Why Is my Peace Lily Drooping and Wilting and what to do?

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

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:

  • Overwatering; even if they do like plenty and regular watering, too much will make them droop.
  • Underwatering; this happens very often with Spathiphyllum; it only takes one time you forget to do it and the leaves will become limp.
  • Excessive and direct light; these are plants that cannot stand direct light; it will cause dropping and even damage your plant permanently in many cases.
  • Wrong humidity; indoor humidity if often far too low for these plants, and this results in limp leaves.
  • The temperature is not right; both excessive cold and heat can cause the leaves of your peace lily to droop.
  • Wrong soil; like most tropical plants, they need very rich potting compost, failing this, the plant will weaken and leaves will droop.
  • Pests; insects and pests in general weaken the plant, and this, you guessed, leads to drooping leaves.
  • Disease; one particular disease, root rot, causes the leaves of the peace lily to drop.

Now, ready to find out all the details and how to treat and heal your plant?

Peace Lily Drooping: Is It Overwatering?

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.

  • Always wait for the top soil to be dry before watering.
  • Put a skewer pick in the soil; before watering, take it out and check that the top half of the soil is dry.
  • Be flexible with watering; don’t think that if it is Tuesday and you always water your plant on this day, you must do it. If the t soil has not dried up, just wait…

In case your peace lily has drooping leaves and you suspect overwatering:

  • Check the top soil; put your finger deep in the potting soil, if it is wet, then it might well be the reason.
  • Suspend watering your peace lily. Just wait till the top half of the soil has gone dry. You should not, however, allow the whole pot to dry up. This plant cannot stand draught at all.
  • Do not be tempted to take it to a sunny and dry position. This may cause more damage than good.
  • If some leaves don’t recover, cut them with a blunt and sterile blade. Just wait a day and see which leaves are picking up and which not. Those that are not may have started to rot.

Peace Lily Drooping: Is It Underwatering?

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:

  • Yellowing of the leaves.
  • The development of dry patches.

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.

  • On average, water your plant at least once a week. This is a rule of thumb, and the frequency may vary according to heat, humidity, the temperature etc. Be flexible.
  • Never allow the soil to become fully dry.

In case you see that the leaves are a bit dry, lackluster and drooping, it is very likely underwatering.

  • Check the soil to the bottom; you can do this with a skewer pick, like checking on a cake.
  • Water your plant with room temperature water.
  • If you suspect the plant may be in a hot and sunny position top, move it to a cooler and more shaded place too.

Peace Lily Drooping: Is It The Light?

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:

  • Move the plant where there is plenty of light, but not direct light. Understanding the difference between direct and diffused light can make all the difference with the health of your houseplants.
  • Do not water the plant unless it needs to. It is easy to think that “a bit more water will counteract the heat.” This is not the case, the plant is weak, and it may not be able to absorb all the watering, resulting in soggy soil and overwatering.
  • If your plant is outdoors, like on a terrace, move it to a place in the shade.
  • In any case, never put a peace lily directly in front of a window.

Peace Lily Drooping: Is It Low Humidity?

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:

  • Your peace lily’s leaves will yellow.
  • They may also turn crispy and dry.
  • They can turn brown at a later stage, especially on the edges (what is called edge burn).

Here, the solution requires changing the air humidity:

  • If you can, buy an air humidifier.
  • Use a spray bottle with water in it to mist your Spathiphyllum regularly.
  • You can provide extra humidity leaving water in the saucer, but this should not be in contact with the roots. So, either put the pot on top of stones, chunks of wood etc., or put a wider saucer under the existing saucer and leave water in this new one.
  • Think about changing the position of your plant. Some spots in rooms (near heaters, for example) are drier than others. What is more, some rooms have higher air humidity levels than others, depending on the exposition but also on their function: kitchens and bathrooms are more humid than living rooms for example.

Peace Lily Drooping: Is The Temperature Wrong?

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:

  • Choose a place where the temperature is stable to put your peace lily.
  • Keep your Spathiphyllum away from sources of heat, like heaters, stoves, fireplaces and, of course, windows…
  • Do not place it near the vent of an air conditioner.
  • Keep it away from doors; these cause draughts and sudden changes of temperature.

Peace Lily Drooping: Is It Potting Soil Wrong?

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:

  • Have a pH between 5.8 and 6.5. Slightly acidic is fine, no alkaline soil.
  • Be friable and well aerated. If it is compact, it will suffocate your plant.
  • Be rich in organic matter.
  • Have excellent drainage.

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:

  • Clay soil; this is far too hard compact and it has really bad aeration and water retention behavior.
  • Sandy soil, by this, we mean with a high percentage of sand. A bit of sand is fine. With a peat or loam based soil, anything above 30% sand is considered sandy.

You can understand that the soil is wrong from the behavior of water:

  • If when you water it it becomes waterlogged, with pools of water (on the surface or under), then it is too rich in clay and poor in drainage.
  • If when you water your plant the soil dries up fast, then it is too sandy and too light.

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….

  • Fill a bowl with water.
  • Take some cheap and natural Castile soap and grate about half a bar per bowl in it.
  • Put the bowl in a saucepan and heat at bain marie till it has melted completely.
  • Allow it to cool and fill a spray bottle with the mix.
  • Spray your plant generously; Castile soap is not tally non toxic for plants.
  • Repeat if and when necessary.

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…

  • Put about 4 drops of peppermint essential oil in a spray bottle with water.
  • Spray your plant.

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?

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:

  • Unhealthy yellowing and softening of the tissue.
  • The yellowing Turing dark brown, almost black.
  • This is often followed by lacerations, softening of the tissue and, in fact, rotting.
  • The plant as a whole will suffer.

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.

  • Take the plant out of the pot.
  • Throw away the old compost; it may be infected.
  • Clean the roots of the plant with a soft brush.
  • Inspect the plant for any of the symptoms, starting with the roots.
  • In particular, look for roots that are soggy, ruined, brown or unhealthy yellow.
  • Now, take a sharp blade and sterilize it. Use a cloth with alcohol on it to do this.
  • Cut any rotting root, leaving only the healthy part.
  • Look up the plant, and cut any rotting part. Even here, don’t be afraid to cut away a lot; as long as the essential parts of the plant remain, you can cut leaves, and it is even better to eliminate healthy tissue than risk infection.
  • Now, take some organic sulphur powder and sprinkle it on all the wounds. Make sure you cover all the exposed parts of the plant, this will kill the fungus.
  • If you wish to give a second and different treatment, spray neem oil on all the wounds and cuts. This too is a fungicide.
  • Repot your plant in new soil. Even a new pot can be a good idea.

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!

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.

Photo of author

Written by Amber Noyes

Amber Noyes was born and raised in a suburban California town, San Mateo. She holds a master's degree in horticulture from the University of California as well as a BS in Biology from the University of San Francisco. With experience working on an organic farm, water conservation research, farmers' markets, and plant nursery, she understands what makes plants thrive and how we can 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 organic gardening, houseplants, and growing plants in a small space.

2 thoughts on “Why Is my Peace Lily Drooping and Wilting and what to do?”

  1. Just lost mine after 38 years! Drooped and did not recover despite taking all the above steps. So I removed a few healthy babies and have them growing well in jars of water


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