What Does Peace Lily Root Rot Look Like

Peace lilies are a popular houseplant known for their white flowers and lush green foliage. Unfortunately, if not properly cared for, these lilies can be susceptible to root rot.

Root rot is a disease caused by fungi that can cause severe damage to lily roots and leaves. It is important to familiarize yourself with the signs of root rot in order to keep your peace lily healthy and beautiful. If left untreated, root rot can cause your lily to wilt and die. So, what does peace lily root rot look like?

Signs of root rot include discolored roots, wilting leaves, yellowing or browning leaves, and a musty smell coming from the soil. If you suspect your lily has root rot, it is important to take immediate action.

Causes of Peace Lily Root Rot

Peace Lily plants (spathiphyllum) are a beautiful addition to any home or office, however, they can be prone to root rot. Root rot is caused by an abundance of moisture, which can lead to the rotting of the root system and eventual death of the plant.

Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to prevent root rot, such as ensuring the soil is well-draining, avoiding overwatering, and providing adequate ventilation to the plant.

Additionally, it is important to inspect the roots of the plant regularly for signs of decay and to repot the plant into fresh soil if necessary.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your Peace Lily will remain healthy and beautiful for years to come.

Symptoms of Peace Lily Root Rot

Like any plant, it’s susceptible to various diseases, one of which is root rot. Root rot often occurs when the plant’s roots are consistently too wet due to overwatering, poor drainage, or a too-dense potting mix.

Symptoms of root rot in Peace Lilies may include:

  1. Yellowing Leaves: This is one of the first signs you might notice. The leaves might start to yellow, even though they’re not old.
  2. Wilting or Drooping: Despite adequate watering, the leaves will appear wilted or droopy. This can be a sign that the roots are not able to absorb water properly due to the rot.
  3. Browning Leaf Tips: The tips of the leaves may start to turn brown, which is another sign that the plant is not receiving adequate nutrients from the roots.
  4. Foul Smell: If the root rot is advanced, the plant might begin to emit a foul, musty odor. This is the smell of the decaying roots.
  5. Soft, Mushy Roots: When you remove the plant from its pot, the roots might appear soft and mushy rather than firm and white. They might also be dark brown or black instead of a healthy white or light tan color.
  6. Leaf Drop: In severe cases, the plant may drop leaves.
  7. Stunted Growth: The plant may also display signs of stunted growth, as the rotting roots are unable to take up the necessary nutrients for growth.

To treat a Peace Lily with root rot, you’d need to remove the plant from its pot, trim away the affected roots, and repot it in fresh, well-draining soil. It’s also important to ensure that the plant isn’t overwatered in the future, as this can lead to a recurrence of root rot.

Prevention Strategies for Peace Lily Root Rot

Preventing root rot in Peace Lilies involves mostly proper watering, adequate drainage, and the use of well-draining soil. Here are some strategies to prevent this issue:

  1. Watering: Overwatering is the most common cause of root rot. Peace Lilies prefer the soil to dry out between waterings, so it’s crucial to ensure you’re not keeping the soil wet all the time. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again.
  2. Drainage: Good drainage is essential to prevent waterlogging of the soil. Always use pots with drainage holes and avoid leaving the plant in a tray of water. If you notice water standing on the surface of the soil or in the drip tray long after you’ve watered, it’s a sign that the soil is retaining too much water.
  3. Soil: Use a well-draining soil mix for your Peace Lily. Something like a good quality potting mix with added perlite for improved drainage would be suitable.
  4. Pot Size: If the pot is too large, the soil may stay wet for too long. Ensure the pot is of an appropriate size for the plant.
  5. Regular Inspection: Regularly check your plant for any signs of distress. Early detection can prevent a full-blown case of root rot.
  6. Hygiene: When repotting or planting, use clean pots and tools to avoid the spread of pathogens. If you need to trim roots, make sure to sterilize your cutting tool before and after use.
  7. Fertilizing: Over-fertilization can lead to salt buildup in the soil, which can harm the roots, making them more susceptible to rot. Use fertilizer judiciously, and when in doubt, less is more.
  8. Temperature and Humidity: Peace Lilies prefer temperatures between 65-85°F (18-30°C) and high humidity. Extreme temperature changes can stress the plant, making it more susceptible to diseases like root rot.

By following these guidelines, you can greatly reduce the risk of your Peace Lily developing root rot.

How To Fix Peace Lily Root Rot (Step By Step) - Garden For Indoor
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Treatments for Peace Lily Root Rot

Treating root rot in Peace Lilies requires a combination of removing the diseased parts of the plant and providing the right conditions for recovery. Here are the steps you can take:

  1. Remove the Plant: First, remove the plant from its pot. Be gentle to avoid causing any additional damage to the roots.
  2. Inspect the Roots: Take a good look at the roots. Healthy roots should be firm and white. Rotted roots, on the other hand, will look dark brown or black and may feel soft or mushy.
  3. Trim Away Rotted Roots: Using a clean, sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears, trim away any rotted roots. Make sure to sanitize your tool before and after use to prevent the spread of the disease.
  4. Rinse the Roots: Rinse the remaining healthy roots under lukewarm running water to remove any leftover soil and potential pathogens.
  5. Repot the Plant: After you’ve trimmed away the affected roots, repot the plant in a clean pot with fresh, well-draining potting soil. Ensure the pot has adequate drainage holes to prevent waterlogging in the future.
  6. Correct Watering Habits: Moving forward, allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. The goal is to keep the soil moist, not wet.
  7. Monitor the Plant: After repotting, keep an eye on the plant to see if it improves. With proper care, it should start to recover.

In some severe cases, if the plant has lost a significant amount of its root system, recovery may not be possible. However, in most cases, catching the issue early and taking the above steps can help your Peace Lily recover from root rot.

Note: Some gardeners may suggest using a fungicide treatment. While this can help in some instances, it’s usually not necessary for treating root rot in houseplants. Good cultural practices and care are often the best medicine.

Common Questions about Peace Lily Root Rot

Peace Lilies are a popular houseplant, known for their beautiful white blooms and low maintenance needs.

Despite their hardiness, they can still suffer from root rot if not properly cared for. Root rot is caused by too much moisture, poor drainage, or a too-small pot.

Common questions about Peace Lily root rot include: What causes root rot in Peace Lilies? How can I prevent root rot in my Peace Lilies?

What should I do if I think my Peace Lily has root rot?

Learning the causes and prevention of root rot will help you keep your Peace Lilies happy and healthy.

With proper care, including well-draining soil, adequate drainage, and proper watering, you can avoid root rot and enjoy your Peace Lilies for many years to come.

Long-Term Solutions for Peace Lily Root Rot

Long-term solutions for preventing Peace Lily root rot focus on adopting good cultivation habits that provide optimal growing conditions for your plant. Here are some key strategies:

  1. Watering Technique: Implementing proper watering techniques is the first and most important step. Water thoroughly until water comes out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot, then allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again. Remember, Peace Lilies prefer being too dry rather than too wet.
  2. Improve Drainage: Ensure your pot has good drainage. You can also add materials like perlite, coarse sand, or bark to your potting mix to improve its drainage properties.
  3. Choosing the Right Pot: Use a pot that is just the right size for your Peace Lily, not too large, as more soil means more water retention. Also, pots made of materials like terracotta can help wick excess moisture out of the soil.
  4. Optimize Light and Temperature: Keep your Peace Lily in a spot where it gets bright, indirect light. Maintain temperatures between 65-85°F (18-30°C) and avoid cold drafts or temperature fluctuations.
  5. Repotting: If your Peace Lily is constantly having root rot issues, it might be time to repot. When you do this, inspect the roots thoroughly and trim off any affected parts. Then, repot into fresh, well-draining soil.
  6. Fertilizing: Peace Lilies do not require much fertilizer. Over-fertilizing can lead to salt buildup which can damage the roots. Typically, feeding once in spring and once in summer with a balanced houseplant fertilizer is adequate.
  7. Regular Inspection: Regularly inspect your plant’s foliage and overall health. Any significant changes may indicate a problem that could become serious if not addressed quickly.

By implementing these solutions, you can reduce the chance of your Peace Lily developing root rot and ensure it lives a healthy, long life.

FAQs About the What Does Peace Lily Root Rot Look Like

What are the common signs of peace lily root rot?

Answer: Wilting of the plant, yellowing of the leaves, stunted growth, mushy or brown roots, and a foul smell are all signs of root rot in peace lilies.

What causes root rot in peace lilies?

Answer: Root rot in peace lilies is usually caused by overwatering or poor drainage, leading to too much moisture around the plant’s roots.

How can I prevent root rot in my peace lilies?

Answer: Preventing root rot in peace lilies can be achieved by ensuring that the plant is getting enough light, not over-watering, and providing good drainage.


Peace lily root rot is a condition caused by overwatering and poor drainage that affects the roots of the peace lily plant. It is characterized by brown or black spots on the leaves, wilting of the leaves, and stems that have become mushy and discolored. If not treated in time, peace lily root rot can lead to the death of the plant. To avoid this condition, it is important to water peace lilies only when the soil is dry, and to make sure the plant is placed in a pot with good drainage. With proper care and attention, peace lily root rot can be avoided and the plant can remain healthy.


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