Some of the leaves of my Spathiphyllum sprout with deformed edges. They don't turn yellow or brown at the tips over time - they start out like this. Oddly most leaves are perfectly normal and this only happens to about a third of the leaves.

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  • Maybe something going on at soil level, as the leaves emerge - looks like pest damage at the leaf tip when they're just emerging which, as the leaf grows up and develops means the damage seems widespread. Not sure what could be causing it, but just examine the top of the soil in the pot thoroughly, inspect all parts of the plant with a magnifying glass in a good light, especially any newly emerging leaves.
    – Bamboo
    Nov 11, 2017 at 22:22
  • Please elaborate on your watering and fertilizer habits. What type of soil you are using. My initial response is too much fertilizer and salt build up. But please, give more pictures and information about everything concerning this plant, your experience with plants and the environment for this plant...anything at all!
    – stormy
    Nov 12, 2017 at 8:26

1 Answer 1


I saw this a lot when I was doing interior plant maintenance. It is a burn due to high dissolved salts. It does not get better and often results in the plant being replaced due to the damage.

There are a few causes:

  • if seen on new plants this indicates the grower did a last application of fertilizer that was too strong for the light levels at the home
  • older plants can have this too and there are a few conditions that act together as triggers
    • low light levels mean low growth rate
    • peat based soil mix has a limited ability to buffer salts as it ages
    • high ph alkaline water being used

For both causes I recommend

  • moving to a higher light level
  • doing a one time drench with distilled water. Pour enough through that water runs freely out of the bottom of the pot. The distilled water will lower the level of dissolved salts
  • repotting with a mix of your choice. Tropical plant soil less potting mix is easy to find
  • i think "burn" is a good description of what i'm seeing. this is an old plant and hasn't been fertilized in a very long time. i moved it to a higher light lever recently and it has responded very well. will now try the distilled water & soil recommendations. the plant is approx 16" H and in a 2-3 gallon pot. is that enough room or should i put it in a larger pot?
    – Nina
    Nov 12, 2017 at 14:49
  • @Nina Drench with distilled water first, no need for a larger pot. however as an older plant you can take it out of the existing pot, cut a few inches of roots off the bottom, add new soil and pop it back in
    – kevinskio
    Nov 12, 2017 at 22:07

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