Peace lilies are known for preferring crowded roots – mainly to help with blooming – but does peace lily like to be root bound?
Peace lilies prefer a slightly root bound environment, as it helps prevent root rot and can help to promote new flower growth. There is a limit to this, though; extremely bound roots can cause issues like stunted growth and wilting.
In this guide, we’ll look at what root bound means and how to tell if it is benefitting your peace lily or causing issues.
Let’s get into it.
- What Does Root Bound Mean?
- How To Tell Your Peace Lily Is Severely Root Bound
- What If The Roots Become Too Crowded?
- When To Repot A Root Bound Peace Lily
- Steps For Repotting
- Should You Over-Pot A Peace Lily?
- In Summary
What Does Root Bound Mean?
Being root bound means a plant’s roots have filled its pot, leaving no more room for growth.
When this happens, the roots form a tight, compact mass, sometimes spiraling around the pot.
This condition can eventually lead to stunted growth and other health issues for the plant. In some cases, however, certain plants may thrive in such conditions.
Why Peace Lilies Like To Be Slightly Root Bound
Peace lilies, for example, tend to perform better when they are slightly root bound.
Being slightly root bound means that there is less chance of overwatering as there is less soil surrounding the roots that can become saturated with soil.
There’s also a better chance for blooming, as the plant will focus its energy on producing new blooms rather than growing new roots.
Does It Promote Flower Growth?
Yes, a slightly root bound peace lily tends to produce more flowers.
This is because the plant will focus its energy on blooming rather than producing new roots.
I noticed that my peace lily started to bloom more often after a few years of being in the same container due to the roots getting more crowded.
Other Plants That Like To Be Root Bound
Peace lilies are not the only plants that benefit from a slightly root bound condition.
Some other plants that also prefer to be root bound include:
I always thought that repotting my houseplants was something I had to do frequently, but it turns out that many houseplants like to be slightly root bound, which makes things easier!
How To Tell Your Peace Lily Is Severely Root Bound
It’s essential to know if your peace lily is severely root bound to maintain its health.
Remember that being slightly root bound is preferable, but if the roots are extremely root bound, it will cause problems.
Firstly, take a look at the base of your plant pot. If you notice roots protruding from the drainage holes, it indicates that your peace lily is significantly root bound. Knowing this sign helps you know when it’s time to take action.
Another clue to watch for is the way your peace lily absorbs water.
A root bound peace lily will absorb water quicker and drain faster than usual due to a lack of soil. If most of the water goes through and out of the drainage holes, the roots are likely too root bound.
What If The Roots Become Too Crowded?
There can be too much of a good thing, and that’s the case with root bound peace lilies.
Here are some problems if the roots become too tightly bound.
Blocks Drainage Holes
One issue that may arise when the roots of your peace lily become too crowded is that they could start to block the pot’s drainage holes.
Blocked drainage holes can lead to overwatering quickly, as the excess water won’t have anywhere to go.
This will lead to root rot, which can kill the plant if not taken care of.
Lack Of Soil & Nutrients
As the roots take up more and more space, the soil gets pushed out of the way.
As more roots fight for moisture and nutrients from a limited amount of soil, the total amount of both available for the plant is lowered.
Another common problem is stunted growth, which results from a lack of moisture and nutrients.
When To Repot A Root Bound Peace Lily
Knowing when to repot a root bound peace lily comes from experience.
If your lily is still blooming regularly, and the leaves aren’t showing any signs of suffering, there isn’t much argument for repotting. This is similar to how my peace lily is currently, but again this comes from experience.
If overall growth is slowing down significantly, as well as the leaves turning yellow or brown and drooping, it’s a different story.
If you are unsure, the best thing to do is to check the roots themselves – you’d be surprised how easy it is to mistake symptoms of overwatering for root bound roots and vice versa.
Steps For Repotting
If you want to repot your peace lily, follow the steps below.
This will also allow you to inspect the roots to see whether the roots are tightly bound or not.
Remove The Plant & Inspect Roots
First, gently slide your peace lily out of its current pot and carefully inspect its roots.
Observe whether the plant’s roots are tightly packed and if they are coming out of the drainage holes, as this might indicate a root bound issue.
Loosen Root Ball
Once you’ve identified that your peace lily is root bound, it’s essential to loosen the root ball gently.
Use your hands to pull the roots and loosen them up gently.
If the root ball is tightly bound, you can use a knife to cut into the bottom to loosen up the roots forcefully. Don’t worry if some of the roots are damaged at this point.
Repot Into Larger Container
Choose a new, slightly larger pot for your peace lily, as it will provide more space for the roots to grow.
The new pot should only be one to two inches larger – you don’t want to over-pot it.
Add fresh potting mix to the base of the new container, then place the loosened root ball of your peace lily onto it. Fill the sides of the pot with the potting mix until it’s about one inch from the top, and gently pat it down to ensure proper contact with the plant’s roots.
Following these simple steps will help your peace lily recover from being root bound and enjoy a healthier, happier plant.
Should You Over-Pot A Peace Lily?
Overpotting is not recommended for peace lilies and the majority of other plants, for that matter.
Overpotting is a term used for planting a plant in a container that is much larger than the total volume of the roots.
When this happens, you end up with a substantial volume of potting soil with all the roots in the middle. At first, this may not seem like a problem, but it will lead to several issues further down the line.
The most common problem is overwatering. As the root system is not spread into the soil, it will remain wet for long periods.
This causes roots to rot and die, leading to yellowing leaves initially.
Choose a container one to two inches wider when repotting a peace lily. This will promote new root growth without increasing the risk of overwatering.
Peace lilies are quite unusual in the fact that they prefer to be slightly root bound.
This helps them to produce flowers more regularly by focusing new growth on blooming, but it doesn’t last forever. If your peace lily becomes too tightly bound, it can hurt the plant’s overall health.
If you’re unsure, the best action is to lift it out of its pot and check the roots.
Want to learn more about peace lilies? Check out some of our other articles on this popular houseplant below: