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Why Are My Peace Lilies Dying?

By Laura Reynolds
Too much kindness can kill tolerant peace lilies.
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The peace lily, or spathiphyllum, tolerates low light and blooms if given enough indirect light. It also thrives on indoor temperatures. Their tolerant nature makes it difficult to understand why they sometimes die.


Temperatures in the 50s, drafts or heavy bloom can trigger dormancy in spathiphyllum that resembles a dying plant. Browning tips and drooping, dying leaves may last for one or two months. Plants will begin growing again if you keep them moist but not wet and place them in bright filtered light.


Too much water or fertilizer leads to root rot, leaf collapse, wilting, burned tips or necrosis, which is dead leaf tissue. Excessive heat or light causes curled, chlorotic or yellow leaves with spotty leaf burns. Stunted growth and chlorotic leaves signal nutrient deficiencies. Sudden plant-wide leaf collapse, or crashing, means the plant is too dry; repeated crashes can result in chlorosis or death.

Diseases and Pests

Fungal diseases cause mushy leaves, usually starting from the base of the plant. Mosaic virus causes general mottling of leaves. Visible mealybugs and scale cause stunted plants that may weaken and die; aphids, thrips and shore flies are nuisance pests that generally only affect appearance.


About the Author


An avid perennial gardener and old house owner, Laura Reynolds has had careers in teaching and juvenile justice. A retired municipal judgem Reynolds holds a degree in communications from Northern Illinois University. Her six children and stepchildren served as subjects of editorials during her tenure as a local newspaper editor.