If you have a peace lily and it isn’t maintaining its color the way that you would expect, you might be wondering what’s going on and what you’re doing wrong. A plant’s color is usually a good indication of its environment and how well it is being cared for, so let’s look at the 6 reasons why your peace lilies are turning green.
There are a few reasons that your peace lily might turn green, and these include aging, too much fertilizer, low light, or difficulty acclimating to new conditions. If your peace lily is old, it might struggle to produce white flowers, but sometimes this problem will be caused by the conditions the plant is kept in.
In this article, we’re going to explore why peace lilies often turn green and what you can do to fix it when this happens. This should help you to enjoy bright white flowers for as long as possible.
Why Do Peace Lilies Turn Green?
Peace lilies are known for their gorgeous display of pure white flowers, which has encouraged people to keep them in their homes for many years. The flowers are generally the aspect of the plant that most attracts people, but they will sometimes lose their white coloration and produce a green tint instead. This ruins the display and most people are disappointed when it happens.
Some of the top reasons that this happens include:
- The flower is just starting or just finishing
- The peace lily is not getting enough light
- The peace lily has got too heavily fertilized
- The peace lily is struggling to acclimatize to new conditions
- The peace lily is old
- The peace lily is simply greener than other varieties
Whether you will be able to encourage your plant to turn white again will depend heavily on what has caused it to produce green flowers, but sometimes you can take steps to get rid of the greenery and restore the white flowers.
Remember that the flowers on your peace lily are actually spathes – modified leaves that produce white coloration. That means they can very easily swap back to green.
Let’s look at each of these potential causes in more detail, and consider what you can do about them to turn your peace lily flowers back to white.
1) The Flower Is Just Starting Or Just Finishing
If your peace lily has only just started to flower, its spathes are quite likely to be green or slightly tinted initially. This is perfectly normal, and they should turn whiter as the flower develops and grows. Most peace lily flowers start out slightly green and gently transition into white.
The same may happen when your peace lily has nearly finished flowering; its flower might gradually shift from white to green, and then to brown as the flower dies. Again, this is normal and not a sign that there is a problem with the plant.
There is no solution to this; it’s a normal part of the peace lily’s cycles and will happen pretty much any time that your peace lily produces new flowers. Simply wait for the flower to turn white if it’s new; it should do so unless one of the other problems is at play.
2) The Peace Lily Is Not Getting Enough Light
This is one of the commonest reasons that your peace lily will start to gain a greenish tint to its leaves. Plants need chlorophyll in order to photosynthesize, and when light is limited, they tend to produce more chlorophyll so that they can photosynthesize effectively in spite of the decreased light.
If your peace lily isn’t getting enough light, therefore, it is more likely to produce more chlorophyll – and this will start to creep into the spathes as well as the plant’s normal leaves. This will make the flowers appear greener, and can have a big impact if the light levels are really limited.
Give your peace lily more light. If your plant is struggling to get enough sun, the solution is to make sure that your peace lily gets more light each day, but you do need to be careful. Too much sun will make the plant’s leaves burn, causing stress and leaving it at risk of diseases. In some cases, too much sun could also cause greener spathes.
In general, peace lilies prefer bright but indirect light. They don’t enjoy being left in full sun, so you should keep them a few feet from the window, especially if it is south-facing and gets a lot of sunlight. However, if your flowers are coming out green, try moving the plant a little closer to the window and see if this solves the problem.
3) The Peace Lily Has Too Much Fertilizer
It’s important to feed your plants from time to time, but too much food could cause problems for your peace lily. Fertilizer prompts chlorophyll production, and this will happen in the spathes as well as the plant’s leaves, turning them green.
The more iron and nitrogen the fertilizer contains, the more likely the spathes are to turn green, so be aware of this. Check the recommended feeding schedule for your plant; most peace lilies shouldn’t be fed more than once every 6 weeks at the most.
Avoid over-feeding your peace lily. Too little food is usually better than too much because excessive amounts of fertilizer will burn the plant’s roots, as well as cause its spathes to turn green.
If you think you have given your peace lily too much fertilizer, put your plant in the sink or the bath. Next, use plenty of clean, de-chlorinated water to wash the pot through, flushing the food out of the soil. This should help to get rid of the nutrient buildup. If you do this, the spathes should gradually turn back to white as the plant uses up the excess food.
4) The Peace Lily Is Struggling To Acclimatize
Sometimes when you move a peace lily, its spathes will turn green. This is particularly true if you have just bought it and moved it from the garden center to your home. It will have to adjust to a whole range of new conditions and these may not be quite as optimal as a professional grower’s conditions.
This can cause the plant to produce more chlorophyll as it adjusts, and may slow down the rate of flower production.
You can’t do much about this but provide your plant with the best possible conditions and wait. As it gets used to the new setup, it will likely start to adjust and its spathes will turn white again. The better its conditions are, the more quickly they will turn white.
5) The Peace Lily Is Old
If your peace lily has been growing for many years, there is a high chance of its spathes turning greener and greener with each year. This is particularly true of some species, but many kinds of peace lilies get greener as they age.
This is because peace lilies turn their spathes white to attract pollinating insects each year, but as the plant ages, it becomes less capable of flowering, and its spathes start to look more like standard leaves. The longer you keep the peace lily for, the greener its spathes are likely to become.
There isn’t much you can do to stop a peace lily from producing greener flowers once it has got old. You can prolong your peace lily’s life by looking after it well, giving it everything it needs, and avoiding stress, but otherwise, this is inevitable.
6) The Peace Lily Is Greener Than Other Plants
Sometimes, a peace lily is greener just because of the kind of peace lily you have bought. There are many different kinds, and some naturally grow with more chlorophyll in their white spathes than others. You should check whether this is the case by reading up on the different varieties and choosing yours with care.
If you are buying your peace lily in a local nursery, make sure you look closely at its flowers before you purchase it. If they are greener than you like, check whether that variety has naturally green flowers, and choose another one. Alternatively, ask one of the store workers whether this is normal.
There is no solution to a naturally green peace lily – it will simply stay green. You may be able to lighten its flower bracts by giving it more light, but you won’t be able to get rid of the green tinting entirely.
Peace lilies turn green for a wide range of reasons, and most of them relate to the environment, so you may be able to prevent this from happening, or encourage the plants to turn back – but sometimes a plant will naturally be green or will turn greener as a result of aging, and you may not be able to prevent this.