Thursday, March 27, 2008

Indoor Peace Lilly

Dear Anne,

You answered a question for me years ago on WPTF about growing roses in a flowerbed of almost complete sand. Now I have another more detailed question. I have an indoor Peace Lilly that was given to me from my mother's funeral 4 years ago. I have managed to keep it living, which is a trick for me on it's own. It's grown to be HUGE, even through we have moved it to bigger pots two or three times.

1. Is it possible to split it into two or three plants? I would love to give part of it to my sister and reduce the size of it so that perhaps it will be come healthy again.

2. The ends (the last 1 to 1/2 inches) of most of the leaves are brown and dry. I water it, and perhaps over water it. At the first sign of sagging leaves, I water it well. I also supplement by watering with about 1 cup of water every other day. Once a week or once every two weeks, I add a couple of drops of plant food. Once the leaves turn completely brown or shrivel, I cut them out as close to the base as I can. Every 6 months or so, I trip out all the bad leaves completely, or it becomes a tangled ball of mess.

3. It never seems to bloom anymore, I would love to see it bloom again.

4. Now for my strangest question, do Peace Lillies "get old" and die?" I want to make sure I have this plant for as long as possible. Above all to my other questions and especially #1, I want to make sure I don't kill this plant.

I'll be happy to send you a photo of it's condition if you like.

I appreciate your time, I know this is a long email, this is a very important plant to me.

Doug E.

Anne's Response:

I think it is time the peace lily was divided and repotted. Remove the plant from its pot and remove the soil from the roots. Find two or more segments of stems that have good root systems growing and break the plant apart. You may have to use clippers to cut the plant apart but they usually break without too much trouble. Repot each segment in a good quality potting soil in a pot that is no more than 3 times the width of the base of the plant piece. Water it well and leave in an area where there is good light but not direct sun for a couple of weeks until the plant recovers from its transplant shock. Fertilize the plant when new growth starts to form.

You may have been overwatering the plant – and that is easy to do when a plant is too crowded in the pot. Most plants exist quite well on once a week watering. Don’t let the water stay in the saucer under the pot for more than a couple of hours. Using fertilizer that is too high in nitrogen will reduce the blooming so that may have been your problem.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Purchase a 'water meter' availiable from most home centers. I like the one from ACE Hardware. A little pricy,but it has a guide that tells you your plant's water zone,and the meter tells you which zone your plant is in at any time.TRUST IT!!! The soil may look dry on top,but the roots are not.
No more under or over watered plants.