What Causes Peace Lily Leaves To Turn Yellow Or Brown

Wilted Peace Lily Plant In A Container On A Wooden Table
peace lily
(Image credit: Ian Dyball)

The peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii) is an attractive indoor flower known for its ability to thrive in low light. It usually grows between 1 and 4 feet (31 cm to 1 m.) in height and produces pale white flowers that give off a pleasant fragrance and last a long time. Sometimes, however, peace lilies suffer from browning or yellowing leaves. Keep reading to learn about what causes peace lily leaves to turn yellow and how to treat it.

Reasons for Peace Lilies with Brown and Yellow Leaves

Normally, peace lily leaves are long and dark green, emerging directly from the soil and growing up and out. The leaves are strong and oval shaped, narrowing to a point at the tip. They are durable, and often the biggest problem they encounter is that they collect dust and need to be wiped off periodically. 

Sometimes, however, the edges of peace lily leaves turn a sickly yellow or brown color. The root of the problem is almost definitely water related. This browning can be caused by too little or too much watering. There is a good chance, however, that it is due to a buildup of minerals. Since peace lilies are primarily kept as houseplants, they are almost always watered with tap water. 

If you have hard water in your house, it may be accumulating too much calcium in your plant’s soil. Conversely, this mineral buildup is just as likely if you use a water softener. Some minerals are good, but too many can build up around your plant’s roots and slowly suffocate it.

Treating a Peace Lily with Brown Tips

Spathiphyllum leaf problems like this can normally be cleared up fairly easy. If you have a peace lily with brown tips, try watering it with bottled drinking water. First, flush the plant with lots of bottled water until it runs out of the drainage holes. \

The minerals will bond with the water and wash away with it (if you can see white deposits around the drainage holes, mineral buildup is almost definitely your problem). 

After this, water your peace lily like normal, but with bottled water, and your plant ought to recover just fine. You can also snip out unsightly brown/yellow leaves.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.