This page Sponsored by:
Troubled peace lily can be revived with patience and
I have a peace lily that is very dear to me. I received
it at my mother-in-law's funeral in February of 2002. It appeared
very happy and was enjoying its environment up until about 3 months
I have always watered it once a week but about 3 months
ago it started overflowing when I watered it. I believed it was
root bound and needed to be transplanted into a larger pot. There
was very little soil in the original pot.
I transplanted it into a larger pot. The leaves remain
green and droopy. It is producing new leaves but it just sits there
looking weepy. I have been very careful not to overwater but I fear
that before transplanting and with the lack of soil it may have
been damaged for good.
I have not fertilized it. Could that be its problem?
Currently it is in a west window. - A.B. -
I called on interior plant specialist Jane Suhail to assess your
situation. As staff horticulturist for Planterra Tropical
Greenhouses, Suhail trains the technicians who maintain plants in
many of the corporate and commercial buildings in the Detroit area.
Suhail's seen it all when it comes to peace lily (Spathiphyllum
wallisii), a mainstay in those interiorscapes.
"What I think happened is the plant dried down, more than once,"
says Suhail. "You can't overwater a peace lily unless you
let it stand in water but you can stress it by letting it go
too dry. Then it wilts, and how long it takes it to come back up
after you finally water is a measure of how badly you stressed it.
You can only let (peace lily) faint a certain number of times
before it just isn't going to come back up. The leaves are finally
damaged enough that they can't."
Watering isn't a matter of once a week, Suhail explains. "The
same size pot always needs the same amount of water but
how often you water has to change as the plant grows and
conditions change. A plant with more leaves and more light uses
water faster than a smaller one in less light. As this peace lily
grew I think it became bigger and used water more quickly until
once a week just wasn't enough. The potting medium became gradually
drier and you know, depending on the type of medium, once those dry
out it's almost impossible to rewet them. Water you pour in just
sits on top and overflows or pours right down through the gap
that's formed between the shrunken soil mix and the side of the
"It didn't help to repot in late fall. Plants have a hard time
recovering from repotting if they have to do it during winter when
the light is weak."
Suhail advises, "What I would do is keep this plant in good
light and water it well but carefully,
then at the end of March when the light's better and the new growth
is developing nicely, cut off all the old ugly leaves. Start
fertilizing again, adding one-quarter strength fertilizer at every
fourth watering. It'll recover quickly."
"It's also possible," muses Suhail, "that a cold night last fall
damaged the leaves but didn't kill them. That's another case where
they wouldn't be able to stand back up. The same remedy applies,
though. In late March, cut off that bad foliage and let the plant
Surprisingly tall groundcover!
G.S. from Highland went to www.premiumplants.net as I suggested
last week and "had fun playing with the Plant Selection Wizard,"
but was "astounded to see tall plants in the recommendations that
Dave MacKenzie, owner of that website and Hortech nursery,
explains that groundcover isn't synonymous with short. "In general,
the term applies to any plant less than about four feet tall, that
grows in such as way as to cover the soil and exclude weeds."
So if stature as well as weed control is on your mind as you
design, check a proposed plant's height before you let it loose to
cover the ground!
Schedule spring work now
Thinking about contracting for design or planting in your yard
this spring? Interview designers and check landscape company
references now. Many people start this process in March, thinking
that's "early," only to find the best firms are by then fully
scheduled for April and May.
Green thumbs up
to dense evergreen plantings at the southeast corner of a
building. Sheltered by walls from prevailing winds and warmed by
heat leaking from windows, such shrubs can shelter whole flocks of
songbirds during winter storms and afford them early morning
warm-up sites. What a grand place for a bird lover to have a
bedroom or an office, in that corner of the building where each day
starts with birdsong.
Green thumbs down
to those who whine about plants damaged by snow piled or pushed
there from walks, driveways and roads. You missed design step
number one, determining the uses of a site before you planted it.
Snow has to go somewhere if you don't want to walk and drive on it.
So beds adjacent to walks and drives should be designed -- or
redesigned -- to place brittle or obstructive woody plants out of
the shovel's way.
Originally published 2/7/04
Thanks to Jackie Swenson for Sponoring this
For more Sponsor-recommended
Sponsor Us and tell us the topic you
are interested in.
We have posted a great deal of our library
already but have much still to post.
It helps to have Sponsors directing the sequence.