Do Peace Lilies Like to be Root Bound
It’s a no-brainer that Peace Lilies are one of the most popular indoor plants to keep and nourish because of their enchanting beauty. Also known as White Sails or Spathe Flower, the Peace Lily is a stunning plant that has been enjoying a recent growth in popularity, and it’s easy to see why. The combination of stunning white spathes with vibrant green leaves can be a spectacular addition to any interior.
But as much as we adore Peace Lilies, it is equally important to keep their green beauty thriving, especially when their root is being turned into a tangled, rounded mass in the pot. These plants naturally tend to be root bound, increasing the risk of damaged roots or root rot.
So how do you know if your Peace Lily is root bound and would need repotting? This guide will help you understand more about these plants and how to keep them in the best shape and form.
Do Peace Lilies Like to be Root Bound?
People who love surrounding themselves with peace lilies must know how this plant is fond of being root bound. As long as it is well-draining through drainage holes, the plant doesn’t mind having dense roots spread across the soil for firm support.
Additionally, being root bound also tends to support root lilies in the following ways:
- The peace lily will likely develop more spathes more effectively and quickly in a root-bound stage. This saves it the energy that it would otherwise use to create more leaves, giving it a more vibrant look.
- Slightly root-bounded Peace Lilies readily absorb more water, reducing the risk of root rot.
- In a root-bound stage, the plant diverts energy into growing more offshoots or pups. It is essential to avoid placing such plants in a larger container as doing so may lead to waterlogging and kill the Peace Lilies.
How do you Know When to Repot a Root Lily?
While Peace Lilies like to be root bound, they require repotting at some point. This typically occurs when the root bound extent increases so much that it starts messing with its water drainage.
The presence of the following visible signs may give you an idea that your plant is severely root bound and require immediate rescue:
- Stunted growth
- Droopy leaves
- Discoloration of leaves
- Visible dehydration
- Roots coming out of the drainage holes
- Curling of leaves
- Expansion or breakage of the pot
- Roots spiraling around at the bottom and through drainage holes of the pot
If you notice any of these symptoms on your Peace Lily plant, know that something is wrong and needs your attention.
How to Confirm if a Peace Lily is Root Bound?
While the signs mentioned above are typically enough to give you a clue about the state of your Peace Lily, it is essential to be sure before changing its pot.
To confirm root bounding in your plant, follow the steps mentioned below:
- Water your Peace Lily plant one night before you plan to check its roots. This will make it easier to take out the plant from its pot
- Tilt the pot to one side so that it’s simpler to take the plant out
- Gently slide the plant out. Avoid pulling harshly if it does not come out, and keep trying. Consider loosening up the peace lily soil on the ages of the pot to make the process easier
- Once the plant is out, inspect the root ball very carefully
If you notice the roots tangled without much soil around them, your peace lily is severely root-bound and requires repotting into a bigger pot.
Preparing to Repot Peace Lily: What You Need to Know
Now that you know that your precious Peace Lily requires repotting, it is imperative to make preparations before proceeding. After all, a successful repotting entirely depends on choosing the right supplies.
Here are a few things that you will need:
Choosing the Right Soil to prevent root rot
Soil is the most important thing for the foundation of a Peace Lily’s growth, literally and figuratively. Ideally, you must choose a soil type that comprises large-grained ingredients that do not decay too fast. These ingredients help form tiny spaces within the mix that supports good draining and aeration.
Do not forget to add some organic matter into your preferred type of soil as it helps in water retention that keeps the roots of the Peace Lilies maintaining enough moisture. Many types of soil blends available in the market support aroids, the plant family to which peace lilies belong.
However, if you choose to mix your soil, make sure it has lots of chunky ingredients, like bark chips, pumice, and perlite.
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Choosing the Right Pot
Once you have chosen a soil mix, the new pot or container is next on the list. If you are potting up your Peace Lily, pick a pot two inches larger in diameter than the old one. Be careful not to choose too big of a pot, as it may lead to overwatering and make drying out easier.
On the other hand, if you think of dividing your Peace Lily, you will need to get one new pot for each clone you plan to split off. The sizes of these pots will depend on how large you want the baby plants to be.
Try planning ahead by finding different clusters of foliage within the Peace Lily as you will be dividing it at the junctions between them, called crowns. Decide which clusters you wish to break off and get a pot that fit them best.
Whichever pots you choose, ensure that they come with adequate drainage holes at the base. The material of the pots is not too important; however, keep in mind that a few of them, like terra cottas pots tend to dry out much faster, as their porous clay lets the moisture escape the soil through the walls.
Miscellaneous Tools and Materials
Make sure that you have the following supplies in hand when you begin repotting a root bound peace lily:
Shears: Shears might be needed to trim or split the roots of the plants.
Garden knife: Garden knife, or any sharp knife, is required if a Peace Lily is extremely cramped and requires sawing off a part of its root ball to make repotting easier.
Gloves: Gloves are not a mandatory item but can ideally keep things hygienic and protect the hands from any damage from a pot or extra soil.
Disinfectant: Remember to sanitize the knife with disinfectant before cutting a Peace Lily. Consider using hydrogen peroxide, 10% bleach solution, or rubbing alcohol for this purpose
Old newspapers or towels: Moving the lilies from one pot to another can create a lot of mess, especially if you are doing it indoors. Remember to lay something down to limit the mess, such as a towel or old newspaper.
What is the Best Way to Repot a Peace Lily: A Step-by-Step Guide
The best time to repot a Peace Lily is during the early days of spring, as it gives the plant an entire growing season to settle in its new pot home and recover from any shocks to the roots.
Follow the steps mentioned below to repot your peace lily plant gently:
1. Water your Peace Lily plant a day before you plan to move it. Make sure it has a full tank, as its root may not be at their best for some time.
2. Trim off any blooms or leaves that may be turning brown, yellow, or shriveled due to age. Removing these yellow leaves will give your plant a chance to redirect its energy toward recovering from repotting.
3. Hold the plant at the base and gently pull it out of the pit. Using a knife, you may consider loosening up its roots around the inner rim. Alternatively, try to smack the bottom of the pot to make things easier and smooth.
4. Clear the soil from the root area with your hands. You may try rinsing the plant if it’s necessary. Inspect the roots carefully and cut off any slimy, brown, black, or squishy ones. Don’t forget to disinfect your knife between different cuts.
5. If you wish to divide your Peace Lily, find suitable crowns and grip the stems from either side. Gradually start tugging the two halves apart until they separate. Repeat as necessary.
6. Use your fingers to firmly but gently spread the root mass out. This step ensures that the roots do not cinch tighter but grow outward.
7. If your peace lily is severely pot bound, try pruning the roots a bit using disinfected knives or shears. Make sure to leave at least two-thirds of the root mass behind for your peace lily to use.
8. Choose a decorative pot and fill its bottom third with lightly moistened soil. Place your peace lily into its new home and cover its roots with the potting mix. Tap or shake the pot slightly to settle the soil, ensuring it is not tightly packed.
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Caring For a Peace Lily After Repotting
No matter how careful or gentle you are, uprooting a houseplant and replanting it is likely to stress it out. So if you are worried because your plant is drooping a bit after repotting it, know that it is normal. Your Peace Lily will likely be in a rough shape for some time until its roots recover from the shock.
In the meantime, try not to add to its worries by following the tips mentioned below:
Do not overwater the plant
Unless your peace lily’s roots has not fully recovered, it cannot absorb a lot of water. It is also more vulnerable to infection and damage during the early stages of a repot. Together, these factors can increase the risk of root rot, so make sure you do not let it happen by being mindful about watering the pot.
Avoid using fertilizers
Your Peace Lily cannot grow immediately after you have changed its pot. This means it does not need any fertilizers, and if you keep adding them to the pot, the plant will be at risk of a fertilizer burn.
Avoid putting it in direct sunlight
A freshly repotted plant can get burned if you put it in the sun. However, make sure you provide it with plenty of indirect light.
Keep your Peace Lily humid
Peace Lilies like humidity, especially when the plant is repairing its roots. In general, keep its humidity level above 60% using a humidifier or by putting a plastic bag over the foliage to prevent high humidity.
Keep following the precautions mentioned above for a few weeks to at least a month; however, you may need to continue it for longer for some plants. As soon as your Peace Lily starts producing new leaves again, know that it has gotten over the shock.
Peace lilies can be a good choice of indoor plants that can improve any interior, but as much as it adds to the grace of your house, it also requires a bit of attention when it comes to changing the pot.
The plant typically likes to be root bound as it supports its health and growth, but too much of it can start destroying the plant. Make sure you know the signs to look out for and use proper instructions for de-potting and repotting for the best results.
What does “root bound” mean?
The term “root bound” indicates a condition where the roots of a plant grow to the extent that keeps soil fixed to them. This makes it difficult for the plant to grow as there is no room or soil left.
A slight root bound can help many plants grow faster by absorbing more water and reducing the risk of root rot; however, if continued, it may quickly damage the plant and require repotting.
Can Peace Lily be overcrowded?
Peace Lilies like to be a bit crowded in the pot. However, it may require repotting, especially when the plant starts wilting more frequently. At this point, its roots will have started taking so much of the pot that there will be no soil space.