Home gardeners love beautiful houseplants, especially those that flower. One low-maintenance, elegant plant that brightens up any space with its green foliage and white flowers is the peace lily or spathiphyllum.
This delightful, popular houseplant has very few needs, but nonetheless may exhibit signs or symptoms of stress. One common symptom is the peace lily leaves turning yellow.
Don’t worry yet! Let’s take a look at the 10 most common reasons for yellow leaves on a peace lily and how to resolve the problems that cause this.
The Causes of Peace Lily Leaves Turning Yellow
A healthy peace lily will boast lance-shaped, dark green leaves that emerge directly from the soil bed. Although resilient plants, there are reasons why the foliage may turn yellow.
1. Natural Aging
In the case of natural aging, there’s not much to do. As the peace lily plant ages, the leaves will turn yellow and eventually die off.
When the plant’s older foliage turns yellow, trim off the yellowed leaves with a clean, sharp cutting tool or scissors.
It’s important that your cutting tool be clean to avoid spreading disease or infection to other houseplants. Dull cutting blades can also damage the plant at the point of the cut.
Overwatering is the number one reason that peace lily leaves turn yellow. Whether you have given your plant too much water, or the plant’s container has insufficient drainage, the damage will be the same.
When there’s excess water, the plant’s root system will end up sitting in water and oxygen will not get to the roots. The plant will drown and root rot will set in.
It may be necessary to repot your plant. Remove the peace lily from the wet soil. Trim off any damaged roots and let healthy roots dry a bit before placing the plant in fresh, well-draining soil.
Check your container so that each drainage hole is not blocked and there are enough holes too. Only water your plant, when necessary, generally weekly or maybe twice weekly in warmer weather. The top half of the soil bed should be dry before you water anew.
If you have forgotten to water your plant, yellow leaves can indicate that your plant is very thirsty. A peace lily will usually hint that it needs a drink with discolored leaves.
Their leaves will also begin wilting or drooping. If you water at the first sign of wilting, these leaves on peace lilies will usually spring back to life within a day.
An occasional missed watering will not damage them, even if not good for the plant’s overall health. But should the plant be denied water over long periods of time or repeatedly, they will suffer more serious damage and its leaves may turn from their beautiful green color to yellow.
Remove yellow leaves and place your plant on a regular watering schedule to avoid underwatering in the future.
4. Poor Water Quality
While the peace lily is relatively hardy and resilient, it may have an adverse reaction to water quality issues and the type of water used.
If your water is hard with lots of minerals, especially calcium, it may cause your peace lily’s leaves to yellow.
Tap water can often contain these minerals and chlorine. If you want to use tap water, always leave the water out for 24 hours before using it on your peace lily.
Better options to improve the water quality for your plant include using distilled water, filtered water, or collected rainwater when you water.
5. Lighting Issues
One of the reasons that peace lilies are so popular in homes, offices, and apartments is that they adapt exceptionally well to low and medium-light conditions.
They naturally thrive in shady conditions, but they need light for photosynthesis. They do enjoy being placed in indirect bright light the most because they are tropical plants that call the rainforest floor home.
If they are left in the dark, the leaves will turn yellow. With dim light, leaves will continue to be a lush shade of green. However, it is probable that the plant may not produce flower blooms.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is too much direct light. Too much light can turn leaves yellow and hot, direct sunlight will scorch the foliage with brown spots and turn them into brown leaves.
To prevent either, simply position your plant in a place with partial shade and bright indirect light.
6. Temperature Issues or Drafts
As a tropical plant, the peace lily likes a temperature range between 65° and 85° Fahrenheit, making them an ideal indoor plant. They will not survive in temperatures that drop below 45°F.
They do not like the cold, so placing them on a cold balcony, patio, deck, or porch, or positioning them by a drafty window or doorway may cause leaves to turn yellow.
To protect your plant and prevent yellowing of leaves due to temperature issues, place your plant in a comfortably heated room in colder weather and far from cold drafts.
7. Nutrient Deficiencies
The peace lily is not a heavy feeder, so they don’t require much houseplant fertilizer. However, they do still require basic nutritional needs to be met.
A lack of nutrients can contribute to leaves turning yellow, especially a lack of nitrogen. A lack of magnesium and iron nutrients may also turn the foliage yellow. With these two elements, leaves may turn yellow, but veins appear green. This also happens with excessive light exposure, so try moving your plant to a shadier spot before deciding you have a nutrient shortage.
By using quality organic potting soil, nutrients should be sufficiently met. You can use a diluted water fertilizer monthly during the growing season.
Be careful with overfertilizing as this may damage your peace lily. When in doubt, dilute your fertilizer to half of the recommended strength.
Also, be aware that repotting or transplanting your plant can cause the plant to go into shock and turn leaves yellow as a result. Give your plant a little time to adjust after you repot them.
8. Pest Infestations
While Peace Lilies are not overly susceptible to pest infestations, they are not completely immune either.
The main pests to be on the lookout for are aphids and mealybugs. If your peace lily is too dry, it may attract spider mites. When leaves begin to turn yellow, the infestation is most likely significant.
You can use an insecticidal soap spray and wipe down the leaves. Another organic insecticide that can be helpful is neem oil.
Unfortunately, the peace lily is susceptible to disease, and the two principal diseases are Phytophthora parasitica fungi and Cylindrocladium spathyphilli. There are no cures.
These diseases live within the soil bed and will attack the plant at the roots, causing them to rot. If yellow leaves appear as a symptom of these two diseases, you will probably need to dispose of the plant.
To prevent these diseases from developing, allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
10. Chemical Content
Another common problem arises with heavily chlorinated water. In the case of city water that is heavily chlorinated, you can leave the water out overnight so that chlorine gas escapes. This will avoid burning the plant’s root system.
You can also add a few drops of aquarium de-chlorinator to the water before watering your plant.
Fluoride in tap water is also an issue. In this case, it is best to use filtered, distilled, or collected rainwater to give your plant a drink.
Heavily treated municipal water should be avoided as it could result in unwanted mineral build-up.
General Tips to Prevent Lily Leaves Turning Yellow
Keep in mind these tips on peace lily care to help prevent yellow leaves and revive your plant.
- Remove yellow leaves as they are weakened and cannot turn green again. They may contribute to other problems too, so it’s best to prune them.
- Just because a leaf is yellow does not mean that you need to dispose of the entire plant. Prune the yellow leaves and wait to see if new growth appears.
- Always clean and sterilize gardening tools to prevent the spread of infections or infestations.
- Don’t ignore the appearance of yellow leaves. Attempt to discover the cause and then move to resolve the issue.
- Once you have diagnosed a cause and intervened, expect to see your peace lily return to a healthy appearance within a couple of weeks. If this does not happen, re-evaluate the cause of the yellowing leaves.
Peace Lily Leaves Turning Yellow Final Thoughts
There are many different things that can cause yellow leaves on peace lily plants. The good news is that you can easily diagnose the cause of the problem and take steps to correct it.
Also check out these other guides to learn more about your peace lily:
- Are Peace Lilies Poisonous to Dogs
- Are Peace Lilies Poisonous to Cats
- Why are Peace Lily Leaves Turning Brown?
- Why are Peace Lily Leaves Turning Black?
- Repotting Peace Lily Dying
Peace Lily Leaves Turning Yellow FAQs
Should I remove yellow leaves from peace lily?
Yes, you should remove yellow leaves from the peace lily plant because they are weak and unable to grow back into green leaves. Removing yellow leaves helps prevent further damage to the plant. Trimming the weak parts off will also help prevent other problems you’re not seeing from spreading.
Will yellow peace lily leaves turn green again?
No, yellow peace lily leaves willl not turn green again because they are too weakened or dead. You should remove any yellow leaves immediately to prevent the spread of disease. Yellow peace lily leaves usually indicate that there is something wrong with the plant, so it’s best to prune them.
How do I fix yellow leaves on my peace lily?
The best way to fix yellow leaves on your peace lily is to prune them off. Remove any yellow leaves using sharp shears. It’s best to cut the yellow leaves close to the stem to ensure that no part of the plant remains attached to the soil. Don’t worry about cutting the stems; just make sure that you don’t leave any pieces behind. Once you’ve removed all of the yellow leaves, there will be place for new growth.
Can a peace lily recover from overwatering?
Yes, if you catch the overwatering early enough, your peace lily can recover. Once you notice the overwatering, remove the peace lily from the waterlogged soil and trim off any damaged roots. Allow the healthy roots to dry and repot in fresh soil that’s well-draining. If root rot has set in though, the peace lily won’t be able to recover.