Peace lilies are easy-to-grow houseplants that can flower for months. They have deep green glossy foliage and graceful white blooms and while they’re generally considered a low care indoor plant, peace lily drooping is a frequent problem. There are several factors that can cause a peace lily to wilt. Below you’ll find common causes and the easy solutions if you find your peace lily drooping.
Peace lily drooping
As houseplants go, Spathiphyllum plants are fairly forgiving, but, if you notice your peace lily drooping, you should act swiftly. When peace lilies go limp—and particularly when they’re allowed to remain that way for too long—bringing them back from the brink can be more difficult. Fortunately, the most common reasons for a drooping peace lily are fairly simple to remedy. Find and fix the trouble, and you’ll be rewarded with glossy, deep-green foliage and stately flowers—each comprised of a white, leaf-like “spathe” and a creamy yellow spike or “spadex”—standing at attention again.
Signs of an unhealthy peace lily plant
Among the signs that something’s wrong with your peace lily plant? Slow or no growth, failure to flower, yellowing or drooping leaves, and brown leaves or brown leaf tips. You might also notice general signs of insect pest activity. For instance, dark patches of mold growing on plant leaves can indicate a problem with aphids or mealybugs. (Some molds are attracted to the sweet sap that these tiny bugs excrete.)
Possible causes of peace lily drooping
Peace lilies droop for several reasons, and inconsistent watering is chief among them. However, peace lily drooping can also be caused by too much direct light, drafts and temperature fluctuations, or low humidity levels. And, if your peace lily is suffering from root rot, leaves that merely droop at first eventually may wilt entirely.
While less common, there’s at least one other reason for peace lily drooping that you should keep in mind during the winter heating season. A friend of mine was doing everything right for her peace lily and all of her other houseplants, and, yet, every last one of them looked droopy and distressed. It turns out there was a gas leak in her house, and the plants were reacting to the dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide in the air. After her faulty furnace was cleaned and repaired, all of her houseplants bounced back.
5 reasons for peace lily wilting
As noted above, there are various causes of peace lily wilting. Below we look deeper at the 5 most common reasons.
Peace lily overwatering
It’s true that peace lilies are moisture-lovers, but it is possible to provide them with too much water. Overwatering can cause peace lily drooping, yellow leaves, and even plant death.
How much water your peace lily actually needs may fluctuate, depending on the time of year, ambient temperature and humidity levels, whether it’s presently growing or flowering, and even its container size and type. For instance, if your peace lily lives in a pot with no drainage hole—or if you allow excess water to sit in the plant’s drainage saucer—this can contribute to poor oxygen levels at the root zone. This lack of oxygen can cause your plant’s roots to rot, hampering the plant’s ability to take up water and nutrients. (For best results with peace lilies, always use well-draining soil and plant only in pots that are well draining.)
Rather than have a routine watering schedule, it’s better to regularly check your plant’s moisture levels and then water as needed. To decide whether it’s time to water your peace lily, simply stick your finger about an inch down into the soil. If the soil feels relatively moist, you may not need to water, but, if the soil feels dry, you definitely should. For best results, use lukewarm, distilled water, or rainwater in your watering can when giving your plants a drink. If you must use chlorinated tap water, fill up some empty gallon jugs and let them sit for a few days to allow most of the chlorine to dissipate first.
Underwatering a Spathiphyllum
Remember that the soil in the top inch of your peace lily’s pot should always feel slightly moist. Failure to water regularly—and to water thoroughly—most often causes peace lily drooping and browning leaf tips. To avoid underwatering, pour water into the top of the pot, wait for it to penetrate the soil, and watch for the excess to drain out of the bottom of the pot.
If the potting mix in your pot has become too dry, you may need to rehydrate it. How can you tell? If you notice the water you add to the top of the pot rushes through the soil and immediately out through the drainage holes, the soil may have temporarily lost its ability to hold water. In this case, run water through the pot until the excess water more slowly penetrates the soil and drains through the pot.
After a thorough watering, you should be able to pick up the plant—pot and all—and gauge its weight. It should feel much heavier now than it did before you watered. In addition to feeling the top inch of soil in the pot, this is another good way to determine whether your peace lily needs water.
Too much light can cause peace lily drooping
Peace lilies perform best in bright, indirect lighting. Too much light—especially direct sunlight—can cause peace lily drooping and peace lily leaves to turn crunchy and brown. (Unfortunately, once the leaves are damaged in this way, there’s no turning back. All you can do is remove whole, sun-scorched leaves and, if you prefer, trim off any brown leaf tips as well using sharp gardening shears.)
Conversely, while peace lilies are often said to be “low-light” plants, that doesn’t mean they’ll thrive in near darkness. A peace lily positioned near a window on the north side of your home or even one in a room with bright, artificial lighting should do well.
Just how can you be sure your plant is getting the right amount of light? Periodically check it for new leaf growth and flowering. If these natural processes are taking place, your lighting is probably adequate. And, if you aren’t sure, you can always experiment by moving your plant a little closer or further away from the light source. See how the plant reacts and adjust again if need be.
Drafts can cause peace lilies to wilt
Hailing from the tropics, peace lilies prefer steady temperatures between 60 and 85 F. (15 to 30 C) Anything below 60 F (15 C) is too cold for comfort. So, avoid positioning your plants too close to cold drafts from fans or that nearby air conditioner. This can cause peace lily drooping.
Temperature fluctuations don’t serve these plants well either. That means you’ll also need to steer clear of those blasts of hot air coming from your heating vents or the cozy fireplace.
Pests that can cause peace lily drooping
Spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs are additional culprits that can cause peace lily drooping. Although spider mites are themselves too small to see, you may see evidence of their activity—a series of tiny dots on plant leaves, yellowing foliage overall, and very fine webbing. For their part, aphids and mealybugs are much easier to spot. Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that can cause leaves to look stunted or deformed. Mealybugs form fluffy, white masses underneath leaves and along stems. Both aphids and mealybugs also coat the plants they occupy with shiny, sticky sap.
You can control small infestations by spraying off plant leaves in the shower or at the kitchen sink. Still, larger or longer-term infestations may call for something stronger like an application of insecticidal soap or neem oil. Of course, keeping your plants as healthy as possible is generally the best defense against pests like these.
Other tips to keep a peace lily healthy
Besides keeping your peace lily moist, there are few other things you can do to make your plant more robust. Some of these include:
- Dust leaves—Use a soft, damp cloth to regularly dust the tops and bottoms of plant leaves.
- Boost humidity—Peace lilies thrive in 40 to 60 percent relative humidity. During the winter heating season, humidity levels often drop below what’s ideal for these plants. Steamy bathrooms can provide high humidity levels for peace lilies in need of a quick boost. Humidifiers can provide a longer-term solution, but, if you’d prefer a simpler solution, you can always use a pebble tray. To start, grab a shallow saucer or tray, fill with pebbles, add water, and then set your potted plant on top of the pebbles so that the plant is positioned just above the water level. As the water evaporates, the humidity in the immediate area will increase.
- Fertilize—During times of the year when your plant is actively growing, typically spring and summer, feed with an organic, slow-release fertilizer once a month.
- Check roots and repot—Just as you examine your plant’s foliage to assess its health, once in a while, you should also examine its roots. Gently pull the pot away from the soil to determine whether the roots look healthy and still have room to grow. If it’s root bound or shows signs of root rot, you may need to put the plant in a new pot. When repotting, carefully loosen the roots by hand, trim off any rotting roots, and monitor for transplant shock.
Your Spathiphyllum should keep standing tall if you keep it lightly moist, trim dead leaves, and feed it monthly during growth spurts. It also needs good drainage, bright, indirect light, and steady temperatures between 60 and 85 F (15 and 30 C).
When you see your peace lily drooping, it’s trying to tell you something’s a little “off.” It could be too much or too little water or light, uncomfortable fluctuations in temperature or humidity, drafts, or pests. The good news? Most of these problems are easy to diagnose and remedy, so you can quickly set things right once again.
Learn more about growing healthy houseplants in these detailed articles:
- Green Goddess philodendron: A guide to growing and care
- Anthurium plants: Learn how to grow this long-blooming indoor plant
- Fishbone cactus: A growing guide
- String of dolphins is a unique and easy-to-grow succulent plant
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