Sad plant is sad.
December 6, 2011 6:42 AM   Subscribe

What is this this sad houseplant? Can it be saved?

We've only had this plant in the office for a couple weeks and it's already near death. It started wilting about a week ago, so we gave it some extra water. Then it got worse, so we figured maybe we over-watered it? Now the soil's pretty dry and it's still sad.

It currently gets a good amount of indirect sunlight in the afternoon.

Plant whisperers, please hope us!
posted by giraffe to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
Best answer: It's a Spathiphyllum of some kind, probably a Peace Lily. Care instructions here.
posted by lydhre at 6:49 AM on December 6, 2011

Best answer: lydrhe beat me to it. It is a spathiphyllum. They wilt really fast when they dry out.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:52 AM on December 6, 2011

Best answer: The first thing I'd do is prune the hell out of it. All those dead leaves and the ones that are near death need to come off, to let the plant direct its energy to the ones likely to live.
posted by fiercecupcake at 6:52 AM on December 6, 2011

Best answer: It is a peace lily, just like lydhre says. It needs less light and more water. It needs moist soil. You may want to put it in the sink to saturate the soil right now and then let it drain when the leaves start to bounch up. Cut off all of the brown and yellow leaves. It will come back, I promise. Oh, and it will flower too. ; )
posted by Yellow at 7:02 AM on December 6, 2011

Best answer: Just adding: when you cut the brown and yellow leaves off, cut the whole stem of that leaf off as close to the base of the plant as possible. You don't want the plant spending its energy trying to keep a stem watered and happy. New leaves grow from the base, not from the existing stems.

I think these plants are good for beginners because they so clearly tell you when they need water.
Don't keep it on a window ledge or you will fry it. Put it somewhere away from the sun and when it starts sagging, put in about 1 cup water.
posted by rmless at 7:16 AM on December 6, 2011

Best answer: I have one of these at the office that I rescued from the garbage. It was, by all appearances, completely dead - yours looks like a specimen of health in comparison. I trimmed it back to a brown nub and kept it watered and within a few weeks I had the beginnings of a new leaf. A year later it is beautiful and bushy and about to flower.
posted by cilantro at 7:26 AM on December 6, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for your help, guys!

I tried some surgery and cut a lot off - as close to the base of the plant as I could. Then I watered it until the top of the soil remained moist.

Anything else? How soon can I expect it to bounce back?
posted by giraffe at 7:39 AM on December 6, 2011

It should perk back up in a couple hours. If it doesn't it probably needs more water.
posted by lydhre at 7:55 AM on December 6, 2011

I have two of these, they wilt and look dead then spring right back when watered. It should be happy in a few hours. I did not know about not keeping them on a window ledge. That is where mine are and they do get those half brown leaves. I will move them now, thanks for the information. I am not real good with plants, so every bit helps.
posted by mermayd at 8:06 AM on December 6, 2011

So quickly that you will actually see it perk up before your eyes. I think it will be back by the end of the day.
posted by Yellow at 8:11 AM on December 6, 2011

Putting it in the bathroom when you take a shower is helpful.
posted by quiet coyote at 11:53 AM on December 6, 2011

You need to report this regularly, with new potting compost. I have one of these - it dies back and goes mostly brown and dried once each year. It recovers, with some plant food and watering. But you do need to repot it every couple of years and put it somewhere where it will get some light (a windowsill), for it to do well. It will produce white flowers once a year. I always feel that this is a Lazarus-like triumph ... :-)
posted by Susurration at 6:05 PM on December 6, 2011

Yup, Peace Lily. Hard to kill, but can be done. Interestingly enough, I just threw one out that I'd had for six years. I was out of town for a week, and DH over-watered it. The worse it looked, the more he tried to salvage it with...more water. Sad, sad case of root rot. So I tossed it out into the dark and freezing garage, and today, two weeks later, I noticed a new leaf among the sad and wilted ones. Mine might make it, and yours looks like the peak of health comparatively.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:16 PM on December 6, 2011

Response by poster: Sproing! It appears to be all better!

Thanks everyone!
posted by giraffe at 10:53 AM on December 9, 2011

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