Peace Lily Root Rot: The Complete Guide

Root rot is a common issue with Peace Lilies. You may notice that your plant’s leaves are suddenly wilting and may even turn yellow. At this point, you’ll start wondering how to treat Peace Lily root rot.

To treat the disease, you’ll need to use a combination of pruning and fungicidal solution. First off, remove any infected roots and leaves. Then, it’s a matter of topically applying the disinfectant and repotting the plant.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the causes behind Peace Lily root rot. We’ll also cover the steps you should take to treat the disease.

Peace Lily Root Rot

Root rot is a common infection that affects Peace Lilies and other foliage. Typically, some microorganisms will invade the plants and cause them to break down.

This particular disease will cause the Peace Lily flower and leaves to wilt and discolor.

There are a few different reasons why that could be happening to your plant:

  • Over-watering
  • Over-fertilization
  • The pot size is too small
  • No drainage in the pot
  • Un-aerated soil

Luckily, no matter how the infection came about, you can approach the issue in the same way.

Treating Peace Lily Root Rot

The treatment process for Peace Lily root rot is pretty simple. All you have to do is follow these steps to clear out the infection in no time:

Step 1: Identify the Issue

The first signs of root rot involve the wilting and yellowing of the leaves. Unfortunately, there are a few other diseases that can present with the same symptoms.

So, before you try to treat root rot, you must confirm that it’s the main issue with the plant. This is a little tricky since the roots spend most of their time in the soil.

To test for the infection, you can start by smelling the plant. Root rot gives off an unpleasant sulfur odor due to hydrogen sulfide. The Peace Lily will give off a damp, musty scent.

However, sometimes the odor is too faint to pick up. In that case, you’ll need to expose some of the roots to confirm the disease.

To do that, gently remove the top layer of soil from the pot and dig out a few roots. As soon as you touch the structures, you’ll notice they’re soft and mushy. You may also see darkened edges and lesions on the roots.

If the structures are solid, plump, and white, then the cause of the discoloration isn’t root rot.

As soon as you confirm the infection, you must act fast. The plant will begin to degrade right away, and within a few days, it can completely fade away.

Step 2: Gather Your Materials

When dealing with any potted plant, it’s likely that your workstation will get a little messy. So, it’s a good idea to prepare your space and materials before you start the root rot treatment.

Gardening tools

Here’s what you’ll need:

After you gather the equipment, you can move all the tools to an open space. Look for an area with plenty of flat ground and good ventilation.

Since you’ll be dealing with microorganisms, having excellent airflow is necessary. Without it, you may risk spreading the infection to other plants.

Once you find a space, unfold the tarp and lay it out on the ground. The plastic should be large enough to fit you and the Peace Lily comfortably.

Finally, place all your tools within reach of your location. You want to avoid running through the house with an infected plant in your hands.

Step 3: Depot Your Peace Lily

Now that your materials are ready, you can focus on the plant. Before you touch any part of your Peace Lily, make sure you have gloves and a safety mask on.

While the infection won’t spread from plants to humans, it may still cause irritation and rashes.

Once you get the gloves on, grab your garden shovel and the Peace Lily pot. Begin by removing the top layer of soil, which is about two or three inches deep. This layer of the growing medium shouldn’t have any roots.

As you remove the soil from the pot, place it in a bucket. At this point, the medium is a hazardous material, and you have to dispose of it appropriately. We’ll deal with getting rid of it in a later step, but for now, focus on collecting the soil.

Once you’re through the top layer, you have to be careful with your garden shovel. Use the tool to remove small amounts of soil at a time.

While you do that, ensure that you’re supporting the Peace Lily flower and leaves with your hands.

Because you’re removing the soil which anchors the plant, the flower will move around. This motion may cause damage to the vital structures of the Peace Lily.

Keep slowly removing soil until you expose all the roots.

Step 4: Clean the Roots

After you uncover all the roots, carefully pull the Peace Lily out of the pot. You can try to examine the roots, but chances are they’re going to be completely muddy.

So, they’ll need a thorough cleaning first. To do that, pick up your brush and dust off any excess soil.

While you do this, remember to be as gentle as possible. The soft roots will be vulnerable to bending and breaking.

Once you get most of the soil off, pull up your water spray bottle. Give your Peace Lily a couple of mists.

You want to ensure you wet the soil, roots, and leaves, but avoid dampening the flower.

Then, grab your brush and wipe away the muddy residue. To get the Peace Lily completely clean, you’ll need to repeat this process a few times.

For a faster solution, you can wash the plant in your sink. Yet, the water pressure may prove too strong, and the Peace Lily may not be able to handle it.

So, it’s best to take your time and use the safe process.

Step 5: Examine and Prune the Roots

Pruning roots

With the roots fully exposed and cleaned, you can inspect the structures. First, you must be able to tell the difference between healthy and diseased roots.

The most notable difference between them is the color. Infected roots tend to have a yellowish tint to them, while healthy ones have a bright white glow.

Yet, if you’re finding it difficult to distinguish between the shades, you can rely on texture. If the roots are soft and mushy, they’re likely rotting.

Your Peace Lily will need healthy roots to survive. For that reason, you should identify them and keep them safe.

Next, it’s time for a bit of trimming. Pick up your garden shears and snip off any visible rotting roots.

The trick is to remove the entire root from the base. Leaving any traces behind may cause the infection to regrow.

Avoid the urge to twist or break off the roots with your hands. Doing so may damage the Peace Lily stem, affecting the healthy flower.

Step 6: Clean Out the Soil and Pot

At this point, you should have a bucket of infected soil. The safest way to get rid of it is to wrap it in plastic bags and throw it out with the trash.

Don’t use the soil for composting or growing other plants, or the root rot will spread.

Ideally, when treating root rot, it’s best to use a new pot. However, that’s not always a possibility. So, before you reuse the container, you need to disinfect it.

The pot should be relatively easy to clean. Use warm soapy water to rinse out the container and remove any dirt or other debris from the inside.

Then grab your trusty fungicidal solution and place a generous amount inside the pot. Next, pick up a microfiber towel and wipe down the sides of the vessel.

After that, rinse out the pot with water one more time to remove any excess solution. Now, all you have to do is place the container in the sun to dry.

Step 7: Repot Your Peace Lily

Repotting peace lily plant

Finally, you can return the plant to its pot. Lay down a thin layer of soil at the base of the container. Two or three inches should do the trick.

Then, slowly lower the Peace Lily roots into the vessel. Next, use your garden shovel to fill the pot with fresh soil.

Avoid packing the soil tightly around the roots. You want a fluffy growing medium to allow for aeration and prevent the root rot from recurring.

Keep adding soil until the pot is full and the Peace Lily is secure.

Wrapping Up

Dealing with Peace Lily root rot can be a little stressful. Your plant loses shape, and you may notice discoloration.

To deal with this issue, you have to remove the plant from the soil. Then, use garden shears to trim off any infected roots or other structures.

Finally, disinfect your pot, grab a fresh batch of soil, and repot your Peace Lily.

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