I have a peace lily in my office at work that gets low indirect natural light, in addition to bright white fluorescent light.

I have had it for about 12 months now. I have not potted it up, and it has always been quite root bound.

All that said, it was always the happiest green and healthy plant. It consistently got new foliage growth and sometimes almost flowered. It never ever showed signs of nutrient deficiency, and the leave were always a healthy green with a flawless complexion.

Then last weak it wilted like it was thirsty, and after watering it, it is not reviving. It is wilting now like it is heavily dehydrated, even though the soil is still semi damp from the last watering. Even though it is wilted over, and the stems are getting a little soft to the touch, the leave still have turgor and seems almost like they are not dehydrated.

I always watered it only when it got completely bone dry. I never over water.

I have no clue what happened. The only thing I could imagine is that last time I watered it, I much too heavily swamped it, and in a single watering I drown the plant. Is that possible??

This plant shows no signs of root rot, and has never shown signs of any maladies. Just one day it wilted and it won't revive.

Is there some other possibility of what went wrong?

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  • Any chance of a photograph?
    – Bamboo
    Oct 10, 2017 at 20:52
  • Bamboo's answer is great. Something is wrong here and from what you've said, I agree, I'd go with repotting this gorgeous plant. How do you know it is not root rot? Your watering methods sound SOUND. This looks like an uptake of water problem however, too much plant not enough roots. Did you by chance take this guy out to get a little sunshine? Cut off all the yellow leaves for sure. Get another pot at least 3" in diameter larger. Use only potting soil with no water gimmicks or fertilizer added. You don't have to cut it into two as yet. Allow your plant to come back first, okay?
    – stormy
    Oct 11, 2017 at 20:01

1 Answer 1


Go and get another pot and some potting soil (asap), turn the plant out of its pot, cut the rootball in half (a bread knife is great for this, or a sharp knife with a serrated edge), selecting an area to cut through that's in between major leaf growth if possible, repot both halves, water in well. Remove all yellowed or yellowing leaves, and discard any that fall off having become separated from the rootball, keep watered as usual. If you only want one plant, throw one away, but I'd suggest you keep both for a while to see how well they recover and which one looks healthier.

Essentially, the poor thing's run out of root room, and that's why it's suffering.

UPDATE: In response to your query, no, cutting down the topgrowth to root level won't help at all. To clarify the splitting method, take the plant out of the pot. Now examine it and push to either side the main stems where you can, so you create a space between that you can cut through. Doesn't matter if it's not quite two halves and one's a bit bigger than the other, take your knife and cut from one side to the other, all the way through the rootball. You'll probably need to use a sawing motion to get through the centre of the plant. Plants are much more resilient than you think, they want to live, so as long as you use good potting soil and water them well once potted up, preferably standing in a tray or something which you empty out 30 minutes later to ensure the new potting soil is thoroughly moistened, then water ongoing, they'll be fine. You may need to water a bit more often till they recover from the procedure.

Alternatively, buy a bigger pot and pot it into that, and split the whole thing in a year or so when its run out of root room again.

  • 1
    So i am literally cutting the plan in half. Can I just pot up the plant without the split?
    – Scorb
    Oct 10, 2017 at 21:57
  • Not unless you use a pot that's an inch bigger all round, including depth, of the current one. But they benefit from this splitting treatment anyway.... up to you. If you keep it as one plant, you will need to pot on every couple of years into larger pots each time.
    – Bamboo
    Oct 10, 2017 at 21:59
  • I am just afraid to take a knife to it. I can just cut the stems down to the root? Could you elaborate more specifically on the splitting process in your answer?
    – Scorb
    Oct 10, 2017 at 22:01
  • Shame you asked this now, I just did this 3 weeks ago with a peace lily for someone else, I should have filmed it... but I didn't. Don't be afraid - it'll be fine, I've done it loads of times down the years, and all survived, unfortunately, had enough peace lilies to set up a market stall because of division... just pluck up your courage, take your knife, push the foliage apart and cut with a sawing motion, pot up immediately and water well.
    – Bamboo
    Oct 10, 2017 at 22:02
  • Okay, I've done my best to clarify, see updated answer
    – Bamboo
    Oct 10, 2017 at 22:40

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