House Plant Advice

I've "inherited" a house plant and it's not doing so well - Starting to look decidedly "droopy". I'm wondering if you experts can let me know what this plant is and what kind of care it needs.
I've posted some pictures here:
http://www3.telus.net/gglave/plant
Thanks in advance.
Cheers,
Geoff Glave
Vancouver, Canada
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I'm too comfortable to check the genus & species name, but in stores, they're usually labeled "Chinese evergreens", and they're really easy to take care of (your pictures notwithstanding). When grown well, they're really pretty, they make a flower or two now and then, and will tolerate everything from very low light to moderate sunlight. The leaves are shiny (when healthy), so in good weather, put them out in the rain now and then to get the dust off.
Your plant is probably "pot bound", meaning that its roots are terribly crowded. Two ways to deal with it. Before doing either, take the pot out of the basket, put it outside or in the bath tub, and slowly pour a gallon of water into the pot. Let it drain completely, and then wait a day to take one of the next steps. The plants will be easier to work with if it's moist, but not soggy.
1) Can't tell from your pictures, but it's likely that you'll find more than one "crown", or point from which the leaves are growing (at the soil line). If you were to remove the whole thing from the pot, you may be able to GENTLY separate the two crowns and put each in its own pot. If the roots are terribly tangled, though, you're better off taking your biggest, sharpest kitchen knife and cutting straight down between the two (or more) crowns). Then, plant each in its own pot. Separated from their partners, the pots will look bare for a short time, but the plants will fill out within a month or two or three.
2) If you like the looks of several plants together, remove the entire bunch from the pot and move them to a pot that's four to six inches larger in diameter AND DEPTH. That's going to be a big pot, so your choice of methods may depend on how much muscle you have when the beast needs to be moved for a shower, or to clean the floor.
Either way, when you buy new pots, buy the kind whose saucers DO NOT ATTACH to the pots with stupid plastic snaps. You want separate saucers. These plants like to be constantly moist, but not soggy. With the snap-on saucers, you can't see if there's water in them, which means the soil's going to be soggy. You also can't tell when the water's about to overflow onto the floor.
Give these plants some diluted liquid plant food every couple of months.

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And by the way, if the repotted plants look lopsided, don't try and tilt them when planting, in order to correct that condition. Once they're exposed to even lighting, they'll become symmetrical. Mine adjusted within a few weeks. If all your room light comes from one side, rotate the plants whenever you remember to. A friend of mine spent 3 months in therapy due to anxiety about remembering which way she rotated her plants the last time. I suggest either clockwise or counterclockwise, and make a habit of one or the other.
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Spathiphyllum Wallisii. Also known as "peace lily" or "white sails." From S.America, prefers peat-moss based soil, bright light but NO SUN, 60-70 degrees, likes to be misted, keep soil moist during growing season but allow the soil to dry before watering. Top-dress or repot in spring, feed with a balanced liquid fertilizer in spring through summer. My spathiphyllum is 14 years old, in a 20" pot, a cycle of white flowers and huge. There are several hybrid varieties.
wrote:

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In the wild, Spathiphyllum grow alongside forest streams in swampy soil. They do not like to go dry, ever. They will even grow for periods of time partially submerged in water.

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Its a Spathiphyllum.
They like plenty of water and can even stand in water for lengths of time. If they are too dry, they quickly droop.
Also fertilize with foliage house plant fertilizer and give plenty of light but not direct sunlight.

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On Wed, 27 Apr 2005 17:17:22 +0000, Geoff Glave wrote:

Looks like a peace lily. Keep soil moist, not soggy, moderate bright light. Feed every other watering with half strength fertilzer.
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Thanks everyone for all the advice! I'll do my best to bring it back to life!
Cheers, Geoff Glave Vancouver, Canada
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