Houseplant in Crisis

This peace lily or spathe lily also know by its scientific name as spathiphyllum is dying because of over watering.

This peace lily or spathe lily, also know by its scientific name as Spathiphyllum, is dying because of over watering.

Here is the hope. If I caught the overwatering early enough this small stalk will produce a new set of leaves

Here is the hope. If I caught the overwatering early enough this small stalk will produce a new set of leaves.

Many of our houseplants are double potted. That means the pot it is growing in is inside another container that generally does not leak if watered. Such was the case with the peace lily above. While we were away I asked my son to water the plants on the back porch and told him it needed doing several times. What I did not tell him was that he needed to be careful not to overwater those inside of the containers with no drainage hole. Here is the problem with so many houseplants. Wilted leaves or yellowing of leaves can mean either overwatering or being dry from under watering. So what is the true test? Sticking your finger in the soil of the plant to check its moisture content. Will this plant make it? I was hoping so when I returned. I thought it was dry, then realized it had been over watered. I immediately took it out of the double potted container and allowed it to drain and dry for a few days. With the small sprout standing erect, I thought I could save it. Today however, it had died, too. So the next stop for this plant and soil is the compost pile.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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