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Did you know that you cannot use the same pot for all your houseplants? I learned that over time. Some, like peace lilies, prefer being in moist but not soggy soil.
And when you use pots with poor drainage, the plants develop root rot and die. On the other hand, some plants like soil that lies on the soggy side. And when you use pots with high drainage, the plants end up dying. What a conundrum!
Thus, the best way to approach potting any plant is to understand what kind of conditions it thrives in and how you can replicate these in a pot. I’ll show you how to do this for the peace lily in this guide:
What Kind of Pot Does a Peace Lily Like Best?
Peace lilies, native to Central America and Asia, prefer being in moist and well-draining soil. As such, the corresponding pot must also allow adequate drainage while retaining just enough moisture.
But we will get into the pot selection later. For now, we will focus on how big the plant grows. When grown indoors, a mature peace lily measures one to three feet (0.3 to 0.9 meters).
And what you need is a pot that can support such growth. Use these rules of thumb:
For Young Plants
When propagating peace lilies, you should stick to pots measuring 6 inches wide and deep. Peace lilies generally have medium-sized roots that are neither shallow nor deep. So, this criterion should be sufficient.
For Repotted Plants
Always move up by just one size. For example, if your young peace lily becomes rootbound in a 6-inch pot, move it to a 7-inch or 8-inch pot based on the extent of the root development.
I will detail the selection process in just a bit.
Can You Put Multiple Peace Lilies in One Pot?
Peace lilies do not mind being crowded and can grow well with other plants. However, you should note that the more plants you add to the pot, the faster your peace lilies will outgrow the pot owing to competition.
Ideally, you should have two to three peace lilies at most in one pot.
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Do Peace Lilies Like to Be Rootbound?
Peace lilies are quite interesting plants. While most houseplants would show signs of distress when rootbound, peace lilies may actually enjoy it.
They tend to thrive most when their roots are a bit snug. So, yes, they do enjoy being rootbound. However, they can only persevere under such conditions to a given limit.
Once they start exhibiting signs of being too rootbound, it’s time to move them to a bigger pot. What are these signs?
- When you water the peace lily, a lot of water remains on the surface, yet you have used a good potting mix. That would signify that the roots have taken up a lot of space in the soil, and the water can’t be absorbed well.
- The peace lily starts turning brown, yet it has adequate access to light and nutrients. That can result from being rootbound.
- The plant roots start poking out of the pot’s drainage holes or are visible from the soil surface. When this happens, you have no choice but to plant the peace lily in a new potting mix and pot.
Remember that it enjoys being a bit snug, so only move a size up when getting a new pot.
What Is the Best Pot for A Peace Lily?
The pot you choose for your peace lily will determine the following key factors:
- Whether the roots will be healthy owing to the drainage factors in the pot,
- How fast the peace lily will acclimate to being potted and how much it thrives in the pot, and
- Whether the roots will have access to adequate moisture.
I will walk you through the points to consider when choosing a pot and what works for a peace lily and what does not:
a) The Choice of Material
We live in an age where we have access to a wide range of planters. But are they ideal for your peace lily? Let’s find out:
Clay Pots/ Terra Cotta Pots
There are many reasons why these pots are a big hit for houseplants. They are easy to find, and you can even order them online customized to the shape and size you want (which I will cover later). But their selling points come down to:
1) They have a fast-drying mechanism
Peace lilies would rather be underwatered than overwatered as this ties in with their natural habitat. So, getting a pot that wicks away moisture rather than caging it is always a good idea.
2) They can indicate how much moisture is in the soil
It’s not always easy to tell if your peace lily has enough water. And sometimes, you need to dig into the soil or use a moisture gauge. But with a terra cotta pot, you can throw the guesswork out the window.
These pots turn a darker shade when moist because they absorb some of the water. If the pot appears dry, your plant probably needs some watering.
Are there any cons to using these pots? Sadly, even the best options have their downsides, and such is the case with these pots.
If you place them in dry and hot weather, they dry out faster because they keep wicking away moisture from the soil. And this affects how much moisture is available to the peace lily, forcing you to keep watering the plant.
There have also been cases where the pots cracked owing to low temperatures. However, seeing as these plants do best in hardiness zones 11 to 12, this would be highly unlikely. But if your winters are a bit harsh, you should consider this.
Should you use clay pots? The answer is a thundering yes. These can help you gauge and maintain the moisture levels of your plant.
Many people choose these pots owing to their affordability and accessibility. But would they be ideal for your peace lily? Let’s find out. These pots win regarding variety, heft, and reusability.
The last pro is a strong point as it means that once your peace lily outgrows the pot, you can use it for another plant. And even if the last peace lily had root rot, you can disinfect the pot and repurpose it.
The biggest disadvantage associated with plastic pots is their water retention. Unlike clay pots, they do not wick moisture away but instead, hold on to it for a long time.
Eventually, this can expose the peace lily to root rot and kill the plant. But before you write this pot off, you should know that you can mitigate this risk by increasing the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Just drill some more as needed.
Should you embrace plastic pots for the peace lily? If cost is a huge factor in your purchase decision, you would feel more comfortable with this choice. But if not, please use a clay pot.
Growing your peace lily in a ceramic pot can work when your peace lily is young. However, the heft of these pots can eventually get in the way as the plant grows bigger.
Moreover, these pots house water instead of wicking it off. And that poses the risk of root rot. Would I recommend these attractive pots for peace lilies?
Not at all. These are best suited for water-loving plants, and we know that’s not the case with the peace lily. So, while you might admire their beauty, it’s best to save them for other houseplants.
Yay or nay? – This is a definite nay.
Should you ever consider using a pot that does not have drainage holes? Some people do. But this only works if you can drill holes at the bottom of the container.
Else, you would leave the plant sitting in water for too long, and fungal growth would ensue. So, when getting a pot, get one with drainage holes. Or one without holes and add some to it. The latter part is easy.
- For ceramic pots, you must be careful not to break them when drilling into them. Use drill bits to ensure you do not crack the pot.
- For plastic pots, you can use pretty much anything in your kitchen to make holes.
There’s another way to hack this. You can get a pot without holes and insert one with holes inside it. You get the benefit of aesthetic value without compromising your peace lily. How about that?
c) Does Size Matter?
Oh, yes! Peace lilies enjoy a snug fit. So, if you get a much wider pot than their root ball, they will spend a lot of time trying to fit into the pot.
And that comes with the disadvantage of reduced vertical and horizontal growth. Here’s how you should determine the right pot size for your peace lily:
1) Get a pot that’s close to the size of your peace lily
If you are repotting the plant, move only one size up to avoid creating too much room. Not only does the extra space delay vertical growth, but it also increases the time in which the plant sits in the water.
Thus, it leaves it at more risk of root rot and increases its exposure to fertilizer burn. What happens when you go small?
The peace lily becomes rootbound and starts showing yellowing and drooping as its roots can no longer absorb adequate nutrients and water. Avoid these extremes, and you will be fine.
2) Make the changes slow
If your peace lily is in an 8-inch pot, the next step should be a 10-inch pot, not a 12-inch pot. Keep this in mind when repotting the plant. Easy does it.
Now, think of the pot you want to use for your peace lily. Does it meet the above criteria? Your answer will inform your next step.
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What Soil Does a Peace Lily Like?
Sometimes, we focus so much on what kind of pot we should use for our plants that we forget the most important element – the potting soil.
Even with an amazing clay pot that wicks away moisture and drains the excess water, your peace lily could still suffer root rot. How?
If the soil features a fine texture with high water retention, your peace lily will remain in water for too long. We know how this story ends. To avoid this, you should choose soil that:
1) Is Rich in Nutrients
Peace lilies grow in canopies with access to a wide range of decaying matter. You can mimic this organic touch by incorporating compost into the soil mix.
2) Is Loose
A medium texture is the best approach for a peace lily. Such soil retains just enough water while allowing the excess water to drain.
Loamy soil is a good example of this. But to be on the safe side, choose a texture between medium and large. You would rather have an underwatered peace lily than an overwatered one.
Once you get the mix right, the choice of the pot will be but icing to the cake.
When Should You Repot a Peace Lily?
Peace lilies generally enjoy a snug fit. Thus, you should only move it when it shows signs of being too rootbound. What does this mean?
When the plant’s leaves start yellowing or it starts drooping, and nothing else is to blame, you can inspect the roots to see if they are rootbound. If that happens to be the case, you can consider moving it to a new home.
How To Repot A Peace Lily
Repotting the peace lily is as easy as propagating it. Even a total beginner can get the hang of it. Here’s what you do:
- Water the soil to make it easier to wiggle the plant out of the pot. Give the plant about an hour to absorb the water and allow the soil to soak in the moisture,
- Turn the pot on its side and slowly wiggle the peace lily out of the container. That will enable you to inspect its roots for signs of damage. If it has any soggy roots, you will need to cut them off using sharp and sterile tools, then apply fungicide to the remaining parts.
- Fill a pot with loose and fresh potting soil to a third of its height. The pot should be one size bigger than the current pot.
- Place the peace lily in the pot and use more potting soil to cover its roots up to its base.
- Follow up with soaking the soil to make it moist but not soggy.
- Position the pot in a warm location that receives filtered light.
The plant will suffer a few setbacks in the days that follow as it tries to acclimate to its new home. But in a week or so, it should be okay.
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Your peace lily will hardly ever need a pot bigger than 10 inches. If it starts showing signs of distress, size is unlikely to be the issue when your pot is this big.
Instead, the lack of enough drainage holes or a poor soil mix could be the issue. Start by assessing these before evaluating the size of the pot.