Why does my Peace Lily have yellow leaves?

Last Updated: January 16, 2022

If you notice that your Peace Lily has started to develop yellow leaves then this might be a sign that something isn’t quite right with either the care your plant is receiving or the environment that it is in. Whether the leaves turn a solid yellow colour or have yellow patches or spots, it’s important to determine what the cause is before it’s too late. 

There is a chance that the leaves are simply turning yellow as the plant ages and matures. However, there are other causes that can have the same effect so we have put together this guide to help you determine what is harming your Peace Lily.

Overwatering will turn the leaves yellow

Even the most experienced plant parents can occasionally overwater their plants as it can sometimes be so difficult to know what is going on beneath the soil. Waterlogged potting mix can quickly lead to root rot which will mean the leaves on your Peace Lilyslowly start to die before falling off the plant completely. The root system is what supplies your plant with nutrients and moisture so when that becomes damaged it can’t do its job properly and your Peace Lily will begin to die. This often shows up as soft, limp yellow leaves. 

If you suspect any overwatering then you must check the moisture levels in the soil immediately. If you find the soil to be very soggy then replace it immediately rather than waiting for it to dry out naturally. This will prevent any further damage to the roots and will allow them to slowly recover.

Nutrient Deficiency can also be the cause of yellow leaves

Another reason why your Peace Lily may be suffering from yellow leaves is a lack of nutrients. This can be more common in mature plants where you haven’t switched out the soil in a while. We recommend refreshing the soil every year or using a well-balanced fertiliser during the growth months to ensure that your Peace Lily is getting the needed nutrients to thrive.

Shock can also cause yellow leaves

This is something that isn’t really talked about much but plants get stressed in a similar way to humans.  Environmental stress is caused when there is a sudden change in the environment, this can be going from really dry to soggy soil if there is a sudden drop in the temperature or if the light level fluctuates a lot. Stress can also occur if your Peace Lily has been knocked about a bit, for example, moving house can be quite stressful for them. 

Whilst environmental shock won’t often kill your Peace Lily, it can result in a few yellow leaves that will eventually also fall off your plant. Using a digital thermometer, light meter and moisture meter can help you keep track of your Peace Lily’s environment so you can respond to any major changes. If the plant is simply adjusting to a new spot in your home, but the conditions are right for it, then you should only see a couple of yellow leaves and after a week or two, no more should be developing. If the problem persists, then it suggests that something isn’t right with your plant’s care/environment.

Pests are a worrying cause of yellow leaves

Another slightly rarer but definitely more worrying cause of yellow Peace Lily leaves is a pest infestation. If your Peace Lily only spends time indoors and is next to plants that are also only ever houseplants, then this should be a very rare occurrence but it can still happen, unfortunately. 

Pests such as aphids, spider mites or scale insects may have made your Peace Lily their home and are sucking on the leaves, dehydrating and exhausting them which causes them to turn yellow. The best way to confirm a pest infestation is to actually see the pests on the leaves so use a magnifying glass to do this. 

Treatment of pests can vary but the first thing you must do is isolate your plant and keep it far away from any of your other houseplants. Check other plants over which were close to your Peace Lily as pests can jump across leaves that are close. Then trim off the worst affected leaves to curb the infestation a little before showering your plant and treating it with neem oil.

Sometimes you are able to easily rid your plant of pests, other times you may not be so fortunate. On occasion, we have had to say goodbye to a plant simply because the risk of them infecting the other houseplants was too high. Pests are difficult to prevent but as a rule of thumb, healthier plants are less likely to be attacked by them. We also make sure to give our plants a frequent pest check to help us catch the problem early. This gives you the best fighting chance at getting rid of them.

Natural ageing

If you can’t seem to find that any of the reasons above fit with what is going on with your Peace Lily, then it may be the natural ageing process that is causing some of the leaves to turn yellow. As your plant matures, it will want to get rid of some of the oldest and smallest leaves, in favour of growing new larger growth. These leaves will turn yellow before falling off your Peace Lily. It’s totally normal for this to be happening and isn’t because of anything you are doing wrong.

If there are no more than 1 or 2 leaves turning yellow every few months then it’s nothing to worry about. But we do recommend you monitor how often the leaves are yellowing and falling just to check the rate of shedding doesn’t increase. If more leaves are starting to turn yellow then check over the reasons above as it suggests that something is definitely wrong with your Peace Lily.

Those are the most common factors that cause Peace Lilies to develop yellow leaves. It is only cause to worry if the speed of yellowing is accelerating, or if more leaves are turning yellow than are growing new on your plant. Once you have diagnosed the issue, we recommend acting quickly as the earlier you catch the problem, the more chance you have at healing your plant and bringing it back to full health. 

To learn more about how to care for your plant, as well as propagation tips and how to treat other common problems, check out our Peace Lily care guide.

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