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Dying Peace Lily? Expert Tips to Grow and Revive Your Plant!

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No houseplant collection is complete without a Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum).  Although they are very common, there is a reason for this! 

They are very low maintenance, will survive very low light indoors, and they often will tell you when they need water!  And as a bonus, I don’t know of any other plant that will bloom in low light like this plant can.

how to revive peace lily

GROWING PEACE LILY


LIGHT

Peace lilies prefer bright indirect light.  You’ll want to keep too much direct sun away from these plants because the leaves will easily burn with too much harsh sun. 

Morning sun, however, is gentle enough in most cases as long as it is not for too long. Northern exposure and Eastern exposure windows are wonderful for these plants.

I’ve even grown Peace Lilies in an office with just overhead lighting and no windows at all. They will even bloom for you sometimes in these conditions!

Peace lilies are one of the few plants that I would ever recommend for an office or room with no windows, provided that you have artificial light on for several hours of the day.

Be sure not to miss my blog post on the lowest light plants for no-window spaces for other recommendations other than peace lily!

If you do provide your peace lily with appropriate light though, it should reward you with plenty of flowers. 

Sometimes, you will find that they even have a slight fragrance! 

If flowers are not your goal though, and you are happy with the beautiful glossy leaves, you can get away with less light.  Just monitor your plant and you will know if it is happy or not.

peace lily care

TEMPERATURE

Peace lilies like it warmer, so if you are comfortable, your peace lily is probably comfortable too! 

Try to stick with a temperature range of 65F-85F for best results.


WATERING

These plants definitely enjoy being on the moister side when it comes to their potting soil. 

If you let it dry out too much, you will quickly see the entire plant start to wilt and collapse.  If you notice this, be sure to give it a very thorough watering. 

When this happens to mine, I take it to my kitchen sink and give it a very thorough soaking.  Your plant will quickly recover.

That being said, try not to let it get to the point where it wilts from needing water.  If you wait too long, your plant may die.   And if you repeat the wilting/recovering process too much, you will weaken your plant over time.

If you find that your plant has gone bone dry and you try watering your plant and the water seems to go straight through quickly and doesn’t absorb much, you’ll have a little work to do. 

Sometimes when potting mixes get super dry, they become difficult to re-wet.

In these cases, you may need to water your pot several times in a row until you can feel that the pot is heavier and that the soil has actually absorbed water instead of just streaming through. 

Otherwise, if you don’t do this, you may find that your plant will wilt again from the soil going dry very soon afterwards.


REPOTTING

I have an entire blog post that shows with pictures how I repotted one of my peace lilies.

repotting peace lily

Peace lilies grow pretty quickly and can develop pretty vigorous root systems. Be sure not to miss my blog post on repotting a peace lily with step by step instructions.

There is one very critical step in repotting that you want to make sure you don’t miss.


FERTILIZING

Like all of my houseplants, I like to fertilize dilutely at every watering starting in late Winter and continuing through early Fall. I purchase most of my fertilizers on Amazon.

My favorite fertilizer to use is Dyna-Gro Grow. It is a premium fertilizer that contains all micro and macro nutrients that plants need to thrive. I use this fertilizer on all of my tropical foliage plant and great success!

Simply add 1/4 teaspoon per gallon of water.


CLEANING PEACE LILY LEAVES

There are several different varieties of peace lilies with varying sizes of leaves, ranging from small and narrow, to large and broad. 

Some varieties have pretty large leaves, and all of them will attract quite a bit of dust! 

For optimal health and growth of any plant, you should take care of those dusty leaves.

You can either use a damp sponge or damp paper towel to wipe any dusty leaves off. 

Another way, perhaps quicker, would be to place your plant in the sink or in the shower, and wash off any dusty leaves, while simultaneously give your plant a nice thorough watering!

If your plant is blooming, don’t be surprised if you see a lot of white dust or powder on the leaves.  Don’t mistaken this for pests.  It is simply pollen, and they produce a lot!


PROPAGATING PEACE LILY

The best way to propagate peace lily is to simply divide the plant at the roots when it is time to repot. 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Are you having problems with your peace lily? Here are some common problems with solutions to help you out!

peace lily dying

Why am I getting brown tips?

Brown tips in peace lilies are normally caused by extremes in moisture. This occurs especially if you let your plant dry out so much that it wilts.

If you do this repeatedly, you will find that it will develop brown tips.

On the opposite end, if you keep it wet for too long, you may also get brown tips.

plant leaves turning brown and crispy

If you haven’t repotted your plant in a very long time and it is severely root bound, the roots are in such tight quarters that even when you water, it may not thoroughly moisten the entire root system and dry tips may result.

Brown tips in peace lilies can also result from too many fertilizer salts. This can be the case if you’ve had your plant in the same pot for many years and you can physically see crusty buildup (either from hard water and/or fertilizer.)

For a more in depth discussion on brown tips in plant, check out my blog post on the 6 top reasons your leaves are brown and crispy.

Why is my peace lily drooping, wilting, or having limp leaves?

This can be caused by either your plant going completely dry for a while OR from your plant staying wet for a long time.

When you notice that your plant has wilted and started to collapse, immediately use your finger to check the soil.

If the soil is bone dry, immediately give it a deep, thorough watering. It will recover within a few to several hours.

On the other hand, if the plant has wilted and you feel the soil and it is moist, it probably means that your plant sat in water for too long and has suffered root rot. 

If you notice this, promptly discard any extra water that it may be sitting in and let the soil dry out.  If you smell the soil and it smells rancid or rotten, your plant may have suffered root rot.

Keep an eye on your plant for a while and see if it recovers.

If it doesn’t recover much after a few days, your plant probably suffered root rot.

At this point, if the plant is still salvageable, repot it.  Take the plant out of its pot, remove any loose soil and dead roots, and repot.

Be extra careful if you have your plant in a plastic pot with drainage holes, but it is slipped into a decorative pot with no drainage hole.  It is all too easy to allow your plant to sit in water if you have this set up. Slip the inner pot out and discard any standing water.

Why is my peace lily yellowing?

There are numerous factors that can cause yellow leaves on your plant.

peace lily leaves turning yellow

Yellow leaves can result from excessively dry soil, and also from being wet for too long. Just stick your finger in the soil to determine which.

Yellow leaves can also be caused if your peace lily is sitting in too much direct sun. In this case, the entire plant will have yellowish leaves and not just one or two. Simply move it to a location that has less direct sun.

To read more about yellowing plant leaves and the various causes, refer to my blog post on tips to fix plants with yellow leaves.

Why are the flowers turning green or brown?

This is completely normal! No flower will last forever.

peace lily flowers turning green

The pure white flowers will eventually fade and the spathe will often turn green like in the photo above, and then turn brown.

You can cut the whole flower stem off at that point.

PEACE LILY TOXICITY

Peace lily is toxic to cats and dogs because of calcium oxalate according to the ASPCA.

That’s all folks! I hope this post has been helpful. As common as peace lilies are, they are beautiful houseplants and there should be at least ONE in your houseplant collection!

Please do me a favor and share this post to social media because it will help me spread the Ohio Tropics houseplant care tips to the masses! Also, check out my shop on Amazon for all your houseplant care needs:

OHIO TROPICS PLANT CARE STOREFRONT

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Mae Agne

Saturday 26th of December 2020

My mom has this giant peace lily that has been with the family for more than 10 years already. Recently, we place it inside the house. It did fine for a while. But after a few weeks, it began to wilt. We took it outside and now the wilting has gotten worst. When I watered it I realize that the cat has been using our poor peace lily as her toilet! Is there any hope for our poor peace lily? What should we do? Sitting on the ground, it's over 4 feet high and the leaves are as big as a construction spade. Please help. Thanks you!!

Raffaele

Tuesday 29th of December 2020

Oh gosh! I'm sorry to hear that. If it is warm outside where you are, I would take it outside and flush the soil with plain water several times in a row and try and get all the cat urine out. The next step, if it is not improving, would be to repot it. Remove any damaged roots and the old soil, and add fresh potting mix. Good luck!!

Eda Yu

Monday 14th of December 2020

Hi Raffaele! Thanks so much for this helpful post. I’m having a lot of trouble with my peace lily—I’ve tried everything but it’s still got brown/yellow tips. I think I’m not overwatering, since every time I check the soil it’s usually dry, but a lot of the lower leaves are turning brown completely or have very large brown tips.

Any advice is appreciated and thank you again!

Raffaele

Monday 14th of December 2020

Perhaps you're keeping the potting mix too dry? Peace lilies like to stay more on the moist side. As soon as the surface is dry, it's best to water at that point (but not allowing the plant to sit in water at any time). Hope this helps!

Judy Long

Friday 20th of November 2020

Hi Charlene, thank you for the great article and tips. I'm terrible with plants and have a peace lily from my husband's grandmother's funeral last year. She was very dear to us and I'd like to try and salvage the plant. I definitely made the mistake of under/over watering and now the poor thing has only a few small leaves that don't look like they are faring too well. Could I please email you a pic and see if you have any recommendations for saving the plant? Not sure if I need to repot it or what at this point. It looks so fragile that I'm afraid I'll do more damage if I mess with it any. Thank you!

Raffaele

Saturday 21st of November 2020

Hi Judy! Please use the contact form on my website to email me, and when I respond, you can attach some photos. Also, please tell me in the email what all your conditions are. Where your plant is located, how you water, etc. - Raffaele

Nina Broome

Friday 9th of October 2020

HELP!? My peace lily got too big for its pot so I spilt it in two and repotted. They had very long roots, and now both suffering from shock and just don't seem to be pulling out of it. I wonder if I should repot them, cutting off some of the long roots and ensure that they aren't potted too deep. Will that help or create more shock?

Raffaele

Saturday 10th of October 2020

Hi Nina. Can you send me some photos so I can take a look? Did you break up the root ball when you repotted? If you email me using the contact form on my website, after I respond back, you can attach photos.

Rachel

Thursday 10th of September 2020

Thank you for the information! I have a peace lily from my brother's funeral that has been a total drama queen (or... I've both over-and-under watered it multiple times over two years). After repotting it and monitoring the moisture more carefully, it hasn't lost anymore leaves, but isn't very full now. There are a lot of bare stems, and the few leaves left don't look healthy.

Is it possible to cut it all down to nubs and let it grow back stronger?

Raffaele

Monday 14th of September 2020

Hi Rachel, I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. I would at least leave some leaves on the plant. With good consistent care, the plant should start to grow back and at that point maybe you can remove the rest of the ugly leaves. Be sure to water well and fertilize during the growing season to encourage better growth. Hope this helps!