Why Are My Peace Lily Leaves Turning Yellow?

Spathiphyllum (peace lily plant) is a popular and attractive indoor plant. It does well in low light settings. Depending on the variety plants can grow up to four feet high or more. The long-lasting white flowers are pretty and sweet-smelling.

Yellowing leaves on Spathiphyllum along with brown leaf tips, home plant diseases
Yellowing Spathiphyllum leaves with brown leaf tips | khairullinaeu-DepositPhotos

For the most part, Spathiphyllum care is low. Occasionally plants have problems with yellowing leaves. Below we look at the causes and treatments for this common condition.

11 Reasons For Peace Lily Leaves Turning Yellow

Healthy Peace Lily leaves are deep green, lance-shaped, and grow directly from the soil. They are usually strong and durable, needing little care beyond the occasional dusting with a damp cloth. In the course of a plant’s life, things can happen to cause its leaves to turn yellow.

Overwatering

If you notice the leaves of your peace lily turning yellow around the edges, check out your watering practices. Are you overwatering?

The tendency to give plants more water than they need is the cause of most plant problems.

Excess Minerals

Besides overwatering, poor water quality can cause yellowing leaves.

Does your water have lots of minerals in it? Do you use water from a water softener?

This type of water has minerals that build up in the soil and cause leaves to yellow.

Question: Should I remove yellow leaves from peace lily?

When this happens, prune off the yellowed leaves. Next flush the soil with bottled, filtered or rainwater. Repot the plant and give it fresh soil as the last option. Use a light, airy mix that allows for good air circulation around the roots.

In the future, water only with bottled, filtered, or rainwater. Be sure not to overwater.

How often should I water a peace lily?

  • For watering frequency let the potting mix to become almost dry between waterings
  • Then water thoroughly, allowing the excess to run out the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot
  • Make sure your plant is in a pot with good drainage
  • Never let peace lily plants sit in water

High Chemical Content

Chemicals in the water, such as chlorine and fluoride, can cause yellowing leaves and brown leaf tips.

If you use tap water, let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours before use. This gives chlorine a chance to off-gas. It does nothing to rid the water of fluoride.

Avoid heavily treated tap water if possible. Your peace lily is better off with bottled, filtered or rainwater.

Natural Aging

As plants age older, lower leaves naturally turn yellow or brown and die.

When lower, older Peace Lily Spathiphyllum leaves begin to yellow, prune them off, and don’t worry about it. Use a sharp, sterile cutting tool to remove the leaves. Dull, dirty blades cause damage and spread disease.

How To Trim Peace Lily’s Leaves

Too Little Water

Chronic underwatering causes Peace Lilies leaves to yellow.

When soil dries out, your plant will wilt. When watered it recovers. When repeated over and over this results in weak, yellow leaves.

Check the soil moisture often. You want the potting mix to become almost dry, not bone dry, between waterings.

Peace lily plants will need more water during warm, dry times.

As grown as houseplants, indoor heating during winter can dry plants out. Keep a close eye on your plant and adjust your watering schedule to suit its needs.

Too Much Light

Harsh light can cause leaves of Peace Lilies to yellow. Remember these are woodland plants that grow naturally grow on the forest floor.

They like a low-to-medium light setting. An office, mall, or other settings with fluorescent light is also good.

Avoid bright, direct sunlight, it is unnatural for Spathiphyllum plants. When the problem is too much light, the leaves turn yellow, but the veins stay green.

Cold Air & Wind

Drafts and/or extremes of temperature also cause yellowing of leaves. Peace Lilies thrive at consistent temperatures in the 65°-85° degrees Fahrenheit range. Temperatures lower than 45° degrees Fahrenheit can damage them.

If plants enjoy the warmer months outdoors, bring your Peace Lilies in when temperatures begin to drop.

Indoors, place Spathiphyllum in an area free of cold drafts. The temperatures should remain even and chill-free.

Hunger

Lack of nutrients (especially nitrogen) can cause yellowing of leaves in Peace Lilies.

Lack of iron or magnesium can also cause leaves to yellow leaving the leaf veins to remain green.

Peace Lilies don’t need much fertilizer. Excessive fertilizing causes a whole host of other problems.

Instead of fertilizing, repot annually in the early spring.

  • When growing outdoors – Use a high quality potting mix rich in organic matter. An occasional top dressing with worm castings can also be helpful.
  • When growing indoors – Use a high quality houseplant potting mix.

If you decide to use a houseplant fertilizer, choose a balanced, water soluble type. Mix it half strength, and apply monthly during the growing season.

Can yellow leaves turn green again?

Once leaves turn yellow they will never green up again. The exception is when plants are hungry. The leaves may green up but never to their previous dark green beauty.

Rough Handling

Transplant shock can cause plants to exhibit yellowing of leaves. This is unusual with Peace Lilies. With a healthy root system, the peace lily handles repotting very well. Even so, treat your plants with care when repotting.

Repot early in the spring, before the growing season begins. If yellow leaves develop, prune them away. Fresh new ones will take their place very soon.

Pest Infestation

Heavy mealybug, spider mite or aphid infestation can cause leaves to yellow. This is unusual for healthy Peace Lilies, they don’t tend to attract these pests.

Plants that are:

  • Over or under watered
  • Poorly placed
  • Compromised plants

… are more likely to attract pests and develop disease.

You may be able to eradicate pests by wiping or washing them away. If they return, try a treatment of neem oil insecticide or insecticidal soap spray.

Disease

Fungal infections (Phytophthora parasitica and Cylindrocladium Spathiphyllum) can cause yellow and browning foliage. If these fungus diseases show up, throw away your plant.

These infections are best avoided by providing your plant with good care.

Good Plant Care Prevents & Reduces Leaves

How do you take care of a peace lily with yellow leaves?

  • Never overwater
  • Keep plants safe from drafts
  • Provide the right amount of light
  • Always prune using sharp, sterile tools to avoid spreading disease. Repot into new or sterile pots
  • Be sure all your potting tools are sterilized
  • Clean tools with 70% rubbing alcohol, bleach or Lysol

No matter what the cause of your plants’ yellowing, always take steps to resolve the issue fast.

Remove the yellowed leaves and follow these tips to determine what the cause may be.

Isolate affected plants until they begin to rebound. The problem might be contagious to your other houseplants.

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