Peace Lily Deflated – House Plant Journal

Peace Lily Deflated

Plant: Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)

How long have you had the plant? Less than 1 month


Within a week of potting the plant collapsed like this!

I made sure there was plenty of rocks for drainage in the bottom of the pot. I added a bit of fertilizer to the soil and am wondering if I over fertilized it?


Light Situation:

Plant Parent: In this position, the plant receives only indirect light

How do you determine WHEN to water? I wait for the soil to become completely dry.

Describe HOW you water: I pour a small amount of water.

Other info regarding watering: I accidentally used reverse osmosis water one day so I thought maybe that was it? But it hasn’t come back – I had a bunch of plants at home I accidentally almost killed by watering with this and most came back after watering with tap water.

What fertilizer (if any) do you use? Yes, started recently I am not sure – I believe it is organic nitrogen rich fertilizer. I mixed about 1 tb into the soil in the pot before adding the plant.


Follow up questions:

  1. Exactly what kind of soil did you use for repotting?
  2. Can you show me the fertilizer you used? Was it a liquid? Was it granules? Did the instructions say to mix 1 tablespoon per x volume of soil?
  3. When you say you used reverse osmosis water, are you referring to the RO water that you drink or some kind of waste water that may come from the system?

Plant Parent

This is the soil and the fertilizer plus instructions:
I don’t know where I got the TB thing from, it looks like it says 1/2 tsp so maybe that’s it?!
Yes we have a RO water tap we use for drinking water, I used to dump whatever was left in my bottle on plants but killed a few and my husband informed me it’s not good for plants?? I’ve been using tap water since, which is also filtered but not RO.

Darryl’s Analysis

Thanks for the additional information!  Here are a few of my comments/observations:

  1. Watering practice: RO water is totally fine for plants – some professionals even prefer using it over plain tap water.  The issues you are facing are in both aspects of watering – the “when to water” and the “how to water”.  WHEN to water: a peace lily should be watered when its soil is around halfway dry, not when completely dry.  HOW to water: ideally, the soil should be thoroughly and evenly soaked while letting excess water drain away.  Pouring small amounts of water leaves dry pockets where roots can die off.
  2. The soil you used says “Garden Soil – For In-Ground Use”, which is much too dense and water-retentive for a peace lily.  Houseplant soil will consist of peat moss, coco coir, and perlite (and maybe bark chips) – or you can look for a bag of soil that says “for houseplants”.  This is the main reason your plant seems to have suddenly collapsed after repotting.
  3. As you noticed, the instructions for your fertilizer said “1/2 teaspoon” for small pots – so 1 tablespoon is WAY too much.

At this point, the plant is likely too far gone to be revived.  In the future, make sure you’re using soil that is appropriate for houseplants – peat moss/coco coir is light brown and fluffy; perlite looks like little white pebbles.

If you want to learn good foundations in houseplant care to avoid costly/heartbreaking errors, I think you’ll enjoy my book or online course.

Tired of your houseplants dying on you?

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