Why is my peace lily leaves curling? What can I do to restore the plant leaves?
With its air-purifying quality, fragrant white flowers against a backdrop of glossy deep green leaves, and the fact it is easy to care for, there is nothing to dislike about the peace lily.
Mostly grown indoors because it’s not cold-hardy, this decorative houseplant can survive a bit of neglect. Owners typically enjoy its presence in their homes for many years.
Yet, despite their low-care and maintenance status, things can go wrong. For instance, peace lily leaves curling is cited as one of the most common problems associated with the plant. So what causes curling leaves in peace lily?
If you are reading this, it is most likely you are concerned about this common peace lily problem in your home and want a solution.
This article is all about the various factors that cause the condition.
We’d also look at how to fix the problem, and some preventive measures you could take so that this problem would never be a part of your peace lily parenting journey again.
Why Is My Peace Lily Leaves Curling?
Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum spp) are tropical plants belonging to a family of over 40 cultivars.
They are perennials plants in their native environment but can be grown indoors all year round in temperate climes.
When conditions are right, they would bloom for about two months in the growing season with white or yellowish sheathing, known as swathe swaddling the spadix flowers.
Though they are tropical plants, they thrive best in shady but bright locations away from direct sunlight.
This is a throwback to their origins where they are found on forest floors. Taller plants and trees provide consistent shade, allowing just enough sunshine to filter through.
Their natural environment is also humidity- and moisture-rich.
Those growing conditions are not hard to replicate indoors making them easy to grow.
Curling peace lily leaves is not an unusual problem.
While the plant is easy to grow, it can be fussy too, easily reacting to some unfavorable care conditions.
In most cases, the issue is mostly a response to unfavorable temperature and lighting. Secondary causes include underwatering and pest infestation.
However, curling leaves in peace lily could also be normal. Some cultivars of the plant, such as the dwarf peace lily, come naturally with leaves that can be described as curling.
Another instance of normal curling occurs at the end of the growing season and the onset of winter. This is a reaction to the plant going into hibernation or rest period after exertions of the blooming season.
When this happens, consider repotting your peace lily to give it a better chance of thriving the following spring.
The plant would perk up again after light fertilizing and regular watering at the beginning of the growing season.
Let’s now examine in detail the ‘non-normal’ reasons peace lily leaves curl and the solutions.
Reasons Your Peace Lily Leaves Are Curling & Solutions
When peace lily leaves curl, it is typically because there is something off with one or more of the care and maintenance routine.
This implies that nailing all care and maintenance tasks would prevent this problem.
Below are the important causes of this peace lily problem and the fixes that are, fortunately, quite easy.
These evergreen herbaceous are happy in bright but shady areas. They can also survive in low-light situations making them perfect indoor plants.
When exposed to direct sunlight for too long, the leaves curl and begin to turn yellowish or brownish.
Curling is a protective mechanism that reduces the surface area available to the light.
Curling also helps to lower the rate of evaporation of moisture from the surface of the leaves.
Solution – The first thing you want to do is remove the peace lily from that spot. Relocate it to a place where it is protected from direct sunlight. Any bright, shady area with adequate airflow would do just fine.
Experts recommend placing it a few yards from the window that gets the most sunshine. A North-facing window is a great choice.
But if you want awesome, pick an East-facing window where the plant is exposed to the morning sun.
You can restore the leaves’ color by fertilization. However, since peace lilies are not heavy feeders you need to do this sparingly.
A frequency of about once every 6-8 weeks in the growing season (or starting towards the end of winter) is recommended.
For best results, use organic fertilizers specially formulated for houseplants because peace lilies are sensitive to the chemicals in inorganic plant food.
And remember to read the instructions carefully before using the fertilizer.
Peace lilies thrive best within a temperature range of 70 – 85°F give or take about 5°F at both ends.
A sudden temperature change to above 90°F or below 50°F would be stressful to the plant.
At excessively high temperatures, transpiration or water loss increases causing the leaves to curl.
And at very low temperatures, the leaves might curl downwards in sympathy.
Solution – As in the case of lighting, the solution could be as simple as relocating the plant to a cooler environment if indoor summer temperatures exceed 90°F. Taking them outside to a breezy and shadier part of the house is one solution.
You could also do any of the following:
- Move the plant to a room where night and day time temperatures are within the specified range
- Move the plant away from all sources of heat like ovens, and vents.
- In winter, you can move the plant warmer area or room
- Find a way to protect the plant from cold drafts in winter. You could also relocate to an area that is not windy.
Peace Lily Pests:
When the infestation becomes overwhelming, damages such as discoloration of leaves, drooping, stunted growth, and curling leaves are not unusual.
The pests initiate these damages by feeding sap found in the leaves resulting in leave dehydration and subsequently curling.
Solution – Again, tackling pest infestation in peace lily is not a tough call.
Essentially, all you have to do is clean the leaves with soap solution or neem oil.
In both cases, using the solutions in a spray bottle is best. Spray the infected leaves with either the soap solution or neem oil and then wipe the leaves clean after 24 hours.
Repeat this treatment regime until all the pests are eliminated.
When it comes to peace lily leaves curling due to watering issues, underwatering is the critical concern.
Deprived of water for too long, the leaves become droopy and eventually curl up.
Solution – While the fix to underwatering is simply to provide adequate and regular irrigation, it might be a bit tricky with the of risk over-watering lurking.
And over-watering is a scenario you want to avoid because it comes with bigger problems such as root rot.
When to water peace lily and how much water to give your peace lily is key.
The best time to water the plants is in the mornings though this isn’t very critical if the plant is indoors.
You also want to stick to a schedule of only watering when the top couple of inches of soil is dry.
Watering peace lily once a week is generally acceptable. But the frequency is dependent on the weather conditions.
Use this simple but effective give below:
- Test the soil moisture level at least once a week. You can stick a finger about 2 inches into the soil and if it comes up dry, you need to water it. Otherwise, let the plant be.
- Water the soil until the excess drains out from the drainage holes
- Empty the drip tray immediately after watering to prevent soggy soil and ultimately root rot.
- Water sparingly in winter
- Use distilled water or rainwater if you can. They contain less harmful chemicals compared to tap water
Peace lilies are some of the easiest houseplants to cultivate. And because they are tolerant of some neglect, problems are not expected to crop up.
But they can also be unexpectedly sensitive to persistent improper care. In such instances, it is common for the leaves to curl in response.
Temperature and lighting issues are the two most common stressors that lead to peace lily leaves curling.
Other factors include inadequate water and pests infestations. Fortunately, getting the peace lily back on track is quite easy.