Why Is My Peace Lily Drooping?

Okay, confession time. I have lots of experience with wilting peace lilies (Spathiphyllum spp.).

It’s not because mine are sick or pest-ridden, it’s because I use my ‘Domino’ peace lily as an alarm to warn me it’s time to water my other houseplants.

Once those gorgeous wrinkled, variegated leaves start drooping, I know it’s time to break out my watering can.

I don’t necessarily recommend this method of houseplant care, but it has worked for me for years because a lack of water is a common cause of wilting peace lilies.

A vertical photo of a peace lily plant wit leaves wilting over the white pot. Along the center and bottom of the frame is green and white text.
Photo by Kristine Lofgren.

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They consistently start drooping when the soil is dry. After watering, the plants bounce right back, and I know I’m not overwatering, which is a bad habit of mine.

Underwatering isn’t the only reason a peace lily may start to droop. There are several common causes that can turn your perky little plant into a sad, droopy mess.

Here are the seven top reasons we are going to cover:

All of the causes on this list can usually be avoided by giving the plant the appropriate care.

Visit our guide to growing Spathiphyllum to review the details on watering, light exposure, temperature preference, and other care requirements.

1. Cold Temperatures

Unless you keep your peace lily outside part of the year, you probably won’t run into this cause too often.

The exception is if you have single-pane windows and you live in a region with frigid winters. It can become cold enough to stress or stun your peace lily if you keep it next to the window.

A vertical photo of a peace lily in a dark colored pot, sitting on a windowsill in front of a brightly lit window.

Temperatures below 50°F should be avoided, but that doesn’t mean if your house is a toasty 70°F that your plant is safe.

If it’s 20°F outside, and you have a single-pane window, the leaves closest to the glass could be exposed to temperatures well below 50°F.

Just be mindful of plants situated near windows or exterior doors. They could be much colder than you realize.

2. Disease

There are only a few diseases that you need to watch for on peace lilies, and of these, root rot is the disease that causes wilting leaves.

There are two kinds of root rot: Cylindrocladium (caused by Cylindrocladium spathiphylli) and Pythium (caused by Pythium spp.) root rot.

A horizontal shot of a wilting peace lily potted in an orange pot sitting on a wooden chair.

Both cause wilting and yellowing foliage, and if you were to unpot the plant, you’d see black, mushy, dying roots.

Root rot is generally caused by overwatering or poorly draining soil, and both can be rectified by repotting in fresh soil and treating with a fungicide.

To learn more, visit our guide to peace lily diseases.

3. Not Enough Water

As we mentioned before, a lack of water is a common cause of wilting. In fact, I’d venture a guess that it’s one of the most common reasons.

A horizontal shot of a dehydrated peace lily with the majority of the leaves drooping down over the white pot.
Photo by Kristine Lofgren.

Thankfully, if you add water your plant will perk back up and will recover with no damage.

Mine doesn’t even have brown leaf tips from repeatedly being allowed to dry out. But you need to catch it just as it’s drying out.

If you wait too long, as the roots really dehydrate, you will start to see brown leaf tips.

Spathiphyllum species like the soil to be moist but never wet. Next time you wring out a sponge really well, touch it and become familiar with the texture.

That’s the moisture level that you’re aiming for in the soil.

Visit our guide to watering peace lilies for more information.

4. Overwatering

We’ve said that not enough water causes wilting, and now we’re telling you that too much can cause the same issue? It’s true, though.

I’ve known several people who noticed their plant was drooping, so they added more and more water. Before they knew it, root rot had set in.

A horizontal closeup of a gardener's hands in gray gardening gloves watering a peace lily potted in a white ceramic pot.

If your plant is wilting, don’t assume it needs more water. Go and stick your finger in the soil as deep as you can. The soil can be moist, but it shouldn’t be wet or soggy.

It helps to feel as deep as you can because sometimes the soil will become waterlogged deeper down in the pot but will feel appropriately moist near the top.

If you feel wetness at the bottom, check out the drainage holes. Are they clogged? If you can, stick a chopstick or something in there an inch or so and wiggle it around to loosen up the soil.

A vertical shot of a wilted and droopy leaved peace lily in a white pot sitting on a table. In the blurred background is a window with outdoor greenery out of focus.
Photo by Kristine Lofgren.

Do you have a layer of rocks in the bottom of your pot? Get it out of there. This is a gardening myth that won’t die.

A layer of rocks or broken crockery won’t improve drainage. It actually raises the level at which water pools, which means that the moisture is sitting closer to the roots than it would otherwise.

Finally, be mindful not to water until the top inch of the soil has dried out. The rest of the soil should feel moist but not wet.

If you can ball up a little bit of soil in your hand, and it stays together rather than crumbling apart, it’s too wet.

5. Pests

Part of what makes them so easy to raise is that Spathiphyllum species aren’t particularly bothered by pests. But just because something is uncommon doesn’t mean that it’s impossible.

A peace lily that’s infested by mealybugs, scale, or spider mites might wilt. These pests all suck the sap of the stems and leaves, causing yellow stippling and leaf wilting.

A horizontal close up of a leaf with a scale insect visible at the base.

If you examine your plant closely, you’ll see the insects themselves. Aphids are tiny oval pests in green, yellow, or brown.

Scale look like flat bumps underneath the leaves or along the stems near leaf nodes. Mealybugs might be mistaken for a disease. They’re gray or white and fuzzy, kind of like fungus.

Once you address the infestation, the leaves should perk back up. But if they are discolored, they won’t return to their original hue, so you should snip them off.

6. Rootbound Plant

This goes hand in hand with underwatering. If your peace lily has outgrown its current container and the roots are all bound up, the plant will rapidly dry out.

Typically, you’ll know when your houseplant becomes rootbound because you will see roots growing out of the drainage holes or up out of the surface of the soil.

But even if you don’t see this happening, dig down a little and check the roots if the foliage is drooping and you’ve determined it isn’t a watering issue. The roots will feel tight and packed rather than loose, with soil in between.

A horizontal close up of a white pot with a gray border holding a peace lily. To the left of the frame is a gardening trowel getting ready to dig the plant out of the pot.

If the plant is rootbound, you’ll either need to divide it or move it into a larger container.

Either way, remove the plant from the container, brush away the soil, and loosen up the roots. Cut away any roots that are black, broken, or mushy.

If you want to divide it, cut through the roots and include at least a few stems. Pot up divisions in new containers and replace the original section in the first container.

To upgrade to a larger container, after loosening the roots, place the plant in the new pot and fill in around the roots with fresh potting soil.

7. Too Much Light

Peace lilies don’t like a lot of direct sunlight. Maybe a little bit in the early morning, but if you offer them direct light in the afternoon, you might find your plant drooping.

Sometimes, you can remedy this by adding water to the soil, but a better idea is to move the houseplant to a darker location.

A horizontal shot of a peace lily growing in white pot in in front of a backlit window frame.

When this is the cause of wilting, you’ll probably also see some browning or yellowing of the leaves. 

Remember that these plants do best with bright, indirect light. The only direct light they can tolerate is early morning light, which is less harsh than afternoon light.

Perk Up!

Peace lilies are what I consider expressive plants. They make it perfectly clear when something is wrong.

I think that’s a good thing, because you can work on fixing it before the problem becomes fatal. Fix the cause, and you’ll find your peace lilies perking right back up.

A horizontal close up shot of several wilted leaves of a peace lily plant.
Photo by Kristine Lofgren.

What’s going on with your plant? Hopefully, this guide helped you solve the problem, but if you’re still having trouble, let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to help!

Now that your plant is feeling good again (we hope!), we have lots of other information to help you get to know Spathiphyllum better. Check out these guides next:

Photo of author
Kristine Lofgren is a writer, photographer, reader, and gardening lover from outside Portland, Oregon. She was raised in the Utah desert, and made her way to the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two dogs in 2018. Her passion is focused these days on growing ornamental edibles, and foraging for food in the urban and suburban landscape.

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Joanna Duarte
Joanna Duarte (@guest_40547)
3 months ago

I hope you can help me with my peace Lily I received 8 months ago. It is growing but all the new growth and flowers are much smaller then the older leaves. The flowers get buried in the center and only grow to about 4 in in height. Is this normal? I am attaching photos hopefully you can see what I mean.

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Debbie
Debbie (@guest_44669)
16 days ago

Hi, I recently reported my peace lily due to constantly drooping leaves. I removed some roots that weren’t looking healthy. Rinsed the roots good and sprayed them with a peroxide and water mix. Put it in a new pot with new soil. Within a couple-3 days, it again is wilting all the time. Some of the leaves have brown tips. I’ve found no pests, and tried all the suggested things. I’m about ready to give up.

Last edited 16 days ago by Debbie