Worried about your peace lily’s leaves turning yellow? Here’s how to save it

Peace lilies are native to tropical and subtropical climates where you’ll likely find them growing on a forest floor. They’re hardy in USDA zones 11 and 12 and are planted outdoors in the spring while it’s still cool and growing throughout the summer. In other climates, peace lilies are most commonly grown as houseplants. Because they grow on forest floors, they can thrive in low lighting. It takes about three years for a peace lily to mature, reaching up to four feet in height. They don’t come without their troubles, though. One of the most common peace lily problems is yellowing leaves.

A woman transplanting a peace lily

Why does your peace lily have yellow leaves?

Peace lilies usually have long, dark green, oval-shaped leaves that grow right up out of the soil. They’re rather durable plants since they have the capability to adapt to lower lighting; however, like other low light plants, that doesn’t mean less light is always better. Insufficient lighting is one of the main causes of yellowing leaves on a peace lily, along with:

  • Aging
  • Disease
  • Drafts and low temperature
  • Nutrient deficiency
  • Overwatering/under-watering
  • Transplant shock
  • Water quality issues

When trying to figure out why your peace lily has yellow leaves, you’ll have to backtrack to your recent care. Did you repot it in the last couple weeks? If not, transplant shock likely isn’t the cause. It could be a build-up of minerals in the soil from the tap water or excessive water softener; however, if you water with filtered water or water that has sat out overnight and don’t use a water softener, mineral build-up shouldn’t be an issue.

Because there are so many causes of yellow leaves, there isn’t always a direct answer. Sometimes trial and error is needed to figure out the root of the problem.

Will yellow peace lily leaves turn green again?

Unfortunately, once peace lily leaves have yellowed, they won’t turn green again. Yellow leaves on any plant are in a weakened state, and if they’re left unattended to, they can invite further issues like pests and disease to your plant. As soon as you notice leaves starting to yellow, you should tend to your plant and investigate to figure out what the issue is.

Should you remove yellow leaves from your peace lily?

Yes! Removing yellow leaves, regardless of the cause, is always the best course of action. When on the plant, energy will still be used up by the weakened leaves as opposed to being directed to new growth and blooms. Removing the yellow leaves from your peace lily will help increase your plant’s strength and reduce the risk of further issues.

Potted peace lily sitting in a window

How to prevent yellow peace lily leaves

First thing’s first: regular inspection, monitoring, and care of your peace lily will give you some insight into how the plant is doing on a day-to-day basis. This is the easiest way to catch problems—like pests or diseases—early before too much harm is caused to the plant. Otherwise, the best way to prevent yellow leaves from developing in the future (aside from the inevitable ones that fade due to aging) is to follow the proper care.

One of the most important parts of peace lily care is dusting the leaves. The more dust build-up there is, the less light the leaves can get. Keeping them clean helps ensure that they’re producing as much energy as possible.

Proper amounts of water and light are just as important, as is the quality and type of the soil.

  • Watering your peace lily: Peace lilies should be watered when at least the first top inch of the soil is dry. Always err on the side of underwatering rather than overwatering if you’re unsure. Underwatering is an easier problem to fix.
  • Providing the best light: Peace lilies love shade in their native environments. Although they can tolerate low-light indoors, you’ll get the best growth results and least amount of problems when providing nice filtered light indoors.
  • Using ideal soil: A rich, loose potting soil with lots of organic matter is the best fit for peace lilies. They’re much happier in a container with good drainage and well-draining soil that helps remove excess moisture.

Temperature is also an important part of meeting your peace lily’s care needs. As with any houseplant, the native environment should always be kept in mind. Because peace lilies come from tropical/subtropical places, they hate drafts and temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep them in a space that’s between 65 and 80 degrees, and try to keep the temperature as consistent as possible.

The causes of yellowing leaves on peace lilies can be applied to other plants, too! Usually yellow leaves are signs of an issue for any houseplant. If it’s natural aging, the yellow leaves will be at the bottom of the plant. When you notice yellow leaves in other places, take action and investigate your peace lily to find out what you can do to help before it’s too late.

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