Peace Lily Flowers Turning Green? (3 Reasons)


why are my peace lily flowers turning green

I love peace lilies for their flowering longevity, and I can appreciate that it is frustrating when the beautiful white flowers turn green. But why does this happen?

I have supplied peace lilies commercially to garden centers and spoken to many professional growers, and I discovered why they have turned green and even found out how to prevent them from turning green too quickly, so in this article, I share all my tips and tricks that I have learned…

White peace lily flowers turn green after 2 or 3 weeks as a natural part of the flower’s life cycle, so that the green flower can photosynthesize and provide energy for the developing seeds. Excess fertilizer and too much sunlight can also increase the rate at which peace lily flowers turn from white to green.

I should highlight that in my experience, peace lily flowers last for around 3 weeks in ideal conditions before turning from white to green and then eventually brown before dying back.

Keep reading to learn why your peace lily flowers are turning green and what you should do…

Life Cycle of the Flower-Peace Lily Flowers Turn Green as They Age

I think it is important to understand why peace lily flowers turn green in the wild…

Primarily the the reason peace lily flowers turn green is because it is part of the flower’s natural life cycle. Peace lily flowers turn from white to green so they can photosynthesize which provides the peace lily with more energy for the developing seed head, so the peace lily can reproduce.

The white peace lily flower is actually called a spathe or bract which is a specialized type of leaf that is white in color in order to increase its attention to pollinating insects in its native environment.

Peace lily flowers (or spathes) typically last 2 or 3 weeks in their white form before starting to turn green before turning brown and dying back.

The green color indicates an accumulation of chlorophyll, which means the flower (spathe) can now photosynthesize, and the flower functions in much the same way as a leaf. (I actually think this is a cool adaptation, don’t you think?)

The reason the flower turns from white to green and develops the ability to photosynthesize is to provide the peace lily’s developing fruit (which turns into a seed head) with energy so it can produce seeds, to give the next generation peace lily the best chance of germinating and growing successfully.

So, the peace lily flower or spathe is actually a multi-functional organ as it acts as a way to attract pollinators and then provides extra energy for the plant to produce seeds, which gives it a competitive advantage in its native environment.

So I can assure you that peace lily flowers turning green is a perfectly normal part of the peace lily’s life cycle.

However, I have found there are two factors that can increase the rate at which the flowers turn from white to green…

Too Much Fertilizer Can Encourage Peace Lily Flower to Turn From White to Green

Peace lilies are adapted to living and flowering in low to moderate-fertility soil in their native environment in South America. If you apply fertilizer too often or in too high a concentration, this typically promotes foliage growth at the expense of flowers and increases the rate at which any existing flowers turn from white to green.

It is important to note that all peace lily flowers eventually turn from white to green (usually after 2 or 3 weeks), but excessive fertilizer application speeds up the change in color from white to green flowers.

A lot of houseplants are typically valued for their foliage, such as monstera (Swiss cheese plants), pothos, and spider plants, which grow leaves more abundantly than peace lilies and do not flower as often in such great number of flowers as the peace lily.

Normal houseplant fertilizer is made with a concentration of nutrients to promote the growth of foliage and, therefore, creates the nutrient rich conditions that are less favorable for peace lilies to flower (with too much fertilizer peace lilies often droop).

However, peace lilies often benefit from some fertilizer applications as their roots can exhaust the limited amount of nutrients available in their potting soil.

Therefore, the best thing to do is to apply fertilizer at half or even one quarter strength in the Spring as active growth begins.

This ensures the peace lily has the right balance of nutrients to support its foliage growth and flowering without overwhelming the peace lily with nutrients that cause the flowers to turn green and for the plant to droop.

Too Much Sunlight Can Contribute to Peace Lily Flowers Turning Green

Another contributing factor to peace lily flowers turning from white to green is too much sunlight.

I love peace lilies as they are one of the few popular houseplants that readily flower in the shade.

Bright indirect light is one of the best ways to increase the number of peace lily flowers, however I have anecdotally noticed that it can also contribute to the flowers turning green somewhat quicker then the peace lilies I have cultivated in shadier spots in the house.

Whilst there isn’t the same level of research to verify this, it is thought that the sunnier conditions could trigger the white flowers to turn green sooner because more light creates more favorable conditions for the green flowers to provide energy so that the peace lily can produce seeds to ensure its survival as a species.

Personally, I preferentially try to locate my peace lilies in nice bright spots in the house regardless of whether it hastens the flowers turning green, as the display of flowers is often much more plentiful, although avoid direct sunlight as this can scorch the leaves.

(Read my article, how to Revive a dying peace lily).

Do Green Peace Lily Flowers Turn White Again?

Once the peace lily’s flowers have turned from white to green, they do not turn white again. All peace lily flowers turn from white to green after 2 or 3 weeks as the function of the flower changes from attracting pollinators whilst it is white to photosynthesis when it turns green.

The peace lily’s flowers turn from white to green and eventually turn brown and die back.

Should I cut Off Green Peace Lily Flowers?

It is not necessary to cut off peace lily flowers after they turn green as they are still photosynthesizing and contributing energy to the peace lily. However, it is best practice to cut back any peace lily flowers that are turning from green to brown as the flower is dying back and no longer useful to the peace lily.

Follow the stem of the browning flower and cut it back to the base to improve the appearance of the peace lily and promote flowering.

(Read my article, why is my peace lily not flowering?)

Key Takeaways:

  • Peace lily flowers turn green because it is a natural part of their life cycle. Peace lilies turn from white to green after around two weeks so that the flower can photosynthesize and give the developing seed more energy.
  • Peace lily flowers turn from white to green more quickly because of excess fertilizer. Too much fertilizer causes excess foliage growth at the expense of flowers, and the leaves more readily turn green so that they can photosynthesize.
  • Too much sunlight can cause peace lily flowers to turn from white to green more quickly. Peace lily flowers stay white for longer in more shade, although they do not flower as prolifically.
  • Green peace lily flowers do not turn white again. Once the peace lily flowers turn green, they provide energy for the developing seeds before turning brown and dying back.
  • It is not necessary to cut back green peace lily flowers as they are still capable of photosynthesis and provide the peace lily with energy. Cut back any individual flowers once the peace lily’s flowers turn from green to brown, back to the base of the plant.

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