Q: I am in trouble! I recently repotted a peace lily which holds great sentimental value for my wife. Now the leaves have wilted and flopped down around the rim of the pot. Is there anything I can do to save it and get myself out of the doghouse?
A: Every husband has the experience of trying to do something nice for their spouse and having it backfire. If I had to guess, I’d suspect you pulled the peace lily (^Spathiphyllum wallisii^) out of a small pot and planted the root ball whole into a bigger pot. You might have noticed that the white roots of the plant were pretty densely matted around the inside of the smaller pot. Now, when you water the lily, the water runs off the top of the mass of roots and old soil into the fresh soil around it. The water quickly drains through this soil and out the bottom of the pot. The new soil becomes moist but the old root ball remains dry – causing the plant to wilt.
This is simple to fix. Remove the plant from its new home and soak the roots in a bucket of water for an hour. Next, carefully untangle as many roots as you can from the clump. Place enough soil in the bottom of the old pot to support the spathiphyllum at the correct height. Simultaneously spread the roots while packing handfuls of soil around them. Finally, when the pot is full, soak it in a bucket and let it drain completely.
If you remember to do this messy job outside where you won=t compound your problems, the plant should recover just fine. Later, dinner together at a nice restaurant should allow Rover to move back into his abode.