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Peace lily yellow/brown tips
Peace lily yellow/brow  
My peace lily's leaf tips are turning yellow, then brown, and the new leaves are a lot smaller than the mature ones.

I have read many All Experts answers to similar questions, and I have tried varying my watering: letting the plant dry out more (until the plant got fairly droopy), letting it dry out less, ... I have also tried watering it from the top, as well as setting it in a sink of water, so it can water from the bottom. No matter what I do, the leaves continue to turn yellow at the tips, and then brown. This continues to progress up the leaf.

The pot still has the decorative foil around it, which I sometimes remove when I water. (I discovered that sometimes when I watered from the top, the soil at the drain holes was still dry.)

Also, the pot's drain holes are on the side, about 1" up from the bottom.

Do I need to cut some holes on the bottom of the pot? Might water be sitting in the bottom of the pot? (I do tip the pot to drain excess water out of the drain hole on the side.)

Also, do the smaller-sized new leaves give any clue as to what the problem is?

Thank you for your help.

Hi Julie,

It is quite normal for new leaf growth to be smaller than older leaves that emerged when the plant was in the ideal greenhouse environment of the nursery. In particular, ideal overhead light intensity for up to 16 hours per day is the key to rapid, large-leafed growth. There is no way you can match those greenhouse conditions in your home, so do not be concerned about leaf size.

It is also quite normal for some older, lower leaves to gradually yellow and die. As long as you are getting about as many new leaves as you are losing older ones, there is no cause for concern. Just cut off those older leaves as soon as they start to yellow.

Leaf tipping or discoloration of leaf tips is also common. That can occur if light is inadequate or watering less than perfect. Ideally, you should maximize the indirect light the Peace Lily receives without the suns rays falling directly on its leaves. Perfect watering is hard to achieve so that is why some leaf tipping is common. The discolored leaf tips can be trimmed off with scissors to make the plant look a bit better.

I suggest that you remove the foil wrap and place a saucer under the plant. It is not necessary to cut holes in the bottom of the pot. When you water, do it from the top, pouring slowly until you see a small amount running out of the drain holes. That is your assurance that the entire rootball has been soaked. I don't recommend bottom watering because it is difficult to judge just how long to leave the plant sitting in water. Bottom watering also prevents excess mineral salts in the soil from getting flushed out.

The ideal time to water is just as or just before the leaves start to wilt just a bit.

I have written a detailed article on Peace Lily care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

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I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

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