Last year, I got my first peace lily. Needless to say, it’s a beauty – but I was not prepared for the sulking!
When it’s unhappy, my plant wastes NO time in letting me know, demanding attention with a melodramatic leaf droop. I guess yours does too?
So why is your peace lily drooping?
A peace lily with drooping leaves is usually caused by underwatering, or else receiving too much water. Extremes of heat and light, disease, soil problems and transplant shock can all make leaves wilt too. But most often it’s because the plant’s moisture level is out of kilter that a peace lily’s foliage droops.
Fixing a drooping peace lily
In most cases, a sad-looking wilting peace lily is telling you it needs more water. Spathiphyllum plants are native to tropical rainforests, so humid conditions are what they know and love.
Underwatering is an easy problem to fix. I know it can look like your peace lily is dying, but don’t worry! Mine has come back from the brink more times than I can remember.
Just by giving your plant a good drink, you should see it pick up within hours. Those glossy green leaves will stand proud again like nothing was ever wrong.
Stand it in an empty sink and give it a thorough (but gentle) drink until the water starts running out through the drainage holes. That way you’ll know the water has reached the roots.
Keep it in the sink for a while, letting the excess water drain out. You can hold it up and give it a light shake to help it along.
Put it back on its saucer or into its pot cover when it has stopped dripping and wait for it to pep up. Once it recovers, keeping on top of the watering should stop your peace lily wilting again.
TOP TIP – The sooner you water after you notice your plant drooping, the better. This will help stop your peace lily leaves turning yellow.
You can snip off leaves that look very yellow or brown, and give the leaves a good dust to prettify your plant again.
How much water does a peace lily need?
The amount to water depends on the time of year. Watering your peace lily once a week is usually enough in winter when temperatures are lower.
In the warmer spring and summer months (above 18˚C), it’ll need more water. Water more often (2-3 times a week), and supplement your weekly water by regularly misting the leaves.
I use a misting spray for mine, which I originally bought for seedlings but now comes in handy for my houseplants too.
If you don’t adjust your watering schedule to the changing weather, your peace lily is likely to keep drooping. Water it often enough to keep potting soil moist, but not so much that it gets waterlogged.
Push your finger deep into the soil. Is it dry down to your knuckle? Time to water. If it feels moist down to your knuckle, leave the watering for now.
You might also like: How often to water a peace lily.
Is your peace lily drooping due to overwatering?
If your peace lily is drooping but the soil is moist, you might be giving it too much water. It’s fairly easy, especially with a new plant, to give it more care than it needs.
And somewhat unhelpfully, peace lilies wilt when they’re overwatered too. They really don’t like their feet wet! In this case, glugging in more water is going to make things worse.
So how do you know if your droopy peace lily is drowning in too much water?
An overwatered peace lily will usually have other telltale signs besides drooping leaves. Check for some of these other symptoms on your plant.
Signs you’re overwatering your peace lily
|Saturated soil (maybe with mould on the soil surface)||Not just moist but wet, with excess water sitting in the base of the pot cover/saucer|
|Yellowing leaves||This usually affects the lower leaves more than the upper leaves|
|Brown leaf tips and/or leaf edges||Sometimes also brown petioles (the stalks that join the leaf to the stem)|
|Dark spots on the leaves||Indicates fungal or bacterial disease, usually due to plants being sat in soggy soil for a prolonged period|
|Blackened/mushy/smelly roots||A sign of root rot due to long-term waterlogging|
First aid for your droopy overwatered peace lily
If you think your peace lily is drooping because of overwatering, you can take steps to help it recover. The sooner, the better.
Too much water fills up the air pockets in potting soil, starving roots of oxygen. To stop your plant’s roots from suffocating, you need to improve their access to air.
Lay off the watering and repot your plant, moving it out of the sodden soil and into fresh open, free-draining compost. Here’s how to do it:
While you’re doing this, give the roots a health check. Are there any that look rotten – brown, soggy or smelly?
Take a clean, sharp knife and cut off any parts that look unhealthy (taking care not to damage healthy white roots).
Disinfect the remaining healthy roots with a fungicide to kill off any last traces of root rot.
If you’ve had your plant in the same pot for a year or more, upsize to a slightly larger pot. Choose one a couple of inches wider to give roots more room to spread out.
Repotting will also help get rid of any fungal or bacterial diseases lurking in the soil.
Other peace lily problems that make leaves droop
Rarely, it could be something else that is making the leaves droop. If you’re sure your peace lily watering schedule is ok, but the leaves still wilt, there’s something else that’s not quite right.
Here’s where you need to channel your inner Miss Marple. Take a look at some of these other reasons peace lilies can droop. Do any apply to your plant?
Too much direct sun = droopy peace lily
Is your peace lily basking in direct sun? It could be time for a move. You’re likely to be giving your plant both more light and more heat than it needs.
Peace lilies are happiest in indirect light, so if yours is sat on a sun-soaked windowsill it’s probably getting too much of a good thing.
Do the leaves look scorched too? That’s a clear sign they’re losing too much water, which is a surefire cause of drooping.
Peace lilies prefer low light or partial shade in summer when the sun is at its most intense.
In winter, when heat and light levels are naturally lower, they’ll be more tolerant of bright light. Even so, limit exposure to direct light to a few hours a day.
Dry air can make peace lilies droop too
These plants love humidity, so hot dry air in centrally heated rooms (especially if they’re sat near the radiator) is their Kryptonite.
Like direct sunlight it makes their leaves lose water and flop, as well as crisping and browning at the leaf tips and margins.
Turning the thermostat down a notch and moving it somewhere cooler should be your first port of call. Thereafter, keeping your peace lily well watered and regularly misting the leaves should help.
If you don’t want to have to remember to keep misting, you can stand the pot on a tray of wet pebbles instead. This will boost humidity in the air around your plant.
Sudden changes of temperature can cause wilting
Peace lilies like a constant temperature, ideally around 18-21˚C (65-70˚F) in summer and 16-18˚C (60-65˚F) in winter.
They’re sensitive to changes of environment, so moving from relative warmth to a colder spot can be quite stressful.
Has your plant recently moved to a draughty area, perhaps near a fan, air vent or door? Or is it in a spot that changes temperature quite noticeably throughout the day?
Being exposed to temperatures lower than 55˚F is quite likely to make a peace lily droop. Find it a new spot away from draughts and keep the room temperature as constant as you can.
Transplant shock can make a peace lily flop
It’s recommended to repot peace lilies every spring, but it’s fairly common for the plants to sulk a little afterwards.
For this one, sit tight and wait. The remedy for transplant shock is time. If you’ve just repotted your plant and it’s looking droopy, check the soil is moist but otherwise don’t do anything.
It’s best to avoid any other interventions to minimise the risk of additional stress. So give your plant time to acclimatize to its new pot and for roots to re-establish.
This can take a couple of weeks or so, but after that your plant should perk up all by itself.
A final thought – don’t be downhearted by drooping
Peace lilies are so lovely to look at, but boy are they demonstrative when something’s wrong! Don’t be discouraged by your plant’s ever-changing moods. A wilting peace lily is just giving you something to think about, rather than worry about.
My own has always recovered after a good drink and some judicious snipping to get rid of brown leaves. It’s a diva for sure (all that’s missing is an entourage and a demand for the right kind of lighting).
But as I look at it now it’s still going strong. I’m sure with a little love your droopy peace lily will bounce back too.