Why Are My Peace Lily Leaves Turning Brown? (And How to Fix It)


Indoor potted peace lily leaves turning brown

Leaves that are turning brown is a gesture of Peace Lily that they are not okay. To help them, you need to determine what causes this problem and how to deal with it. This article got you covered with several reasons and countermeasures.

Peace Lily leaves turn brown because of the improper amount of light, water, fertilizer, and humidity. Low quality of water and incorrect temperature also compromise their health. Moreover, pest infestation and diseases can leave brown streaks in the foliage of Peace Lily. 

Read on and I will further elaborate these things. 

What Causes Peace Lily Leaves To Turn Brown? 

It is important to initially determine the primary cause of the problem of your Peace Lily. It will not only prevent you from wasting time and effort from misdiagnosis but also save your plant. 

Overwatering

While regular watering is excellent, you might overdo it. Peace Lily cannot survive a swampy environment.

A Peace Lily drowns in a soaked soil condition. This prevents roots from accessing necessary oxygen, making it hard for them to breathe. 

This can weaken and damage the roots, or worse, make them rot. Such a poor root state will not properly supply essentials to the plants. 

These can deteriorate the plant’s health and make them susceptible to diseases. Such incidents will result in the wilting, curling, and even browning of the leaves. 

How To Fix

The following steps will help to correct your overwatering practices.

1. Initially, look for these signs to confirm an overwatered Peace Lily:

⦿ Feeling too much water when you poke your finger an inch or more down the soil. Or you can make a ball out of the soil and squeeze water from it. 

⦿ Formation of molds, fungi, and other visible microorganisms both in the soil and plant. 

⦿ Foul scent emitted from deep within. 

2. After confirmation, carefully take the Peace Lily out of the pot. Trim the super damp and rotten parts by using a clean shear. Rinse the roots, replant the Peace Lily, and water moderately.

3. Replant your Peace Lily in a new container with fresh new soil. You can also reuse the old pot but disinfect it first. 

4. Ensure proper drainage to make sure that the water flows out of the pot. You can drill the base of the storage to add a few more holes. And do not forget to frequently remove excess water in the tray to avoid overflowing. 

For more information, read the articles on how to fix an overwatered peace lily and how to identify, fix, and prevent peace lily root rot.

Underwatering

Another possible reason behind the browning of your Peace Lily leaves is underwatering. While they can tolerate a dry condition, leaving them in drought for a long time will weaken them. 

It happens because the means for the nutrient supply is lacking, the water. Thus, the Peace Lily will not receive sufficient nutrients. 

You are not just making your Peace Lily thirsty but also hungry (of essential nutrients). 

How To Fix

These steps will aid to correct your under watering practices.

1. Know when to water your Peace Lily. The following ways will help you.

⦿ Stick your finger or a moisture meter down the soil. The soil should dry out one or two inches from the topmost surface before watering again. 

⦿ Tap the pot. A hollow sound signifies a dry soil, otherwise not. 

⦿ Gently lift the pot. Damp soil is usually heavier than those with lesser water. 

⦿ Observe the color of the potting mix. The color of the potting mix becomes lighter as it dries out.

2. Change your watering routine depending on these factors.

⦿ Size of the plant – a larger Peace Lily craves more water than the smaller ones. 

⦿ Location of the pot – plants sitting in bright places need frequent watering. It is because they easily dry out.

⦿ Time of the year – Peace Lily requires more periodic watering during the hot season than the cold times. 

Water Quality 

The proper amount is not the only factor a Piece Lily needs from water to grow lush. They also require water that is free of harmful substances.

Adverse chemicals are possibly present in water, depending on your location. These include fluorine and chlorine. 

Symptoms like the browning of the leaves will occur over time. It is for this reason that chemicals build up gradually. 

Chemicals can go and accumulate to the transpiration ways, stomata, and leaf margins. Such incidents will lead to problems in plant processes including photosynthesis.

How To Fix

Check out these tips to assure that you are giving your Peace Lily only the best water. 

1. Stop using tap water. Despite being free, it might cost your plant’s life due to fluorine toxicity. (Source: Pacific Northwest Pest Management HandbooksOpens in a new tab.)

2. Consider watering rainwater, melted snow, or distilled water. 

3. Install a filtering system. 

4. Give your plant room temperature water. Extremely hot or cold water can shock peace lily. 

You can also contact your local water authority for a quality check. This will help you find out more about your water. This includes the adverse chemicals it contains. 

Light Exposure 

The right amount of light is also crucial to Peace Lily. Too much light or nothing at all can harm them. 

Though Peace Lily can thrive indoors, this does not mean they need no light. An inadequate amount of light will hinder them from making their food. This is because photosynthesis needs light as one of its primary components. 

Meanwhile, leaving Peace Lily out under the full sun for a long time is risky. Intensive rays can greatly scorch them. Prolonged sun exposure can even lead to sunburn. 

All these lead to the weakening and wilting of the Peace Lily. They can also develop brown and dry patches in the leaves. 

How To Fix

Follow the steps below to give your Peace Lily the appropriate and sufficient amount of light.

1. Place your Peace Lily in bright areas that are not receiving direct light. Some of the great locations for them are south- or west-facing windows. 

2. Artificial lights are also good alternative sources. See these tips on fluorescent lighting if you don’t have an appropriate spot for them. 

⦿ Place the bulb about 6 to 12 inches above the tallest part of the Peace Lily. Cool white fluorescent lamps are usually better than the other types. 

⦿ Sit your plant above a reflective surface. This includes a large mirror and aluminum foil. This will reflect and maximize the light for the entire plant. 

⦿ Set your lamps on for 16 to 18 hours a day, if it does not receive any additional light. Otherwise, make it only 12 to 14 hours. 

3. For the sunburn cases cut the affected parts. This is to stop wasting nutrients to these irrecoverable parts. And divert them to the growing ones instead. 

Pest Infestation 

Whether you grow your Peace Lily indoor or not, they are vulnerable to pest infestation. Do not underestimate these little attacks. They can cause serious damage to your plants. 

Mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, and scales are the common insects that suck the foliage of Peace Lily.

They remove cell contents in the plant foliage. They also produce a substance that hosts fungal growth. This causes a problem since it inhibits photosynthesis.

Meanwhile, fungus gnats and springtails are the insects that may dwell around the soil of your Peace Lily. They tend to grow in consistently damp soil. They harm the plants by feeding on the roots and soil organic materials. 

All these are possible culprits to the plant distortion and discoloration. This also includes the browning of the leaves. 

How To Fix

To combat pest infestations, try these procedures:

1. For light infestation, remove the insects by any of the following.

⦿ Manually handpick the insects. This only works if the insects are quite large, like mealybugs. 

⦿ Knock off the insects by using a forceful spray of water. 

⦿ Wash the leaves with a mixture of mild soap and water. After doing this, rinse them thoroughly. 

⦿ Gently wipe the insects off the leaves. You can use cotton dipped in an alcohol solution. 

2. If the infestation is severe then here are things you should do:

⦿Prune the damaged parts to remove the affected area. 

⦿Disinfect the tool before and after doing this. 

⦿Spray the plant with appropriate insecticides. This is the best solution if the insects covered the whole foliage. 

⦿ Isolate the infested Peace Lily. This will stop further spread of the pests to the other nearby plants. 

⦿ With overly severe infestation that seems incurable, it is better to discard the plant. Discard properly but not in the compost pile. 

3. Limit the insect infestation, as prevention is better than cure.

⦿ Carefully inspect the plants before purchasing and bringing them home. 

⦿ Examine your Peace Lily regularly. This can stop the pests before they accumulate.

Disease

Rarely though, diseases can also hit your Peace Lily. Stressful environments are where disease-causing pathogens usually breed. 

If you notice browning symptoms on your Peace Lily, you can suspect that it has a disease. Some of these are Cylindrocladium root and petiole rot, Alternaria leaf spot, and bacterial leaf rot. (Source: The Pharma Innovation JournalOpens in a new tab.)

See the below table for the further symptoms of these diseases. 

DiseaseSymptomsCause
Cylindrocladium root and petiole rotThe usual first signs are the drooping and yellowing of the leaves. Later on, brown spots with chlorotic haloes will appear. Roots will also decay. Cylindrocladium spathiphyllum
Alternaria leaf spotIrregular brown spots that are just initially small occur on the leaves. These often come with yellow haloes. Distortion of the leaves is also noticeable. Alternaria alternate
Bacterial leaf rotAffected leaves have water-soaked areas that will become irregular, brown to black lesions.Pectobacterium carotovorum

How To Treat Diseases

These approaches will help you treat your Peace Lily with a disease. 

1. Immediately cut all the infected parts of Peace Lily. Do this during the first symptoms of the disease. Use a sterilized shear to prevent the spread of the disease. 

2. Apply fungicides to the light damage in Peace Lily. There are widely available products on amazon. Carefully follow the directions on the package. 

3. Dispose of the heavily infected Peace Lily. Unfortunately, you cannot save a severely damaged plant. It is best to burn or bury them deep down below to stop disease transmission.

4. Follow the preventive measures to protect your peace lily from diseases.  

⦿ Keep them healthy. A flourishing Peace Lily can ditch and fight off diseases. 

⦿ Avoid keeping your plant in stressful conditions. A dirty and overly damp soil under low light invites adverse microorganisms to breed. 

Low Humidity

Peace Lily originally thrives in the tropical rainforest of America and Southeast Asia. In these places, they are receiving average humidity levels. 

Too low humidity will cause their leaves to wilt and turn brown. It happens due to the fast transpiration. Moisture rapidly escapes from the leaves of Peace Lily.

To prevent such water loss, they need a humid environment. Peace Lily likes a setting with a humidity level of 25 to 49 percent.

How To Fix

The following procedures will help increase the humidity level. 

1. Mist the plant regularly. In hot seasons, Peace Lily may need more frequent water spraying. 

2. Sit them in a large pebble tray. Water it from time to time but not to overflow them. The evaporation will give extra moisture. 

3. Use a humidifier. It is a great way to increase humidity that will benefit both humans and the plant. 

4. If you have plenty of plants, keep them together. This will somehow mimic the damp environment of the rainforest. 

Incorrect Temperature

Peace Lily prefers an environment with a temperature ranging from 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C) during the daytime and up to 10°F (-12°C) cooler at night. (Source: University of Vermont Department of Plant and Soil ScienceOpens in a new tab.)

A temperature that is too high will make some plant processes malfunction. One of these is the respiration, which will become abnormally fast. 

A temperature that is too low, on the other hand, can cause frost injury. The formation of ice crystals in the plant can damage their tissues. It can also result in photosynthesis inhibition. 

Both extremely low and high temperatures harm some vital plant processes. This can lead to the wilting, curling, and even browning of the Peace Lily.

Here an entire article about peace lily leaves curling, which covers the causes and solutions to the problem.

How To Fix

Try these techniques to maintain the acceptable range of temperature for Peace Lily.

1. Check your peace lily if it is in spots where temperature can drastically change. This includes windowsills and location near the doors. Though they are great during the warm season, they can get drafty in winter. 

2. Vent air out. This will prevent the circulation of hot air in the area, if not needed. 

3. Increase the coldness of the area using a cooler. 

4. Accentuate the environment with a thermostat. It is the best option to automatically maintain the desired temperature level. 

How To Prevent Brown Leaves on Peace Lily?

Read these tips to help your Peace Lily ditch the browning problems.

Provide Indirect Sufficient Light

Growing a plant with indirect sunlight differs from leaving them under full sun. Indirect light is sunlight that has passed through certain mediums like the window. Reflecting off light from certain surfaces is another form of indirect sunlight too. 

Take care of your Peace Lily by placing them only in shady places. Protect them from intensive sun rays by hanging cloth or curtain. You can also shield them from the sun with a taller and bigger plant.

If there’s not enough natural radiance, artificial lights are go-to buddy. These are great alternatives that supplement heat and light to plants. 

Prepare for Hot and Cold Days

It is important to do some measures before and during the transition of hot to cold days, and vice versa. This will help your Peace Lily adjust and cope with a changing environment. 

Once the nights start to get cooler, place your Peace Lily indoors if they are out for some days. Also, move them away from drafty spots like a windowsill. These will prevent them from shock brought by drastic temperature changes. These also avoid chill damage. 

During the cold season, adjust your watering practice. Peace Lily might need water less frequently. And stop fertilizing for a while. They usually do not require additional nutrients these days. 

Meanwhile, be ready to water your Peace Lily more periodically in the morning on warm days. This is because water tends to evaporate faster especially at midday. Adding two or three inches of mulch will also help keep the moisture for a longer time. 

Regular Inspection for Pests

You can cure light pest infestation, prevention is much better. Regular inspection of your Peace Lily can avoid this problem. 

Always do a visual observation of your plant. You may need a magnifier to better see the insects, as some of them blend in the foliage well. Do not forget this practice, do this every time you are going to water your Peace Lily. 

During the inspection, always clean the plant too. The dust becomes a shelter and breeding ground for insects.

Cut off Infected Leaves As Soon As Possible

It is best to cut off the infected leaves as soon as you notice them. Common symptoms include yellow to brown spots that continuously accumulate. 

Aside from being an aesthetic issue, the infection can quickly spread from these leaves to others. You need to stop it, before it can harm unaffected parts and other nearby plants. Also, trimming these allow the remaining parts to receive more nutrients. 

When removing a leaf from Peace Lily, cut the part that is closest to the ground. Do not just harshly tear the leaf, but use a sharp shear or scissor. Sterilize these tools with disinfectants like bleach and alcohol. 

Using a Healthy Soil Mix

Placing your Peace Lily in pure sand or clay will result in its stunt and poor growth. 

To improve such soil, you can add it with around 5 to 15 percent of organic materials. These include composted animal manure, grass, and leaves. 

Adding fine barks, moss, and perlite can also enhance the draining capacity of the soil. This is important because a porous potting mix will hold enough nutrients and moisture while draining well. 

If you prefer buying commercial potting soil, putting additives is always an option.

Read this article that provides in-depth information about peace lily soil.

Ensure Nutrient Supply

Aside from sunlight and water, your Peace Lily may need additional fertilizer application.  

Peace Lily doesn’t need much fertilizer. Feed them every two to three months with a liquid fertilizer. The balanced types like 20-20-20 are ideal for them. 

Avoid giving them excessive amounts of fertilizer. Too much fertilizer can harm the beneficial organisms in the soil. The pH level alteration and poor root structure can also happen with overwhelming fertilizer.

Avoid this practice to prevent brown tips and spots on the leaves of your Peace Lily.

FAQs

Should I cut the brown leaves off my Peace Lily? 

If the browning greatly spreads in a large portion or whole part of the leaf, cut it off. Follow the stem of the said leaf and snip it. Do it cautiously to avoid affecting the healthy stems. 

On the other hand, do not do this if the tip of the leaf is the only brown area. Do an angled cut, replicating the leaves’ natural shape, below the affected part instead. Browning will stop in this part. 

Why is my Peace Lily turning yellow and brown? 

The primary answer to that question relates to water. The improper amount and build-up of chemicals from the water are culprits in this issue. Insufficient amounts of light, pest infestation, and disease can also lead to leaf discoloration.

What causes brown spots on the Peace Lily leaves? 

There are a lot of possible reasons behind the brown spots in Peace Lily. But usually, the brown spots are sunburn from long sun exposure. Pest infestation and plant diseases can also result in these brown streaks. 

If your peace lily has brown spots, this article covers all the possible causes and solutions.

Conclusion 

I have finished sharing with you several factors to look out for in a browning Peace Lily. Now, it is your turn to help them.  

Among the mentioned reasons, which applies to your Peace Lily? Which among the tips are you going to try first? 

Share your insights by writing it in the comment section below.

Arifur Rahman

I'm the owner of gardenforindoor.com. After completing my bachelor of science in agriculture, I'm serving as a civil service officer at the Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh. I started Garden For Indoor to make your indoor gardening journey easy and enjoyable.

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