If your indoor peace lily is dying, and you’re not sure why or if it can be saved, you’ve come to the right place. Below is a list of likely issues that could be killing your peace lily.
Can a dying peace lily be saved? An indoor peace lily that’s dying due to being repotted, underwatering, overwatering, pests, or excessive fertilizer is often savable. Acting quickly and amending the plant’s care routine is critical.
In this guide, I’ll go over the most common reasons that indoor peace lilies meet their untimely end and explain methods for saving the plant in each situation.
How to Revive an Indoor Peace Lily
Lots of care missteps can put the peace lily in a precarious position.
Let’s go over how to revive this lovely indoor plant.
Peace Lily Dying After Being Repotted?
Your peace lily was just dandy a couple of days ago. Then you did its annual repotting, and the plant began to go downhill fast. What in the world is going on and how do you help?
What’s happened here is that your peace lily is going through a textbook case of transplant shock.
Transplant shock can affect any indoor plant and is caused by the stress of a move. The symptoms include stunted growth, dramatically drooping leaves, and yellowing and bronzing of the leaf edges.
Watering the peace lily with a combination of water and table sugar might help it bounce back, but this doesn’t work for every houseplant.
Really, the best thing to do as your peace lily is in the midst of transplant shock is to continue caring for it as usual.
Provide bright, indirect light and water the peace lily to maintain soil moisture.
Keep temperatures between 68 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity levels at about 50 percent.
Some cases of transplant shock can last for months, but that’s unlikely for smaller houseplants like the peace lily.
If you keep this up, then within a matter of days or weeks, your peace lily is likely to bounce back, simply from adjusting to being repotted.
I’ve known many indoor gardeners over the years that repotted their peace lily and threw their plant out before giving it time to acclimate to its newly potted home.
Peace Lily Dying from Too Much Water
If you’ve frequently overwatered your peace lily, then the plant has likely begun to succumb to the fungal disease known as root rot.
The first thing you want to do is put down the watering can. Your peace lily does not need more water right now, as that will only make matters worse.
Next, ask a friend or family member to help you remove the peace lily from its pot.
One of you should hold the peace lily around its base while the other person grabs the pot. Then pull.
Please don’t grab the peace lily anywhere else but the plant’s base. You will remove leaves, as they’re quite soggy and pliable at this junction.
Lay down some old dish towels, newspaper, or paper towels and place the peace lily on a flat surface like a floor, a table, or a counter. Remove excess soil until you can see the roots.
Healthy houseplant roots are non-odorous. They’re also firm to the touch and white. Dying roots are black, slippery, and smelly.
If your pruning shears aren’t already clean, disinfect them in 70 percent isopropyl alcohol or bleach by allowing the shears to soak. Rinse the shears under water and dry them off.
Trim every dead or dying root you see, cutting away to the white parts of the root.
Whether your peace lily will survive is dependent on this moment. If the plant doesn’t have enough healthy roots left, then its survival is unlikely although never impossible.
With the dead roots gone, take the peace lily’s pot, dump out the old, saturated soil, and refill the pot with fresh, well-draining soil.
Consider amending the soil with coco coir, peat moss, and perlite, especially if you weren’t doing so before.
Dig out a hole in the soil for the peace lily and put it in the pot.
Next, disinfect your pruning shears again, as the peace lily has to be trimmed up top as well. The decaying bits attached to it right now are a needless waste of energy, so they have to go.
Remove all miscolored leaves, mushy stems, the works. Disinfect your shears again when you’re finished.
Finally, moisten the peace lily’s soil. Going forward, allow the plant’s soil to dry at least an inch deep and then water it.
Peace Lily Dying from Lack of Water
The peace lily is drought-tolerant but cannot handle long periods without water. It’s not a succulent, so once the moisture in its pot is gone, it’s gone.
A dried, droopy peace lily that’s being underwatered is savable, and here’s how.
Start by watering the plant, which is something that’s long overdue.
Water a little more generously than usual, allowing water to come out of the drainage holes and enter the pot’s saucer.
While the houseplant might perk up a little after its initial watering, it’s likely going to take a bit longer for the peace lily to fully recover.
In the meantime, make sure your peace lily is being shielded from harsh conditions.
Use a window curtain to prevent excess daylight from streaming in. Keep the plant away from radiators or forced air vents. Watch the temperatures.
Turn on a humidifier or put your peace lily in the bathroom, as a lack of moisture will only dry it out further.
Next, you have to do something about the peace lily’s fried leaves.
If you see drooping green leaves, don’t cut those. They will likely stand back up once you get into a more regular watering routine or through the induction of moisture.
Any brown or yellow leaves will never turn green again, so you’re free to remove those.
As you did before, disinfect your pruning shears before cutting. Trim back only the affected areas, leaving any greenery.
Although it’s tempting to want to water your peace lily every day after a long period of underwatering, please don’t.
That will just cause the opposite problem, an overwatered peace lily that could develop root rot.
To determine when it’s time to water the peace lily, use the fingertip test if you’re not already doing so.
Peace Lily Dying from Being Overfertilized
The peace lily only needs to be fertilized every two or three months. If you’re doing it more frequently than that or if you’re overfeeding the plant, then it’s going to show signs of duress.
By the time you get past drooping, yellow leaves to fertilizer crust on the surface of the soil, your peace lily is probably dying.
To revive it, you can’t keep it in that fertilizer-laden soil.
You have two options to improve the soil condition.
One is to simply dump the overfertilized soil and replace the peace lily’s pot with fresh stuff just as you did when the plant was being overwatered.
The other option is to flush the salts out.
Before you begin, remove the top layer of the soil with the fertilizer crust using a gardening shovel.
Then pour water into the peace lily’s pot and allow it to flood out of the drainage holes and fill the saucer.
Don’t oversaturate the soil, as then it will be soggy, and your peace lily could have to deal with root rot after recovering from overfertilization.
You might have to repeat the flushing process over several days to remove all the fertilizer residue.
In the meantime, continue to provide optimal care for the peace lily.
The next time you fertilize it, only use the recommended amount, and be sure not to fertilize more frequently than once every two to three months.
Peace Lily Dying from Pests
What if it’s a case of pests attacking your peace lily that has nearly led to its demise?
Before you can repair the issue, you need to know which pests have invaded the plant.
Peace lilies attract spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, thrips, and fungus gnats the most commonly. Here are some identification tips:
- Spider mites look like miniature spiders and are known for weaving webs beneath a houseplant’s leaves.
- Aphids are microscopic insects that are more easily detectable in large numbers. The insect leaves a trademark secretion known as honeydew.
- Mealybugs are a type of scale insect but without any armor. They too can produce honeydew, especially after drinking the plant sap of your peace lily. They frequently live under plant leaves.
- Thrips are skinny, winged insects, so they’re a bit more of a problem, as they can fly across your houseplants. This insect will too leave a honeydew trail in its wake.
- The teeny-tiny flies that are fungus gnats can appear in the peace lily’s soil as well as on the plant itself. Fungus gnats secrete honeydew too.
Removing these pests isn’t too challenging. You can use a gardening hose or even manually flick off some insects.
For others, combining water with dish soap or 70 percent isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab and directly attacking the bugs does the trick.
Most of these pests are attracted to the peace lily for its moist conditions. While you shouldn’t starve the plant of either water or humidity, by watering the peace lily only the necessary amount, you might see fewer pests.
As for the parts of your peace lily the pests have already invaded? You’ll have to disinfect your pruning shears and remove any infected leaves.
Honeydew residue can later lead to black sooty mold, so you can’t allow the stuff to remain on the peace lily’s leaves.
Keep up the plant’s care otherwise and it should recover beautifully from a minor pest invasion.