The peace lily is one of the most popular houseplants, in part because of its luscious green leaves, but mainly thanks to signature white flowers.
But when your peace lily blooms, why is it that the flowers turn brown seemingly overnight?
The most common reason your peace lily’s flower has turned brown is either because it has aged, or you have not been caring for the plant correctly, or the plant is stressed.
In this article, we will discuss more the reasons your peace lily’s flowers are turning brown, and what you can do about it.
If you are having this problem with your peace lily and you wish to learn more, just keep reading.
Why is my peace lily’s flower turning brown?
If you are doing everything right to keep your peace lily healthy but the flower has turned brown regardless, it might just be the natural progression of the flower as it passes through the stages of its life.
Before a peace lily flower opens up, it is green in color. As it opens, it starts turning white, becoming whiter the more open it is. Over time, the spadix eventually turns green again.
This happens because the seed is settling and pollination is happening. It is possible that the green spadix will once again turn white, but it could also turn brown.
This is completely normal and is a part of the plant’s life cycle. When a peace lily spadix turns brown, it is most likely an indication that the flower is about to wither and die.
Incorrect plant care
The peace lily is not what you would consider a low-maintenance plant. It cannot tolerate too many changes to its preferred living conditions, and the best way to ensure that the plant lives as long as possible is to make sure you are providing it with the best possible conditions.
One possible reason your peace lily’s flower may turn brown is that the plant has been exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods of time. This plant prefers being kept indoors and would rather be in a spot where it gets indirect light. Do not place this plant exclusively in a low light setting either, however, because this can also lead to problems. Remember that this is a plant, and all plants need a certain amount of light in order to live. Stippled or spotted light is best for the peace lily and could be the answer to saving your flowers from turning brown.
You can try simulating these lighting conditions by placing the plant near an east-facing window. If the only available window in your home is letting in harsh light, you can try to diffuse the intensity of the light by placing a sheer curtain over the window.
Another factor that might explain the change in the flower’s color is a drastic change in temperature. Peace lilies are native to the tropical areas of the Americas and Asia, so they prefer temperatures of 70 degrees and higher. If you live in a place where the temperature can dip below 60 degrees, you will need to adjust the temperature around the plant to help it fend off the cold.
Peace lilies like a higher humidity level than many other plants, so if you are in an arid place, help your peace lily by misting it every once in a while or by using a water pebble tray. Place this tray under the peace lily’s pot and, as the water evaporates, it will moisten the soil in the pot as well as the plant’s foliage. You can also place the plant near other humidity-loving plants so that together they can create a microclimate. If you have the means, you can also just buy a humidifier which will automatically regulate the humidity around the plant without you having to worry about it.
Another reason your peace lily’s flower is turning brown may be too much fertilizer. An excess of nutrients in the soil can be bad for the plant and may cause root burn. Frequent use of tap water, and all the minerals in it, can also cause similar problems for the plant, so if you have access to filtered water, choose that instead.
Lastly, giving the plant too much water can also cause the flower to turn brown. Overwatering can lead to root rot, and one of the symptoms of root rot is the yellowing and browning of the plant’s foliage.
The plant is stressed
When a peace lily, or any plant for that matter, is stressed, this can manifest as the browning of the flowers.
Reasons your peace lily may become stressed include overcrowding of the roots in the pot due to infrequent repotting; underwatering; overwatering; incorrect soil; too much sunlight; and a lack of nutrients.
The first sign that your plant is stressed is the yellowing and wilting of its leaves. If both the leaves and the spadix are turning brown, this is a telltale sign that the plant is very stressed. It is up to you to figure out the exact cause of the stress and correct it as soon as possible so that the plant can recover.
How many days is a peace lily flower supposed to last?
The flower itself will typically stick around for about ten days, but the spadix can last up to a month, after which it will die.
Sometimes, when the flower and the spadix die, it is an indication that the entire plant is going to follow soon afterward, but that is not always the case. The average lifespan of a peace lily is three to five years. If your one-year-old peace lily’s spadix has browned, do not throw the entire plant away because it still has a few years left to live and you will regret your rash decision.
Simply remove the brown spadix using a pair of sterilized scissors. Refrain from snapping off the dead spadix or flower, because you might end up damaging the plant without meaning to.
The most common reasons your peace lily flower may turn brown are natural aging, improper plant care, and stress.
It is possible that the browning flower and spadix are indicative of the plant’s impending death, but if the plant is still relatively young and the spadix and flower turn brown, just remove them using sterilized scissors, because the plant still has several years of life left. The spadix can still grow again and the plant will still be able to produce flowers.
The best you can do, as a peace lily owner, to keep the flower from turning brown is to make sure you are providing the plant with its ideal living conditions. Do not place it under direct light; rather place it in a spot where it only gets indirect light. Water it only when the top two inches of soil are dry to the touch, in order to avoid overwatering and root rot. Do not fertilize the plant too often and ideally give it filtered water, to prevent chemical or mineral buildup in the soil which can cause root burn.
If you are ensuring the happiness of your peace lily by providing all its needs, you are less likely to see browning flowers unless it is just part of the plant’s normal life cycle.
Image: istockphoto.com / izzzy71