Signs Of Root Rot In Peace Lily (Causes And Treatment)

Peace lily or Spathiphyllum Wallisii is one of the popular plants that has been cultivated for centuries in Asian countries and spread to other continents. The beauty of this plant is its bright green leaves and eye-catching white flowers.

Peace lily is also quite easy to grow, easy to care for, and can live in a variety of conditions and environments. However, one of the most common problems you will encounter when caring for this plant is root rot. Root rot can happen frequently if you don’t understand its causes and remedies. What are the signs of root rot in peace lily? How to detect and correct in time? To answer these questions, let’s find out the answers in the article below.

Top 4 Signs Of Root Rot In Peace Lily

Root rot is a disease caused by fungi that live in or on plant roots. Root rot causes are related to waterlogging, poor drainage, or poor soil quality. Here are some common signs of peace lily root rot that you can observe early on.

1. Leaves Begin To Wilt And Turn Yellow

Overwatering and waterlogging cause the roots to transport more water up the leaves and stems. Since then, the leaves are always swollen, wet and do not receive enough nutrients from the soil. All peace lily leaves will wilt and droop around the pot. The reason is that waterlogging causes plants to suffocate, unable to exchange oxygen and absorb nutrients in the soil. So, the photosynthesis, metabolism, and air exchange of plants have been completely disrupted. The entire leaf also shows signs of turning yellow and gradually losing the green color of chlorophyll.

2. Slow And Stunted Growth

Root rot is the main cause of slow and stunted growth of peace lily. The root system must be overstressed in a humid and poorly drained environment that will expose the roots to harmful fungi and bacteria. They will cause the roots to become soft and rotten. From there, the roots cannot absorb nutrients and water to nourish the whole plant. Peace lily does not receive nutrition and water will grow slowly, stunt, and die when root rot is more severe.

3. Black Spots Appear On Leaves

One of the signs that you can easily observe is the appearance of dark spots. Leaves begin to have black, yellow, or brown spots accompanied by a lack of vitality. Bacteria and fungi have attacked the root system, causing leaves and stem to not have enough nutrients and leading to black spots appearing. Black spots are a sign that the cells in the leaf have broken down, the leaves are deformed, and the pigment has completely disappeared. From there, they are difficult to recover if the black spots spread on the surface of the leaves.

signs of root rot in peace lily

4. Soil Smells Bad

You can observe around the base of the peace lily on the ground. If the plant has root rot, a slimy and rotten odor will appear around the base of the plant on the surface of the soil. If this occurs, your plant has severe root rot and the fungus is attacking the stem of the plant. You need to fix it quickly before the fungus kills the entire stem and leaves of the plant.

What Is The Cause Of Peace Lily Root Rot?

Peace lily root rot has many different causes. Some common causes such as low light, too much watering leading to waterlogging, poor drainage, and a pot size too large compared to the size of the peace lily. Here are some common causes of root rot that you need to look out for to prevent.

1. Low Light

Low light is one of the leading causes of root rot. Peace lily plants can tolerate low light but they will grow slow and stunted. When plants do not receive enough light, the rate of photosynthesis and metabolism will be severely affected.

Low light will also not be able to promote water evaporation and the air exchange mechanism of plants. From there, the soil will take longer to dry, always wet, and create favorable conditions for fungi to grow and lead to root rot.

2. Flooding

A peace lily is a plant that loves moist soil, but too wet soil for a long time will also affect its growth. Plants need to be watered regularly to provide water for the entire leaves and stems. From there, they can photosynthesize and metabolize to grow well. However, waterlogging will make the root system unable to exchange oxygen and transport nutrients to plants. From there, harmful fungi and bacteria will attack and cause root rot.

3. Poor Drainage System

You can water the peace lily regularly, but the soil must be well drained. If excess water cannot drain out and always stays at the bottom of the pot, waterlogging will occur frequently. Excess water will make the soil at the bottom of the pot too wet and air cannot circulate. Therefore, the most important factor to avoid waterlogging is that the pot must have at least one drainage hole. The potting mix also needs a mix of perlite or gravel in the bottom layer of the pot to create openings. These openings will have the effect of exchanging air and draining excess water.

4. The Pot Size Is Too Big

Pots that are too large and contain a lot of soil are also causes of increased root rot. The reason is that you will tend to water more than the actual use of the peace lily. The large amount of water that keeps the soil wet will put undue stress on the plant’s root system. From there, the humid environment will create favorable conditions for the fungus to grow and thrive.

Many people consider growing plants or seedlings in oversized pots for a variety of reasons. However, peace lilies will contain more potting medium and, therefore, more water. This is the biggest problem for peace lily root rot.

How To Treat Peace Lily’s Root Rot

The recovery of the peace lily will depend entirely on the degree of root rot of the plant. If you catch it early and only some of the roots are rotten, you can save the plant’s life. However, if the entire root system is already rotten, it is very difficult to revive them. Follow the steps below to treat peace lily.

  • Gently remove the entire plant from the pot to avoid causing undue stress.
  • Clean the root system with clean water and gently remove the surrounding soil.
  • Prune leaves stems, and roots are damaged by fungal attacks.
  • Use a fungicide spray on the infected branches or you can also soak the entire roots in a solution with a fungicide to remove bacteria from the roots.
  • Use a fresh potting mix that has a blend of soil, nutrients, perlite, or gravel at the bottom. This mixture will help plants have openings in the bottom of the pot to drain water and exchange air.
  • You should not use old soil mixes because fungi and bacteria are already lurking in the soil and you may not be able to clean them out completely.
  • Use a new pot that has at least one drainage hole and is sized appropriately for the size of the plant. You should use pots made of soil material for better drainage.
  • Plant peace lily plants in a new pot with slightly moist soil. Stop watering until the ground is dry and the leaves are not wet from too much water.
  • Place the potted plant in an area with at least 6 hours of sunlight to stimulate water evaporation and photosynthesis of peaceful lily plants.
  • Do not place the potted plant in direct sunlight continuously because the plants are not strong enough to withstand extreme heat.
  • You can also use a self-watering can to avoid waterlogging problems. The root system will automatically absorb water when the soil is dry.


Peace lily plants are very susceptible to root rot and die from various causes. Some of the basic causes such as too much watering leading to waterlogging, and low light cannot promote evaporation and air exchange in the soil of the roots. In addition, poor drainage also leads to root rot because excess water always accumulates in the pot.

Some of the signs you may observe include wilting leaves, uniform yellowing, black and brown spots appearing, or the ground having mucus and a rotten smell. To prevent this, you need to pay attention to the watering and potting mix of the plants. The pot should have at least one drainage hole and have perlite at the bottom of the pot for drainage and air exchange. The peace lily’s recovery will depend on the severity of the root rot. Therefore, you need to detect it early to fix it in time.

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