A few months ago, I received a potted peace lily from one of my good friends. It was a stunner; glossy green leaves, adorned with pristine white blooms and gracefully arching stems—the very definition of elegance!
Imagine my surprise when a few weeks later, after meticulously watering as instructed, the peace lily’s leaves began to turn blank. What went wrong, I wondered? Overwatering? Underwatering? Did I accidentally unleash some botanical curse?
After a few hours of research, I figured out the problem: I was using tap water on the plant!
As you might already know, tap water often contains chlorine and fluoride. These chemicals can have adverse effects on plants, especially peace lilies due to their sensitivity. When I switched to filtered water, my plant showed noticeable improvement.
That said, while this adjustment worked for me, this solution may not work for everyone. I’m here to share my insights and research into why a peace lily’s leaves turn black, including how to address it. Let’s get right into it!
1. Watering Issues
If the tips of the peace lily’s leaves are turning black, it’s a tell-tale sign that you’re either overwatering or underwatering the plant.
Peace lilies come from an environment where it rains a lot, so they don’t do well when they don’t get enough water. Without enough water, peace lilies shrivel up and eventually die.
Overwatering can also turn leaves black.
When you water your peace lilies so much that the soil becomes soggy, the roots of the plants suffocate due to the lack of oxygen and develop root rot.
The excess moisture creates a breeding ground for harmful fungi, causing their leaves to turn black as a sign of stress and decay.
The way to fix watering issues is to be more careful with your watering habits. Water the plant consistently and try to keep the soil moist without making it soggy.
2. Poor Water Quality
Have you been watering your peace lily using standard tap water? If so, this might be the reason why your peace lily’s leaves have gone black. (It was on mine).
Tap water often contains chemicals like chlorine, fluoride, and many other types of impurities, which can affect your plant’s ability to absorb nutrients properly.
For example, chlorine can harm beneficial microorganisms in the soil, affecting the plant’s root health. Fluoride can interfere with crucial metabolic processes, impacting photosynthesis and overall growth. And so on.
Thankfully, there’s an easy solution to this problem: buy a good water filter for your tap so that you can water your plants safely. You can also buy filtered water from the store that you can use to water your plants.
3. Root Rot
Root rot can occur when you’ve been watering your plant way too much.
Essentially, if you keep watering your peace lily more than you should, then the issue is going to get way worse.
Over time, the peace lily will have its roots completely rot. If you look at the roots of the peace lily, then you might notice that they have become mushy.
Sometimes it isn’t possible to save a peace lily that is suffering from root rot. Whether or not the plant will survive depends on how advanced the root rot is.
You can try to replant the peace lily using new soil after removing the rotted parts of the plant. Try to plant the peace lily in soil that has excellent drainage so that you don’t have this problem in the future.
You’ll also need to be mindful to correct your watering practices since that’s generally what causes root rot to occur. Soil with better drainage and better watering practices should prevent root rot from occurring in the future.
If your plant doesn’t survive the root rot, don’t be too hard on yourself. Use what you learned to prevent such issues from happening again in the future.
4. Fungal Issues
If the soil gets too moist, then it could invite fungal growth that will be harmful to your plant. This fungal growth can lead to the development of black spots on the leaves.
There are a few different types of fungal infections that you might have to deal with. Luckily, you can address fungal issues in pretty much the same way regardless of the type: by using a fungicide to clean the plant and destroy the fungus.
Some people shy away from using fungicides because they believe they might be too harsh for the plant. But in most cases, fungicides made specifically for ornamental plants don’t cause much harm to the plant as long as you follow the instructions.
If you want to use a more natural solution, clean the peace lily with baking soda. Baking soda is an antifungal agent, so spraying a mixture of baking soda and water on the plant should work pretty nicely.
6. Pest Issues
If none of the above issues are to blame for the black leaves on your peace lily, you might be dealing with a pest problem.
Pests such as mites, mealybugs, and scales feed on peace lilies. They chew on the leaves and try to suck out the moisture. This can lead to black spots appearing on the plant.
You can get rid of these bugs by showering the plant and washing it off well. If this doesn’t do the trick, spray the plant with insecticidal soap.
To protect the plant moving forward, treat it with neem oil. Neem oil acts as a natural solution against a variety of pests and fungal issues. It repels insects, disrupts their life cycle, and has antifungal properties that can prevent or address common plant diseases.
Can I cut the black tips off my peace lily?
Yes, you can! Trimming blackened tips off a peace lily can prevent further damage and encourage new, healthier growth. Just make sure to use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to help you cut the blacked areas more precisely.
How can I prevent the blackening of peace lily leaves?
To prevent the blackening of peace lily leaves, maintain a consistent watering schedule.
Make sure you don’t overwater as this can lead to root issues, one of the primary causes of blackened leaves.
Additionally, place the peace lily in bright, indirect light, preferably in a place away from drafts and sudden temperature changes.
There are a few different reasons that can cause peace lilies to have their leaves turn black. You could have made a mistake when watering your plant, but it could also be caused by fungal infections or pests.
Determining what is going on shouldn’t be all that difficult so long as you pay attention to the plant. If you made mistakes when caring for the plant, then you can try to correct them to get the peace lily back to normal.
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.