Has your peace lily got lots of green leaves but no white flowers to enjoy? Are you waiting and wondering why the plant has not yet come into bloom? If so, let’s look at the 8 reasons why a peace lily may not flower.
Your peace lily may not be flowering because the light is too low for it. It might also be struggling to flower if it is too cold or too hot, or if it is root-bound. Alternatively, the problem might lie with the watering or fertilization routine, or your plant may simply be too old to thrive.
Peace lilies are known for their gorgeous flowers, so if yours isn’t producing any, you might want to figure out why and start looking for a fix so you can start enjoying beautiful blooms.
Why Isn’t My Peace Lily Flowering?
There are a few things that may cause your peace lily to stop flowering, and remember that multiple issues could be present – so try various solutions before you give up on your plant. Usually, a lack of flowering indicates that something is wrong with the plant’s environment. It can be caused by:
- Low light
- Inappropriate temperature
- Being root bound
- Too much water
- Too little water
- Too much or too little fertilizer
- Being too old
- The wrong time of year
A peace lily’s flowers are one of its most attractive aspects, although it should be noted that what we often call the flowers – the beautiful white blooms – are actually a kind of modified leaf. The plant produces these spathes to make its actual flowers, which are the small cream spiky bits stems in the middle of the white leaf, more visible.
Most people love peace lilies and want to see their plants bloom as much as possible, so let’s find ways to ensure that your plant produces as many white leaves and flowers as it can, and looks at its best year round.
1. Too Little Light
If your peace lily isn’t getting enough light, it will not flower, and this is one of the biggest issues that peace lilies have. Although they are famous for growing in adverse conditions and low light situations – and they will grow – they won’t flower if the conditions are too poor.
Many people buy a peace lily because they have heard that they can grow it in a dark corner, and then they find that the plant will grow, but won’t flower. This can be frustrating, but if you really want flowers, you won’t have much of an option except to move the plant somewhere where it will get more light.
This might not be ideal, especially if you bought the peace lily specifically to brighten up a dark corner, but it’s a necessary part of persuading one of these plants to flower – so don’t neglect it! If it isn’t producing flowers or the flowers are green, rather than white, it very likely needs more light. Without enough light, it won’t have the energy to make flowers.
Increase the amount of light that your peace lily gets, either naturally or artificially.
You can move the peace lily closer to a window, open a curtain, or install a grow lamp so that your peace lily is better lit. Avoid putting the plant so close to the window that it will burn, but make sure it is getting bright, indirect light for a few hours each day.
2. The Wrong Temperature
Peace lilies are tropical plants, and being kept at the wrong temperature is not good for them; being either too hot or too cold will upset your plant and may prevent it from flowering. Peace lilies are happy with a pretty wide range of temperatures – between 68 degrees F and 85 degrees F – but if the temperature falls outside of this range, the plant will struggle.
You, therefore, need to make sure that your peace lily is neither too hot nor too cold. If the temperature drops below 60 degrees F, you are likely to see your peace lily’s leaves shriveling and possibly even damage to its stems. If it rises much above 85 degrees F, you may see your plant wilting and flopping.
Either of these situations will create stress, which will prevent your peace lily from flowering. It takes a lot of energy to maintain white leaves (which will not be producing any energy themselves since they contain no chlorophyll) and your peace lily will only do this when it has the energy to spare. If the temperature is wrong, it will focus on survival, not flower production.
Get a thermometer and put it beside your peace lily so that you know how warm it is, especially when the seasons change. If the temperature drops for winter, move your peace lily to a warmer spot, but be careful to keep it away from radiators, heaters, and open fires, as these will quickly overheat it. Keep the temperature as stable as possible for your plant.
3. Being Cramped In Its Pot
If your peace lily is root bound, it is less likely to flower, and even if it does, it may not flower well. It won’t have the necessary nutrients to produce flowers and flower bracts, so you need to address this if the plant has outgrown its pot.
You can usually determine if this has happened in the following ways:
- Roots are coming out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot
- Roots are coming out of the soil at the top of the pot
- Water runs straight through and comes out of the bottom because all the growing medium has been replaced by roots, which can’t soak up the water
- The pot feels very light if you pick it up
If you think your plant is root bound, you should tip it out of its container and onto a sheet of newspaper and inspect its roots. If they are tightly wound around each other and compacted, the plant is root bound and needs a new container. You may want to split it into two, depending on how big it is and whether you want two plants.
Whichever you are doing, you should gently break the root ball up, snapping roots with your hands if necessary and teasing out the ones you can to ensure they will grow down in the new pot, rather than continuing to wind around each other. This might feel brutal, but it’s important for getting your plant to grow well again.
Put each plant into a new, large container full of fresh growing medium, and water it well. Next, stand it in a cool spot out of direct sunlight to recover. Your plant may look shocked and sick for a while, but it should soon start to grow into the new pot and recover, and then it might finally flower.
4. Too Much Water
Over-watering your peace lily could also cause problems and reduce flowering, so pay attention to this too. Having too much water around its roots will stress your plant out, and may even cause root rot, which will prevent flowering and kill your plant if it isn’t rectified. If you think you have over-watered your peace lily, check by pushing a finger into the plant’s soil.
If the soil feels saturated and you haven’t just watered it, there’s a chance the plant is too wet. Wilting leaves and a rotting scent coming from the soil are further signs that the plant is too wet, and this is causing problems.
You will need to take action to save the plant, or you won’t get any flowers, and your peace lily will probably die.
Tip your peace lily out onto a sheet of newspaper and knock (or wash) all the remaining soil off its roots so you can inspect them.
The roots should be creamy white. If they are dark and squishy, they are rotting. You should take some sterile scissors and cut away all the rotting roots, and then blot the rest with a clean, absorbent towel.
Allow the roots to dry for a few hours before repotting your peace lily. If you have removed all the rotting roots, the plant will hopefully recover and should flower once it has done so. This may take a few months, as root rot is seriously damaging to the plant and it will take time to replenish its energy reserves and regrow its root network.
5. Too Little Water
Having too little water will also prevent your peace lily from flowering. When it doesn’t have enough of a resource, it will try to conserve all of that resource for the essentials – and its normal leaves are more important than its flower bracts. So, flowering won’t happen if your peace lily doesn’t have enough to drink.
Being root bound often causes this problem, even if you water the plant frequently, because it compacts the growing medium and prevents it from absorbing water properly. This causes the water to run through the pot and leaves the plant thirsty.
Regularly check your peace lily’s container and see how dry its soil is. Because they are rainforest plants, they like to be kept reasonably wet and dislike periods of drought. Once the top surface of the soil has dried to around an inch down, the plant needs a drink.
Make an effort to check whether your peace lily needs water at least once a week, or more often if you live in a hot climate. Only water it if the soil is dry or you will run into the over-watering problem.
Proper watering is crucial for providing your plant with good conditions, and this will make it more likely to produce flowers for long periods and in abundance.
6. The Wrong Amount Of Fertilizer
If you never feed your peace lily, it will lack the nutrients it needs to produce flower bracts and flowers – so it will not produce them, and will instead focus on maintaining its leaves and increasing its root network in search of more food. If you want to see flowers, you must provide this food, especially if your plant hasn’t been repotted for a long time.
You also need to be a little cautious of over-fertilizing, especially with a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. Nitrogen promotes leaf growth, but will not encourage the plant to make flowers – so be careful about which fertilizer you choose. Most people recommend a 20-20-20 balanced fertilizer for peace lilies.
When the plant’s flowering season approaches, make sure you fertilize it at least once or twice. Peace lilies aren’t heavy feeders, but this will ensure that they have everything they need to produce blooms. Dilute the fertilizer to half or a quarter strength, and then water it into the peace lily’s container.
If you think you have over-fertilized your peace lily and it is only producing leaves, place the plant in your sink or shower and use clean water to flush the soil out thoroughly. This will wash the excess nutrients away from the roots and you can then leave the plant to recover.
Remember, too little fertilizer tends to be better than too much.
7. Being Too Old
If your peace lily is a very old one, you will probably notice its flowering season getting shorter, and its blooms getting fewer. Most peace lilies live between 5 and 10 years, and after the 10 year mark, they generally produce very few flowers. This is a normal but frustrating part of peace lily ownership.
You may have to get a new peace lily if yours cannot be coaxed into flowering more through care and good treatment, but there is another trick that you should try first – dividing the plant. Sometimes, splitting your peace lily into two parts and putting both parts into new compost will create a flush of new energy and growth.
If you want to do this, tip your peace lily out of its container and inspect the root ball. If you can, use your hands to gently separate it into two halves – but you will probably need a sharp knife. Sterilize this first, and then cut down the center of the root ball to split the plant into two pieces. It is best to do this in the spring.
You can split the plant into more than two if you choose, and hopefully, each new piece will be full of energy and life. It will probably take a couple of years for them to flower after this, as it is disruptive and they will spend a long time healing, but it’s the best way to revitalize a peace lily that is getting too old to produce flowers.
8. The Wrong Time Of Year
You should check what time of year it is if your peace lily isn’t flowering, because the season may be the explanation.
In general, peace lilies flower in the spring, but if you get the conditions right, you may find that your plant keeps flowering throughout the year, and peace lilies have been known to produce blooms in other seasons too.
However, if it’s late fall or winter, don’t be too surprised if your peace lily isn’t flowering – this is normal. On the whole, these plants flower in spring and don’t produce many blooms in the other seasons.
It may also be worth checking what variety of peace lily you have, and when it is expected to flower – because this can be quite dependent on the type.
Some modern peace lily cultivars, including “Connie” and “Little Angel,” have particularly long flowering seasons, which can be confusing if you grow one of the older cultivars as well. You might be wondering why one is flowering and not the other – but it will be down to the variety, and you probably won’t be able to do anything about this.
There isn’t a solution if your peace lily isn’t flowering due to the season, but many people do find that if they provide enough light and food, and ensure that the other conditions are as good as they can be, their peace lily will flower throughout the year. Keep checking your plant has everything it needs and be patient, and you should see blooms.
Peace lilies may not flower for a variety of reasons, so check each of the above sections and find out which applies to your plant. If your peace lily is looking wilted, it may be lacking in water or have too much water, and if its leaves are pale and sad, it might need more light.