A drooping peace lily is problematic, especially if you’re hoping to see its white flower or leaf bract. Sagging leaves and wilting stems are a sign your peace lily is unhappy. Pinpointing the cause or multiple causes your Spathiphyllum is looking so sad is the first part to finding a solution.
Here’s why your peace lily is drooping:
- Transplant shock
- Excess sun
- Incorrect temperature
- Plant disease
In today’s informative guide, I’ll explain all 6 of the above causes of a drooping peace lily as well as what you can do to revive your plant’s rigidity. By finessing your care routine for the peace lily, you just might be more likely to see yours bloom!
6 Reasons Your Peace Lily Is Drooping and What to Do About It
Your mindset has always been that if your plant looks healthy, you don’t need to water it yet. You usually wait until the leaves are crispy before you pull out your watering can.
This isn’t the best rule of thumb to follow, as crisping, leaf discoloration, and leaf droopiness are signs that your peace lily has needed water for a while.
Let me put it to you this way. What you’re doing to your peace lily would be like if you felt thirsty, but you refrained from drinking water until your throat was dry and you were lightheaded.
By that point, you’re dehydrated, weak and struggling to hold yourself up, which isn’t healthy. Your peace lily is dehydrated too if its leaves are sagging.
I can understand being reluctant to water your houseplants too often because you’re afraid of causing root rot (which I’ll talk more about shortly), but that doesn’t mean you should purposely refrain until your plant’s health is negatively impacted.
Solution: Water More Often, But Not Too Often
You need to start watering your peace lily more often if it gets dried and droopy. Yet the question becomes how often to water the plant, right?
Luckily, you have a reliable means of determining that, and you can use it through all seasons.
It’s known as the fingertip test:
- With clean hands, insert a finger or two to the knuckle into your Spathiphyllum’s soil.
- How much moisture do you feel? If it’s a lot, then your peace lily is fine for now and shouldn’t be watered.
- If it’s a little, then you still shouldn’t water, but come back in a day or two and try the fingertip test again.
- What if you feel no moisture at all? Now’s the time to water the plant before the soil starts becoming bone dry.
I do also want to note that the quality of water you use for the peace lily matters very much. This plant species is sensitive to the chemicals in tap water, including fluoride.
Although the tap water minerals won’t cause leaf drooping, they will make the peace lily’s leaf tips brown.
Whenever you can, I’d suggest filtered water or, even better, rainwater, both of which are free of the chemicals that specifically affect peace lilies negatively.
If you can safely say that you haven’t been underwatering your peace lily, that doesn’t mean its drooping issue isn’t water-related. Lots of beginner indoor gardeners make the mistake of feeding their plants too much water, which is even more detrimental than an underwatered plant.
Why? Overwatered plants are more likely to develop root rot, a deadly plant disease.
Root rot occurs when your peace lily’s root system is starved of oxygen because it’s been oversaturated with water. The plant drowns in its pot, which will cause the white roots to become mushy, witheringly and black.
Above the soil, your peace lily will look saggy and yellow. Also, when the culprit is root rot due to overwatering, the entire plant will droop not just the leaves.
Root rot is not exclusive to peace lilies, so being able to identify and treat it can save the life of not only your affected peace lily but future plants that you might overwater as well.
That said, sometimes, even if you do everything you can, you can’t keep a plant alive if it has root rot. Generally, when more roots die than healthy ones remain, your plant won’t make it.
Solution: Stop Watering Your Peace Lily on a Schedule
You don’t want your plants to die from root rot, and I don’t want that for you. The best way to prevent root rot is to stop overwatering your plants, although that can sometimes be easier said than done.
Here’s what I recommend: use the fingertip test over any watering schedule. When you see information online that tells you to water the peace lily once per week, that doesn’t take unique factors into account, so it’s bum advice.
For example, what if you live in a very cold climate? A little bit of water will go a long way. Yet in a hot climate, you’d need to water the peace lily more often.
The fingertip test tells you the level of moisture in your peace lily’s pot in the here and now. It considers temperature so it’s more accurate.
If that’s how you start determining when to water your peace lily, you shouldn’t have issues with overwatering or underwatering the plant again.
When you first brought your new peace lily home, you put it in the corner of your living room. Then you decided you didn’t like it there, so you placed it on the other side of the room.
After that, you debated whether you wanted the plant in the living room at all, so you tried in a couple more rooms.
Once you put a houseplant down for a day or two, the plant will almost immediately begin adapting to that exact location. In other words, once it starts to acclimate, that’s where it will want to stay.
In some instances, transplant shock is unavoidable, such as putting your plant in a new pot. Most of the time, it’s something you can prevent with a little bit of plant know-how and consideration for where the peace lily will be happiest before bringing it home.
Solution: Move Your Peace Lily Sparingly
Plan a location for your peace lily in your home or office before you put it anywhere. Don’t only focus on how good the houseplant will look in your living room or bedroom but think about the plants needs.
Can low light to indirect bright light consistently reach your peace lily where it is? I’ll talk about lighting in the next section, but it’s hugely important for your peace lilies’ health.
Are there any sources of hot or cold air in the vicinity such as a vent? This can affect the peace lily’s temperature, which will also come up in this guide a little bit later as well.
Once your peace lily is all settled in, consider how often will it need a new pot? Peace Lilies grow at a moderate pace, so plan on repotting it about once a year.
Some indoor gardeners upgrade this plant’s pot per two years, and that’s something you can do if your peace lily isn’t growing too quickly.
Since moving your peace lily will cause transplant shock, what do you do when this happens? Keep providing care for your plant as usual and be patient.
Most plants bounce back from transplant shock within a few days and others after a week or so.
As I said I would, I want to talk about your peace lily’s lighting next. These plants are quite adept at growing in darker and brighter environments alike, but too much light is detrimental to the peace lily’s health.
The peace lily’s leaves can burn in direct sun, sort of like how you get sunburnt if you don’t apply enough sunblock when spending a day at the beach. The leaves will look brown, crispy, and droopy.
Solution: Provide Low or Indirect Light
The best lighting conditions for the peace lily, especially if you want to see your plant potentially flower, are brighter, indirect light. A light source like this is still plenty sunny, but it’s not direct sun.
To achieve brighter, indirect light you can install a curtain in the window that prevents the sun’s scorching rays from directly reaching and burning your peace lily. For a quick fix you can drape a white bedsheet between the bright sun coming through the window and your peace lily.
Some shade is fine for the peace lily, as are dimly-lit environments, but the chances of seeing your plant flower–which are already quite low to begin with–become even slimmer when you only supply it with low-light.
What if you work at an office and all you can provide is fluorescent lighting? The peace lily actually responds pretty well to fluorescent lights, making it a great choice for an office!
Fluorescents obviously aren’t as great for the plant as real sunlight, but they’re better than nothing.
Okay, let’s say you left your peace lily out in direct sun for too long and it’s clearly had enough. Is your plant ruined? Not necessarily.
The first thing you want to do is move your peace lily away from the sunlight.
Next is soak your peace lily plant in water for 10 or 15 minutes, especially if your peace lily is exhibiting signs of extreme sun damage like burning.
Finally, place your peace lily in a shadier area to recover while paying close attention to its light and watering needs until its been completely revived.
If your peace lily is still drooping and you’ve ruled out the other issues, then I implore you to check your thermostat at home or at the office. More than likely, the temps are not within the correct range to grow a healthy peace lily.
Your peace lily drooping problem can also be a combination of low temps and lack of humidity. The peace lily is classified as a tropical plant and prefers humidity that’s higher than the average indoor relative humidity.
Since humidity is moisture in the air, when the peace lily’s air is too dry, it too starts to dry out, which can cause its leaves to go limp.
Solution: Monitor Temps and Humidity
So what kinds of temperatures does the peace lily need?
By day, the Spathiphyllum prefers temps of 68 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. That doesn’t mean you have to crank up the thermostat over 80 degrees, thank goodness. A temp range of low-to-mid-70s will suit this plant just fine.
If you like your home a little cooler at night, the peace lily can withstand temps that are about 10 degrees colder than those by day, so 58 to 75 degrees. This is also good if you grow your peace lily at the office and the building owners turn off the heating or air at night when everyone goes home.
Even if the temps dip down into the low 50s and beyond, the peace lily will remain undamaged until you get into the low 40s or so.
As for the peace lily’s humidity requirements, this plant prefers relative humidity over 50 percent. In most homes and offices, the average relative humidity is somewhere between 30 and 50 percent, so you’ll need more humidity to keep the peace lily happy.
I always recommend buying a humidifier instead of sitting around and misting your plant. You’d have to commit to doing that around the clock, and who has the time for that? A humidifier will save you the time and trouble.
The peace lily is susceptible to four diseases: pythium root rot, leaf blight, dasheen mosaic virus, and cylindrocladium root rot. Let’s talk about each of these conditions so you can identify which might be causing your peace lily to droop (among other symptoms).
- Pythium Root Rot
The first peace lily disease known as pythium root rot occurs when your houseplant is overwatered or has poorly draining soil. It only takes days for the soil to be soaking for this form of root rot to take hold.
The symptoms include sagging and yellowing leaves and a greasy appearance on some plant parts.
- Leaf Blight
If your peace lily is being overwatered or its humidity is too high, look out for leaf blight. This disease causes the plant’s leaves to develop dead spots that look brown or black. The spots start out small and then become lesions. All along, the plant’s leaves can’t support themselves well, so they’ll droop.
- Dasheen Mosaic Virus
Dasheen mosaic virus can develop in houseplants like the peace lily if you don’t disinfect your pruning shears and other gardening equipment between uses.
If the disease spreads to the potting soil, you can infect other plants by reusing that potting soil, often doing so unknowingly. Insects such as aphids, which are usually disease vectors, can also cause dasheen mosaic virus.
The mosaic-like pattern that will form on your peace lily’s leaves is a dead giveaway of this disease, as are the sagging leaves.
- Cylindrocladium Root Rot
The fungus Cylindrocladium spathiphylli that causes cylindrocladium root rot loves moist, wet conditions such as an overwatered peace lily. Should you manage to treat your peace lily, you’ll have to put it in a new pot and throw the old one away, as the fungus can survive on surfaces like a plant’s pot, where it would then affect a new plant.
Solution: Diagnose and Treat the Disease
The above four diseases have leaf drooping in common but will require different treatments.
If it’s a form of root rot, then remove your peace lily from its pot immediately. Using disinfected pruning shears, cut away all dead root parts, which will be mushy and black.
Replace the plant’s soil with a fresh, dry mix. Monitor your peace lily over the coming weeks and continue to care for it as usual. If the surviving roots are healthy enough, then your plant will recover.
For leaf blight, you can skip the chemicals and combine water with baking soda in a ratio of half a teaspoon of baking soda for every gallon of water.
What about dasheen mosaic virus, you’re asking? It’s incurable, unfortunately!