The peace lily (spathiphyllum) is a relatively easy-to-grow houseplant with lush dark green leaves and beautiful white flowers. However, there are some common reasons your peace lily may be dying. If caught and fixed, you may be able to revive your houseplant.
What Does A Dying Peace Lily Look Like?
A dying peace lily plant may have brown spots, brown leaves, black leaves, and yellowing leaves.
Symptoms might also include the peace lily leaves drooping, curling, or drying out. The normally healthy and glossy green leaves can become dull and lose their shine in an unhealthy plant.
What Causes A Peace Lily To Die?
Any houseplant that receives too much water is susceptible to many problems. Over-saturated soil can result in a lack of oxygen in the roots. If your plant is overwatered and you catch it early, you can let the potting soil dry out before watering again. Poor drainage may also cause the roots to become waterlogged.
Excess water leads to root rot, which can eventually kill your plant. Signs of root rot are brown, wilting leaves, curled leaves, and brown or yellow leaves. You may also notice a musty smell coming from the soil. Repotting is the only way to potentially save your plant from root rot.
In addition to root rot, peace lilies are susceptible to several diseases that result from improper watering and plant placement.
Using a moisture meter can help ensure your plant has the correct amount of moisture. Plants experiencing root rot and other problems from over-watering should be placed in a new pot with drainage holes and well-draining soil.
When you repot the plant, trim away any rotten spots from the root ball.
Keep in mind that peace lilies like to be root bound, so if it’s in too big of a pot, the soil moisture levels will naturally be higher. When repotting, choose a pot that’s only slightly larger than the root ball to help with drainage and keep your plant’s root system happy.
TIP: Peace lilies can be easily propagated through division. If you're able to separate some healthy root clumps with attached leaves while repotting, you'll have a new plant in case the parent plant doesn't make it.
You can tell your plant is not getting enough water by the dry, crisp leaf tips, droopy or wilting leaves, and brown leaf tips.
The quick fix for this is water, and watering more frequently. Another great tactic is to bottom water your plant.
Not Enough Sun
Peace lilies can thrive in a variety of light conditions. Although they do fine in low light, most people succeed in indirect but bright sunlight from a nearby window. Your lily can get sun-scorched if it receives too much direct sun.
Plants that become leggy may be trying to get more sunlight by reaching toward the window. Another sign is the plant leaves fade and lose their dark glossy shine.
East-facing windows give peace lilies plenty of gentle morning light while protecting them from the direct light of the harsh afternoon sun.
The peace lily plant prefers a high humidity at 50% or above. Low humidity can cause the tips of the leaves to turn brown. It can also lead to a peace lily drooping.
Adding a humidifier to the room your plants live in is one option. If you do not have a humidifier, periodically misting the plant with a hand-held sprayer filled with distilled water is another option. You can also use a pebble tray filled with water under the plant, or group several indoor plants together to increase respiration.
These tropical plants do best in a location where the temperature is between 68-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Extreme temperatures can stunt growth and cause the leaves to droop.
Keep your peace lily in a spot with a consistent temperature. If you move them outside in the warmer months, be sure to bring them in in the fall and winter. Avoid putting your plant near heating and cooling vents, near the fireplace, or anywhere it will be exposed to extreme temperatures.
There are a variety of pests that can bother your peace lily plant, including spider mites, aphids, and mealy bugs. Upon closer inspection, you should be able to visibly see these insects (although a magnifying glass is helpful).
Pest infestations can be handled by using an insecticidal soap to wipe them away. After using the soap, rinse off the leaves with clean water.
For those who prefer a more natural approach, some insects can be removed by rubbing canola or neem oil on the leaves.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my peace lily come back to life?
A dying peace lily can be revived if you reverse the problem soon enough. It depends on how far gone the plant is. If you have watered in weeks and the entire plant is brown and dead, it’s unlikely some water will revive the plant enough to produce new growth. Root rot that isn’t caught soon enough is usually irreversible as well.
Should I cut the brown tips off my peace lily?
It is always a good idea to cut brown or dead portions of leaves off of houseplants. A cut leaf will not grow back, so cut it off at the stem to promote new growth.
As part of the plant’s natural life cycle, lower leaves will die occasionally. Trim these off before they fall into the pot.
What can I do to make my peace lily happy?
Keeping a peace lily plant is easy. Make sure it is planted in the right potting mix in a pot with good drainage holes. Water it when the top inch of soil is dry, and place it in an east-facing window where it will get bright but indirect light. These houseplants are not heavy feeders, so avoid over-fertilization.
Get your weekly fix of interior design inspiration
Delivered to your inbox every Saturday morning