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Give a peace lily the right care and attention, and it’ll reward you with explosive growth, an abundance of blooms, and it’ll even produce little pups you can divide from the mother plant to grow even more gorgeous houseplants.
They really are a gift from nature. They’re even quite smart at telling you when they need to be repotted.
The one tell-tale sign of when to repot your peace lily is when you’re watering them more than usual. When a peace lily plant becomes root bound, the water quickly drains through the soil, filling up the saucer before the roots can absorb it. The result is a wilting plant that’s suffering from drought.
Fix the drought problem by dividing and repotting it into smaller sized pots, or repot the entire peace lily plant as a whole into a slightly bigger pot.
There are two routes you can take to repot a peace lily. Which one you choose depends on whether you want to grow one large plant or several smaller plants.
How to Repot a Peace Lily Without Dividing Your Plant
This is the choice for one large peace lily, because it grows in clumps which can be propagated to grow more from the pups they produce. Keep them together and the multiple plants look like one big peace lily, even though they’re a grouping of multiple crowns.
If you do choose this route, just be sure you only go up one pot size at a time.
That means only increasing the pot size by one to two inches at most. Any more is likely to result in transplant shock, even if you take the safeguard of adding a liquid solution of vitamin B1 to try avoid it.
The simplest way to repot a peace lily is to use a pot that’s no bigger than two inches than the pot you’re transplanting it from.
Pruning the Roots Before Transplanting
On a severely root bound plant, the roots will encircle the soil and are likely to be growing through the drainage holes. This is a typical sign that the plant has outgrown its current container.
Up to three quarters of the root mass can be trimmed without damaging your plant. That’s important because it means you can give the roots of your peace lily a haircut before you transplant it. It helps encourage root growth, which is beneficial because you want the roots to quickly establish themselves in the new pot.
The faster the roots establish, the faster the plant will acclimate and start putting out new healthy foliage, and that’ll encourage blooming too.
The roots are hardy and can tolerate some heavy handling. For those with thick fingers or if you’re concerned that you won’t be able to get between the finer roots or may damage some you want to keep, you can get root rakes and root picks to help with root separation.
The only other tool you’ll need is either a sharp pair of pruners, or a serrated knife to cut through some roots.
When you take the plant out of its pot, pay attention to its smell. Rotted roots smell rancid so if you get a strong bad smell from the plant, look for brown and mushy roots, which will be the ones affected by root rot. Those should be pruned off first.
Healthy roots on peace lily plants are white and feel firm. Any that aren’t healthy, cut them off.
The Right Soil Mix
Ideally, use the same potting mix you’ve been using to grow your peace lily.
Chances are that when it’s grown to a size that it needs repotting, there’s nothing wrong with your potting mix.
If, however, you’re repotting because you think the soil or pot size isn’t doing your plant justice, then the ideal potting mix for a peace lily will have horticultural bark, coconut coir fiber, and perhaps a little compost… all materials that are well-draining. These are often added to regular potting mixes to improve drainage.
When going up in pot size, the trick to reducing transplant shock is to plant the root ball at the same depth it’s used to. The more of the growing conditions you can keep the same, the less chance there is transplant shock.
A simple way to do that is to prop up the height by adding soil to the base of your new pot before putting the root ball of your peace lily onto it.
Once the root ball is planted, fill around the sides until the potting mix fills the pot to about one inch from the top. As you fill the container with the potting mix, pat it down so that it’s compact.
It is good practice to tamp the soil to rid it of any air bubbles. Once that’s done, the next part is to thoroughly water it in.
When you add water, add it to each section of the soil because you’re not just watering it to prevent drought, but also to get rid of any pockets of air that weren’t knocked out by tamping.
How to Divide and Repot a Peace Lily Plant
Dividing and repotting is similar to propagating a peace lily. We have a step-by-step guide for Peace Lily Propagation here.
Depending on your plant’s maturity, you may want to keep some of the younger crowns on the mother plant and separate mature crowns. Doing this will allow for more new plants to be grown from pups, and perhaps some of the mature crowns kept grouped to grow a larger cluster of plants in the one bigger pot.
Generally, peace lily plants do best when they’re repotted annually.
Whether you keep each clump together or separate them depends on maturity and your preference.
If you want to divide and repot, each clump you remove can be planted in its own 4-inch container. Any bigger is likely to result in the soil remaining too damp for too long, risking root rot.
When dividing plants, crowns with two or more stems can be repotted in 4” individual containers. This will let them become established over the next year to two years.
Mature peace lily plants generally need to be repotted every year. If they aren’t root bound, they will benefit from just having the potting mix renewed with fresh mix. For rootbound plants, some extra work will be required to cut some roots back, and/or divide the plant to repot them into suitable sized containers.
Regardless of whether you repot your peace lily as a whole or divide and repot, the emphasis is on nourishing the roots. Ensuring the soil offers sufficient drainage, and none of the roots are too compacted to prevent them from absorbing water.
The more nourished the roots of a peace lily are, the healthier the growth will be, and the more blooms you’ll get – year after year.