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Why Does My Peace Lily Have Yellow Leaves

Ask the Expert: Peace lily lower leaves turn yellow and then die?
I repotted my peace lily about 18 mos. ago. The lower leaves turn yellow and then die. At first I thought it was just the shock, but it continues to lose leaves. It was a huge plant and now is looking rather pathetic. HELP!!! I love this plant. It is in a south window, but gets limited direct sunlight. I have it in a self-watering pot. Any ideas would be appreciated. Linda

Flower Shop Network‘s Plant Expert Rely: This peace lily problem is directly related to a water issue. Normally, I would assume too much water. With self-watering pots it is hard to tell. It could be getting too much or not enough.

Spathiphyllum clevelandii - Peace Lily

Peace Lily

Another issue could be that the plant was planted too deep when re-potted. The top of the root in the old pot should have been the top of the root ball in the new pot.

In other words, you should not have added any soil on top of the plant. If you think you place the plant deeper than it was, you might need to raise it up. This would be a good time to see if the roots are rotting.

Once you have taken care of the repotting issues, start caring for your plant by creating a humid environment. Mist the air around the plant with tepid water every day or at least every other day. Then make sure the soil is evenly moist (a self watering pot may not be the best for keeping the soil evenly moist.)

Usually a once a week watering will keep the soil moist but not soggy. If your plant is in really low light levels, you may be able to water your plant every other week instead.

Once you have evened out the water issue the plant should make of full come back.

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  1. Karolyn MacLeod says:

    I have 2 Lily . What will I do ?plants in one pot. I received it for Mother’s Day. One of them has leaves that are yellow, dropping off and dying

  2. Karolyn,
    I would suggest planting them in separate pots. If they start growing to the point that their roots overflow the container, you will need to separate them anyway. As for the leaves that are yellow and dying, it could mean one of two things: 1. the plant isn’t getting enough water or 2. it’s too deep in the soil.

  3. Michele says:

    I am helping a friend with her peace lily and I know nothing about plants. Some of the leaves have yellow on them and then a dark brown brittle portion as well. Are they not being watered enough?

  4. Michele,

    I think you may be over watering your peace lily. Check the following – stick your finger into the rootball up to your first joint, if the soil feels moist, the plant doesn’t have good drainage, and too much water is likely the cause. If the leaves turn brown without any yellowing first, then I would say it is a lack of water. Hope this helps.

  5. I received my first piece lilly from a funeral, I have had it two weeks now and the leaves are turning yellow, I assume it is water related. (Im also assuming it’s Normal for the white blooms to turn brown and die.) This is sadly my first house plant, so I’m cluesless. I also feel I should re-plant in a different planter. I would love any advice on all my issues!

  6. Stacey,

    When the leaves on a peace lily turn yellow, it is almost always a sign that the plant is being over-watered. Watering your peace lily once a week is usually sufficient. Yes, the peace lily blooms will change color as they age. The new flowers will be green and creamy white. After about a month the flowers will begin to die and turn brown. Peace lilies should be re-potted when the root growth has overfilled the container. Use a humus rich potting soil to re-pot the peace lily. To help the roots to retain soil and prevent the root tearing, re-pot the plant when the soil is somewhat moist. For determining pot size follow this rule of thumb; use a pot that is 1 ½ times the size of the previous pot. When placing the peace lily in it’s new pot, keep the plant level the same as it was in the old pot (fill the pot so that the top of the root-ball is at the same level as before). After re-potting, water slightly to remove any air bubbles that might have occurred and wait a couple of weeks before fertilizing. I hope this information helps! You may also want to read the article, Peace Lily Plant Care. It explains the basic needs of this houseplant.

  7. I have had several peace lilies for years, all doing well. My husband took one to his office, bringing it home occasionally for repotting, and it did well for a a good while. But now it is droopy like it can’t support its leaves. The leaves themselves look good, but at the base of the leaf stems it is kind of dry, brown and hard. Is this the issue? What is the problem and what should we do?

  8. You have to peace lilies they were one plant I separated them and they didn’t wonderful they are both in a 13-inch pot and they were outside All Summer in filtered sunlight they did wonderful they are huge but now summer is over and it’s too cold for them to be outside so I brought them inside and now they’re trying to die all the bottom leaves keep turning yellow and I don’t know what’s wrong with them why are they doing this when they did find outside on the porch you could please help me I would so much appreciate it thank you so Donna crayne

  9. Laura,

    Over-watering and under-watering will cause a peace lily(spathiphyllum) to wilt (droop). When it comes to watering once a week should be enough provided that you give it adequate water. You can water one of two ways: Give it water until it starts to over-flow into the saucer or you can water and then do a moisture test. You want your soil to be moist but not soggy at all times. This means that if you stick your finger into the soil about a knuckle deep and remove some of it that you can roll the soil into a ball. When you squeeze this soil ball it should not produce a lot of water just a slight amount.
    Another thing that will cause a peace lily to droop is temperature changes. If your plant is directly under an air vent the drastic change in temperature when the air comes on will cause the plant to droop.
    Check both of those conditions. Once you correct the situation it should take a week or so for the plant to recover. Be patient and give it time.

  10. Donna,

    I believe your peace lily is under stress. Transplanting, water issues and light issues can all cause stress. Also, at lower light levels or cooler temperatures, any plant will use less water than when it is more actively growing. Peace Lilies should also never be allowed to completely dry out, which will result in wilting of the plant, death of the tiny root hairs which conduct water to the plant, and subsequent yellowing or browning of the leaf edges. First remove any dead or drying leaves and blooms. If the soil is dry, saturate it, and make sure any excess water can drain away from the plant. Monitor the plant; give it water when the soil begins to dry out. In a week or so, you should see the sign of new growth.

  11. I recently bought and potted a peace lily a few weeks ago. It seems to be requiring water much more frequently than it should be. Every couple days the leaves start to wilt and droop. I water it until water starts to come out the drain hole and within hours her leaves spring back to life. The problem is this is happening about every 2 days and now all of the lower leaves are yellowing. It starts on one half of the leaf and within a day or two the whole leaf is yellow. I would think it is due to over watering, but the way the leaves droop make me think she’s under watered.

  12. Jeffrey Balch says:

    Chad, if your peace lily is wilting every couple of days, I would suggest repotting it in a larger container, which won’t need watering as often.

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