We love Peace Lilies as they are one of the best houseplants at purifying the air and they have incredible blooms. However, it can be quite worrying if your Peace Lily starts to develop brown leaves. You can be pretty sure that the brown leaves on your Peace Lily are because of watering issues, too much, too little or even the wrong type. Below you will find everything you need to know to diagnose the problem as well as fix it and get your plant back to full health.
Underwatering can cause brown Peace Lily leaves
If the leaves are turning quite brown dry and crispy then it is often due to not having enough water. Peace Lilies like to have quite moist soil and will start to struggle and droop down if they aren’t getting enough of it. In fact, they are one of the most dramatic plants when they haven’t quite had enough water and can go from looking healthy to limp and lifeless within hours. However, once your Peace Lily has started to develop brown leaves due to underwatering then it does suggest the problem has been going on for a little while.
If you think your plant has been underwatered then check the soil before you change anything about your watering routine. You want to be 100% sure that the soil is very dry before watering it again. If you are sure that the problem is a lack of water then slowly reintroduce water to your Peace Lily. Like humans, plants can get shocked by a sudden and extreme change in environment. This is why you don’t want to simply drown your plant as it can cause more problems than just brown leaves.
You can check the moisture levels in the soil in a few ways. Firstly, if you have a moisture meter then this will always be the most accurate reading. However, you can also use the finger or chopstick method to test moisture levels in the soil of your Peace Lily. If your finger or chopstick comes out clean, then it suggests the soil is very dry.
You might also choose to take your Peace Lily out of its pot to inspect the soil. This will allow you to see whether or not the root system has also started to crisp up. If it has, then this means you have been underwatering your Peace Lily for quite a while. It doesn’t mean your plant is beyond saving but it just might take a while for it to get back to its normal self.
If you have concluded that the brown leaves are caused by a lack of moisture, water your Peace Lily once a day for a week. Afterwards, you want to go back to a more normal care routine, making sure to check the moisture in the soil frequently to avoid any more brown leaves developing.
Brown leaves can also mean your Peace Lily is being overwatered
Too much water can also cause your Peace Lily to develop brown leaves. But instead of the leaves being light brown and crispy, they are soft and darker brown. Check the soil straight away to see if it is waterlogged. If it is, then replace it with fresh potting mix to allow the roots to recover.
To avoid the problem happening again, make sure you are checking the moisture levels in the soil each time before you water. You can do this by putting a finger into the top two centimetres of the soil to see how damp it is. Another method is to lift up your Peace Lily before and after watering. After a few weeks, you should get a feel for how heavy your plant is when it needs water.
Top tip: Always check back half an hour after watering your Peace Lily to see if there is any water left in the sauces or at the bottom of the planter. If there is, pour it away so that your plant isn’t sitting in water. 30 minutes is usually enough for the plant to soak up as much water as it needs.
Mineral build-up can result in brown leaf tips on your Peace Lily
Although a rarer problem, Peace Lilies can be quite sensitive to tap water, especially if you live in a hard water area and this can result in brown leaf tips forming on your plant. This is due to the levels of fluoride, chlorine, salts and minerals that are in the treated water. Over time, these minerals can build up around the roots and suffocate them meaning they can’t take up the needed water and nutrients.
If you don’t want to use purified or bottles water then there are a few easy and free ways to solve the issue of brown leaves.
Let the chemicals evaporate
If you leave a watering can full of water to sit for a day then most of the chemicals should evaporate.
Another method is to collect rainwater. The levels of chemicals are much lower than in the treated water that comes out of your tap.
It may take a few weeks for the effects of using purer water to show but this should stop any more leaves turning brown.
These are the most common causes of brown leaves on a Peace Lily plant. If you want to find out more about how to best care for your plant then check out our Peace Lily Care Guide.
Written by Joanna Turner