House plant helper

House plantIndoor plants add green to the urban grey, breathe oxygen into your world and absorb unhealthy chemicals from the atmosphere. But bugs appear, diseases strike and so do mysterious ailments that turn glossy green plants from hero to zero, often in a matter of days or weeks. Here’s some expert advice for helping a sick peace lily.

A healthy peace lily is a wonderful indoor plant. It’s lush and green, takes dryness if you forget to water it and, in the right spot, produces stems of white hooded blooms, called spathes.

This peace lily is lush, but looks droopy. It has recently shifted location from a well-lit spot to a darker corner of the house. The leaves are green but with a tinge of yellow, and the potting mix looks too moist.

The plant is in a self-watering pot, but its owner says she still handwaters. Self-watering pots are a great choice for indoor plants that love moisture, such as ferns, as the soil stays evenly moist when the water reservoir is regularly topped up. However, the peace lily prefers to dry out between watering, so a regular pot is better.

As this plant now has less light, it needs less water. Transfer it into a pot with good drainage holes, using fresh potting mix. It may adapt to the new conditions but might need to be rested occasionally in a brighter spot to recover from the duller light.

Water a peace lily when the potting mix is almost dry. Allow all the water to drain from the pot; don’t let it stand in water. Liquid-fertilise occasionally, and prune any dead leaves, cutting them off at the base.

We examine six more common indoor plants with health issues and offer solutions to help them recover in the June issue, on sale now.