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Peace Lily Advice Is Great – But Where Do I Start?

Ask the Expert: 10 year old Peace Lily w/issues…HELP!

I noticed that a lot of people received their Peace Lily due to the passing of a loved one and I am no different. Needless to say this plant is very special to me as it was received for my Mother’s passing back in 1999. At that time I lived in Indiana. Real cold winters and fairly humid springs/summers. The plant THRIVED! If it looked a little droopy all I had to do was water it and BOOM, up came the leaves. They bounced right back. I would sometimes get upset with the blooms when they would start to fade and drop all of the white “dust” stuff all over. Now I wish that were the case. I watered faithfully once a week sometimes a little in between, it was in my office so it had bright but indirect sunlight. I re-potted because it simply grew too large. I am now in Arizona. (Severe climate shock for me too by the way! :-) I still water once a week. Then I thought since the humidty level here is almost non-existent (10% on a good humid day…wow) I would check it more often between regular watering. If dry..water and so on. It is in very bright indirect sunlight and I do not think it needs re-potted and since it looks so bad I don’t know if now would be a good time to try that anyway. I haven’t seen flowers since just after relocating. (It was in bloom when we got here and then had one more bloom) It has been almost 2 years. It has stopped growing. You can see where there are new sprouts but before some of them even make it to the leaf stage they die off. They go from a healthy looking green and about 1/2 inch later they turn brown and look “dried up” Some make it to leaves and are green and shiny some of those start turning brown at the tips some don’t. I read through all of the posts and gathered some great tips but I am confused about which issue to tackle first or just do all at once. Obvioulsy the biggest change is climate but I really do check the soil regulaly and make sure it has good light etc. Is there something I might be missing? I have never fertilized the lily since I got it in 1999. It never seemed to need it. Should I now and if so how? Could starting that now after so long without make it worse? I will take any advice you can give! I just want my “Richie” back (yes, I named it…I’m weird.) Thank you soo much! Kathy


  1. Kathy,

    First off — I think it is great that you named your plant. My parents have a ficus tree in their office named Truman.

    I would start with creating a more humid environment. Although keeping the soil moist is important, moist in the sir is also important; begin by misting your plant every three days. You might also want to fertilize your peace lily. I would use a very diluted solution of liquid fertilizer. I use hi-yield general purpose fertilizer but miracle grow fertilizer will work as well. Do this once a month. After about three weeks of misting and the one time of fertilization, you should start to see improvements. Keep me posted. If this does create an improvement of the plant, I have other ideas that might help.

  2. Le Ann Sain says:

    I have a peace lily that has the large leaves. I have watered, I have let dry out, I have talked to it, but all it does is droop. Someone told me to water it with coffee and I did, it purked up and within two days it was down again. What can I do to revive it. It was a gift when my dad passed in Sept. of 07 and I desperately want it to live.

    Le Ann

  3. Le Ann,

    I doubt if the coffee is what made it perk up. You might need to give it water more often or re-pot it. If the peace lily perks up after it is water then it may not be getting enough water. When you water it you want to satuarte the root ball not just the top layer of soil. You will need to make sure that it drains well so that you don’t go to the other extreme and keep it to wet.

  4. I had a huge, large leaf peace lilly that was beautiful until I watered it the first time. I have a water meter that I use to check all my plants. After that first watering it started to droop. I thought I over watered it or that it needed to be repotted, so I repotted and it perked up within hours. The next time I watered it however it drooped even worse than the first time. The leaves started to yellow and I kept trimming them back. I didn’t water it again but nothing helped. It eventually just crapped out completely.
    My son decided to get me another one which is smaller and has smaller leaves. It is beautiful and I’d love to keep it going. However, the first time I watered it things went fine for about a week afterward. Now I’ve noticed that its beginning to droop. I checked it with the water meter and it’s in the moist area. However, it is very hot here on the east coast and we have our air conditioning going full blast. Is it possible that the air in my home is too dry? Just how sensitive are these plants to humidity levels? Can anyone help me out here?

  5. Chris,

    Are you using tap water? If so the chorine and fluoride in the water may be casuing a problem. Try watering with filter water or let the water set for 24hours before you use it. You might want to increase the humidity in the air by misting the area every day or every other day. Also, check the path of your air vents. Is the peace lily in the direct path of the air conditioning vent? If so this can cause problems. Extreme temperature flutuations can cause the plant to stress. For example a plant in a hot window which is also in the direct path of a cold air vent gets a little confused and stressed.

    When you water your plant be sure to distribute the water evenly around the plant. Also, when you water try to lift the leaves and water the soil; excess water pooled in the foliage can cause problems. I hope this helps. Please keep me posted.

  6. Jamie,

    Thanks for the info. I’ll start using filtered water; that’s easy enough since I always have it around. Also, I watered it from the bottom this time (put it in the sink with water and let it sit from about 15 minutes). That seemed to help some. I also am keeping outside in the humid air away from direct sunlight. So far it’s picking back up.

    I’ll get a mister and be sure to mist it when I bring it back inside.

    Thanks again for the tips…I wondered about the water since it seemed to react poorly the first time around. Now I know! I’ll let you know how it does.