Peace lilies are an incredibly common houseplant, and there is very good reason for this. Peace lilies can provide a unique option of home décor, so long as you properly care for the plant.
If you do not care for the plant properly, there’s a good chance that the appearance will reflect this. One such way that this can happen is through browning leaves.
If you notice that your peace lily’s leaves are beginning to turn brown, particularly at the tips and at the edges of the leaves, then you might be concerned. After all, this plant is supposed to retain its glossy green leaves for as long as it’s alive, right?
While this is absolutely true, browning leaves are a sign that something is wrong. As the person who takes care of the peace lilies in the house, it is up to you to figure out what is wrong and what you can do about it.
What Does it Mean?
Usually, when the leaves of your peace lily begin to brown, it means that there is something wrong and your plant is on the verge of beginning to wilt.
In a sense, you can consider browning leave a precursor to wilted leaves. It means that there is something wrong, and that if you don’t take the steps to remedy the problem, you aren’t going to have a gorgeous peace lily for much longer.
Generally, there is going to be one of three things wrong if your peace lily is beginning to turn brown. The problem is going to be in the irrigation or drainage of the plant, in the humidity of the air, or with the amount of salt or fertilizer that is in the dirt.
If you can check over these three areas, you can rest assured knowing that you will find a way to return your peace lily into its gorgeous state.
Working with the Drainage
One of the most common reasons why a peace lily might have browning leaves is due to the irrigation of the plant. This essentially means that your plant is either getting too much or too little water for it to live healthy.
Thankfully, fixing this issue is easy enough if you are diligent and pay attention to the condition of the plant. Ultimately, you will want to wait until your peace lily is just slightly wilted before watering it again, as you want to make sure that you are not continuing to overwater the plant.
Watering the plant too little, understandably, creates an environment where the plant is not getting enough water to survive. Because it is not able to sustain itself, its health begins to degrade and you will see this in the extremities of the plant.
In this case, you would see it in the form of the leaves beginning to brown. Continuing not to water the plant will cause the browning tips to progress into full-on wilting, which will be your cue to begin watering again.
On the other hand, watering the plant too much will create an environment where the plant is essentially flooded with water. It will end up absorbing too much water in through its roots, and much like before, this will be reflected in the extremities of the peace lily.
Interestingly enough, the reaction to both too much and too little water is the exact same: browning of the leaves. By waiting until the plant begins to wilt slightly, you are giving enough time for the water to drain out of the pot before introducing new water.
Speaking of drainage, you will want to make sure that the pot you are using has a drainage system that is adequate for a peace lily. No plant can really just sit around in too much water, and having a sufficient drainage system helps to get the water out of the pot before the plant can absorb it too fast.
If you put your peace lily in a pot that doesn’t have a good enough drainage system, then it can begin showing signs of being overwatered.
The easiest solution to this problem is to simply transport the lily into a pot that does have a proper drainage system, though you will want to be careful about the roots when you are doing this.
In some cases, you could be having issues because the peace lily does not like the type of water you are using. More often than not, this plant is perfectly happy with tap water, but if you live in an environment where your water is naturally hard, it could be causing a lot of mineral buildup in the soil.
Nobody wants this to happen to their plant. Thankfully, it is relatively easy to fix hard water.
Because the hard water can cause mineral buildup, you are going to want to make sure that the water is a little bit softer for the plants liking. The best way to go about doing this is to search for a water softener that isn’t necessarily installed into your tap system.
These are going to be less expensive, less time-consuming, and easier for you to manage if you want some water from the tap for other purposes.
Working with the Humidity
By nature, peace lilies love warm and humid environments. One of the best things that you can put a peace lily in is going to be a saucer filled with pebbles so that you can mimic their natural habitat.
While you can absolutely get away with putting your peace lily in a pot, you absolutely cannot get away with putting your peace lily in an environment that is dry, no matter how warm it is. Chances are that if the air is too dry, you are going to see browning on your peace lily’s leaves.
Fixing this issue is going to be incredibly straightforward. You are basically going to want to move your plant to a location that is more humid than where it currently is.
Give the location, both the current location and the place you are going to move it to, some heavy thought to make sure that it will be better for the plant. For instance, you don’t want to place it right in front of a heating vent, as this air can be incredibly dry.
There are plenty of ways that you can make your overall home more humid, ranging from investing in a humidifier to placing bowls of water just about everywhere so that the moisture can get into the air.
Whether you want to raise the humidity in one room, or all of the rooms is up to you, but if you want your peace lily to stay alive and thrive, keeping it in a high-humidity environment is a must.
Working with the Soil
Finally, issues can arise if the soil is not to the peace lily’s liking. In some cases, this might mean that you have been fertilizing the soil too much.
While extra nutrients for the plant can be a good thing, there is such a thing as too much good. You should think about just how much you have been fertilizing your plant and if it really, really needs to have as much fertilizer.
Generally, you should only fertilize peace lilies with a weak fertilizer once every few months, at most. If you have been fertilizing the plant more than that or have been using a strong fertilizer, you could be giving the plant more resources than it can physically handle.
The best way to go about fixing this is to make sure that you do not fertilize the plant again for several months, and when you do, that you dilute the fertilizer down to a weaker level.
Doing this will ensure that your peace lily still gets its extra nutrients, but that it is not completely overwhelmed by them at all.
Another issue that peace lilies can have with their soil is the amount of salt that is in the soil. As with many other living beings, too much salt is never a good thing as it can dehydrate you to dangerous levels.
The same applies to plants, and in peace lilies, the result is browning leaves. If you reckon that you are dealing with a high salt content in your water, the next time you water the plant, you can use distilled water to irrigate and flush everything out.
If you want to get really specific about the amount of salt in the soil, or if you want to try and eliminate this from your diagnosis of the browning leaves, you can consider investing in a salinity meter for the soil. These meters, as the name might suggest, measure the amount of salt in the soil.
You will have to do some research to find what the acceptable levels of salt are for a peace lily, but this will help you stay on top of things if you are in an area that has a lot of salty soil.
With enough time and attention, you will easily be able to figure out why your peace lily is beginning to brown at the leaves. Thankfully, because the majority of the plant is still alive, this damage can be reversed and you can bring your peace lily back to life without an issue if you follow these steps.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.