You will see it in many indoor places, from private homes to offices; elegant, architectural, with deep green, waxy leaves and beautiful, usually white spaths, and very architectural and exotic, peace lily is now one of the most popular houseplants.
However, it does not always have upright leaves; sometimes they droop, actually, far too often. Why Is your peace lily drooping?
If your peace lily is drooping, the reasons may vary: underwatering and overwatering are very common causes; others are excessive and direct light, wrong temperature, unsuitable humidity levels, wrong soil, infestations of even disease can cause the plant’s leaves to droop. Each problem, thankfully, has a solution.
So, if you are worried about your Spathiphyllum, as botanists call the peace lily, read on, as we will sea why its leaves are drooping and how to get them to stand upright and look healthy again.
8 reasons why your peace lily may be drooping
Not getting enough water or humidity can cause drooping peace lily plants. Remember, Spathiphyllum is a tropical native of the Americas and Asia, where rain is plenty and humidity regular and high, which means that these plants are not suited to sunny conditions, so your plant needs moisture.
Then, of course, there are reasons deriving from growing plants indoors, where they are more susceptible to pests and disease.
The most common reasons of drooping peace lily:
Now, ready to find out all the details and how to treat and heal your plant?
Peace Lily Drooping: Is It Overwatering?
Too much water will cause the cells and tissue of your peace lilyplants to lose structure and even burst. This, of course, leads to a softening of the leaves which then droop. In many cases, some of the tissue (even whole leaves) will not recover.
But when is water too much? If you water your plant when the top soil is still humid and wet, then it will be too much to put it simply.
The best approach to overwatering is to prevent it.
In case your peace lily has drooping leaves and you suspect overwatering:
Peace Lily Drooping: Is It Underwatering?
When your peace lily plant does not have enough water, the cells shrink and dry up; this can be remedied at an early stage, but not always. When leaves do not have water to sustain their structure, they droop, and this is a first sign of underwatering.
When the problem progresses, you will also notice:
While dry tissue does not spread disease (unlike overwatered tissue), it really is a pity with plants whose beauty depends so much on the health and shape of the leaves. So, try to act before any yellowing occurs.
In case you see that the leaves are a bit dry, lackluster and drooping, it is very likely underwatering.
Peace Lily Drooping: Is It The Light?
Too much light causes dehydration because the pores (stomata) of the plant perspire too much.
Each species has a number of stomata adapted to the light, heat and humidity they naturally grow in.
In Spathiphyllum, they are plenty, which means that your peace lily perspires a lot.
This means that changes in light exposure can quickly lead to excessive perspiration and then leaf drooping.
This is often accompanied by yellowing, drowning and then drying of the tips of the leaves.
If this is the case:
Peace Lily Drooping: Is It Low Humidity?
Spathiphyllum needs air humidity at at least 40%. This is not very high as a bottom line, but below this, it will perspire too much and the leaves will droop. Unfortunately, many indoor spaces are very dry, and this is often a major problem with many houseplants.
The leaf drooping will often be accompanied by other symptoms like:
Here, the solution requires changing the air humidity:
Peace Lily Drooping: Is The Temperature Wrong?
Some plants will manage low and high temperatures without any immediate and evident signs on the leaves.
But peace lilies have very delicate leaves, and, as soon as any of the atmospheric conditions are not right, their first reaction is to let them droop.
It really has to do with the physiognomy, structure and shape of the leaves; a long, leafy (not woody) and thin stalk (petiole, actually, not even a proper stalk) and mid rib with large and thin leaves on them. The petiole just does not carry much strength.
This is why peace lilies will respond very quickly to any sudden change in temperature. Just the sudden change can cause leaf drooping; otherwise, if the temperature goes out of the plant’s range.
A Spathiphyllum may live within temperatures between 40 and 100oF (5 to almost 38oC). That’s a huge range, but within it, it might just survive. Unfortunately, as soon as the temperature goes out of the 65 to 85oF range (18 to 29oC), it will start to suffer and leaves will become limp as a fist sign.
Naturally, the first thing you will need to do if you notice it has suffered cold or heat is to move the plant’s position to a warmer or cooler place.
If you notice any serious damage to the leaves, especially with cold, you may want to cut the affected leaves with a sharp and sterile blade.
But maybe here the ideal would be to prevent this from happening:
Peace Lily Drooping: Is It Potting Soil Wrong?
If the soil is not appropriate for your plant, it will not receive the right nutrients. This can cause either deficiency or toxicity.
Even if there is no strong deficiency or toxicity, the plant may find it hard to have the nourishment it needs.
So, the first thing it will do to show you the problem is, I am sure you know by now… Drooping leaves…
On the potting mix you use also depend moisture retention and drainage, so, even the texture is important. It needs to have very good aeration or the roots will not be able to breathe, drink and even eat. The three processes are interconnected with plants.
Good potting soil for peace lily should:
Usually, a good mix is peat based, often with some extra drainage provided by sand, perlite or even bark. It is also common to put some charcoal in the mix, because it keeps fungi at bay.
Spathiphyllum will not tolerate:
You can understand that the soil is wrong from the behavior of water:
Of course, the only thing you can do if the problem is the soil is to buy or prepare some good potting soil for your peace lily and repot it.
Peace Lily Drooping: Are There Any Pests?
Imagine a little animal, a bit like a flea, that sucks on your blood… Wouldn’t you feel weak after a while?
The same happens when mealybugs suck in the sap of your Spathiphyllum: it loses strength and the leaves drop. Also consider that the xylem (which carries the sap) is one of the “bearing structures” of the leaf.
A few mealybugs will normally do nothing to your peace lily; most plants can easily support a small population.
However, indoors they have no predators and find perfect conditions to reproduce, and this makes them spread very fast.
So, if you notice very small cotton buds on the petiole or anywhere else on the plant, they are neither snowflakes nor “plant dandruff”; they are tiny insects that eat the sap of your Spathiphyllum taking away its energy.
What can you do? The solution is simple and cheap! These tiny creatures need to stick to the plant’s epidermis (its “skin”) in order to suck on the sweet sap. And they do it with a waxy substance (hence the name).
But is you put soap on a surface, wax does not stick….
To avoid them from returning, careful about the humidity and ventilation around your plant; these animals like warm and moist places.
Also, to keep them at a distance…
You can, if you want, mix the peppermint essential oil with the Castile soap preparation of you want to have both the repelling and leaf coating effects together.
Peace Lily Drooping: Is Rot?
Rot is a condition to worry about seriously when it comes to plants. It is deadly. It is a consequence of high humidity, overwatering and soggy soil. It debilitated plants, destroying the very tissue they are made of, and, of course the leaves will droop.
So, to avoid rot; check your watering, drainage and the air humidity. But things may go wrong even if you are careful.
Still, by all means it is better to prevent rot that cure it.
It may affect the roots, the leaves or even the crown (the central place in your peace lily where new leaves come from).
In many cases, Spathiphyllum suffers from rot because the wet and warm conditions have allowed a fungus, called Cylindrocladium of the Nectriaceae family, to enter into wounds, openings and lesions of the body of the plant.
The leaves will droop, but you may also notice other symptoms, especially at advanced stages:
Look in particular at the base of the plant to find out any signs, as rot usually starts from the roots and moves up the plant.
If you see even a small symptom of rot, then you will need to take drastic measures.
If the rot has not damaged any core part without repair (like if it has totally ruined the crown of the peace lily), with time, your plant will recover.
In this period, look out for any signs of improvement or any symptoms that the rot is coming back.
Finally at peace!
It’s not nice to talk about plant problems, is it?
It is a sad but necessary journey we had to make together.
Peace lilies are very delicate plants, I would say even vulnerable, but for this very reason, we should use extra care when looking after them.
Keep inspections your plant, actually – do it every week: check if the leaves are strong and upright, if the color is fading etc.
Remember that drooping leaves are often the very first sign that the plant is not well. So, act promptly and your plant will thank you.
Some causes can be remedied easily, like underwatering or excessive light; others cause longer distress to your plant, like overwatering; then, some are often forgotten, like soil quality and then there are those that are more obnoxious, like humidity.
But of all the problems that cause leaf drooping in peace lilies, rot is the worst, so, do look out for it…
But if you keep the symptoms in mind, and you are ready to step in at the first sign of unhappiness of your plant, you can offer your Spathiphyllum the peace of being in good hands, and this exotic and original plant will return the favor with its own elegant peace.
Amber Noyes born and raised in a suburb Nebraska town, San Mateo. She holds a master’s degree in horticulture from University of California as well as an BS in Biology City College of San Francisco. With experience working on an organic farm, water conservation research, farmers markets, and potted plants she understands what makes plants thrive and how can we better understand the connection between microclimate and plant health. When she’s not on the land, Amber loves informing people of new ideas/things related to gardening, especially Indoor gardening, houseplants and Growing plants in a small space.