How to Tell Peace Lily is Underwatered (Needs Water)

Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum) prefer consistently moist soil to thrive, grow, and bloom. The plant is quite easy to care for, making it ideal for beginners and even advanced plant owners. However, it is quite easy to give it too much or too little water.

What does a thirsty peace lily look like?

The main signs of underwatering in peace lilies include wilting, drooping, very dry potting mix, and curling leaves. Leaves may also turn from green to yellow to brown if the plant stays without water for a prolonged period.

Underwatered peace lily

How to tell a peace lily is underwatered

Proper peace lily care entails weekly watering during spring, fall, and summer. I advise you space out the waterings to once every two weeks during winter. It is important to know when to water the plant to sustain its growth and development.

Here are signs your peace lily needs water:

1. Drooping and wilting leaves

Drooping is a sign that your peace lily needs to be watered. The cells of the plant lose turgidity due to reduced moisture, which makes the foliage wilt and droop.

Note: Drooping may also indicate you’ve overwatered your peace lily. You can confirm the plant needs water by pushing your index finger in the soil. If the soil is dry and hard, the wilting is a sign of underwatering.

2. Dry soil in the pot

Perform a soil moisture test by sticking your index into the soil. If the top 1-2 inches are dry, it’s time to rehydrate your plant.

If your soil drains too fast, you might see your plant drooping and wilting too often even if you irrigate it once a week as required. You want to ensure you use a soil mix that retains moisture over a long period without keeping the root zone waterlogged.

3. Curling leaves

Plants like peace lily compensate for water insufficiency by curling their leaves to retain moisture. If the curling is accompanied by shriveling and wrinkles, it is a sign the plant needs to be watered. to save the leaves from damage.

After a few days, you should see the leaves spreading and maintaining their turgidity.

4. Dry and brown spots on its leaves

A healthy peace lily looks green when watered correctly. But if you notice dry and brown spots on its leaves, it means you’ve not been giving it enough water.

Prolonged lack of water may enlarge the brown and dry spots, preventing the plant from effectively carrying out photosynthesis.

5. Leaves turning yellow and crispy

Yellowing peace lily leaves often signify various problems including root rot disease, insufficient light, and underwatering.

Check if the leaves feel crispy or brittle as they lose their color to determine of the plant is thirsty.

6. Brittle roots

Prolonged periods of underwatering can also cause your peace lily’s roots to become dry and brittle.

You can uproot your plant and test the roots for brittleness to determine if underwatering is the problem or something else.

How to revive a dehydrated peace lily

The right way to revive a peace lily plant exhibiting signs of underwatering is by administering the correct watering method. Follow these steps to save your underwatered peace lily plant.

Here’s how to rehydrate a thirsty peace lily:

  1. Fill a bowl or sink with lukewarm distilled water (Peace lilies don’t do well with tap water as it contains fluoride and other contaminants.)
  2. Place the plants pot in the bowl so the soil can absorb the water through drainage holes.
  3. Allow the plant 10 minutes to soak up water.
  4. Remove the pot from the water and let it drain out excess water.
  5. The drooping leaves should revive after a few days.

After 2-3 days, your plant should recover its green foliage.

Pro tip: Mist your peace lily often during warm months to improve humidity around them. Peace lilies enjoy high humidity, so you should place the pot near the bathroom or set the pot on top of a moistened gravel tray to offer high humidity around the plant.

Underwatered or overwatered spathiphyllum?

You may notice similarities between an overwatered and underwatered peace lily. It is important to distinguish these two to know the right remedy to apply.

Here are the differences between an underwatered and overwatered lily:

Underwatered peace lilyOverwatered peace lily
top 1-2 inches of soil is dryWater-soaked soil
Dry and brittle rootsEdema- wet and mushy roots
Curled, shriveled, and wrinkled leavesWiltedness
Leaves turn yellow, dry, and crispyLeaves appear limp and turn yellow


Water your peace lily when you see signs of dehydration such as wilting, drooping, and curling leaves. The plant prefers to be watered once a week or when the soil in the pot dries out. Always check the soil first before watering your peace lily to prevent overwatering it.

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