The peace lily is an excellent houseplant not only because it is a flowering plant as compare to the other all green foliage, but is also considered to be an air purifier. These plants have gained enormous popularity in the recent past as low maintenance and extremely beneficial house plant. In this blog, we aim to give you an in-depth understanding of the Peace Lily plant, care techniques with special focus on brown tips, or yellow leaves of the Peace lily.
What is a peace lily?
Peace lilies are house plants native to tropical conditions with attractive foliage and stunning bloom. This plant is botanically known as the Spathiphyllum spp. which literally translates to Leaf Spathe, this is a Greek reference to its white spate or a modified leaf of sorts that form the blossom.
The peace lily is also known as white anthurium or white snails.
These plants are good to amp up your office or living space as they are easy to grow and maintain. This being said although they come under the easy-care category, they do require proper growing conditions to flourish.
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These plants generally grow up to 1 to 3 feet but hybridized variants grow to about 6 feet and 1 to 5 feet wide. The peace lily grows well in partial to completely shady places, they cannot bear the harsh sun. Too much heat will cause the plant to stop growing and will destroy saplings.
These plants do well in soil that is well-drained and fertile, adding compost to the soil once in a while will provide extra benefits.
What sets the peace lily plant apart?
Peace lilies are perennials that grow in clumps. The foliage of this plant is dark and thick which gives it a royal look.
Unlike most house plants the peace lily is a flowering plant with bright white flowers. although it comes under the lily category these flowers are not actually lilies and mere modified extensions that grow over covering the flowers.
Another notable feature of this plant is the fact that it purifies the air around it. Most plants take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide at night while the respire.
However, this process is different in some plants including the peace lily, these plants take in carbon dioxide as well because of a type of photosynthesis called Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM).
This plant according to a few reports is also known to break down and neutralise toxic gases like formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and benzene, making them excellent home air purifiers.
There are often questions raised about the peace lily if they are enough to keep the home pure and fresh and if you should do away with air purifiers?
The answer to this is simple.
Plants have a purification capacity or limit just as a commercial air purifier or any other machine. Though they may clean and purify the air to an extent one needs to understand that exceptional results cannot be expected from plants.
You might plant a large number of peace lilies in the hope that you will breathe fresh air. But our advice is – enjoy the plan as it is, air purification is a bonus. Let machines do their job.
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Where can peace lily plants be planted?
Peace lilies are native to tropical conditions and grow well in these areas. In the US these plants can be grown both indoors as well as outdoors. The U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones these plants thrive in are zones 11 and 12.
These plants tend to lose moisture due to evaporation through their leaves. hence when they grow outdoors, they will need to be watered more frequently as compared to when cared for as an indoor plant.
In summers when planted outdoors they have to be watered more frequently as compared to winters when planted outdoors. The same rule applies to the indoor plantation of these plants but the watering frequency reduces drastically.
For example, if the plant is watered every alternate day during summer when planted outdoors, they can be watered about once to twice a week when indoors.
Plant peace lilies in pots when left outdoors this way they can be moved indoors easily when the temperature is about 40 degrees Fahrenheit this way you can protect the leaves stems and roots of the plant.
The peace lily is easily damaged by frost. Hence you can either move the plant indoor when it snows. These plants are sensitive to cold and chlorine, hence when watering them let the water sit for a while. This prevents cold shock and also reduces chlorine damage.
Are peace lily plants toxic to pets?
Are peace lily plants toxic to pets? Peace lilies do not belong to the traditional lily family (Liliaceae ) and come from the spathiphyllum family hence they are not considered harmful or poisonous. This being said the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) listed them as unsafe for both cats as well as dogs.
These plants contain oxalates that irritate the mouth and stomach of pets. The animal will generally stop eating the plant after the first bit when the instincts kick in.
The Pet poison helpline put out a statement saying that the oxalate crystals can cause an inflammatory reaction which results in the swelling of the mouth, tongue, throat and upper airway in dogs.
When either cats or dogs ingest these plants they will begin to salivate profusely and shake their heads and paw at their mouth this is an indicator that they are in distress and will require attention immediately.
Characteristics of curiosity and agility are present in both cats as well as dogs hence in order to protect them, you could avoid planting the peace lily all together. If you decide otherwise keep the plant out of their reach or if you have them in the garden fencing the plant is a good idea. You can also try placing moth balls close to the plant in a container as cats detest their smell.
Sprinkling coffee grounds on the potting soil. For dogs, you can either train them to keep away from these plants using strong commands or keep the plant fenced. For most dogs, once they have a bad experience with the plant, they will generally keep away saving you the hassle of guarding the plant or the pet.
Caring for a peace lily plant at home
Peace lilies come under the easy-care or low maintenance category hence as far as caring and maintaining a peace lily plant at home is concerned, it is fairly simple. These plants like temperatures that are warm and medium to low sunlight. These plants are not fans of cold temperatures and will not do well when the temperature falls below 55 degrees.
To better understand if your plant will be ok with the temperature the rule of thumb is “If you need a jacket to stay comfortable your plant will not be okay”. Here are a few frequently asked questions about peace lily care
Where to place the peace lily when planted indoors?
Where to place the peace lily when planted indoors? Peace lilies are plants native to tropical conditions they do well in hot moist shady tropical rainforests and for this reason, they cannot be left outdoors in most temperate climates. This makes the peace lily a perfect plant to be cared for and nurtured for indoors.
Inside living or office spaces the conditions are more controlled and comparatively warmer as compared to outdoors.
When caring for peace lilies indoors you can place them in a warm room, if you have a window in the room place the plant under the window. North and West facing windows are the best places to place these plants as they receive adequate sunlight and are not subjected to direct sunlight.
Keep the plant away from cooling or heating units as this will cause the peace lily to develop brown tips or yellow shrivelled leaves.
Where to place the peace lily when planted outdoors?
Peace lilies can be placed in both indoor as well as outdoor settings. If you are planning to plant a peace lily in your backyard or garden it is important to consider the weather conditions in your area.
As these plants thrive in zones 11 and 12 of the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones, you can plant them and care for them without much effort.
In other zones, they can be kept outdoors but it is better to get them indoors as soon as the temperature begins to drop. Hence you can use planters that can be moved around easily.
These plants are sensitive to direct sun and hence when placed outdoors they need to be kept in a shady place where they receive adequate sunlight but are not under the scorching heat. In winters they can be moved indoors to shield them from the snow as they are sensitive to frost.
Placing your plant in places that are conducive to their growth is the best way to protect your peace lily plant from brown tips and yellow leaves.
Watering peace lily plant
Like the placement and position of the plant along with the temperature in which the plant is growing coupled with the amount of sunlight is required for the development of the peace lily, it is also important to see that they are watered well.
Here is all you need to know about watering and misting your plant to avoid conditions like brown tips or yellow leaves in your peace lily.
How to water the peace lily plant adequately?
The most important thing to remember while watering a peace lily plant is that this plant does not like soil that is slushy or soggy. Hence, it is important to pot them in a good quality well-draining potting mix.
This will ensure that the roots of the plant stay healthy. When it comes to watering the plant water only when the soil is dry.
Downing an entire glass/jug/tumbler will not serve the purpose of these plants. Only add enough to see that the soil is damp, the water should not stand in the pot.
What will happen if you water the peace lily plant too much or too little?
If the peace lily plant is watered too much the roots will rot and the plant will die. On the other hand, if these plants are watered too little.
There is a high possibility that the plant will wilt away. When you water the plant less than what it actually needs you will see a visible droop in the leaves of the plant.
The ideal amount of water to be added to keep the plant in perfect shape is about a cup to a small to medium size pot.
If the measuring proportion and timing are confusing you can aim to water the plant about once a week in summer enough to keep the soil moist and about once in two weeks in winter. You can even till the plants start to droop a little before the next watering session.
What is misting and how do you mist a peace lily?
Considering the nature peace lilies and the conditions we can conclude that these plants love humid conditions that mimic the tropics. Misting is nothing much mimicking the humid conditions found in rain forests using easy methods at home.
Normally gardeners use spray bottles to spray the plant regularly to help them grow well. you can also use misters and other appliances available off the internet for the same purpose.
In summer plants will need to be misted more often as compared to winters when the conditions are less harsh. Summers are also growing periods and the time when the plant blooms hence it is necessary to mist them well then.
The peace lily is sensitive to chlorine hence it is important to dechlorinate the water before misting and watering the plant.
For this, you can use dechlorinating solutions available in the market. Just add a few drops to the water before watering or misting your plants.
Another way in which dichlorination can be done is by letting the water sit for about 24 to 36 hours. Fill a picture with water and let it sit. You can then use this water to either water or mist your peace lily plant.
Are fertilizers important for the growth of peace lily plants?
Like most plants that grow either in your garden or living, space fertilizers are beneficial for the growth of peace lily plants. This is the third main ingredient apart from water and sunlight that you need to add adequately to ensure that your peace lily plant grows well.
Fertilizers along with supplements that infuse nutrients do not compulsorily need to be added but if you do, they need to be done right.
A 20 – 20 – 20 combination house fertilizer is good for this plant but be careful about over-fertilizing the plant.
To add fertilizers, opt for the slow release ones these in most cases come in the form of pallets or sticks that can be buried into the soil. Liquid fertilizers are a good choice for an instant boost.
While choosing fertilizers you could either go for synthetic or organic brands depending on your preference.
Most gardeners these days are making a switch from synthetic to organic to preserve the ecosystem as well as consume healthier vegetables and fruits.
Caution: If your blooms turn green you are over-fertilizing stop fertilizing immediately. In such cases, you might also have to either dilute the soil with fresh soil or re-pot the plant altogether.
There are a number of issues that crop up including brown tips or yellow leaves of the peace lily plant. This section takes you through most of the problems.
Problems that you may face while caring for a peace lily plant.
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Problem 1: Peace lily plant not blooming
You have a lovely plant the foliage is great but the plant just won’t bloom.
The primary reason a peace lily has trouble blooming despite good foliage is insufficient sunlight. Peace lilies adjust to the conditions indoors but at the same time require a little sunlight to grow well and bloom.
This being said it is a good idea to move your peace lily closer to a window where it receives natural light. When close to the window pay attention to the amount of sunlight it receives as direct sunlight is disadvantageous to the peace lily.
Problem 2: Peace lily plant when soil is moist
All is well with the plant until you water it. your lovely plant suddenly collapses when the soil is moist.
To find a solution to this problem it is important to understand the basic nature of a peace lily plant. These plants do not like soggy soil and do not do well in a moist potting mix. hence there are two solutions to this problem.
One check the potting mix used; it is a mix that is well draining?
Check if the water remains saturated or flows out easily. If the potting mix does not drain well scoop out a few layers and add broken clay pot pieces, pebbles, choir, this will ensure that the water drains out almost immediately after the plant is watered.
The second solution is simply to water the plant less frequently. Overwatering is the main cause of the roots of the peace lily rotting. This causes the plant to become weak and eventually die.
If your plant has collapsed check if the roots are healthy. If you see signs of rotting cut of a few damaged roots and repot the plant in a well-draining potting mix.
To make sure that the soil remains dry empty the water collection tray often. If the tray is full the water will keep getting absorbed in the soil. apart from this, the excess water from the soil will not have a chance to drain out.
Tip: the peace lily needs to be watered about once a week in summer and less frequently in winter.
Problem 3: Peace lily plant not growing in Dry Soil
You suddenly notice that your peace lily plant has collapsed you look at the soil and it is dry.
The peace lily is a plant native to tropical conditions and hence even though they are not fond of wet and sloshy soil they like to be kept adequately moist. This includes misting them regularly and watering them when the time is right.
Dry soil is indicative of the fact that you haven’t watered it for a while. This makes the plant internally weak causing it to wilt.
Have a schedule, the peace lily can be watered about once a week in summer and less frequently in winter. Pay attention to the plant and trust your instincts.
Some problems may look simple but have a deep-rooted cause. One such problem that you may face while caring for a peace lily is brown tips and yellow leaves.
On the surface, this can seem like a small issue but there might be a number of factors that have contributed to it. let’s understand this issue in detail.
Problem 4: Peace lily brown leaves or Peace lily yellow leaves
You notice brown tips or yellow leaves of your peace lily.
If your foliage is starting to look burnt and yellow revisit the three factors watering, sunlight and fertilizing we spoke about earlier in the blog. As mentioned, these factors play an important role in the growth and development of the peace lily plant.
A disproportionate application of one of these factors or a combination of factors can cause the brown tips or yellow leaves in peace lily plants.
Here is how these factors contribute to causing brown tips or yellow leaves in peace lily plants
Peace lilies love the shade; these plants do not do well in extremely sunny conditions. When the plant is placed directly under the scorching sun the leaves tend to turn yellow. If the exposure continues, they will turn brownish especially on the tips indicating that the plant is getting sunburnt.
If you have light green foliage, lighter than the usual color of peace lilies and the tips are turning brown. It is indicative of the fact that the plant is getting damaged due to the sun. the harsh rays damage the leaves and alter their overall color.
The tips are more tender and hence burn easily, this causes them to turn brown. An easy solution to this is taking the plant out of the sun and placing it in the shade.
If the plant is indoor keep it away from the window. See that the plant is placed either close to north or west-facing windows, this is where the sun is the least harmful.
Watering adequately is important for the overall growth of the peace lily plant. If you water too much or too little it will cause the plant to droop.
If over watered the roots will rot and will not be able to support the plant or when under-watered the plant will not be able to absorb moisture eventually causing them to wilt.
When the plant wilts it causes the edges of the leaves to turn yellow and the sides of the tips brown.
If you see that the overall plant is in good health and the leaves are deep green but the tips are turning brown along with the edges this is indicative of the fact that u let the soil go dry.
Inconsistency in watering the plant is as harmful as under or over watering, if you let the plant go without water for a long time it will show on the leaves. the solution to this is keeping the soil evenly moist. Time your watering sessions and all will be well.
Brown tips or yellow leaves in peace lily plants can also be caused due to the presence of chlorine in the water. Peace lily plants are sensitive to chlorine and hence may develop brown tips or yellow leaves when the water used for watering or misting contains excess chlorine.
This can be resolved by getting the water tested using home testing kits available over the internet. When you are sure about the chlorine content either use dechlorinating drops or let the water sit for a while before watering or misting the plant.
Fertilizers are important to ensure that the plant blooms well and remains healthy overall. This being said if the peace lily plant is over-fertilized or the fertilizer used is too strong for the plant; either the fertilizer is not used right, not diluted well or the concentration of a few ingredients is more than required or if the fertilizer is used too frequently.
This mismatch in the use of fertilizers can cause the plant to develop brown spots on the leaves. Over time these spots will cover the entire leaf, eventually killing them.
One solution to over-fertilizing is washing out the fertilizers but watering it down. Water the plant in a way that the excess water washes away the fertilizers. another solution is repotting the plant in non-fertilized soil. it will take a few weeks for the plant to recover but it will be well soon.
Problem 5: Peace lily brown tips or yellow leaves
Your peace lily seems fine and then suddenly starts to wilt, you notice brown tips or yellow leaves.
If your peace lily plant is in good shape but suddenly notice brown tips or yellow leaves rotting root might be the cause. Rotting roots are a serious condition that happens under the soil but affect the entire plant. This is generally caused due to overwatering or poor drainage.
If the roots are in contact with water for a long period of time it becomes difficult for them to get air which is necessary for optimal functioning, this causes them to rot. A certain type of microorganism called water mold contributes to the spread of the rot.
The only solution to root rot is to remove the plant from the pot and cut off the slimy, rotting or damaged roots. The plant can then be re-potted in dry soil with proper drainage.
In most cases, we see that as solutions we need to make a few changes either in the routine or the actual position of the plant to see a difference. This seems like a good technique if the damage is considerably less and the plant can be saved but what if the damage is extensive?
The solution to this pruning.
Like most plants, the peace lily can also be pruned here is all you need to know about pruning the peace lily plant.
Should you prune a peace lily plant when damaged?
Should you prune a peace lily plant when damaged? Pruning is basically cutting off portions of the plant in a way that the plant grows healthier and the foliage can grow better. In case of damage or disease, the damaged portion of the plant is trimmed in a way as to save the remaining plant.
When you notice the leaves of the peace lily plant turning yellow or the leaves developing brown tips, they can be trimmed or removed from the plant as this condition can also be due to old age.
The stalks of the plant can be cut after the flower has wilted. Cut it as close to the stem as possible this will make room for newer stems and blooms.
We can say that though the peace lily plant is an absolute favorite when it comes to house plants, they have also gained popularity as garden plants. When planting them outdoors one needs to consider the fact that they are sensitive to frost and extreme weather conditions hence it is better to place them in pots so that they can be moved indoors easily.
As far as brown tips or yellow leaves in peace lily plants are concerned it can be caused due to a number of factors like under or over watering, chlorinated water, excess sunlight or sun damage to say the least and also over-fertilization.
This blog takes you through several ways to care for peace lily. It also gives you tips on making the task hassle-free. Go get your peace lily today. Happy gardening!
I am Elsa, love gardening. I spent lots of time with plants, flowers, it gives me lots of happiness.
I am sharing all the practical tips on how to grow various plants, flower plants, vegetables in the garden. Read more about me.