Peace Lily Problems

Peace Lily Problems (How to Fix)

Spathiphyllum pronounced spath-ee-FIL-um is commonly known as Peace Lily. These are very popular indoor plants for homes or professional spaces. Although, there are some common Peace Lily problems. However, once you narrow down what is causing the problem you can easily remedy it. 

Peace lilies are popular because they can tolerate different light conditions. They thrive in medium to bright indirect light as well as tolerate low indirect light. Just like most humans, they prefer temperatures between 65-80°F. 

Water

Regular watering required – weekly, or more often in extreme heat.

Light

Filtered sun, partial shade, partial sun

Humidity

Humidity levels above 60% are best. But, they will tolerate anything around 50% humidity.

Temp

Performs best in temperatures between 65-80°F (18-27°C)

Soil

Prefers a well-draining soil

Fertilizer

Fertilize plant weekly at 1/2 strength during the growing season with a liquid fertilizer.

Pests

Susceptible to mealybugs, thrips, spider mites and aphids.

Pronunciation

spath-ee-FIL-um

Other Names

Peace Lily, White Sails, or Spathe Flower 

Scientific Name

Spathiphyllum

Toxicity

Peace lilies are poisonous to both humans and pets.

Size

Mature plants reach 2-3 feet (60-91 cm) tall

White flowers (spathes) look like white sails. In fact, this is why one of their commonly names is White Sails. These evergreen perennials are native to Central America and Southeast Asia.

There are over 50 different species of peace lilies. The most common are the Jetty, the Piccolino, the Patricia, and the Little Angel.

Here are the most Common Peace Lily Problems and how you can address them to keep your plant happy!

Healthy plants will have healthy leaves. If your Peace Lily leaves are turning yellow, it is trying to tell you something is not right. 

Why are my peace lily leaves turning yellow?

Your Peace Lily leaves can go from green to yellow from overwatering. Additionally, stress can cause leaves to turn yellow. Typically from a sudden change in temperature or a location change.

Peace Lily plants thrive in temperatures from 65-80°F (18-27°C). Indeed one of the main reasons why these make such great houseplants or office plants. However, Peace Lilies hate the cold. In fact, exposure to cold drafts or temperatures under 40°F (4°C) may cause leaf yellowing or leaf curling. 

Prolonged exposure to temps below 40°F (4°C) can also damage leaves, stems, and roots. Also, make sure it does not sit in front of heating or AC vents. 

Peace Lily leaves turning yellow 

If you notice yellow leaves that are wilting and overly soft, stop watering immediately. Then, allow the top half of the soil to dry out. Overwatering and soil that stays wet for prolonged periods of time can lead to root rot. 

Peace Lily root rot 

A poor drainage system, overwatering, and improper soil mixes can all cause root rot. In fact, the first sign of root rot is typically yellow or wilting leaves. Additionally, root rot can also cause leaves to fall or slow your plant’s growth. 

Be sure you are also using the correct pot size. If your pot is too large the soil will take too long to dry out. Thus resulting in over watering conditions and causing root rot. Peace Lilies like to be slightly root bound so choose a pot that is one size larger than the root ball. 

Why is my Peace Lily Drooping and Turning Yellow? 

Both overwatering and underwatering can cause leaves to droop and the leaf edges to turn yellow or brown. Pots definitely need to have drainage holes so that they will not hold water. Watering when the top half of the potting mix has dried out.  Also, potting soil that has been kept too dry for too long will eventually pull away from the sides of the pot.

Peace Lily Yellow Leaves at Bottom 

Yellowing Peace Lily leaves can also happen to older leaves. Lower leaves of the plant can yellow with old age. If you only see one or two yellow leaves on a healthy looking Peace Lily then you are fine. However, if there are lots of yellow leaves something is wrong.

Additionally, a nitrogen deficiency can occur in Peace Lilies. Typically the lowest and oldest leaves turn yellow. Specifically because the plant relocates nitrogen in the older leaves to the younger growing leaves.

Should I cut the Yellow Leaves off of my Peace Lily? 

You can cut off older, yellow leaves or wait for them to drop naturally. However, always make sure to remove any dead leaves once they have dropped for good hygiene.

Peace Lily Problems
Peace Lily Problems

Unfortunately, overwatering is one of the most detrimental Peace Lily problems. It must be corrected immediately. Too much water literally suffocates the roots, depriving them of necessary oxygen. Thus resulting in wilted leaves and eventually root rot.

Can a Peace Lily Recover from Overwatering? 

When identified and fixed early, your plant can recover from overwatering. First, inspect the roots for signs of root rot. If roots look healthy, hold off on watering. Then, let the top half of the soil dry out before watering again. 

If root rot is severe, you may see brown, mushy, smelly, or fragile roots. First, trim off infected roots. Next, repot your Peace Lily in a pot with a drainage hole to prevent waterlogging. Add dry, fresh, well-draining potting soil. 

Finally, place your Peace Lily in a spot where it gets bright, indirect light, in moderate temperatures, where it is well ventilated. 

When a Peace Lily needs water it will droop quickly and often dramatically. However, they typically recover without too many issues. Although, repeated underwatering can result in brown leaf tips or edges. 

Underwatered Peace Lily

Luckily, fixing an underwatered Peace Lily is one of the easiest Peace Lily problems to fix. Make sure to water your Peace Lily thoroughly. Allow water to flow freely out of the drainage holes.

Another option is to bottom water. This is particularly good for soil that is very dry. Place your pot in at least a few inches of water. The soil will slowly soak up all the water it needs.

A few hours after watering, your drooping Peace Lily should slowly start to perk back up again. Yellow leaves from underwatering will eventually turn brown or black after severe underwatering. Unfortunately, damaged leaves will never revert back to green. Remove leaves that are more than 50% damaged.

When soil becomes compacted water has a hard time reaching the roots. In fact, water just flows around the edges of the pot and out the drainage hole. Additionally, you can aerate the soil by poking it with a chopstick or a knitting needle to loosen it. Also, keep in mind soil in porous pots, like terracotta or wood, dry out faster than non-porous pots (plastic, glazed ceramic or metal). 

Peace Lily Drooping and Brown Tips 

When your Peace Lily is deprived of the moisture it needs, it can become stressed. Therefore, causing dry, crisp leaf tips. When you see drooping or wilting leaves along with browning tips, most likely too little moisture is the problem. To avoid an under watered Peace Lily, be sure to water when soil feels dry to touch. 

Keep in mind both overwatering and underwatering can cause brown leaf tips and brown leaf edges. However, this can happen with mild underwatering, but will only happen with severe overwatering.

Peace Lily leaves drooping 

Drooping Peace Lily leaves can also be from overwatering. Although, this is a much more detrimental problem than underwatering. If not corrected, overwatering can eventually kill your Peace Lily.

Peace Lilies like slightly moist soil. However, constant wet soil and poor drainage will cause drooping leaves and eventually cause root rot. Therefore, correct overwatering with the directions mentioned earlier.

Peace Lily Drooping but Soil is Moist

When a Peace Lily is drooping and the soil is still moist then the soil has stayed wet for too long. If the soil feels soggy or generally damp, overwatering or dense soil is typically the cause. Good, well-draining soil is essential.

Peace Lily Too Much Sun 

A Peace Lily can start to wilt and droop when exposed to too much sun. The plant requires bright sunlight or even low light conditions to thrive. However, when exposed to too much direct sun, the foliage will start to droop and many show signs of sunburn.

If you have not repotted or fertilized your Peace Lily in a while (and you’ve ruled out watering issues) it may be time for some nutrients. With a nutrient deficiency, the Peace Lily will develop at a slower rate than it should. 

 

Peace Lilies thrive with a fertilizer containing nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Nitrogen stimulates growth, potassium regulates water distribution among the cells, and phosphorus supports vigorous rooting. Apply a diluted liquid houseplant fertilizer to correct the nutrient deficiency. Repot if it has been a very long time. 

Peace Lily Problems
Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily)

If your peace lily has not quite matured, then there is not a great chance of it flowering. Typically Peace Lilies reach maturity after one year. Although, it can still be three to five years before you see a flower on your peace lily.

Why is my Peace Lily not Flowering? 

It is pretty uncommon for Peace Lilies to bloom in low-light conditions. Leaves will be relatively unaffected by the lower light, but there will not be enough energy for the plant to bloom. Peace Lily flowers will become more and more sparse in low light. Then, they will eventually stop blooming. 

In fact, the most common reason for a Peace Lily not flowering is insufficient lighting. Other common causes include watering, temperature problems, or an aging or root-bound plant. However, your Peace Lily should resume flowering once good care conditions are resumed.

Occasionally, lack of fertilizer can also be the cause of your Peace Lily not flowering. Although, this only happens when the plant has not been fertilized or repotted for many years.

How do I get my Peace Lily to Flower Again?

To encourage your Peace Lily to flower, place it in bright, indirect sunlight. Replicating their natural slightly moist environment can allow your peace lily to thrive and bloom.

Apply a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer diluted to half-strength every 3-5 weeks during the growing season. This can give your peace lily the little push it needs during the spring and summer. 

Also, keep in mind if grown in an overly large pot, the plant will also focus its energy on underground growth rather than top growth. Thus resulting in fewer flowers.

Peace Lily Problems
Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily) Problems

Peace Lily flowers turning green after having been white before is usually just part of the normal aging process of the flower life cycle. First they start out greenish, then turn white and finally go green or brown again at the end. In fact, this is due to increased chlorophyll production in the spathe as it gets older. This serves the purpose of helping the plant to produce energy when the function of the bloom is almost complete.

 

Low light is another common issue that can cause green Peace Lily flowers to turn green prematurely. The low light can result in the flowers emerging with a green hue, or starting white, but turning green quite quickly. In low light conditions, the plant struggles to produce enough energy from the low light available. As the spathes have the potential to produce chlorophyll and help the plant to produce energy, the low light conditions stimulate the plant to do this.

Why Are my Peace Lily Flowers Green Instead of White?

If your Peace Lily flowers are coming out green and never turning white, this can be from too much light. Specifically because the plant performs more photosynthesis in stronger light and the green pigment in the flower shows through. 

However, if you find the green color bothersome, you can move your Peace Lily to a slightly more shaded spot. Although, keep in mind that growth will not be as fast with less light.

Lastly, green flowers on Peace Lilies are associated with overfeeding. Peace lily plants have low fertilizer needs. Therefore providing too much can cause issues, including less striking flowers.

If you think overfeeding might be the case, look for brown leaf tips, which are also a symptom. You can restore an over-fertilized Peace Lily by flushing the soil with some distilled water to remove some of the excess nutrients.

To flush the soil, pour three to four times as much water as there is soil in the pot. Also, don’t forget to stop fertilizing during winter.

Use a balanced fertilizer during spring and summer once every 3-5 weeks.

Improper watering, cold damage, and overfertilization could be the cause for Peace Lily leaves turning black. Additionally, low humidity, bacterial or fungal infection, and pest infestation can also be the culprit.

Peace Lily Watering 

Underwatering is more likely to cause black leaves of your Peace Lily than overwatering. Leaves will turn very dark brown, then black. In fact, the most common reason for Peace Lily leaves turning black is underwatering. Therefore, it is important to water regularly.

Peace Lily Temperature 

Exposure to extreme temperatures and sunburn typically causes a brown discoloration that eventually turns black. Peace Lilies love plenty of light, but harsh direct sun can be too much for them. Especially without acclimation. 

Once the leaves turn black they will not revert back to green. If more than 50% of the leaf is burned, remove it. In the future, gradually introduce additional sun. 

Peace Lily Black Leaves

Black Peace Lily leaf tips could also be from excess salts in the soil. Specifically from either from too much fertilizer, fluoride, or chlorine in the water. Therefore, you should regularly flush the soil with distilled water to prevent mineral build up.

Peace Lily Cold Damage 

Exposure to excessive cold will turn the peace lily leaves black. Signs of damage from cold are typically in the leaves. The black or drying out spreads to the inner parts of the plant. This can also occur if your plant is close to a drafty window or if left outside in cold temperatures.

Therefore, avoid temperatures below 60 °F (15.5°C) and keep away from cold drafts. Unfortunately, cold temperatures can wipe out an entire plant in one night. If you think it can be saved, place it in a warm, bright spot. Keep soil lightly moist, to see if any new growth pops up.

Aerial Blight Peace Lily 

A fungus called Phytophthora (aerial blight) can cause black Peace Lily leaves or black spots. It typically spreads by splashing water. High moisture levels and humidity are ideal conditions for infection. The soil and the leaves will need to be treated with a fungicide

Peace Lily Problems
Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily)

Brown tips on your Peace Lily are an indication that something is bothering your plant. It is not necessarily something to be super concerned about, especially if it’s only a few of the lower leaves. However, let’s review a few causes on brown leaf tips so you can correct them.

Peace Lily Tap Water 

If your tap water contains chlorine, chloramine, or is on the hard side, it can affect some houseplants more than others. Peace Lilies are notorious for being sensitive to tap water in certain areas. 

You can let the tap water sit out for a day or two which will help chlorine and some chemicals dissipate. However, if your water is chlorinated with chloramine (which a lot of cities use in their water), it cannot be boiled or left sitting out to reduce the chlorine.

Unfortunately, the “sitting out” method will not eliminate the fluoride either. 

Therefore, as mentioned earlier, periodically flush the soil with distilled water to prevent mineral build up. Also, an even better option is to use rainwater. I swear it is magic for plants.

Peace Lily Burnt Tips 

Overfertilization can also cause a build up of minerals just like tap water. Ultimately causing burnt tips on Peace Lilies. The correction to the problem is the same: flush with distilled water. 

Overwatering or underwatering tends to result in the loss of entire leaves. However, they are also associated with brown tips on Peace Lilies. Check to see if the soil stays too soggy or gets too dry. Underwatering can make the edges of the foliage brown and brittle.

Peace Lily Direct Sun 

When your Peace Lily receives too much direct light, it can cause the leaves to sunburn. Just like humans, long exposure to direct sunlight will burn its tender leaves. Sometimes burns can be brown or black.

Peace Lily Humidity 

The Peace Lily is a tropical plant that enjoys warmth and humidity. Humidity levels above 60% are preferred, but Peace Lilies will tolerate anything around 50% humidity. Therefore, if dry air is causing leaf tips to turn brown, be sure to increase humidity levels. Your Peace Lily will also tend to grow bigger and faster in humid conditions. 

You have several options to raise humidity levels. First, try grouping your Peace Lily with other plants to raise the humidity. The vapor they exhale makes the air more humid around them. Also, be sure to keep away from any A/C vents or heaters. 

Another option is to use a humidity tray. If you need some more humidity muscle than a humidifier is the way to go. We recommend this model, but this model also works great and is more affordable. All good ways to improve humidity around your plants. 

If you are unsure of your humidity levels a hygrometer is great for testing levels. 

Should I cut the Brown Tips off my Peace Lily? 

The brown leaf tips will never revert back to green. Therefore, trim the leaf tips back to restore the natural appearance and to stimulate new green growth. Cut off brown leaf tips with a sharp pair of clean shears. Make a cut just enough to get rid of the damaged part. 

This will not hurt your Peace Lily. Also, if you have fixed the cause of the leaf tips turning brown then your plant should stay a healthy green.

Peace Lily Brown Leaves

When the lush green leaves of your Peace Lily turn brown, then it can be really any reason that causes brown leaf tips. Typically Peace Lily leaves will start turning brown at the tips, then gradually continue to the rest of the leaf.

As the plant ages, the leaves at the bottom of your Peace Lily will brown and die off. This typically starts with the tips and moves down the leaf. Do not be alarmed if it is only a leaf here or there.

Too much sunlight or temperatures that are too high (above 90°F/32°C) can cause Peace Lily leaves to become curled, as well as pale, chlorotic or necrotic. Curling leaves may also be caused by underwatering, overwatering, low humidity, and overfertilization. Although, under fertilization, pests, overcrowded pots and transplant shock are also possible causes.

A nutrient deficiency or excessive light and/or temperature can cause your dark green leaves to turn light green. 

With a nutrient deficiency, the plant’s leaves will get chlorotic leaves and it will develop at a slower rate than normal. Therefore, fertilize your Peace Lily with a balanced fertilizer. We love this fertilizer here that caters specifically to Peace Lilies.

Be sure to dilute the fertilizer appropriately for your Peace Lilies. Then follow your normal Peace Lily plant care.

With a temperature or light exposure problem, the leaves may be curled, pale, and chlorotic. In fact, leaves may even die prematurely. Ensure that direct sunlight is not beating down on the plant. Additionally, make sure that extremely hot air is not blowing on the plant from air vents. 

If you just brought your new Peace Lily home, its flowers may die within a week or so. Peace Lilies do not really like being moved and your plant might be getting rid of its flowers to focus on adjusting. Plants will drop their flowers when they’re stressed.

How Long Do Peace Lily Flowers Last? 

Peace Lilies typically flower in spring, and healthy plants may bloom again in fall. Flowers can last for one to two months when taken care of correctly. Once the flowers have faded, cut them back to the base of the plant to keep it looking neat. 

Peace Lily Flowers Turning Brown 

It is not uncommon for Peace Lily flowers to naturally brown as they age. In fact it is totally normal. Therefore, it should not be cause for concern if your plant is otherwise healthy.

However, Peace Lily flowers may turn brown prematurely with improper care or stress. If your plant becomes stressed, it may shift energy away from the flowers to preserve the leaves.

For example, drafts that are hot or cold may cause the foliage and flowers to turn brown and drop off. Additionally, overwatering and underwatering your Peace Lily can kill the plant and their flowers. Finally, too much light may cause the leaves and flowers to turn brown with sunburn. 

How to remove dead Peace Lily Flowers 

Definitely remove dead Peace Lily flowers to keep the plant in good health. Always use clean, sharp pruning shears or scissors. 

How to cut Peace Lily Flowers  

First follow the flower stalk all the way to the base of the plant. Then make a cut as close to the base as possible. Definitely do not pull on the stalk to remove it. In fact this may cause damage to the plant.

Keep your Peace Lily happy and healthy and it should flower again in a few months to a year. Of course this will depend on the environment and the cultivar.

Why are my Peace Lily Flowers Small? 

When Peace Lilies produce small flowers it is typically caused by nutrients or water, not enough or too much of them. If the Peace Lilies do not have enough nutrients in the soil then the flowers will be smaller. 

Peace Lilies that are root bound will be stressed. In fact, the more severely root bound the plants, the less likely they are to actually flower. Occasionally, root bound Peace Lilies will have everything they need in order to flower, but will produce small and weak looking flowers. Repot your Peace Lilies if it has spent several years in the same pot.

The two most common diseases of Peace Lily plants are Cylindrocladium spathiphylli and Phytophthora parasitica, both causing root rot diseases. Cylindrocladium root rot is a fungal infection caused by Cylindrocladium spathiphylli. Your Peace Lily can be vulnerable to this disease if it is overwatered or in soggy soil. Phytophthora parasitica is a type of root rot that is transferred by infected water. 

Generally, Peace lily does not get affected by the attack of pests. Although stressed or weak plants can be susceptible to aphids, spider mites, or mealybugs. Sometimes, these pests can also be brought in by a new houseplant.

To keep your Peace Lily healthy, examine your plant when watering. Check stems and under the leaves for any early signs of pests. Once spotted, quarantine your infected plant away from others to avoid pests spreading. 

Safeguard your peace lily plants from the nasty pests by wiping the leaves from time to time without missing the undersides. The pests can be taken care of using neem oil or insecticidal soap solution. A link to my favorite organic insecticidal soap can be found in the description below. Read more on plant pest eradication here.

Your Peace Lily leaves will normally be deep green and glossy. However, once dust starts to collect, leaves may appear dull. In fact, not only does it look bad, the dust actually interferes with the ability of the leaves to take in sunlight and oxygen. Therefore, use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe any dust off from the top and bottom of the leaves. Weekly cleaning keeps the plant both healthy and happy.

Your Peace Lily will get a bit fussy and wilt in times of stress. It is not uncommon for this to happen after some major changes.

Peace Lily Repotting Shock 

You may notice Peace Lily is drooping after repotting or splitting for propagation. This is because it may be in shock as delicate root hairs have been damaged. Your peace lily can droop for a while after repotting while it focuses on the roots instead of the leaves. It may even abandon a few leaves, which will turn yellow and/or brown.

However, do not panic. As long as the soil is moist but not soggy, the Peace Lily will come out of the drooping phase as it recovers.

Although it is not always easy to identify problems with your houseplants, hopefully this post has given you an indication of what may be going on with your Peace Lily.

Just to reiterate, as with most houseplant problems, it is usually a watering issue. In many cases it is also something that does not warrant any stress, like natural leaf loss. Keep in mind, your plant unfortunately won’t look as perfect in your home as it does in the perfect conditions of a nursery. 

Finally, don’t worry too much if your plant dies. Spathiphyllum (Peace Lilies) are cheap and at least you learned something. I picked up mine for only $12.99 at IKEA. In fact, I have even been able to propagate it, making new Peace Lily plants.

There are many great options online like this beauty here.

Peace Lily Problems

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Peace Lily Problems

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