When you purchased it you were determined to pamper it. And you were delighted when your Peace lily seemed to respond. But now after months of devoted care, you find your Peace Lily leaves drooping rather than remaining glossy and perky.
Why is this the case and what can be done to rectify it? Here I share the tips which proved invaluable in enabling me to care for a sulking houseplant and get back in its good graces.
- Causes Of Peace Lily Leaves Drooping?
- Why Are My Peace Lily Leaves Drooping And How Can I Fix It?
- Final Thoughts On Peace Lily Leaves Drooping
Causes Of Peace Lily Leaves Drooping?
There are several different manifestations of drooping leaves that you may notice when dealing with an ailing Peace lily. Upon closer inspection, however, I bet you’ll find some clues as to the underlying cause of the problem.
Here is a rundown of the most common symptoms I see related to drooping leaves:
Drought stress is one of the main culprits of drooping leaves and this can be caused by overwatering. Yes, strangely enough, a zeal to ensure your plants never want water can result in the soil becoming waterlogged!
This prevents their roots from being able to function effectively, ranging from an inability to absorb nutrients, water, and oxygen to becoming diseased with root rot.
Another cause of drooping leaves is underwatering and, let’s face it, a little forgetfulness from time to time can happen to the best of us.
Luckily, plants in the Spathiphyllum genus, which includes the Peace Lily, are forgiving and won’t hold it against you as long as you rectify it in time with a satisfying helping of water — and remain more attentive going forward.
Leaves Drooping And Turning Yellow
Drooping and yellow leaves can arise as a result of a whole host of reasons. Here’s a look at them in more detail.
As the leaves age, they turn yellow. This is a normal part of your plant’s life cycle.
These leaves are best pruned as soon as possible since they can serve as a beacon to pests that find the odors emitted by decaying vegetation especially appealing.
Try to avoid the temptation to pull the leaves out by hand, as you are likely to yank at the root base and potentially cause damage, as well as pull potting soil onto your floor or carpet!
Yellowing leaves may also be a sign that your Peace Lily is the right balance of nutrients it needs to thrive.
This may include a shortfall in one or more of the primary macronutrients of nitrogen, phosphorous, or potassium or of a beneficial micronutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, or manganese.
Nutrient deficiency can occur where the soil is depleted in nutrients or when soil pH is too high or too low. In the case of Peace Lilies, pH values of between 5.8 – 6.5 are what’s needed.
A regular soil test will help to identify any shortcomings, as well as regular fertilizing and a replacement of soil each time you re-pot.
Yellow leaves can also be a sign that your Peace lily is not getting enough light. This is due to a reduced ability to produce chlorophyll. This pigment not only gives leaves their characteristic green color but is also responsible for trapping light to carry out photosynthesis to enable the plant to be able to manufacture the food it needs.
In this instance, you may need to find a brighter spot where it can benefit from more or longer periods of daylight or consider purchasing grow to light to provide additional illumination.
Root rot can take hold when the soil in which your Peace lily has been planted becomes waterlogged making it impossible for its roots to breathe and obtain the water and nutrients it needs.
When soil remains soggy for long periods, roots become stressed and are then more susceptible to the fungi that may be present in the soil. After a while, they will begin to decay and rot.
Drooping Leaves With Brown Tips
If your plant is looking sad, droopy, and has brown tips, then one or more of the following issues could be to blame:
Overexposure To Bright Sunlight
Peace lilies are none too fond of harsh sunlight and being directly exposed to it will make them turn brown at the tips.
Bear in mind that a Peace lily’s natural habitat is on the floor of a tropical rainforest, where they are more accustomed to dappled light that filters through the tree canopy.
To avoid drooping and brown tips, place your plants away from spots where they are likely to have to endure the full glare of sunlight.
Irrigation Using Water Containing Chlorine
Brown tips could also be caused by the presence of chlorine in the water. To prevent this from happening use filtered water or leave the water to stand overnight as this will cause the chlorine to dissipate.
Low humidity is yet another possible cause of brown leaf tips. Regular misting, grouping other tropical houseplants together, or placing pebbles in the drip tray beneath your Peace lily and partially filling it with water — slightly less than 1 cm — can all help to raise the surrounding humidity.
Bottom Leaves Drooping
When you notice the leaves in the lower section of your plant drooping, it is a good idea to check for soil dryness as this is most often caused by drought stress.
When you notice the top 2 inches of soil are dry, it’s time to water your plant. All you need is a watering can of filtered water to drench the soil to enable you to return to your houseplant’s good graces once again.
Why Are My Peace Lily Leaves Drooping And How Can I Fix It?
Once you have identified the symptoms and the most likely cause of the drooping leaves, you can then begin work on how to fix your houseplant and adjust your care routine accordingly.
Overwater Or Underwatering
Providing your Peace lily with the right amounts of water is a delicate balancing act. Too much or too little could make its leaves droop. Or worse still overwatering can cause root rot.
I find that the best way to get the balance right is to wait until the top 2 inches of soil are dry before watering.
Then, I’ll remove the plant from its decorative pot and place it in an empty sink or bathtub.
I then water the soil around my plant until water begins to seep through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Once all of the excess water has stopped dripping through the holes, I’ll return it to the decorative pot.
That way, I can be sure that water won’t be pooling in the drip tray or decorative pot and I can be sure that the soil won’t be unnecessarily soggy for prolonged periods.
How Often Should Your Water Peace Lily?
I’m not a big fan of setting a timer or calendar-dating a watering schedule. That’s because plants need different amounts of water depending on their growth cycle and the surrounding temperature. In winter, Peace lilies need far less water than they compared to the warmer summer months.
As a rule of thumb, water your plant when the top 2 inches of soil is dry. The soil you use should be well-draining and kept only slightly moist.
Once you notice its top two and a half centimeters are dry, you will need to water it. The key here is ensuring slightly moist rather than wet soil. Use a good quality potting soil combined with a little coco coir or perlite to boost drainage and always use a pot with drainage holes at the bottom.
Can A Peace Lily Recover From Overwatering?
In most instances, yes it can. Provided the issue is spotted in time and the roots are still viable.
As soon as you have spotted the overwatering issue it’s a good idea to re-pot. This provides several beneficial opportunities:
- Swap your current pot for one with better sized-drainage holes
- Replace the soil with a medium that allows for better drainage
- Give roots a thorough inspection and remove any disease
Pots made of materials that can eliminate excess moisture such as clay or terracotta are best but if you plan on reusing the same container, you will need to sterilize it to prevent any fungus from lingering and potentially reinfecting the roots.
Signs Of Peace Lily Root Rot
Root rot is a rather sneaky issue that tends to creep up on you and your plant stealthily. And by the time you notice it, the condition may be pretty advanced.
Yellowing leaves or poor growth are good indicators of root rot that has progressed to other areas of the plant.
In either instance, you will need to inspect the roots of the peace lily to check for infection.
Do this when re-potting by carefully removing the plant from its current pot and gently brushing away excess soil from the root area. Trim away any traces of mushy, black, or brown roots using sterilized scissors or a sharp knife. Remember to re-sanitize the cutting tools after each cut.
Once all traces of disease have been removed, and you are just left with white or cream roots, you are good to re-pot in a fresh pot with new well-draining soil.
Peace lilies love moist soil which is rich in organic matter, and which reminds them of their home in the warm humidity of the South American and Asian tropics.
As a result, you should select well-draining soil. You should also select a pot with holes at the bottom to allow the water to run out.
Taking these precautions will ensure your Peace lily gets to enjoy soil in which its roots can both breathe easily and draw the nutrients and water it needs to produce energy.
Too Much Direct Sunlight
Peace lilies are accustomed to making do with what dappled sunlight filters down to them through the forest canopy.
As a result, indirect light is best for these tropical house plants. The best spots to place them are those close to windows that receive early morning sunlight. Those who receive its full noonday glare are best avoided.
As a rule of thumb, eastern windows tend to let in that bright yet soothing early morning light, while windows facing the south tend to be subjected to the full blast of its midday intensity.
Peace lilies need high humidity to prevent their leaves from drooping, getting brown tips as well as enabling them to bloom. A humidity range of 50% plus is ideal.
To increase humidity mist leaves regularly or place them close to a humidifier. Another way is to place them on a tray of nicely moistened pebbles. Alternatively, group them next to other tropical houseplants. All of this will help to increase humidity levels to the advantage of your Peace lily.
In keeping with their status as low-maintenance plants, peace lilies do not require regular feeding. The only time they require a bit of help is during the growing season.
To ensure maximum growth, apply a balanced fertilizer from Spring onwards. Following that first application, continue feeding regularly for the remainder of the growing season (through to Fall) as per the instructions on your chosen fertilizing product.
What Will Happen If You Overfertilize Your Plant?
In the event of providing your Peace lily with excessive amounts of nitrogen-heavy fertilizer, it will sprout a copious quantity of leafy green foliage. However, those beautiful white single flame-shaped petals will be missing.
Overfertilizing an otherwise healthy plant will result in brown patches appearing on their leaves or burnt root tips. You may also notice white specks appearing on the soil. All of these symptoms are the outcome of a build-up of fertilizer product remaining in the soil.
How Can You Save an Overfertilized Peace Lily?
Overzealous applications of fertilizer can be remedied quickly and usually effectively using any of the following methods:
Irrigating the plant: Flush the soil entirely with filtered water and let it drain.
Avoid watering again until the top 2 inches of soil is dry, do so with filtered water, and allow all of the excess water to run through the drainage holes in the pot. Do not allow this excess water to pool in the drip tray or decorative pot.
Repotting the plant: Alternatively, you may choose to report the plant and get rid of all that concentrated soil. Make sure you choose an appropriately sized terracotta or clay pot, ensure it is sterilized if it has been used before, and fill it with well-draining soil.
Hold off any further applications of fertilizer until symptoms have subsided.
Peace Lily Leaves Drooping After Propagation
Drooping after propagating is generally caused by transplant shock which itself may arise as a result of the following:
Altered Light Exposure
Always place the propagated plant in the same position or as nearby as possible as the parent plant. If this isn’t possible and to avoid the risk of transplant shock, place it in a bright spot but avoid exposure to direct sunlight.
Altering the Soil
If your peace lily was doing rather well with the previous soil mix pre-propagation, using the same for its propagated offspring is highly recommended. Swapping it for another product could make each plant struggle to adjust to the new medium resulting in transplant shock.
Leaves Drooping After Repotting
It is normal for a Peace lily’s foliage to droop after it has been reported. But that doesn’t mean you need to reach for the fertilizer just yet. I recommend waiting for about 2 months before feeding. This will provide enough time for your plant to get used to its new surroundings.
For the best chance of success after re-potting, I like to detangle the roots before I’ve placed them in the new pot and trim them back if necessary. Peace lilies can handle ¾ of their root mass being snipped off.
When trimming, pay special attention to any mushy, decaying roots. These will all need to be trimmed away so that only the white- or cream-colored roots are left.
In addition, make sure that the new pot is only slightly larger than the old — by about 1 or 2 inches in diameter. Any larger may result in another reason why your Peace lily may experience transplant shock.
Getting the soil mix right is paramount as well. If the blend you used for the parent plant has been working fine, there’s no reason to swap it for anything else.
Pruning Drooping Leaves
Deadheading spathes and removing withered or discolored leaves is the only pruning that Peace lilies require. There’s really no need to prune these houseplants otherwise.
When pruning, be sure to sterilize your scissors or pruning shears to prevent the possible spread of any infection.
Removing Drooping Leaves from Peace Lily
Drooping leaves should be removed when they are yellow or withered. Doing so will not only improve the appearance of your Peace lily but will also encourage new growth.
Final Thoughts On Peace Lily Leaves Drooping
Although peace lilies are relatively easygoing, they can be pretty vulnerable to issues relating to lighting, humidity, feeding, and drainage.
Maintaining a well-researched care routine, removing discolored foliage, and spending spathes and repotting where necessary can go a long way in improving your plant’s appearance and health as well as avoiding dropping leaves.