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 it to bloom.
But now you’ve noticed it seems a bit sad. Worst of all, that shiny green has been taken over 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?
In this article, I’ll tell you the secrets behind the brown discoloration of your Peace Lily’s leaves — and the remedies needed to fix it.
- Why Does My Peace Lily Have Brown Leaves?
- Causes Of Peace Lily Foliage Turning Brown
- Final Thoughts: Peace Lily 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.
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 will also interfere with proper function. An inability to absorb water, nutrients, and water means that leaves will start to desiccate as water leaves their stomata, i.e., their pores.
This can be fixed by upgrading your Peace Lily’s living quarters — a pot that is 2 inches wider will do nicely — followed by a fresh batch of well-draining potting mix and some water.
Leaves Turning Brown At Tips
Brown tips plus a white crust on the soil is a tell-tale sign of salt buildup. This occurs when salts from 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. The result? Brown leaf tips.
Thankfully, the issue can be rectified by flushing out the salts or replacing the soil.
Leaves with brown or even black tips can also be caused by a cold spell involving temperatures 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? Keeping them in consistently bright, warm, and humid surroundings.
Leaves Turning Brown And Yellow
Either excess or insufficient 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 functioning 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. This also leads to wilting and yellow and brown discoloration.
Causes Of Peace Lily Foliage Turning Brown
If your Peace Lily is turning brown, you might just be able to save the day and resolve the issue with a few simple steps.
Over 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.
Delay watering until the top 2 inches of soil are dry to the touch. Plant your 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 out 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?
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.
You’ll find that the soil stays damp for much longer while your Peace Lily is dormant in the cooler months of winter.
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. Fusarium is a fungus that loves waterlogged soil and is known for triggering root rot. It moves from one root to another, eventually affecting the entire root system of a plant.
Your best bet is to drain the soil of all excess moisture after 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 pathogens.
Too Much Direct Sunlight
Peace Lilies do not like direct sunlight. Too much of it will make their leaves curl up and turn pale. Continued exposure will make the foliage 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 bloom year after year.
Mine enjoys sitting by an east-facing window just out of the pathway of the early morning sunlight. Here it gets all the sunshine it needs without the risk of scorching.
Dry air will turn your Peace Lily’s foliage brown at the tips and edges, so it’s important to keep humidity levels moderate or 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.
For 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 draft-free kitchen or bathroom window can work well. If you do this, be sure to avoid severe temperature fluctuations or direct light.
How Much Humidity Do Peace Lilies Need?
These houseplants need 50 to 60% humidity. If you happen to live in an area with low humidity, you may want to consider purchasing a humidifier to create a more comfortable environment for your tropical houseplants.
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.
To err on the side of caution, Clemson University advises feeding your plants with a balanced fertilizer and using just one-quarter of the recommended amount.
Your 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 roots, leading to brown leaf tips.
Make sure that the soil is well-draining and that excess water is allowed to drain freely. Never allow water to pool in the decorative pot or in a drip tray.
To prevent fertilizer salts from accumulating, ensure the entire container 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 fresh soil.
Peace Lily 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 Turning Brown After Re-Potting
After re-potting, 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 Lilies
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
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 roots and get a floor full of soil for your efforts.
Final Thoughts: Peace Lily 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.