For all that peace lilies generally look verdant and bright, it’s sometimes easy to over or underwhelm them. When this happens, your plant may start showing signs of distress – such as its leaves starting to turn brown. But why are the leaves of your peace lily turning brown, and how can you fix it?
Peace lily leaves start to turn brown for all kinds of reasons – you may need to adjust your plant’s watering schedule or need to move it somewhere else in your home, for example.
But, don’t get disheartened! I always urge you to try a few different methods of bringing a peace lily back to full health before giving up on a plant. Even if it looks seriously unwell, the road to recovery may be as simple as switching it to a different container, for example.
Below, I’ll take you through some of the main reasons why your peace lily’s leaves are taking on a brownish colour, and what you can do to remedy the situation.
Peace lily leaf browning: a quick overview
Before you start looking through my recommendations below, remember there may be multiple reasons why your usually robust peace lily is becoming stressed. I recommend you read through the whole list below before deciding what action/s to take.
For example, if you’ve just moved house, taking your peace lily from the comfort of a bright, humid bathroom, consider its new living conditions. If it’s now in a dry living room on a window sill in direct sunlight, it may react poorly to such a huge change!
Your peace lily is succumbing to at least two new unfavourable factors here – a lack of humidity and strong sunlight. Both have the potential to turn leaves brown! By addressing only one issue, the plant will still be stressed by the second issue.
Addressing only one of the causes, the plant may continue to deteriorate and possibly die. Therefore, take the following checklist in hand and give your peace lily a thorough ‘audit’ before giving up the ghost!
Reasons for your peace lily leaves turning brown
All of the reasons for leaf browning below are super-easy to fix – and once you know what you’re looking for, you’ll know how to stop browning from happening again in future.
You’re overwatering it, and/or it’s not draining properly
It’s really easy to be too generous with water you offer your peace lily! They prefer showers, not baths – and can develop root rot if drenched. This can also occur if your plant’s roots are sat in water, meaning that the water you give it simply isn’t draining away.
Poor drainage and too much water can lead to leaf browning and shrivelling, and may even kill your plant over time. Therefore, always choose a container or pot that has plenty of drainage holes in the base.
Do also check the quality of drainage holes in your container if you have any. They may simply be blocked! Do also take care to empty any saucers or containers underneath your peace lily pot so you can keep standing water at bay.
Ideally, you only need to water your peace lily once its soil gets dry. Try testing the soil with a finger – if it’s dry, then you need to water it. Ideally, you should water peace lilies once a week or mist them when leaves start crisping up.
You’re not watering it enough
Yes – peace lilies are plants that will grow brown leaves if their watering needs aren’t precisely met in either direction! So, your prized specimen will show similar symptoms if it’s getting too little water as well as too much.
As mentioned, you should ideally water or mist your peace lily at least once a week during the growing season. Too little water will overstress your plant and force its leaves to crisp up and turn brown, and the plant will also wilt.
A good solution to ensuring your peace lily gets enough water is to try bottom watering. Instead of watering from above (and risking water hitting leaves instead of the soil), try and soak the plant in its container via a bowl or sink for up to 15 minutes. Then, leave your plant to drain for another ten.
However, it’s still worth watering your peace lily from the top occasionally so it doesn’t get too much sodium buildup.
It’s sitting at too extreme a temperature
Peace lilies thrive in warmth, Ideally between 15 to 26 degrees C. They’ll display the same symptoms of displeasure (i.e., browning leaves) at both higher or lower temperatures – you may even notice that their flowers start to show signs of stunting, too.
Try and keep an eye on your home’s thermostat, or set up a thermometer in the specific room or greenhouse you keep your peace lily in. If it gets too warm, move it somewhere cooler – and crank up the heat if the temperature drops too low. Simple!
Ideally, you should try and keep your peace lily away from draughts, as well as direct sunlight during the warmer months of the year.
It’s not getting enough humidity
Peace lilies love humidity! They usually thrive well in well-lit bath and shower rooms. However, if you want to display them elsewhere in your home, it makes sense to either mist them regularly, or to invest in a humidifier.
You may even wish to create a pebble tray for your peace lily so that humidity hangs around for longer. Simply use a tray or dish and collect pebbles or stones then cover with dechlorinated water. This should provide ample humidity to prevent leaves from turning brown and drying up.
It’s getting too much light
While you can grow peace lilies outside to great success, they can suffer from sunburn or scorch if you put them in too intense light indoors.
In fact, you’ll probably see that your plant is burnt if its leaves start to brown from the leaf tips downwards. Unfortunately, this is only going to worsen until you move your plant somewhere more palatable.
The fix for this is stunningly simple! Just move them away from the direct sunlight. Peace lilies tend to prefer strong, indirect light but can fare well in lower light conditions, too. Just don’t be too hasty casting your specimens into complete darkness if you can help it – though, that said, peace lilies are some of the best plants for darker spaces.
Alternatively, why not set up an extra curtain in front of the window where you house your peace lily? This will limit the light it receives, and you won’t have to move it elsewhere if you like its location.
You’re fertilising it too much
It’s entirely possible you’re killing your peace lily with kindness, but thankfully, it’s easy enough to fix. I’m not suggesting you need to starve your peace lily, but too much plant food can lead to salt building up in the soil, and therefore, leaves can start to turn a crispy shade of brown.
Ideally, you shouldn’t apply fertiliser to your peace lily more than once a month during the growth seasons. Try and look for a fertiliser mix or plant food that covers all bases and needs.
But what about fertilising your plant during autumn and winter? You probably won’t need to bother. While peace lilies don’t tend to go into winter dormancy in the upper hemisphere, they won’t need as much liquid nutrition when they’re not in the growing season.
If you’re worried you’ve fertilised your peace lily too much, you may need to completely repot it. Therefore, always follow the labels on your chosen plant food mix before you start.
Peace lilies have wonderful ways of telling us when they need help and when we need to adjust their care schedules. If you catch leaf browning fast enough, you can easily bring a gorgeous lily back to its prime self in no time at all.
I’ve gone through all kinds of trials and tribulations with my peace lilies over the years – but once I got the care essentials down pat, I started seeing brown leaves rarer and rarer. Don’t forget, of course, that you may need to prune your peace lily in some extreme cases.
Alternatively, if you’re completely new to peace lily parenting, why not take a look at our overview on peace lily care to help you get started?