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How To Care For A Peace Lily Received At A Funeral

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum clevelandii

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum clevelandii

Ask The Expert: I was give a peace lily for my husbands funeral last April.  This is very large plant. I have trouble keeping any house plant.  The leaves are dying and turning brown. I’ve tried leaving the light on in the kitchen because I thought it needed light.  I would just hate to loose this plant for many reasons.  Can you help me bring my poor peace lily back to a healthy life?
Thank you,

Plant Expert Reply:

I can understand why you want to keep this plant healthy and I will try my best to help you do so. If you haven’t removed the peace lily from the decorative foil the florist puts it in do so now. The foil won’t allow the peace lily to drain properly.

Knowing what the specific care needs for a particular plant is the first step in houseplant survival. Let’s see what kind of care peace lilies (Spathiphyluum clevelandii) need.

They need bright filtered light, but are tolerant to low light levels. They do not like bright sunlight shining down on their leaves — it will cause the leaves to burn.  So place your peace in a room that gets a fair amount of light, but do not place it directly in front of a window.

Peace lilies want an evenly moist environment. This means the soil should not dry out completely or reamin soggy.  Once a week watering is a good rule of thumb. When you water make sure the soak the water completely and that any excess water drains quickly and easily. You can perform an easy test to determine the water needs of your plant.

Test the soil before watering by sticking finger in soil up to first knuckle — this will help you determine if the plant needs water. If the soil feels moist don’t water. You can also pull a little bit of the soil out and perform the roll test.

Roll the soil into a ball:

  • If you can squeeze wtaer easily out of the ball and you haven’t water in a while check the drainage. The plant may be too wet.
  • If you can’t roll the soil into a ball, it is too wet.
  • If you can roll soil into ball and it stays together but you can’t squeeze water out of it — then it is just fine.

Always water your peace lily with luke warm water and mist the air around the plant occasionally. Peace lilies are susceptible to chlorine damage; let chlorine evaporate from tap water before using or use distilled water. Over-watering may cause leaves to turn yellow and under-watering may cause plants to wilt and the leaf edges to turn yellow or brown.

Light and water are the most important plant care requirements. You can learn more about peace lily care on our peace lily page.

I also recommend trim off the damaged leaves.  Hopefully these tips will help you take care of your peace lily. Please keep me posted on your progress.

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  1. I received a sympathy plant from my godmothers funeral. I have never been a plant person. But I love this plant and I will care for it as long as I can. I have had it ever since December of 2015 and surprisingly, it’s still green. I had a problem in the beginning because I was watering it too much. But after reading up on this type of plant, I have come to find out that, they don’t need much care. I water my plants about every 7 – 10 days, wipe their leaves with a damp towel, mist the leaves,,,,,all with water from,,,,, my fish tank. I know it sounds weird, but it has been extremely helpful. No brown leave and none has died since I have tried this method. I keep it by a window where the sun doesn’t shine in at all. And it’s as full as the day I got it. I hope this helps. Sorry for your loss.

  2. Theresa Hunt says:

    The lilies in my peace plant have turned brown. Do I cut them off? And if so, how far?
    Thank you very much

  3. Theresa,

    Yes you need to prune the blooms off. Follow the bloom stalk to the base of the plant and cut it off.

  4. Tia gettys says:

    I have a few leaves that are yellow. Do I cut them also?

  5. Tia,

    Yes, I would trim off the yellow leaves, as the roots are putting a lot of energy into them. Getting rid of the sick leaves will let the roots nourish the rest of the healthy plant. To trim the yellow leaves, use a pair of scissors and cut down on the stem of the infected leave(s) as far down as you can. Hope this helps.

  6. I have a peace Lilly that is growing her roots outside of the potting soil. Patricia is her name. Is there any tips or secrets to repotting the plants without damaging the flower that I should know?

  7. Tia,

    Use a humus rich potting soil to repot the peace lily. To help the roots to retain soil and prevent the root tearing, re-pot the plant when the soil is somewhat moist. For determining pot size follow this rule of thumb; use a pot that is 1 ½ times the size of the previous pot. When placing the peace lily in it’s new pot, keep the plant level the same as it was in the old pot (fill the pot so that the top of the root-ball is at the same level as before). After re-potting, water slightly to remove any air bubbles that might have occurred and wait a couple of weeks before fertilizing. Hope this information helps!

  8. latia gettys says:

    Yes! Very helpful. Now my question is, because the flower pot is already big, is it the same directions to split a plant in half?

  9. To split the plant in half, remove your plant from the container. Don’t worry about tearing the roots or losing a few leaves. Lay the plant on its side. This will give you a view of the root system as well as the foliage attached to the rootball. Now you are going to cut the plant into two pieces.

    To do this, take a knife starting at the bottom of the rootball and work it back and forth until you have made a cut all the way to the foliage. Now you should have two separate peace lilies. Each one will have foliage attached to a portion of the rootball.

    Now place one of the peace lilies in the center of the original container. Be sure the rootball is at the same depth it was before the plant was split. Then add soil to close the vacant space in the container. Be sure to water it when done. This will get rid of any air pockets that have formed around the roots.

    Now pot the other peace lilies in the new container. Once again, make sure the rootball is planted at the same depth as it was in the original pot. Fill in the vacant space and water.
    These plants will go through a little transplant shock and may wilt. Resist the urge to pamper them. Instead, place them in the same environment as before and water accordingly. In a couple of weeks, you will have two thriving peace lilies.

  10. latia gettys says:

    I really appreciate your help!!! One last thing, when I do remove the plants from the original pot, do I soak the soil for easy removal? My roots may be suffocating each other

  11. Yes, you can water the plant to help with removal. I wouldn’t soak the soil. You can also slide a dull knife between the soil and the sides of the pot to loosen the root ball if it doesn’t slide out easily. You’re welcome. Glad to help.

  12. Chitarra Laster says:

    I love my plant but I’m having a hard time with it no I it from my father funeral Halloween of 2015 the wrist day of my life an I’m his only child my dad was sick for many years in I didn’t find out about how bad it was until 4weeks after he was dieing 😡😤 an to make it even worst he was in west Memphis,AR in me Chicago,IL so I haven’t seen my dad in 7 years in til this happen I seen my dad for the 1st time at his funeral. i wish I can show how bad lo look now but I got it now it gone be bk green so thank u everyone an also I been taking care of my plant like it my baby n to add I have 5 kids an I see now why it brown an yellow n dieing

  13. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Chitarra,
    I’m glad you were able to get your plant healthy again! Glad we could help! If you have any more questions, let us know.

  14. I have had my peace lily for about 10 years. It has always done wonderful. The last few months it has begun to wilt. The leaves are sagging but are still very green, not flowering either. I repotted it to a larger pot that is deep but does not have a drainage hole. I’m wondering if that could be an issue? The wilting happened before I repotted from a pot that had a drainage hole though. It is not in direct sun but does get indirect light. I water it once a week, just as I always have. Just not sure what to try to rescue my peace lily?? Please help!! Open for any suggestions. Thank you!!

  15. Jeffrey Balch says:

    Peace lilies definitely need a drainage hole to prevent root rot. Most often, if no flowers are appearing, the plant is not getting enough light.

  16. John Harrold says:

    I got mine at my son’s funeral 12yrs ago.. It’s a tough plant as I don’t have a green thumb. It is still about as big as it was when I got it. It didn’t flower this year but it sure has gotten a lot thicker!

  17. deanna eastridge says:

    Can you plant sympathy plants outside?

  18. Jeffrey Balch says:

    Hi Deanna! It would depend on the plant, but peace lilies can be grown outdoors, as long as you move them indoors before temperatures begin to approach 40 degrees.