Friday, February 14, 2014

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) Brown Tips

There are about 40 species in the genus of  the Peace Lily Plant (botanically, Spathiphyllum). It's a fantastic house plant for low light or indirect light situations.

However they can be temperamental and finicky when the seasons change.
Here, not only are the tips of the leaves turning brown...

Entire edges of some leaves are turning brown and papery thin.
These browning tips can be caused by several factors:

1). overwatering
2). root bound - too small of pot
3). chlorine in water
4). lack of humidity 

Lack of humidity and chlorine I suspect are the culprits here. Since I moved, this plant has suffered every winter. I let it dry out between watering and water making sure that I don't overly soak the pot. 

Because I have forced air for heat, I try and relocate it during the colder months to avoid this from happening. I've even tried grouping it with other plants to create a more humid spot, but with forced air in the room fed by two heat vents, it's hard to maintain adequate humidity in the room.

On closer inspection, I've noticed water marks on the leaves from watering. 
My hard tap water is leaving marks as the water droplets dry. 

Hard minerals and chlorine in tap water is quite harsh on plants. Most house plants grow in soil-less mixtures and with the added loss of humidity, tap water can be tough on plant roots. From now on, I will use tap water that has sit for several days. Allowing the chlorine to dissipate. As for the hard minerals, I may use the water from my dehumidifier to see if it's any better for my plants.

For now, I have cut back any leaves that are browning. Any stems that have begun to have spots.

I filled boiled water in an atomizer and have sprayed this plant to help encourage new growth and to help it bounce back.

Spring is only a month away. Hopefully, my Peace Lily will flourish again and provide great flowering all year long!



  1. Hi Heidi, the same thing is happening with my Peace Lily, exactly like yours... I am sure the leaves turned black and super dry because the high heat and lack of humidity, as it is a tropical plant, it needs a lot of humidity.. .so, I moved it to my bathroom during this winter time to try to help my plant with the vapor of the shower... but I am afraid to cut the black leaves off and make a worst damage, do you know where exactly I should to trim it? Is the right point to cut brown leaves at the point just above the base of the leaf stalk? Thank you very much :)

  2. Hi Daniela, for the most part, yes - cut back the leaves to the base of the leaf (leaving the stalk). Emerging new leaves of Spathiphyllum's come from the base of the leaf stalk. Yet, in some cases, I noticed brown stalks on my Peace Lily too. In that case, I removed them from the base of the plant. You'll be able to feel the thickness of the stem to see if another leaf is developing. This usually happens in the centre of the plant. Any remaining stalks will whither and go browny-yellow in due time. You can easily tug on them and they will come free at the right time. Cheers.

  3. Hi Hiedi
    I have a Peace Lily in a terrarium type pot with a palm, arrowhead vine and another plant I can't identify. I have a brown thumb. In fact I can practically see the plants shaking when they are given to me. Kidding aside, in this terrarium, the peace Lilly has 3-4 yellowing/brown leaves. And the Palm also has a few brown fronds. The other too look great. I live in Anaheim CA. Is this just from overwatering? Should I separate the plants? I love your blog! Very informative.
    Blessings, Sandy ;o)

    1. Hi Sandy - plants in terrariums are hard to maintain and it's difficult to decipher if there's too much or not enough watering. Lift the terrarium to feel the weight. This is usually the best way to tell whether the plants are drying out. What ever you do, don't over water. Terrariums usually produce enough humidity and trap moisture that usually evaporates into the air. So, it may be overwatering that is causing the leaves to go yellow. Cut out any yellow leaves and let the terrarium dry out between watering. Peace Lily's droop their leaves when they are too dry. If you are truly worried they are going to suffer further, separate them, but find pots that aren't too large for the roots. Cheers.


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