A peace lily plant pot sitting magnificently on a windowpane at home or on a shelf in the office is often a beautiful sight to behold.
The peace lily is a houseplant kept and grown for its broadleaf and beauty.
A peace lily is quite resistant to drought but not as resistant as other houseplants native to temperate regions.
This is because the peace lily is native to tropical rain forests and requires good watering and a humid environment.
The peace lily usually suffers when it is not watered as much as is required for survival.
Underwatering could be a result of negligence on the part of the owner or a result of environmental conditions that keep the leaves of plants constantly losing water.
The peace lily, like a human starved of water, shows signs of thirst and fatigue and finally dies off if the condition persists.
This article explains all of the signs to look out for in your blooming peace lily to tell if it is growing healthily or lacking an adequate amount of water.
It also walks you through a step-by-step process of fixing the underwatered peace lily to save it from death.
How do I know if My Peace Lily is Underwatered?
When the condition of underwatering persist in the peace lily, drought stress slowly begins to occur, until it becomes full blown and the peace lily can no longer endure, so it withers away.
The following are signs that appear in your peace lily to show that they lack water.
1. Spots on leaves
2. Curling of leaves
3. Stunted growth
4. Hardening of soil around the plant pot
5. Breakable roots
6. Yellowing of leaves
The peace lily does not usually survive half of these symptoms before they dieout.
It is usually advised that proper attention and care be given to the peace lily as soon as any of these signs begin to appear on the peace lily plant.
1. Spots on the Leaves
Peace lilies are characterized by green leaves and flower production.
However, in conditions of prolonged water deprivation or insufficient application of water to the peace lily, brown spots start to form on some parts of the leaves.
It usually starts from the leaf blades and then spreads through all parts of the leaf.
These spots are an indication that the plant is drought-stressed. Since photosynthesis is a function of the chlorophyll green pigments on the plant, the development of brown spots slowly hampers the plant’s ability to carry out photosynthesis.
As the spots completely overrun the leaves, the plant completely loses its ability to carry out photosynthesis which eventually leads to its death.
2. Curling of Leaves
The peace lily has an inbuilt survival mechanism that helps it retain moisture in drought areas.
It is like the dormancy state but this is activated only in drought.
This technique in plants involves the curling of leaves to stop stomata exposure to excessive wind action.
This way, water is retained and prevented from being lost to the atmosphere. But there is a limit to how long the water in the peace lily can sustain it.
When the peace lily plant exceeds its limit of staying without water, the leaves keep curling and shriveling until the plants die out.
Every time the leaves of your peace lily begin to curl, you should be aware that it is in need of water.
3. Stunted Growth
This is because growth in the peace lily is greatly facilitated by the amount of water the plant receives.
The peace lily would go into dormancy and stop increasing in size and leaf numbers if it is not getting enough water.
This is done to conserve the limited water available to it for survival.
A bigger peace lily is equal to the usage of more water and more nutrients from the soil, so the peace lily stops growing and stays dormant until it is able to get a good drink again.
If your plant stays the same way for more than three months, you should check the plant for underwatering and take steps to correct it.
4. Hardening of Soil Around the Plant Pot
Ideally, the plant pot of your peace lily should be moist. It should be such that you can easily dip a finger in.
When the soil within the plant is dry and hard, it is a sign that the plant has not been watered as it should be and the roots have probably sucked up all of the water.
Hardening of soil prevents the proper functioning of certain microorganisms in the soil, keeping the soil poorly aerated.
5. Breakable Roots
Underwatering the peace Lily affects the roots adversely by making them brittle and easily breakable.
The slender nature and elasticity of the roots of plants are a function of adequate water application to the plant.
A root system that receives the right amount of water, is able to grow more root hairs that can twirl and turn through the soil, tapping into every corner of the soil for nutrients.
When the plant is underwatered, this process is hampered, and instead of elasticity in the peace Lily root, brittleness occurs, and the roots break up into different parts, disconnecting from the plant.
This means that the plant cannot get food supply from the soil anymore, so it dies off.
6. Yellowing of Leaves
The leaves of the peace lily also begin to turn yellow to show drought stress and underwatering.
Yellowing begins from the leaf blade and slowly spreads all through the leaf, making the leaves turn from healthy green to a blend of green and yellow.
This looks awful and distorts the beauty the peace lily was supposed to add to the house.
Yellowing of leaves first occurs on a few leaves of the peace lily- at this point, the underwatering effects are still mild and the plant still has some water to sustain itself.
As the days go by with sustained low water conditions, every leaf on the stem turns yellow, and the peace lily wilts.
How to Save an Underwatered Peace Lily
When a peace lily plant shows signs of underwatering, it is only wise to take steps to revive it.
The following ways can be used to revive an Underwatered Peace lily already showing signs like yellowing leaves and brittle roots.
It is safer to begin these procedures immediately after the peace lily develops the symptoms of underwatering.
This is because, before the peace lily began to show the symptoms, it must have been drought stressed to an extent.
The following are ways to save an underwatered Peace Lily plant:
- Water the plant by soaking: when the plant shows the sign of underwatering, there is a need to give it a good drink.
The best technique of watering to combat the underwatered peace lily is the soaking technique.
It involves dipping the plant pot in a bowl full of warm distilled water, deep enough to contain the plant pot.
Leave the plant pot in the water for about ten minutes or longer, before taking it out.
This is to ensure that the water permeates through every airspace in the soil as well as the root. This is step one in the saving process.
It is necessary to use distilled water for soaking as the water is free from harmful mineral salts that are contained in tap water.
- Place plant in a humid temperature: the next step to saving the underwatered peace lily plant involves paying attention to the temperature of the environment where the peace lily is located.
Change the plant pot to a location where there is indirect sunlight and the temperature is not above 61°F.
This helps to reduce the amount of moisture that can be lost through perspiration from the stomata.
Also place the plant pot in an area where there is low wind action, as the wind can also bring about Loss of moisture from plant leaves and drying of roots.
- Change plant pot: if your plant pot is smaller than the size of the plant, it cannot hold enough water needed by the plant hence, inspect the plant roots and check to see if the root bulbs are pressing hard against the walls of the plant pot.
If they are, then there is a need to change the plant pot to something that suits the plant’s size.
This way, enough water can be retained on the soil, keeping It moisturized for a longer time.
Can A Peace Lily Recover from Underwatering?
Yes, a peace lily plant can recover from underwatering. This is possible if the steps to revive the peace lily are prompt and consistent.
The application of water to the peace lily should not stop with the first soak. Regular watering should continue until the plant leaves are green and blooming again.
As long as the plant does not die out before the steps to revive it began, the peace lily can live and bloom again, adding beauty to the home like the first time it bloomed.
How often Should you Water the Peace Lily?
We recommend watering with a good soak, once a week in spring and hotter seasons.
When the weather begins to get cool and winter approaches, it is advised to reduce the frequency to at least once in two weeks.
This way, the peace lily stays sufficiently moist, all year round.
The curling of leaves is most times a signal to water the plant, even when it’s not up to one week since the last water application.
Do not leave the peace lily too long before applying water, as they cannot tolerate long periods of drought.
Should I Cut off the Brown Tips from My Peace Lily?
The brown tips of the peace lily are signs that show that the peace lily is being underwatered.
You do not need to cut them off unless they are too brown and are looking burnt.
If they are just mild brown colored tips of the peace lily, application of the right water amount will get them green again.
How do I Get Rid of Brown Tips on the Tips of My Peace Lily?
This is pretty easy as long as the peace lily just has just brown leaf tips and no brown spots on the whole leave.
If you soak the plant regularly and adequately, your plant is sure to recover very quickly and those brown tips can return to the initial green.
So, to get rid of brown tips on your peace lily, water adequately, place the plant in a position where it receives indirect sunlight, and, keep the environment around the peace lily plant continually humid.
Your peace lily plant loves to have a good drink and cannot survive prolonged periods of drought.
Signs of underwatering are there to point you to the fact that they could wilt anytime soon if nothing is done about their water condition.
Hence, when these symptoms begin to appear on the peace lily plants, you do not need to hesitate in rectifying the water condition of the plant.
Your peace lily will certainly blossom again if taken care of properly.