How To Save a Peace Lily From Root Rot (A Complete Guide)


Peace Lily plants are elegant houseplants that can brighten up any room.

But even the most diligent gardener can run into problems from time to time, and one of the most common problems Peace Lily growers face is root rot.

Root rot is a severe problem that can kill your Peace Lily plant if left untreated, but there are some things you can do to save your plant if you catch it early enough.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to identify and treat root rot in Peace Lilies and how to prevent it from happening in the first place.

What is Root Rot?

Root rot is a fungal disease that affects the roots of the plant.

It is caused by various fungi, including Fusarium and Pythium species.

These fungi live in the soil and enter plant roots through wounds or natural openings.

Once inside the plant, they grow and spread, causing the roots to rot.

This can damage the plant’s ability to absorb water and nutrients, eventually leading to death.

Root rot is often challenging to detect until it is too late, as the symptoms mimic those of other problems.

As such, it is essential to be aware of the signs of root rot and to take steps to prevent it.

What Causes Root Rot in Peace Lily Plants

There are a few different things that can cause root rot in Peace Lily plants.

The most common causes are:


Overwatering is the most common cause of root rot in Peace Lilies.

Peace Lilies are native to tropical rainforests, so they are used to living in humid conditions with regular rainfall.

In their natural environment, their roots are constantly surrounded by moisture.

However, Peace Lilies are often subject to drier conditions when grown as houseplants.

They require less water than they would in their natural environment.

If you overwater your Peace Lily, the roots will begin to rot, and the plant will eventually die.

An overwatered Peace Lily roots cannot get the oxygen they need to function correctly.

The roots will start to break down, and the plant will eventually die.

Poor Drainage

Poor drainage is another common cause of root rot in Peace Lilies.

Peace Lilies need well-draining soil to thrive.

If the soil does not drain well, the roots will become waterlogged and start to rot.

It’s also essential to ensure that your pot has drainage holes in the bottom.

If it doesn’t, the water will just sit in the bottom of the pot and will cause the roots to rot.

Fungal Disease

Fungal disease is another common cause of root rot in Peace Lilies.

There are a few different types of fungi that can attack Peace Lily plants, the most common being Fusarium and Pythium.

These fungi thrive in wet conditions and attack the plant’s roots, causing them to rot.

Fusarium and Pythium are soil-borne fungi, so they can be challenging to get rid of once they’ve infected a plant.

Root Damage

Root damage is another common cause of root rot in Peace Lilies.

Peace Lilies are delicate plants whose roots are especially vulnerable to damage.

The roots can be damaged by several things, including:

  • Physical damage (e.g., from being stepped on)
  • Chemical damage (e.g., from fertilizers or pesticides)
  • Biological damage (e.g., from nematodes or other pests)

If the roots of a Peace Lily are damaged, they are susceptible to fungal infections, which can cause the roots to rot.

What Does Peace Lily Root Rot Look Like

To save your plant, you need to be able to identify the early signs of root rot.

Unfortunately, when most gardeners realize there’s a problem, it’s often too late.

Here are some early signs that your Peace Lily plant has root rot:

Yellow Leaves

One of the first signs that something is wrong with your plant is when the leaves start to turn yellow.

This is usually a sign of stress and can be caused by several factors, including root rot.

When roots are damaged, they can’t take up water and nutrients from the soil as effectively. This lack of nutrients causes the leaves to turn yellow.

Wilting Leaves

If the leaves of your indoor plant are wilting, it’s a sure sign that something is wrong with the roots.

When roots are damaged, they can’t take up water from the soil. This lack of water causes the Peace Lily leaves to wilt.

Brown or Black Spots on Leaves

If you see black or brown spots on the leaves of your plant, it’s another sure sign that something is wrong with the roots.

These black spots are caused by a fungus called Pythium, which thrives in wet conditions.

Pythium is a soil-borne fungus, so getting rid of it once it’s infected a plant can be challenging.

Mushy Roots

If you notice that your plant’s roots are mushy or rotting, it’s a sure sign that the plant has root rot.

The plant is in serious trouble and will likely die if the root rot is not treated.

Stunted Growth

If the plant is not growing as it should, it’s another sign that something is wrong.

When roots are damaged, they can’t take up nutrients from the soil as effectively.

This lack of nutrients causes the plant to grow more slowly than it should.

Bad Smell

If your plant has root rot, you may notice a bad smell coming from the roots.

This is because the roots are breaking down and rotting.

If you notice a terrible odor, it’s a sure sign that your plant has root rot and needs to be treated immediately.

How To Treat Peace Lily Root Rot

You must take action immediately if you notice any of the above signs.

Root rot is a severe problem; if it’s not treated, it will kill the plant.

Here is a step-by-step guide to treating root rot:

1. Remove the Plant From the Pot and Examine the Roots

The first step is to remove the Peace Lily plant from the pot and examine the roots.

If you see any mushy or black roots, cut them off with a sharp knife.

Be sure to dispose of the infected roots in the trash, so they don’t infect other plants.

Make sure to sterilize your tools before using them on your plant.

2. Rinse the Roots With Clean Water

Once you’ve removed the affected roots, rinse the remaining roots with clean water.

This will help to remove any dirt or debris that may be on the roots.

It will also help to remove any fungal spores that may be present.

3. Allow the Roots to Dry Completely

Once you’ve rinsed the roots, allow them to dry completely.

This may take a few hours or even a day or two.

The roots must be completely dry before replanting the plant.

4. Clean and Disinfect the Pot

Once the roots are dry, it’s time to clean and disinfect the pot.

You can do this by soaking the pot in a solution of one part bleach and ten parts water for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, rinse the pot with clean water and allow it to air dry.

5. Repot the Plant in Fresh, Sterile Soil

Once the pot and roots are dry, it’s time to repot the plant in fresh, sterile soil.

Make sure to use a drainage hole pot to allow excess water to drain out.

It’s also essential to use sterile soil.

You can purchase sterile potting mix or make your own by mixing equal parts perlite and peat moss.

6. Water the Plant Carefully

Once you’ve replanted the plant, water it carefully.

Be sure to water the soil, not the leaves.

It’s also important not to overwater the plant.

Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again.

If you water the plant too often, it will encourage the growth of the fungus that causes root rot.

7. Keep an Eye on the Plant

Once you’ve replanted the plant, it’s essential to keep an eye on it.

Check the roots periodically to ensure they are healthy and free of rot.

If you see any signs of root rot, remove the affected roots and follow the steps above.

With proper care, your plant should recover from root rot and continue to thrive.

How To Prevent Peace Lily Root Rot

Preventing root rot in Peace Lilies is all about providing the right growing conditions.

These tropical plants prefer warm, humid environments and well-drained soil.

Here are a few tips to help you create the perfect environment for your Peace Lily:

Place Your Peace Lily in a Location With Bright Indirect Light

Peace lilies thrive in bright, indirect light.

They will tolerate some direct sunlight, but too much sun can scorch the leaves.

If your peace lily is getting too much sun, you’ll notice the leaves start to turn yellow.

Water Your Peace Lily Regularly

Peace lilies like to be kept moist but not wet.

Water your plant when the top inch of soil is dry.

One way to tell if your peace lily needs water is to feel the weight of the pot.

If it feels light, it’s time to water.

Use a Well-Drained Soil

It’s crucial to use well-drained soil when growing peace lilies.

Soil that doesn’t drain well can lead to root rot.

To make sure your peace lily has well-draining soil, mix equal parts potting soil and perlite.

Use Pots With Drainage Holes

When potting your peace lily, use a pot with drainage holes.

This will help prevent the roots from sitting in water, leading to root rot.

Repot in Fresh Soil Every Year

Peace lilies should be repotted every year in fresh potting soil.

This will help to prevent the build-up of pests and diseases in the pot.

It will also give the roots a chance to grow, and the plant will have fresh nutrients.

Fertilize Sparingly

Peace lilies don’t need a lot of fertilizer.

Fertilize your plant once a month during the growing season using a half-strength liquid fertilizer.

Be sure to flush the soil with water every few months to prevent the build-up of fertilizer salts.

Provide Air Circulation

Peace lilies need good air circulation to prevent fungal diseases.

Be sure to place your plant in an area with some airflow.

You can also use a fan to circulate the air around your Peace Lily.

Final Thoughts

Peace lilies are beautiful, low-maintenance houseplants that purify the air and add a touch of elegance to any room.

But even the sturdiest Peace Lilies can succumb to root rot if they’re not cared for properly.

If you think your Peace Lily might be suffering from root rot disease, don’t despair.

While saving a plant that is already heavily affected can be challenging, it is possible.

You can bring your houseplant back to health with the proper care and attention.

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