5 Signs Your Peace Lily Needs Transplanting and How to Do It

Peace lilies are a must for any houseplant parent.

These beautiful and delicate plants are incredibly hardy and will tolerate a wide variety of conditions inside and outside your home. They are also popular with gardening beginners and make great gifts due to their interesting modified white leaves that look like bright flowers.

Although peace lilies are not demanding in terms of care, they will need to be replanted at some point in their lives. This is indicated by root growth problems or simply by age.

Take a look at these signs to know when it’s time to transplant your peace lily. If you notice any of these symptoms in your plants, follow the simple instructions below to transplant them without a problem.


When to Transplant a Peace Lily

Many houseplant parents transplant their plants quickly, some as soon as they bring them home. But they forget that some plants don’t mind being a little crowded and have a hard time adapting to change. Afterwards, it is important to transplant only when absolutely necessary.

It’s best to transplant in the spring to take advantage of the growing season, but if your plant is in desperate need of a transplant, you can do it any time. Don’t let the plant struggle while waiting for spring, especially if its roots are not well established.

When it comes to peace lilies, there are a few signs that it’s time to transplant them, giving you a simple guide on when to start.

The roots come out of the drainage holes.

The roots need a lot of space to grow. These little structures work their way through the soil, circling the pot and the plant looking for open spaces. If they run out of space, you might see them jumping into drain holes.

This is a clear sign that the roots have outgrown the pot. The soil is probably filled with overgrown roots with nowhere to go, leaving drainage holes to search for water and nutrients.

While peace lilies don’t mind a bit of crowding, this level of root growth is hazardous to plant health. The plant does not get enough water, nutrients or oxygen, which suffocates it and it slowly dies. Growth will slow dramatically or stop altogether if conditions are very poor.

Once your plant has reached this stage, it’s time for a long transplant. In this case, do not wait for spring, but replant as soon as possible.

The roots are visible on the soil surface.

Roots can also appear on the surface of the soil for the same reason they escape drainage holes: lack of space. However, roots visible above the pot often indicate much worse crowding than roots sticking out of drainage holes.

Since the roots want to grow downwards, it is normal for them to escape from the bottom of the pot when they run out of space. However, if the roots are visible at the top, it means they are forced to grow upwards from the bottom of the pot in a desperate search for water and nutrients in the soil.

It can also be the case if you don’t water your plant properly. To prevent water from escaping through drainage holes and damaging the surface on which the plant is placed, some houseplant parents choose to water a little daily instead of watering the plant every few days.

However, this practice only saturates the top layer of soil, leaving the bottom layer (where the roots roost) dry. To try to absorb the water, the roots push up to the moisture in the top layer of soil, exposing them.

If so, transplant your plant immediately. Be sure to remove the roots to free any crossed or tangled growth so they can regrow in their new pot.

The roots wrap around the bottom of the pot.

Your plant may not be fully rooted, but it’s still struggling to absorb water and nutrients. This is because crowded roots can slow the plant’s uptake of essential nutrients, which slows growth. Leaves may begin to wilt or turn yellow, indicating a serious problem.

Related Reading: 7 Reasons Your Peace Lily Leaves Are Turning Yellow and How to Fix It

This is a common occurrence with round pots. Since there are no hard edges, once the roots reach the outside of the pot the roots will simply grow sideways around the edges. As more and more roots go through the same process, they will build up densely at the bottom of the pot, taking up all the space. This prevents them from absorbing water or nutrients.

The way to check for this problem is simple. After allowing the soil to dry out for a few days before the next watering, simply gently lift the plant out of the pot. When the roots wrap around the bottom of the plant and take the shape of the bottom of the pot, it’s time to transplant.

The jar empties too quickly

If there are no visible signs of excessive root growth, don’t think it’s clear. The factory may still be crowded with no visible outward signs that this is the case. However, there is another sign that can help you: the pot is emptying too quickly.

As the roots grow to fill the pot, they take up space in the soil. This soil also loses quality over time as the structure begins to break down. In a rooted pot, these two factors allow water to drain from the soil incredibly quickly. The roots take up much of the space in the soil, preventing it from becoming saturated and the soil remaining unable to retain moisture.

This is a clear sign that your plant needs a change of soil and a new pot to stimulate growth.

It’s been in the same pot for years.

Plants are not designed to live in pots for long periods of time. After a while, the soil in which they are planted begins to decompose and can no longer provide good growing conditions. It takes quite a long time, about 3 or 4 years, but it will definitely happen one day.

If your peace lily has been in the same pot for so long without refilling, it needs to be repotted. It may show no signs of overgrowing the pot, especially if growing slowly, but it will start to suffer once the roots struggle to absorb water and nutrients from the rotting soil. Fertilizer can be a temporary fix, but it won’t improve soil quality or help the plant in the long run.

In this case, transplanting will provide fresh, healthy soil to restart growth.

How to Transplant a Peace Lily

prepare the ground

Indoor plant soil is very different from garden soil. It is light and airy, improving drainage while retaining enough moisture to prevent the soil from drying out.

Regular potting soil is much better than garden soil, but it doesn’t meet the needs of houseplants either. It drains well, but retains too much moisture for plants that are kept indoors and out of direct sunlight most of the day.

This is why making your own potting soil is vital for the health of your plant. This not only allows you to replicate the exact conditions your plant needs, but also matches the soil the peace lily was grown in the nursery, making transplanting much less stressful on the plant.

I used a mix of two parts potting soil with one part coconut fiber and one part perlite. Both additions aerate the soil and retain plenty of moisture to keep the plant happy much longer without causing root rot.

Take this mixture and fill a one or two size jar about 1/3 full. A bigger pot doesn’t necessarily mean better growth, and any excess soil that traps too much moisture around the roots will only kill the plant. Remember that these plants like to be a bit confined, so don’t choose a pot that is too big.

remove the plant

The next step in the process is to remove the plant from its existing pot. It is best not to water for a few days before starting to facilitate this process.

Gently squeeze the sides of the pot to loosen the plant and turn it on its side, removing it from the base. If it doesn’t come out easily, run a knife around the pot to loosen the plant before removing it.

If the soil needs refreshing, shake loose soil around the roots. While you’re at it, check the roots for signs of disease and root rot that need special attention before transplanting.

Divide if necessary

If you want to propagate at the same time and give your new plants plenty of room to regrow in their new pots, divide them at the same time. This is an important step for large groups of plants to avoid crowding. Also, double your stock at the same time.

Related Reading: How to Propagate Rosemary – Step by Step

Dividing peace lilies is incredibly easy. You should be able to divide your plant into visible parts that can be easily separated. If the roots grow too long, you can cut them with a sharp knife to split the plant in half. Don’t worry too much about the damage – the roots are sturdy and should grow back strong and healthy.

Then simply transplant the new sections following the instructions below. Two floors for the price of one, it’s as simple as that.


Finally, take the plant you removed and place it in the pot above the first layer of soil. Make sure it is centered and fill around the openings of the pot with additional soil up to the original soil line. Leave a few centimeters of space under the rim to prevent the soil from overflowing when watering.

Once the spaces are filled, gently press down on the top layer to secure the plant and eliminate large air pockets in the soil. Water well to encourage new root growth, and place your peace lilies (or peace lilies if you choose to divide them) in a sunny location with plenty of indirect light.

Observe the impact of the transplant for a few weeks to see how well your plant adapts. The leaves may yellow slightly in response to changing conditions, but the plant should recover in a month or two.

Read next: 5 signs you need to repot your snake plant and how to do it

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