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Lawn & Garden

My Peace Lily is sick

I've had my peace lily for about 6 months.  For the first 5 months it was doing wonderfully.  It bloomed periodically, the leaves were shiny and green, and it was growing (I had to repot it once).  For the past month, the leaves have been constantly drooping, regardless of my watering.  The tips are brown & yellow, and a couple of the leaves are completely yellow.  The plant is in the same place it has always been (about 20 feet from a window), and I'm watering on the same schedule (about 2x a week).  I did fertilize it with a little Miracle Grow houseplant fertilizer about a month and a half ago.  How can I fix my peace lily?

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Posted 2012-06-29T11:29:04+0000  by SmilieFace SmilieFace

Hi, SmilieFace,


Welcome to The Community!!!


I'm Travis from The Home Depot in Atlanta.


Spathiphyllum plants are great house and office plants because they thrive in low light conditions. In fact, if they receive too much direct sunlight, their leaves can blister. Keeping your plant 20 feet from the window is better for the spath.


Spaths require more water than most houseplants and their foliage will droop when the soil becomes dry. If a plant receives too much water, the leaves will discolor and wilt, just as they will when the plant gets dry. If the yellow leaves are pliable and soft, the issue is too much water. If the leaves are dry and brittle, too little water is the problem.


Feeling the soil with your finger is an effective method to monitor soil hydration, but if you utilize a moisture meter, you can take the guesswork out of plant care. MoistureMeter.jpg


Tropical houseplants prefer their roots to be snug in their pot. If, when you repotted the spath, the pot size was increased, the roots will grow to fill the pot before the plant begins blooming again. When choosing a new pot for houseplants, increase pot diameter by only 1 to 2 inches. Miracle Gro is excellent plant food and can be utilized once a month.


Spathiphyllums have a bloom cycle that is usually equal to it's non bloom cycle. If it blooms for three months, it will rest for three months, for example. Moisture has the most effect on these plant's ability to produce blooms, so monitoring the soil hydration will help you better maintain your plant.


Prune away all of the damaged foliage to encourage your spath to produce fresh new growth.




Posted 2012-06-29T14:55:04+0000  by Travis_HD_ATL

Wow, thanks for the quick and detailed response!


The yellow leaves were pliable and soft, so I guess I have been overwatering my peace lily.  I'll go back to the finger in the soil method.  :)  I pruned all the yellow leaves.


The brown tips are becoming black and are spreading -- instead of being the outer 1/4 cm, the black/brown tips are now about 1cm.  Is there anything I can do to stop this?


Lastly, it's gotten really warm around here over the past month.  Could the increase in temperature be why my peace lily looks more sickly? (none of my other plants seem to be affected, though.)

Posted 2012-07-04T13:47:00+0000  by SmilieFace

Tropical plants prefer a consistent environment. In nature, near the equator, the weather remains constantly moderate. Our homes can mimic this moderation, but sometimes water and temperature changes will happen. The damage that shows up in the leaves is the result of improper balance in hydration. Increased temperature calls for more water, but when the temperature moderates, the added water could be more than the plant can handle.


The combination of these environmental changes result in stress to the plant. Stress can cause damage to the leaves and since these plants have permanent foliage, the damage will remain. Spots and dark tips on the leaves cannot heal, so these leaves need to be trimmed to remove the damaged portions.


There's no need to remove the entire leaf if only the tips or edges are affected. Trim the leaf edges with scissors so that the natural shape of the leaf is maintained to some degree. This technique has saved many tropical plants from ending up in the compost bin. 




Posted 2012-07-06T18:08:04+0000  by Travis_HD_ATL

Thanks for the advice! 

Posted 2012-07-07T11:18:16+0000  by SmilieFace

I have 2 sick peace lillies. They have been sad for a very long time and I am having a hard time with them. First thing is, they are outside on a sunny patio. I would like to move them inside but am pretty sure they have bugs. Yesterday I soaked them with a heavy soap solution (put dish soap in the Miracle Gro garden sprayer, worked great!). Today I picked on of them off its saucer (which I also washed off yesterday) and found a bunch of bugs and what looked like eggs, all over the saucer. This make me think the bugs are coming out the bottom of the plant. So I moved the saucer away from the plant and moved it in the shade. Any more advice on what to do? Also the ends of the leaves are always brown, I cut it off and it comes back. Are there bugs eating the leaves?

Posted 2012-07-08T19:53:34+0000  by swirvn

Hi swirvn,


Welcome to The Community!!


I have a couple of Spathiphyllum plants that I move from indoors to outdoors in the spring. I keep them away from windows inside and I place them in dense shade outside.


Your peace lillies cannot tolerate direct sunlight. The leaves will blister and the soil will dry out too quickly. Spaths require a lot of water, so the drip pan under the pot will benefit the plant by holding some extra water for future needs.


Bugs need water, too. They will take advantage of the cool shade provided by the peace lily and the water in the pot creates the perfect environment for them. Then along comes the spider to control the overpopulation of the insects.


Inspect the leaf damage for insects. The insects usually co-exist with their host plant, doing no harm to the plant. They proliferate and create offspring that feeds the spiders that are doing the same. This is the balance of nature, right on your porch. You only need to worry about the bugs that come into your house, so apply bug control to the plant before you bring it into the house in the fall.


Moving your plant into the shade is the correct move and the drip saucer may not be necessary, because the soil will not dry out as quickly. The foliage will continue to grow and the plant will recover from it's stressful condition. Remove any damage to make room for new growth.




Posted 2012-07-10T13:49:42+0000  by Travis_HD_ATL
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