Fixing a Peace Lily with Yellow or Brown Leaves

There are a number of reasons why the leaves on your peace lily may be turning yellow or brown, including overwatering, underwatering, unsuitable light, or an excess amount of fertiliser. 

The peace lily is a wonderful indoor plant that brightens your home and helps keep the air nice and clean. 

In fact, NASA scientists have discovered that peace lilies can remove dangerous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. Plus, peace lilies also keep the inside air a little moister by releasing water vapour.

So, not only are peace lilies attractive with their lovely dark green leaves and amazing white blooms, but they also have health benefits when grown inside your home.

But, what happens when your peace lily is not looking its best? Let’s look at how you can fix a peace lily that displays yellow or brown leaves.

What causes yellow leaves on peace lilies?

There are a few reasons why the leaves on your peace lily may be turning yellow. It could be that the plant is being overwatered or even underwatered.

It could also just be that the leaves are old and have reached the end of their useful life.

peace lily brown leaves 1 | Plant care

How to fix

The first thing you want to do is check the moisture level in the soil. Poke your finger into the soil up to the first knuckle. When you pull your finger out, is it covered with damp or wet soil or is the soil crumbly and completely dry?

If your soil is wet, it could mean that you’re overwatering your plant. To remedy this, let the soil dry out completely before giving your plant any more water.

If the soil is completely dry, take your plant to the sink and give it a good dose of water until the excess water comes out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Let the excess water drain completely before placing your peace lily into its original spot.

You can also just place your plant in the shower and give it a good burst of cool water. This will help to remove dust and other debris from the leaves as well. Leave your plant to drain fully before placing it back where it normally lives.

If you don’t fancy sticking your finger into the soil, you can use a wooden chopstick or similar instead or get yourself a moisture meter.

If you suspect that the yellow leaves are just old, you can snip them off close to the base or centre of the plant.

What causes brown tips on the edges of the leaves?

There are also a few reasons why the tips or edges of your peace lily leaves are turning brown. This could be caused by too much light or an excess amount of fertiliser. 

It could also mean that your plant is being underwatered or there is not enough humidity in the air.

How to fix

First, you want to check whether your peace lily is receiving any direct sunlight. If this is the case, the leaves are getting sunburned. Move the plant further from the window so that it receives bright light but no direct sunlight.

Next, consider how you feed your plant. Do you use slow-release fertiliser pellets? If this is the case, a build-up of salts in the soil might be causing the problem.

Take your plant to the sink and drench the soil completely until lots of water comes out of the drainage holes. This will allow all the salts to wash out of the soil. 

Once the plant is looking a little better, consider repotting your peace lily with some new premium potting mix. Don’t add any fertiliser just yet because premium mixes already contain enough nutrients for around 6 months.

Drenching the soil will also fix any underwatering problems but what about the lack of humidity? There are a few ways you can fix this.

If you have a number of indoor plants, you might want to invest in a room humidifier and place this near your plants.

Another excellent solution is to use a shallow tray and fill it with pebbles or small stones. Add some water to the tray so that it comes halfway up the pebbles. 

Place your peace lily on top of the pebbles or stones ensuring that the base of the pot is not sitting in water. The water in the tray will evaporate over time and add much-needed moisture to the air.


What does an overwatered peace lily look like?

An overwatered peace lily will look unhealthy with yellow leaves and other leaves that have brown edges or tips. The leaves may even wilt and droop. Plus, the plant will be stunted. Always check the moisture level in the soil because these symptoms are similar to an underwatered plant.

How often should I water a peace lily?

Ideally, you can water your peace lily around once a week but ensure that the excess water can drain away and is not left sitting in a saucer under the plant. The soil should be moist but not constantly wet.

How do I know if my peace lily is getting too much sun?

If the leaves of your peace lily are showing signs of brown around the tips or edges, it could indicate that your plant is getting too much sun. Peace lilies prefer a bright spot but should be kept out of direct sunlight.

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Annette Hird

Annette Hird is a gardening expert with many years of experience in a range of gardening related positions. She has an Associate Diploma of Applied Science in Horticulture and has worked in a variety of production nurseries, primarily as a propagator. She has also been responsible for a large homestead garden that included lawn care, fruit trees, roses and many other ornamental plants. More recently, Annette has concentrated on improving the garden landscape of the homes that she has lived in and focused a lot of energy on growing edible plants as well. She now enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge with others by writing articles about all facets of gardening and growing plants.


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