally like to grow in moist and adequately-watered soil, they should never be exposed to a constantly-wet or runny potting medium.
If you are watering these plants more than one time per week during the hot, summer months, then you are definitely overwatering them. You need to be especially careful about overwatering peace lilies during the fall and frost season. This is when they are most susceptible to fungal diseases secondary to overwatering.
That is why watering more frequently than once each month during winter spells trouble. Any more than this and your plant will most definitely be overwatered.
– Not Checking the Soil Before Watering
A lot of people simply water their peace lily plants at a set schedule without checking the soil first. This is a mistake that eventually leads to overwatering this precious plant. The rate at which your soil dries depends on a lot of different factors like the sun, temperature, humidity, etc that vary not only season to season but also on a day to day basis.
If you keep soaking the plant in more water without making absolutely sure that the top one inch of the soil is completely dry, then you are surely on the wrong track here
– Your Container Is Too Large
Is your peace lily plant potted in a pot that is too large for it? If the answer to this question is yes, then this might be the cause behind your overwatered plants. The logic behind this is that the soil in a larger pot takes much longer to dry out.
Water is also absorbed in a very slow rate by the roots. Since roots are unable to reach the edges of the pot, these areas are susceptible to collecting water which then serves as the breeding ground for mold, fungi, and bacteria.
A larger pot also makes it difficult for the roots to get oxygen, making them more susceptible to overwatering. The ideal pot size for this plant is one where the diameter of the pot is larger by no more than two-thirds the root ball of the plant.
– The Pot Material Is Wrong
Is your plant potted in a plastic or a ceramic container? If yes, then you have found the reason behind peace lily overwatering. Both ceramic and plastic pots are non-porous, allowing no exchange of air through their walls. Consequently, the moisture from the soil is lost only through the exposed surface of the soil or the bottom drainage hole.
Soil inside a plastic or ceramic pot takes twice as long to dry out as compared to soil inside a clay pot and is quite susceptible to overwatering.
– The Drainage of the Soil Is Inadequate
The drainage of the potting soil might be the reason behind overwatered lilies and their swollen, yellowing leaves. A soil that is rich in peat will naturally lead to prolonged water retention.
Similarly, if the soil is too compact with not enough draining elements like perlite, bark, or coir added to it, such a soil to doesn’t allow water to properly drain out of it.
It tends to stay moist for very long periods of time and ultimately causes numerous problems like soggy roots and the growth of microbes, as well as making it difficult for the plant roots to absorb the nutrients that it needs.
– Poor Drainage of the Pot
Occasionally, the size of the pot as well as its material will be perfect, but the problem will lie in its drainage hole. Lift the pot and check underneath, either it will have too few potting holes or they will not be of the appropriate size.
As a result, all the water that you pour into the soil will be stuck within the pot instead of flowing out the drainage hole. This water will take a very long time to evaporate, making the soil and the roots susceptible to all types of pests and disease attacks.
Sometimes, the holes might be present but they will be clogged from soil particles flowing out with water and accumulating near them over time. This too will decrease the outward flow of water and contribute to overwatering.
– Not Draining the Drip Tray Regularly
Is your plant’s water collection tray not being drained regularly? This seemingly harmless habit is actually a pretty dangerous one that might cause severe wet soil despite watering the peace lily houseplants a healthy amount.
The water that collects in this tray, if not drained right away, is reverse absorbed into the soil back from the tray. The water collected in this tray also becomes host to eggs and larvae of pests, which itself is another health hazard for your home.
– Too Much Humidity in the Air
Too much humidity itself doesn’t cause overwatered peace lily conditions in houseplants, but it does contribute to it a great deal. This is because too much moisture in the air prevents water from evaporating from the soil and the peace lily leaves at the required rate at which it ideally should.
As far as cultural needs are concerned, this plant does need slightly high humidity levels of around 50 to 60 percent as part of its care needs. Humidity levels more than this should be avoided.
It is best to have a hygrometer at hand so that you can keep a constant check on the humidity percentage around these plants. If it comes out higher than 60 percent, then you need to find out why it is so. Are you misting the plant more than usual or are you letting the hygrometer run on for too long at levels that are too high?
– Too Little Sunshine
The amount of sun your peace lily houseplant gets each day also impacts whether or not it develops overwatered conditions. Take note of how much sunshine it is getting each day.
If it is placed in a rather darker part of the room or gets less than seven to eight hours of sunshine, this is definitely not enough to dry all the water in time for the next watering. If there is a discrepancy between your watering schedule and the amount of light, the plant will swell up with water and its leaves will begin turning yellow.
If your peace lilies are not getting the right temperatures that they need to evaporate the water into the air, this will cause severe water retention and associated problems. This problem is especially aggravated during the winter season when maintaining the right temperature becomes quite a hassle, even indoors.
Another closely associated factor is airflow near the plants. Notice where they are being kept. Does this area constitute a closed space with constricted airflow? This could be a big problem as well.
How To Revive an Overwatered and Swollen Peace Lily
In order to revive an overwatered peace lily plant, the best thing to do is to repot it in better living conditions. The second best thing to do is to let the soil and the plant dry out while staying in the same pot.
– Repot Water Logged Peace Lily in a New Pot
The best method to revive any overwatered plant is to repot it afresh in improved soil and a better pot. This is a time-consuming and technique-sensitive endeavor that needs to be carried out with great care.
In this section, we have strived to give you a step-by-step guide through repotting an overwatered plant.
– Take the Plant Out of the Pot
Yes, you need to depot the overwatered plant from its old pot. Because the soil is already moist and soggy from overwatering, taking the plant out should be easier than usual.
Take a gardening knife to scrape the soil off the walls of the pot first, then gently rake the top layers of the soil until the roots begin to loosen. Gently start lifting the plant upwards and at the same time rake the soil around the roots to help release them.
You need to be very careful during this step of the process as there are very high chances of incurring damage to the roots. Don’t use the rake impulsively and don’t pull the plant up with a jerk.
– Carry Out a Thorough Root Inspection
Once your peace lily is out of the soil, gently wash it with water to clean the dirt and soil away. Then carry out a thorough inspection of the roots. Your objective is to find out whether they have developed root rot or not.
Normally, roots are white in color and firm on touch. Overwatered roots will appear swollen and mushy.
In the case of root rot, the first thing you will notice will be the bad smell. The roots will be brown or blackened by diseases. There might even be large rot patches developing in them.
– Dry the Roots
Next, it is time to dry the overwatered roots of the peace lily houseplant. Wrap them in a newspaper so that the excess water gets soaked in it. Keep changing the wet newspaper with a dry one until it stops getting wet. This will be your indication that the roots have begun to dry up.
– Treat Rot if Present
If the roots are black and the leaves exhibit brown spots along with brown tips, then you need to take a pair of scissors to the rotten parts of the plant. This debridement is necessary to get rid of the majority of the root rot disease.
Spray the plant generously using a strong fungicidal agent. The best one in our experience so far has been the liquid copper one. The anti-fungal agent will need to be used consistently for months on end.
– Repot the Plant Again
Lastly, it is time to repot the newly-dried plant inside a pot. Make sure that the soil you are using this time has next-level drainage. Add an adequate quantity of soil to the potting medium as well as chunks of bark, coconut cor, or perlite to create channels for drainage.
The pot should also be chosen carefully this time around. Don’t pick a pot the diameter of which is larger than the root ball by more than two-thirds. At least four to five large drainage holes should be present in it.
Before packing the pot with soil, cover its bottom with a layer of gravel. This tip is a great help to prevent overwatering by water accumulation.
– Help Your Soil Dry Out
If repotting does not seem like a feasible option, then treating the swollen overwatered leaves of peace lily involves drying out the soil thoroughly. This method will be successful only if the old pot and soil have good drainage already.
Carry on reading to find out how you can best dry out the soil before your overwatered plant develops fungal rot.
– Ramp up the Temperature
The ideal temperature range for drying the overwatered peace lily soil is between 68 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime. At night, the temperature can drop by only 10 degrees Fahrenheit and not more than this.
If it happens to be fall or winter, then you need to move your potted plant inside the house. In the room, you then need to put your thermostat above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Take care not to place the plant near open windows at night or the cold blast of air will make the drying process far slower.
You will find that drying the soil in the summer is easier and quicker. Even if the pot is placed outdoors, this method will be more successful in summer than in winter.
– Move the Plant for Adequate Sun Exposure
Indirect light is the most rapid and effective method of drying out a peace lily and other plants like overwatered Hoya or overwatered Calathea. However, this plant cannot be placed under direct sunlight in any case as it causes sunburn, in which leaves turn papery and brown.
The best place for maximum indirect sun exposure is an outdoor space like the backyard or the patio. Do keep it under some sort of shade as a preventative measure. If you have no choice but to keep this plant inside the house, then keep it near an eastern or the western facing window for indirect but bright sunlight.
The northern-facing window will not be enough to dry an overwatered plant as effectively. The southern-facing window receives a ton of intense sunlight and it will alsocause sun scorching. If you must place this plant near this window, keep a semi-transparent curtain over it at least.
– Improve Air Circulation and Humidity
In order to dry your overwatered and swollen peace lily, air circulation is of the utmost importance. Make sure that the plant is not cramped and stuffed along with multiple other plants. The room within which it is placed should also be well aerated.
If the air around the plant is too humid, as you can check with a hygrometer, then it needs to be corrected. A dehumidifier can be quite costly but it will bring down humidity levels to the required levels. Stop misting or wiping the plant with a water-soaked rag.
Keep a fan near the plant to help speed up the evaporating process. This is a trick that we have found to be most useful.
– Aerate Your Soil
Now this is a pretty clever method to speed up the drying process of the soil. Take a couple of chopsticks and poke them into the soil four to five times. Don’t poke in too deep, too hard, or too near the roots of the plant. You don’t want to end up further damaging the already vulnerable plant.
This will create multiple air pockets within the soil. These tiny holes will increase the surface area of the soil and make it dry out faster. You can also use a pencil instead of a chopstick for creating these pockets.
– Get Rid of Swollen Leaves
Overwatered peace lily’s yellow leaves often cannot survive for long and will fall down eventually. These soggy and wet leaves then release their moisture over the surface of the soil over time. When drying an overwatered plant, removing these leaves and other such debris should be the first step you need to follow.
Frequently Asked Questions
Want to know more about overwatering and peace lilies? We have you covered down below!
– What Does an Overwatered Peace Lily Look Like?
If your peace lily houseplant is being overwatered, the first sign to emerge will be swollen, mushy leaves that are unable to hold their weight up and will begin to droop down. The leaves might start yellowing because the plant finds it difficult to obtain nutrients. The leaves might also exhibit unnatural curling and brown leaf tips.
In severe cases, the overwatered plant eventually succumbs to fungal or bacterial rot. This condition will very quickly lead to the death of the entire plant. Brown and black moist spots will appear all over the leaves and the stems. These spots will be surrounded by a yellowish halo.
Such a plant will even begin to have a very bad, fetid smell in extreme cases. The leaves will start to drop off the plant dangerously. This will be your cue that your overwatered plant is about to die if not treated promptly.
– Why Is My Peace Lily Drooping Even After Watering?
Drooping leaves after watering plus moist soil are classic symptoms of an overwatered plant. As long as excess moisture remains in the soil instead of draining out, it will continue to be absorbed by the stem and the leaves.
The leaves will become so swollen that their stems are unable to support them upright any longer and so they droop down.
Moist soil is easy to identify, simply touching the surface of such a soil will be enough to tell you that it is overwatered. Try lifting your pot up and observe how much it weighs. If it appears heavier than usual, this is another sign of soil with too much water stored in it.
We hope you are not overwhelmed by the amount of information you learned in this guide. Here are the important points you need to take note of:
- Peace lily houseplants need a moist and humid environment to grow in, but they can very easily get overwatered.
- An overwatered plant is more dangerous than an underwatered peace lily. This is because overwatering causes root rot, which is a fatal fungal infection.
- Make sure to only water this plant after confirming that the top two to three inches of soil has become fully parched.
- Provide lots of sunshine and warmth for this plant to grow well, but don’t let humidity get higher than 60 percent.
- Drooping leaves after watering plus moist soil are classic symptoms of an overwatered plant, so make sure to keep a close eye on your beautiful peace lily.
The peace lily is a plant that elevates your whole interior decor game by several notches. You can’t let poor habits ruin this plant by overwatering it, so follow our guide to save your plant before it is too late.
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