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Beginner Houseplants: All about Peace Lily..

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vanita79
dubai
United Arab Emirates

December 12, 2012
1:01 PM

Post #9356514

Hi Thankyou for this wonderful site my knowledge on peace lillies was zero but I know a bit now from reading few of the posts.. I have a few questions to which i cant seem to find any answer. Appreciate any help anyone can provide. I recently recieved a peace lily few weeks back. Its got one lovely bloom with a petal (spathe) and many small baby blooms that were white when it had just arrived. As u can see in the picture below, the new blooms (that have not quite reached mama size) are turning green.

For my 1st question, I found an interesting and informative post in the Beginner Houseplants forum addressing the question on why the peace lily's petals (called bloom or spathe in places) turn green (posted by Dave) but I still have some doubts. I gather from below explanation by a user that sufficient light will make white petals go green so I have moved this 12-13" tall baby (from near a partially shaded window) to the inside area of the room that brightens up during the day but does not recieve direct sunlight.

"The spathe is actually a modified leaf or bract. In the white spathes, the chloroplasts are masked, but sometimes become more prevalent and move the bract toward green when exposed to sufficient light. The spike in the middle of the modified leaf is actually the bloom. "


I also remember reading that green petals should be cut off so the energy can be used to grow new petals, my question is will these green tipped petals turn completely white and grow up to be as big as mama now that they are away from direct sunlight or do I need to trim it off to save energy? I can also see a new white petal coming out from under the bloom... Is this normal?

My Second question about watering, I have no regular schedule to water my peace lily as I am following the advice of many users and observing for signs of dry soil or drooping leaves, thereby watering it as and when needed. I do however spray the leaves, blooms and top soil to maintain humidity once or twice every day or two when it seems dry and dull. I hope this practice is good untill I find out what works for her. The current avg. temperature here is like 23-26C with 40% Humidity, dew point at 16C.

For my last question about repotting, I have learnt from many users so far that P.L.s love to be pot bound but are there any early signs to watch out for that will indicate the plant needs more room without causing any damage. The last picture shows what the bottom of the pot looks like and theres 1 small bit of root visible from one of the holes.

Thumbnail by vanita79   Thumbnail by vanita79   Thumbnail by vanita79
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Diana_K
Contra Costa County, CA
(Zone 9b)

December 13, 2012
7:25 AM

Post #9357172

Well the easiest answer to 'When is it time for a new pot?' is this:
If it keeps falling over it needs a new pot.

These plants are fine with more water, you do not have to wait until they wilt to water them. See how long it goes until it just barely does not look quite bright green. Leaves are still up, not wilted. Use that as a timing concept and deep soak one day earlier.
For example, if it seems to start losing color on day 5, then water every 4 days as long as other conditions (temperature, humidity) remain the same.
purpleinopp
Opp, AL
(Zone 8b)

December 13, 2012
11:57 AM

Post #9357362

That's a vigorous and healthy looking clump!

The "correct" amount of light will help your plant bloom optimally. When you find a spot where this is the case, it should probably only be moved for watering or whatever maintenance, and returned and kept in that spot as long as it continues to do well.

True the spathes are technically leaves, but not in the sense that they remain on the plant as long as a regular leaf.

I agree with not letting your plant wilt. It may recover a number of times but this is not an optimal care regime and is extremely hard on the plant. If you've seen it wilt, you know that it looked just plain different before it actually wilted. That's when it's definitely thirsty.

If you read through the sticky at the top of this forum, the stuff about soils/drainage/water retention might be helpful. If your soil doesn't retain excess moisture, overwatering concern becomes minimal. When the roots have no more room to grow, it needs a repot.
vanita79
dubai
United Arab Emirates

December 26, 2012
1:45 PM

Post #9367708

Hi Dianna_K and purple in opp,

Thanks for ur comments.

I had to chop off a few of the blooms. :-(

They turned green before they reached full size and the new leaves are lighter green and smaller too. The soilretains water pretty well and I placed the pot on some stones (pebbles) soaking in water to create humidity.

It was doing fine when I first did this and even stood up tall for two days. Untill I decided to put it near a shaded window for just half a day and one of the new blooms which had no green on it just burnt up... All brown.

Not sure this happened due to excess light or over watering. Its in the same position now as before and I let the soil dry out before I watered it today. I have even started noticing brown dried edges atop the leaves. Where do u think I went wrong?

The small blooms are still too small. How long does it take for the flower to reach the big mama size.

vanita79
dubai
United Arab Emirates

December 26, 2012
2:02 PM

Post #9367729

Hi,

I have mentioned this earlier that the small blooms in my plant turn green even before they reach mama size. I did a bit of research and read the below line somewhere. Can anyone explain what exactly it means...

' We usually find flowers turning green when they have been pollinated and seed has been set '

Googled a lot and though I understood what pollination is technically, it beats me on why my plant did it to the kids (small blooms that didnt yet reach mama size).
mimidahop
Miami, FL

December 27, 2012
11:02 AM

Post #9368442

Hi,

How hard is it to grow Peace Lilly from seeds? There is one near the elevators on each floor of the building I live in. Some of them have white leaves, which have what I think are seed pods. How or when is the best time to cut the seed pod from the plant and start my own? And how do I go about doing this, planting and growing the seeds?
They are all big plants and the ideal of trying to cut a piece from the root would be hard to do. Plus the ideal of starting from a seed is somewhat challenging to me.

Thumbnail by mimidahop   Thumbnail by mimidahop         
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Diana_K
Contra Costa County, CA
(Zone 9b)

December 27, 2012
12:51 PM

Post #9368525

Mimidahop: The white leaf-like structure is not the seed, Inside that is a yellow thing like a corn cob. That is the fertile part, the flower. While it is shedding yellow powder (look on the leaves under it) then it is still the flower, not the seed.
Ultimately the seeds will grow there, but usually people cut off the flowering part before the seeds grow.

vanita, I have no idea about the green bracts. However, turning brown right after you moved it to a brighter spot might have been too sharp an increase in the light. If you want to keep it in that location use a sheer curtain over the window in the brightest part of the day and gradually expose the plant to brighter light. They are not high light plants, though, so I would never put them in direct sun. Maybe a little morning or very late evening sun, but really better in a shadier place.
vanita79
dubai
United Arab Emirates

December 27, 2012
1:20 PM

Post #9368543

Hi Dianna,

Thanks a lot. Yes I also think the new spot near the window may have caused the problem.

I moved it out of there immidietly the same day the moment I saw the brown floer.

I'll try to leave it alone for a while now where it is. This is the first time I have had a peace lily and I think my experiments are not appreciated by this one. I thought a little natural light might be a good thing...

Hi Mimidahoop, though I've just had my first peace lilly, from all that I have read about it I know trying to grow a plant from seed stage is a ver slow process and it may take several years before u get to see the first flower. I've had a small pot which had a lot of baby flowers and 1 big flower and I know that the flowers grow very slowly. The plant just doesnt seem to grow while most people tell me it looks healthy... I've read its slow but not sure ofthe timeline.

Thumbnail by vanita79
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vanita79
dubai
United Arab Emirates

December 29, 2012
4:06 AM

Post #9369616

Hello,

Thanks to everyone (Dianna_k and purpleinop) who responded to this thread and answered my queries. My googling has finally brought some results and I have managed to find an article on the web that simply lists out more or less everything about the peace lily a newgrower may need to know (including the green bracts) and also a list of health problems that may affect the peacelily including seasonal and temperature info. Theres good information on repotting as well.

I am pasting the link to the original article below incase anyone else may be looking for the answers to the same questions I had. Mimidahop, theres also a small bit on growing from seeds if u may find it useful.


http://www.proplants.com/guide?ref=PLAorganicgglgeneric_will too much humidity cause peace lily&prid=ppseogg&StartIndex=1

Thanks.
ficuswrangler
St Petersburg, FL

January 4, 2013
5:54 PM

Post #9375733

Dear Vanita,

The llink you posted has a lot of good info, but I would like to add a little to it. I'm a professional interior plantscaper for 30 years, and I have extensive experience with spaths - the professional name for peace lilies.

"Flowers turning green...when seed has been set" may occur in the wild, but unlikely indoors. You said you recently received this plant; the flowers that turned green before maturing were probably reacting to the change in light between greenhouse and your home. Be patient. Your plant looks like one of the vigorously flowering varieties. As it adapts to your light conditions, it should begin to produce more flowers. Newer leaves are appearing lighter green to you because they are new - as they mature, they will darken.

Mostly the greenish bracts (a more correct name than petals or flowers) don't turn white, but then sometimes they do. And yes, it is not uncommon for the flower stem to send out an extra white bract. Occasionally they will even send out another spathe.

Now I'd like to give you a tip about encouraging flowering on your peace lily. The flowers grow up from leaves, and each leaf produces only one flower in its lifetime. Certainly its a good idea to cut off flowers that have wilted (sometimes they turn green, sometimes brown), or have failed to mature. And continue to water correctly. Fertilize as suggested in your link, except current practice is tending toward fertilizer in a 3-1-2 formulation, rather than a "balanced" 1-1-1. Now the tip - when you have a leaf that doesn't look beautiful to you, brown end or edges, broken, yellow patch, raggedy or whatever, just cut the whole leaf off by severing the leaf stem from the main stem. This will stimulate the growth of a new leaf, or leaves, which will in turn allow more leaves that can produce flowers.

Of course if you see a lot of leaves with brown tips, the most likely problem is overwatering. You can easily correct this by allowing the plant to dry, or aerate, more between watering. Don't allow the plant to wilt, that's never good, but it will tell you it needs water when the leaves just begin to droop. The best practice is to water just before that point. Test the soil moisture with a wooden dowel or skewer that you can insert down to the bottom of the pot, just like testing a cake. When you pull up the tester, it should be the slightest bit damp, with only a few crumbs of soil sticking to it.

Don't worry about humidity. Misting with a sprayer is useless, unless it's done every 10 or 15 minutes, and you can use the tray-with pebbles-and water if you want, but professionally spaths are quite content with whatever humidity they find around them. That's why they are such successful commercial plants - they are supremely adaptable.

Mimidahop,

I'd like to address a couple of the points you brought up. The "cob-like" thing you've noticed is actually called a spathe, and if you look closely at it, you'll see that it's covered by many tiny 4-petaled flowers, each not much larger than the head of a pin. The white powder you may see is actually the pollen produced by the flowers, but I have never seen a cultivated plant produce seed. It may happen in the wild, but even if the plant is capable of such, the pollinators are not going to be found in an apt building. Growers produce most spaths from tissue culture, or by rooting stem cuttings.

While you could start a new plant by repotting a section of a bigger plant, since the plants in your building don't belong to you, you really shouldn 't go digging into them. What you could do is connect with the plant service that cares for them, and ask them if you could have any plants they are replacing.

I hope I haven't gone on too long, but spaths are such wonderful plants, and you seem so interested, that I just want to help you get all you can from the experience. Good luck

vanita79
dubai
United Arab Emirates

August 3, 2013
2:09 AM

Post #9619978

Hi ficuswrangler, firstly thanks a lot for your interest in my problem. I happen to have read your post a little too late. Spring has gone by and unfortunately, my plant has still never flowered. I just recently changed pots as the last pot had almost separated from the plant on its own due to root growings around the soil.I tried a schedle of watering once a week since repotting but by the end of the week thr plant starts looking really sad so I have started keeping the pot on a bed of water at all times so it could pull up when ever iy needed more. Now I did notice a little yellowing of the big leaves but I am hoping it will be sorted once the but I am hoping this will get sorted as the watering schedule is regularized. Now one thing I might need some help on is a crumbled leaf. What could have caused this? Any idea? Also I like the idea of cutting out the whole leaf that looks spoilt but Im not sure which one to cut out completely, except for the little brown edge they all seem fine. I can just hope the small new leaves will produce a floewer some day. Also notice some stems are darker at the bottom and lighter at the top. Whay is that so?

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ficuswrangler
St Petersburg, FL

August 30, 2013
7:16 PM

Post #9646327

Hi Vanita, how are things out there in Dubai?
You've got some good questions and some interesting experience, let me respond by starting at the end. The light and dark portions on the stem have to do with the way the new leaf "hatches," as it were, down inside the plant. Botanists have special names for all these processes and parts, which you can look up if you're interested, but be assured it's perfectly natural and common. Same with the crumpled leaf. You see that sometimes. Something affected that leaf when it was still a baby, all rolled up down inside the "womb." maybe not enough water, maybe too much, maybe the chemical stuff from the grower - who knows. Anyway, nothing to worry about.
Speaking of the chemical stuff, growers add substances to promote flowering when they're preparing plants for market. That's probably why yours had so many little flowers that were so green. By the way, I think the green on the flowers was kind of pretty. Anyway, that's all worn off, and now you see that apparently your plant is not one of the "floriferous" ones. There are many varieties of spath, some have more flowers, some less. To encourage yours to flower as much as it can, you could move it to a slightly brighter location, and just leave it there.
You can also cut off older leaves from time to time. Leaves that are paling or yellowing would be good ones to cut, but if the leaves still look nice to you, then don't worry about cutting them.
More important than light or leaf removal is establishing your plant on a cycle of moistening and aeration. In other words, water it, then let it dry until the soil in the bottom of the pot is only slightly damp. Not a good idea to leave it in water all the time because the soil stays too wet and the roots start to die. Roots need to breathe air to remain healthy. Unfortunately, plants just don't take up what they need - they're like gluttons that always eat everything in sight, even when it makes them sick.
Watering on a weekly schedule is fine. If the plant gets too dry before watering day, just give it more water at watering time. You can leave some water in the drainage saucer, but it should be all gone in 2 or 3 days. Here's a video that talks some more about drainage liners. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbA2GkogUHg
You spoke of repotting, but I didn't understand what you meant by the plant separating from the pot. If you meant the soil was pulling away from the sides of the pot, that usually happens because the soil has become too dry, and it should be pushed back against the sides of the pot before watering. Plants that are rootbound often have the opposite condition - the roots stuff the area inside the pot, and the sides of the pot, so thoroughly that its hard to get the plant our for repotting. Sometimes you have to run a knife around the inside of the pot to free the roots.
Well anyway, you did repot it. BTW, are you experimenting with using a coarser, more free draining potting mix, or are you using the conventional potting soil?
Keep up the good work. Your spath looks very green and healthy, and I bet it starts popping up some flowers any day now.







vanita79
dubai
United Arab Emirates

September 26, 2013
10:19 AM

Post #9670761

Hi ficuswrangler, Dubai is still a little warmer for winter but thats a norm here. As far as my peace lily is concerned, no hint of flowering yet but I think I have started fixing the watering schedule, I water it once a week or a little more sometimes so the soil can dry out enough. I think the leaf yellowing has reduced... I did something interesting last week, I pulled the plant from its pot and inserted some avocado peels at the bottom layer of the soil. I'm still waiting to see if that will help it flower.

You know one more thing I have realized? There are two plants in this pot and one of them grows tall stems with big leaves while the other has short bushier leaves... both have new foilage but one grows more shorter leaves the other grows fewer and longer leaves. I dont have the heart to separate them as I suspect the roots may be.entangled inside. Do you think its worth a try? Or have I just got it wrong? What do you think?

Also I am using a micronutrient enriched potting mix which hold moisture well. Its around 96% organic matter 130/130/300 NPK. I dont know much about soils except a few basics.like npk

Thumbnail by vanita79   Thumbnail by vanita79   Thumbnail by vanita79      
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vanita79
dubai
United Arab Emirates

September 26, 2013
11:27 PM

Post #9671264

Hi ficuswrangler,

I saw your videos. I got u a picture of the plant pulled out of the pot. The soil is still dark cold and moist on the inside. Im not gonna water it this week and wait a little nore. This soil I am using must be holding moisture too well, its locally made for this region. But then correct me if Im wrong why do the roots wander so much if they are well fed? Could it be lack of fertilizers?

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ficuswrangler
St Petersburg, FL

October 22, 2013
2:36 PM

Post #9692295

Hi Vanita,
Sorry took me so long to respond, I didn't see the msg that there was a reply on this thread. Two plants in your pot? Not so unusual. Probably the taller one seemed a little thin, so the grower put a smaller one in to fill out the pot. You're correct not to try to separate them.

Interesting about the avocado in the pot; I've also heard of people using banana skins to promote flowering in their roses. I'm a little concerned about using "raw" materials in potted plants. I personally have never done that, maybe someone else has some experience to report.

I do know that the soil in a potted plant is a very limited micro-environment, and things that work in the open garden don't necessarily apply to pots. I'd be a little reluctant to introduce so many extra micro-organisms (the bacteria decomposing the fruit skin) into the pot. But that doesn't mean you can't try it - one of the things that makes growing indoor plants interesting is trying different things.

Speaking of soil, that's a topic for many discussions, and as much research as you want to do.
Soil, or potting medium, is composed of differing ratios of organic and inorganic matter, broken down either by machine action or natural decomposition into particles of different sizes. The different types and sizes of particles determine the sizes of the spaces between the particles, and thus how much air the medium can hold, and how much water, and how quickly or slowly both move through the container.

The moisture in the container is absorbed into the tissues of the plant by the tiny hairs on the roots.
This water not only supports the plant tissues, but also carries the dissolved minerals which are part of what the plant uses in its life processes. The minerals come from the breaking down of the soil particles, as well as from materials added in the process we call "fertilizing."

The "NPK" that you see on your soil bag refers to the major chemical elements that plants use, nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium; the three numbers refer to the amount of each one in the package, as well as the relative percentage of the three elements. The 130-130-360 is approximately a 1-1-3 concentration. That's kind of high in potassium. Plants actually use these three elements in the ratio of 3-1-2.

Then there are also the 'minor elements,' things like sulfur, calcium, iron, elements that are also necessary to plants' functions, just in smaller amounts than the major elements. Any fertilizer you use, or potting medium that contains fertilizer, should also contain these minor elements. I prefer not to use potting medium with fertilizer added, so that I can add the amount I want when I want.

To return to the composition of the medium, some people believe that a potting mix that is mostly peat is too water retentive to make good potting soil; others believe you need lots of peat to keep the soil from drying too fast. If this is a soil formulated in your locality, I suppose they are trying to make a soil that will not dry out so fast, which is fine for plants outside on patios and terraces, but maybe not so good for those kept indoors.

The next time you do some potting, one choice would be to add some perlite if you can get it, 1 handful of perlite for each handful of soil. Your objective is to make the soil coarser and more able to drain freely. The reason is to make sure the roots don't stay too wet for too long.

Whatever formulation of potting medium you use, you always need to test the soil moisture before watering, and adjust water to whatever conditions - soil, light, plant variety - you have. When you looked at the soil and roots, you felt that the soil was wet and cold - trust your feeling! Make sure you're using one of the moisture testing techniques, and don't water until that soil feels soft and nice, with only a small amount of moisture in it. Your plant should then be able to grow happily, and you can use a better draining mix the next time you repot, which should probably not be for another year or so.

Unpotting your plant(s) to examine the soil and roots is actually a great idea. If everyone would do this, they would begin to understand that a plant is not only the green stuff - leaves, stems, flowers - but also the roots within the soil, as well as the soil itself. The roots of your peace lily look very healthy - fat and white. I'm guessing that what you mean by 'wandering' is the way there are just a few sticking out from the soil. They're not wandering, they're just growing.

In nature, the roots of most plants grow outward in all directions from the center of the plant. In a pot, the roots are growing outward toward the edge of the pot. When they reach that, they will start to grow around the edge. In addition, the roots themselves are branching, and most of those branches will also be growing outward. Look again in 6 months to see what's happened.

Sounds like you're on the right track. Good growing to you.






















Teengardener188
Westmere, NY

October 28, 2013
6:21 AM

Post #9696620

Sorry to go off topic, but does anyone know where I can find a variegated peace lily, probally the Domino cultivar?
vanita79
dubai
United Arab Emirates

November 3, 2013
5:30 AM

Post #9700807

Thanks a lot for your comments ficuswrangler. I think the avocado may have done some good because I've had 3 new leaves comeup on the tall plant within the month which is something I did not see before during the whole year. Andthis soil is okay. I did get a bag of a softer mix last week which I think I will use the next time I repot it. Because this local soil is strange, it did say its more moisture retentive and suited for indoor and outdoor plants but it dries out pretty quickly in the outdoor pots I've aded it to. And the nitrogen content is just too low. It worked well for growing fenugreek, but it was a disaster for tomatoes and most other plants I tried it for. I was hoping the high potasium will promote flowers. But so far no luck.
marykwiley
Kansas City, MO

January 20, 2014
8:05 PM

Post #9752329

i have one and i have it infront of a window with a sheer i water it weekly but once a month i set it in my sink a soak it i mist it almost every day and it is bright greem my flowers just done their thing and now they are gone should bloom again soon
vanita79
dubai
United Arab Emirates

February 16, 2014
12:27 AM

Post #9770082

Do you fertilize them? Mine will just not flower no matter what I do.
jaxc
reporoa
New Zealand

March 11, 2014
5:49 PM

Post #9787614

Please I need help with my peace lily. Has never flowered. I water when it droops. And mist soray twice a week. Not by a window but got heaps of light. Please help what am I doing wrong.
jaxc
reporoa
New Zealand

March 11, 2014
5:59 PM

Post #9787620

Heres a photo of my peace lily

Thumbnail by jaxc
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vanita79
dubai
United Arab Emirates

March 16, 2014
12:25 AM

Post #9790511

Hi,

My peace lily has still not flowered.

But I have a new ray of hope... :-)

I just learnt a few days back about peace lillies how their roots need to be allowed to get root bound as the plant would just not produce flowers unless its under a little stress.

(I repotted mine once since the two years I have had it and put some avocado skin at the bottom of the pot. That caused a lot of small green leaves to grow but no flowers. Even bannana peels don't seem to work.

But what I have done recently (this year) is I chopped off a lot of leaves. Instead of only tips which turn brown. (A suggestionIwas given long back but never had the heart to try). Well what happens in this case is that the remaining leaves get bigger and the leaves don't die easily u see, they live really long. So with a fewer leaves and a greater root system the plant may have energy for flowering. I keep checking the root system its still notcompletely pot bound but there are some good long roots in there. Hopefully I will see a flower soon.

jaxc
reporoa
New Zealand

March 18, 2014
1:19 PM

Post #9792393

Hi all. How does everyone water there peace lily from the top or bottom. How much water do u give it. Do u keep watering it until u see water coming out of the bottom?

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