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During The Ice Storm, Our Peace Lilies Suffered. They Got…

Holly Asked

During the ice storm, our peace lilies suffered. They got too cold, but did not freeze altogether! There are still a few green, healthy leaves on the plant, but the others are blackish with still some rigidity and suppleness; they are not dried up and falling off. How do we bring these plants back? Do I trim all the cold nipped leaves and let new shoots spring forward? Don’t see any new shoots yet. Or do I just leave it be, water it, and see what happens?

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The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Holly: Not only did the ice storm devastate plant material outdoors, but in some cases houseplants also suffered. Those of us that were without electricity/heat in combination with temperatures well below freezing for several days can attest that some indoor plants are not so happy. Some are more cold-hardy than others but the peace lily (Spathiphyllum) is hardy in zone 10 & 11, which means they do not tolerate temperatures consistently in the 40s or below. The best thing to do is remove all the foliage that does not look healthy. Take it back all the way to the base of the plant. It will look spindly but this will allow the plant to focus its energy on new growth. Then the waiting game begins: if the roots were not damaged it should put on new growth in a few weeks. Make sure the plant receives sufficient water. Do not allow it to completely dry out. Typically we want to cut back on our fertilizing during the winter months, but in this case you can give your plants a half-strength dose of your favorite fertilizer. I was actually surprised at what houseplants survived when the temperatures in the house dipped into the low 40s. My peace lily was not one of those. I hope we and our houseplants don’t have to endure another severe ice storm!

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