Why Your Peace Lily Has Brown Tips & How To Fix It
Are you wondering why your peace lily’s tips are brown? Some plants are innately appealing, and peace lilies are certainly in that group. Their leaves are long, pointed ovals in a rich green, and the flowers make them beloved houseplants. While peace lily plants are generally tough and resilient, sometimes we see peace lily leaf tips turning brown. This is a condition that is usually caused by water or fertilizer issues.
Why Does My Peace Lily Have Brown Tips?
It is important to differentiate between plant problems caused by diseases (termed “biotic”) and those caused by environmental factors including cultural care (termed “abiotic”). Both fungal diseases and cultural care can cause brown spots on leaves. Fungal diseases occur on outdoor plants as a result of fungal spore transfer in high humidity, wind, or splashing water.
Sometimes houseplants that have spent long months looking completely healthy suddenly take a turn for the worse, developing brown tips and margins. While the plant owner may assume this is a fungal problem, the truth is often much simpler. As an indoor plant, it’s not likely experiencing high humidity, wind, or splashing rainwater, which means that something about the cultural care of the plant is resulting in leaf damage. This might be an issue with watering, humidity, or sunlight exposure, but can also involve improper fertilizer use.
When you see the peace lily tips turning brown on a houseplant, look first to cultural care. In most cases, the usually healthy plant leaves look sickly because of a cultural care issue. Read on to learn the most common causes for the tips of peace lilies turning brown.
Common Causes of Brown Tips on Peace Lilies
Peace lilies, though often seen as houseplants, can also be planted outside in the backyard in the very warmest plant hardiness zones, USDA zones 11 and 12. It is noteworthy that very few yard-planted peace lilies develop brown-tipped leaves. When peace lily tips turn brown, the plant is usually growing in a container kept inside or at least overwintered indoors.
Improper cultural care is generally the reason that peace lilies get brown tips on their leaves. The most common cultural care issues in this regard involve water or fertilizer. Peace lilies do not like excess water, and overwatering can result in browning of leaf tips. In addition, if you water with tap water, the plants may react badly. Peace lilies are very sensitive to fluoride in water or any type of water softener.
Among those factors that lead to abiotic disorders in houseplants, excess fertilizer ranks high on the list. The idea that, "If a little is good, more is better" certainly does not apply to fertilizing plants, especially if they are growing indoors. During the winter months when days are short and light is poor, most houseplants make little, if any, new growth. Attempting to encourage new growth by applying fertilizer is counterproductive.
Finally, excess fertilizer can cause browning leaves in peace lilies. When you fertilize plants, the fertilizer salts are uptaken by the plant and are stored along leaf margins and tips. This can cause fertilizer burn, leading to marginal or tip necrosis.
How to Treat a Peace Lily with Brown Tips
When you notice that your peace lily leaves have brown tips, consider your cultural care. If you are watering with tap water, consider gathering rain water in a bucket outdoors and using this to water sensitive plants.
If you have been fertilizing your plant, take action to get the salts from the leaves and container. Flush the soil by watering several times with bottled drinking water and letting it run out the drain holes. Then reduce the fertilizer amounts you provide. Repotting is another way to clear these salts from the soil.
If these steps do not seem to solve the issue, consider other possible causes of brown leaf tips on peace lilies. These can include too little humidity (place the plant on a pebble saucer with water), too much sunlight, or temperature fluctuations.
Should I Cut the Brown Tips Off My Peace Lily?
Cutting damaged leaves off of the peace lily is a good idea. This will also allow you to check whether the problem is solved as new leaves grow in.
Gardening tips, videos, info and more delivered right to your inbox!
Sign up for the Gardening Know How newsletter today and receive a free download of our most popular eBook "How to Grow Delicious Tomatoes."
Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.
Snag Trees: What Are They & Why Are They Good For Wildlife?
The term snag tree may not seem appealing, but for insects, birds and other wildlife, a tree snag can provide the perfect haven.
By Bonnie L. Grant
9 Cut And Come Again Crops For Small Spaces
Limited space is not an impediment to growing your own food. Cut and come again vegetables and herbs will save money, space, and provide fresh produce from the same plant all season long.
By Bonnie L. Grant
How To Revive A Peace Lily Drooping After Repotting
Learn how to repot and revive a droopy peace lily when it needs a new home.
By Susan Albert
Peace Lily Flowers Are Green – Fixing Green Blooms On Peace Lilies
Peace lilies produce gorgeous white flowers. But if your flowers are green, the contrast is not as striking. Learn about this phenomenon here.
By Mary Ellen Ellis
Diseases In Spathiphyllum: Tips On Treating Peace Lily Diseases
Peace lilies are tough and resilient, but they are susceptible to a few pests and diseases. This article provides more information about peace lily plant problems, including common diseases in Spathiphyllum plants.
By Teo Spengler
Drooping Peace Lily: How To Revive A Wilting Spathiphyllum
A drooping peace lily is a common occurrence and can indicate several different issues, most of which can be corrected.
By Tonya Barnett
Do Peace Lilies Need Fertilizer – When To Feed Peace Lily Plants
Do peace lilies need fertilizer? Believe it or not, many folks prefer to skip the fertilizer and their peace lily plants do just fine without it. However, fertilizing a peace lily now and then is important to encourage blooming. Learn more in this article.
By Mary H. Dyer
Peace Lily And Pollution – Do Peace Lilies Help With Air Quality
There are many plants that thrive indoors in low light and actively remove pollutants from the air. Way at the top of that list of plants is the peace lily. Learn more about using peace lily plants for air purification.
By Liz Baessler
Peace Lily Repotting – Learn How And When To Repot Peace Lilies
Repotting a peace lily plant is occasionally necessary, as a rootbound plant isn't able to absorb nutrients and water and may eventually die. Fortunately, peace lily repotting is easy! Learn how to repot a peace lily in this article.
By Mary H. Dyer
Peace Lily Pruning: Tips On How To Prune Peace Lily Plant
Peace lilies are excellent houseplants. But what do you do when the flowers or even the leaves start to dry up and die? Should peace lilies be pruned? Learn more about when and how to prune peace lily plants in this article.
By Liz Baessler