The last time you took a really good look at it, your Peace lily was thriving and in peak health. Its leaves were luxuriant and abundant, and you couldn’t wait for them to bloom.
But now you’ve noticed it seems a bit wan. Worst of all, that shiny green has been invaded by a desiccated brown.
What could have caused it? And how can you get rid of those unwelcome blemishes and restore those leaves back to normal?
Find out the secrets behind the brown discoloration of your Peace lily’s leaves — and the remedies needed to fix them too.
- Why Does My Peace Lily Have Brown Leaves?
- Causes Of Peace Lily Leaves Turning Brown
- Final Thoughts: Peace Lily Leaves Turning Brown
Why Does My Peace Lily Have Brown Leaves?
The ideal image we all have of the perfect Peace lily is one with perfect green leaves with no blemish in sight.
However, the reality can be much different. Depending on several factors, your Peace lily’s leaves might turn brown. Here are some of the common scenarios you’re most likely to come across.
Peace Lily Leaves Turning Brown
In this case, your Peace lily may have outgrown its container. Coupled with the decomposition of indoor soil mix which does occur over time, this means there is a lack of good soil from which your houseplant is able to draw the nutrients or moisture it needs.
Roots that have become squashed and tangled, together with depleted soil conditions will always result in roots being unable to function correctly. An inability to absorb water, nutrients, and water mean that leaves will start to desiccate as water leaves their stomata, i.e., their pores, into the atmosphere, with none to replace it.
This can be fixed by upgrading your Peace lily’s living quarters — a pot wider by 2 inches will do nicely — followed by a fresh batch of well-draining potting mix and some water to make things right again.
Leaves Turning Brown At Tips
Brown tips plus a white crust around the soil in which your Peace lily is planted is a tell-tale sign of a salt buildup. This occurs when salts from your fertilizer accumulate in the soil.
This excess of salt will draw out water from the houseplant’s roots, causing them to shrivel up and become less efficient at obtaining water and nutrients for your Peace lily. The result? Brown leaf tips.
Thankfully, the issue can be rectified by flushing out the salts or replacing the soil with a fresh batch.
Another reason for leaves with brown or even black tips can be caused by a long-lasting cold spell involving temperatures that fall below 40°F (4.44°C). Owing to their tropical origins, Peace lilies detest cool weather and prefer a temperature range of 68 – 85°F (20 -29.4°F).
The solution? Placing them year-round in consistently bright, warm, and humid surroundings.
Peace Lily Leaves Turning Brown And Yellow
Either excessive or insufficient quantities of moisture can cause the leaves of a Peace lily to turn brown and yellow.
In the case of overwatering, the soil becomes waterlogged preventing the roots from being able to function properly and leading to the leaves wilting and turning yellow and brown.
In the case of underwatering, there simply isn’t any moisture for the roots to absorb also leading to wilting and yellow and brown discoloration.
Causes Of Peace Lily Leaves Turning Brown
If your Peace lily is turning brown, you might just be able to save the day and resolve the issue preventing further possible harm from coming to your plant.
Overwater Or Underwatering
In the case of overwatering, I recommend replacing a waterlogged soil mix with a new batch, bear in mind that it needs to be well-draining as well as nutrient-dense.
Review your watering schedule by only watering when the top 2 inches of soil are moist and always plant a Peace lily in a pot with good-sized drainage holes to allow excess water to drain away.
Where your Peace lily has been underwatered, take the container out of the decorative pot and place it in a sink. Thoroughly water the soil with rainwater or filtered water. Allow water to soak the soil and allow excess water to completely drain through drainage holes before returning the plant to its normal position.
Check the moisture levels in the soil more frequently – especially in the warmer months. Remember, you only need to water your plant when the top 2 inches of soil are dry.
How Often Should You Water Peace Lily?
Rather than setting a calendar reminder, I prefer to check the moisture levels in the soil and water when the top 2 inches of soil are dry.
Try to get into a routine of checking the soil every few days and remember that your plant will need watering more regularly in the warmer months due to increased temperatures causing water to evaporate more quickly.
Conversely, you’ll find that the soil stays damp for much longer while your Peace lily is dormant in the cooler months of winter. This is largely due to your plant absorbing less water while it is not growing and also tanks to decreased evaporation levels.
Root Rot From Overwatering
Excess water in the soil can cause your Peace lily’s roots to decay. This is because water is sitting in air pockets within the soil where oxygen would otherwise be.
Root rot may also be triggered by the activation of harmful bacteria such as pythium. The microbe itself is spread by the presence of fungus gnats which are especially fond of damp potting soil.
Fusarium is another possible threat. A type of fungus, Fusarium loves waterlogged soil and is known for triggering root rot where it moves along from one root to another. Eventually affects the entire root system of a plant.
Your best bet is scrupulously draining the soil of all excess moisture during watering to prevent it from becoming waterlogged. If you find cause to replace soggy soil with a fresh supply, I recommend that you disinfect the plant pot before reusing it to remove any lingering microbes which could pose a further risk to your Peace lily’s health.
Too Much Direct Sunlight
Peace lilies do not like direct sunlight. Too much of it will make their leaves curl up and turn pale and continued exposure will make them turn brown at the tips. It can be a fine balance between finding a bright position that is not exposed to direct sunlight for them to look healthy and to bloom year after year.
Mine got to settle close to an eastern window just out of the pathway of the early morning sunlight, here it gets all the sunshine it needs and the benefit of brightness from dawn onwards.
Dry air will turn your Peace lily’s leaves brown at their tips and edges so it’s important to keep humidity levels consistently moderate to high regardless of the time of year.
Fortunately, plants can serve as natural humidifiers. I like to group all my humidity-loving tropical plants together.
One because they look great in a cluster but also due to the humidity-increasing effects that this brings.
Alternatively, high humidity areas such as a draught-free kitchen or bathroom window can work well at increasing humidity. If you do this, be sure to avoid severe temperature fluctuations or direct light.
How Much Humidity Does Peace Lily Need?
Peace lilies need between 50 – 60% humidity. If you happen to live in an area of low humidity, you may wish to consider purchasing a humidifier to create a more comfortable environment for your tropical house plants.
Too much of a good thing can harm your Peace lily even when it takes the form of plant food. Excess fertilizer for Peace lilies can burn the roots of the plant and eventually show up as brown leaf tips.
To err on the side of caution Clemson University’s College of Agriculture advises feeding your plants with a balanced fertilizer and using just one-quarter of the recommended amount.
Your peace lily’s soil mix should be free of any lingering fertilizer salts which can usually be spotted by the presence of tell-tale white crystals. These salts can dry out its roots leading to brown leaf tips.
Make sure that soil is well-draining, and that excess water is allowed to drain through freely after watering. Never allow water to pool in the decorative pot or in a drip tray. Waterlogged soil can activate harmful microbes transforming healthy pale roots into dark mush.
To prevent fertilizer salts from accumulating, ensure the entire area is irrigated during watering and let it drain properly. To get rid of them, dump the old soil mix, wash out the pot and fill it with a fresh batch.
Peace Lily Leaves Turning Brown After Propagation
Following propagation, each newly separated plant will need to be watered. Making them wait a bit can stress them out leading to brown leaves. To fix this just follow the previous advice of watering when the top inch of soil is dry, being sure that the lower soil gets a thorough soaking.
Peace Lily Leaves Turning Brown After Re-Potting
After re-potting it is possible that your Peace lily may suffer from transplant shock. Selecting the right sized container (2 inches wider in diameter), watering it after settling it in its new home, and placing it in its former spot so it can receive the light it needs, can all help in preventing that from occurring.
Pruning Peace Lily
Pruning is not necessary for healthy, thriving Peace lilies but can improve the appearance and health if leaves are broken or damaged.
Cutting brown leaves off Peace Lily
Simply use a pair of pruning shears or sharp scissors and cut off the damaged or discolored leaves right at the bottom, as near to the stem as possible. Try to avoid the temptation of pulling them by hand, as you may damage the rootball and get a floor full of soil for your efforts.
Final Thoughts: Peace Lily Leaves Turning Brown
The main causes of brown leaves are overgrown roots, excessive or inadequate watering, or low humidity and ambient temperatures. Overfertilizing may also contribute to the issue.
A good care routine involves checking moisture levels in the soil regularly, using the right type of soil to avoid soggy roots, and watering with filtered water or rainwater.
In addition, repotting when your plant gets pot-bound, and fertilizing modestly, whilst also maintaining a consistently warm, bright, and humid environment can all help to prevent your Peace lily’s leaves from turning brown.