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Growing and Caring for a Peace Lily – An Essential Guide

a peace lily on a table

The peace lily, scientifically known as Spathiphyllum, is one of the most popular houseplants. This tropical plant is loved for its lush green leaves and beautiful white flowers that bloom throughout the year.

Caring for a peace lily is relatively easy, making it a great option even for beginner gardeners. With a little know-how on their basic growing requirements and care, anyone can keep a peace lily thriving for years.

Here is a complete guide to growing and nurturing happy, healthy peace lilies.

An Introduction to the Peace Lily

Peace Lilies are a popular choice for indoor spaces due to their low maintenance requirements and their ability to thrive in lower light conditions.

Originating from tropical rainforests in the Americas and Southeast Asia, they are accustomed to warm, humid environments and indirect light, making them ideal houseplants.

Renowned for their elegant white blooms and lush green foliage, Peace Lilies are not only visually appealing but also known for their air-purifying qualities.

a peace lily flower

Peace Lily Benefits

One of the most celebrated benefits of Peace Lilies is their ability to purify the air. According to a study by NASA, Peace Lilies can absorb and neutralize toxic gases like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from the air.

Peace Lilies contribute to maintaining a healthy level of indoor humidity through a process known as transpiration. As the plant absorbs water through its roots, it releases moisture into the air through its leaves, which can be particularly beneficial in dry indoor environments.

However, most importantly, Peace Lilies are known for their low maintenance requirements, making them a great choice for both novice and experienced plant enthusiasts.

Choosing a Plant

When choosing a peace lily, look for a plant with broad, green foliage and healthy white roots. Avoid plants with brown-tipped, drooping or blemished leaves.

The leaves should be erect and the plant should feel firm and solid when held. Also inspect plants closely for signs of pests before purchasing.

How to Grow a Peace Lily

a peace lily on a bathroom shelf

Ideal Growing Conditions Peace lilies grow best in the following conditions:

Light Requirements

Peace Lilies thrive in bright, indirect light. They can tolerate lower light levels, which makes them suitable for rooms with fewer windows. Direct sunlight can scorch their leaves, so it’s best to place them in a location where they can receive filtered light.

Humidity and Temperature

As tropical plants, Peace Lilies enjoy higher humidity levels. If your home is dry, especially during winter months, consider using a humidifier or placing the plant on a pebble tray filled with water to increase humidity.

Ideal temperatures for Peace Lilies range from 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 27°C). Avoid placing your plant near drafty windows or heat sources that can cause temperature fluctuations.

Watering Practices

The watering needs of a Peace Lily can vary based on environmental conditions, but a general rule of thumb is to water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Overwatering or letting the plant sit in water can lead to root rot, while under-watering will cause the leaves to droop.

Peace Lilies are known for dramatically wilting when thirsty, but they quickly perk up after receiving water. They are a great indicator and reminder to water your plants!

Soil

Potting Mix: Peace Lilies prefer a peat-based potting mix that provides good drainage and aeration. You can enhance a regular potting mix with perlite or vermiculite to improve drainage.

Pot Selection: Choose a pot with adequate drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating at the bottom, which can lead to root rot. The pot size should comfortably accommodate the root ball with some room for growth but not be excessively large, as this can lead to waterlogging.

Fertilizing

Feed your Peace Lily with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 6-8 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer). In fall and winter, reduce feeding to every 8-12 weeks.

Over-fertilizing can harm the plant, leading to leaf burn, so it’s important to follow the recommended dilution rates on the fertilizer package.

With the right growing conditions, peace lilies will produce gorgeous dark green foliage and delicate white blooms on a regular basis. Monitor your plant closely and adjust its environment as needed.

Peace Lily Care

a peace lily

Pruning and Cleaning

Regularly remove any yellow or brown leaves to keep your plant looking its best and to encourage new growth. Use sharp, clean scissors or pruning shears to make clean cuts.

Wiping the leaves with a damp cloth not only removes dust but also helps the plant to photosynthesize more efficiently. Rotate your peace lily every week or so to promote even growth towards the light source. Tall flower stalks that become top heavy can be staked for support.

Repotting

For optimal growth and flowering, peace lilies need room for their root systems to spread. Plan to repot them every 1-2 years in the spring, using the next larger sized container. Make sure there are several drainage holes in the pot’s base and use fresh potting mix for repotting.

Place some pebbles or gravel in the bottom of the pot to improve drainage before adding the soil.

Gently remove the peace lily from its old pot and loosen any circled roots. Prune off any damaged roots. Place the plant in its new container, filling in around it with more soil mix as needed until it sits an inch below the container’s rim. Water thoroughly after repotting.

This boosts airflow and nutrients for your plant. Just don’t overpot peace lilies, as too much space can cause issues with soil moisture and drainage.

How to Propagate Peace Lily

white flowers of a peace lily

Peace Lilies can be propagated by division during repotting. Gently separate the root clumps, ensuring each new plant has a good amount of roots and foliage.

Plant each division in its own pot with fresh potting mix.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Peace lilies are quite hardy houseplants, but they occasionally suffer issues from improper growing conditions, pests or diseases:

  • Peace Lily Drooping Leaves: This is commonly due to underwatering. Feel the soil and water if the top layer is dry.
  • Wilted Leaves: Can indicate overwatering. Check that the pot and soil drain well. Allow the soil to partly dry out before watering again.
  • Brown Leaf Tips: Dry air and low humidity often causes this. Improve humidity around the plant through misting or use of a pebble tray.
  • Peace Lily Flower Turning Brown: The most common reason for Peace Lily flowers turning brown is simply the natural aging process. Like all flowers, Peace Lily blooms have a finite lifespan. After blooming for a while, it’s normal for them to turn brown and die off. It can also be due to overwatering, underwatering or direct sunlight, although their leaves are usually the first to show signs.
  • Yellow Leaves: Usually a response to overwatering or waterlogged soil. Cut back on watering and pour off excess water under the plant pot after watering.
  • Pest Problems: Insects like spider mites can be sprayed off with water or treated with neem oil. Ensure adequate airflow around plants to prevent fungal issues and always remove infected leaves promptly to stop the spread of disease.
  • Lack of Blooms: Insufficient light is a common reason for a lack of flowers. Move your Peace Lily to a brighter location, but avoid direct sunlight.

Enjoy the Blooms

the white flower of a peace lily

One of the joys of growing peace lilies is their charming white blooms that arise out of the glossy green leaves. Flowering typically occurs in spring and summer, triggered as days lengthen. But with excellent care you can see peace lily flowers at other times as well.

Each individual flower only lasts up to a week or so. But don’t remove the flower stalk after the bloom dies. Rather, leave the structure intact so that another flower can later emerge on the same stem. A single flower stem can keep producing blossoms for up to 8 weeks!

Peace Lily Varieties

  • Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa Supreme: One of the larger varieties, ‘Mauna Loa Supreme’ can grow up to 3-4 feet tall and wide. It’s known for its large, glossy leaves and sizable white spathes that make a dramatic statement in any indoor setting.
  • Spathiphyllum ‘Domino’: This is a variegated form of the Peace Lily, featuring green leaves speckled with white. Its unique foliage adds a decorative touch, and it blooms with the typical white spathes.
  • Spathiphyllum ‘Sensation’: The ‘Sensation’ variety is the largest of the Peace Lilies, capable of reaching up to 6 feet in height. It has large, ribbed leaves that can add a tropical feel to any room.
  • Spathiphyllum ‘Petite’: As the name suggests, ‘Petite’ is a smaller variety, growing only about a foot tall. It’s perfect for desktops, small shelves, or as a tabletop centerpiece.
  • Spathiphyllum ‘Wallisii’: This is a more compact variety, reaching about 15-18 inches in height. ‘Wallisii’ produces abundant blooms and is known for its resilience and adaptability to a variety of indoor conditions.

With the right care, peace lilies will reward you with their tranquil presence and delicately perfumed flowers for many years to come. Follow these basic tips on lighting, watering, humidity and repotting to help your Spathiphyllum thrive indoors.

Why is my Peace Lily not flowering?

Lack of flowers can be due to insufficient light, the need for fertilization, or the plant’s natural resting period. Ensure your Peace Lily is in a spot with bright, indirect light, and consider a balanced, liquid fertilizer during the growing season to encourage blooming.

Are Peace Lilies toxic to pets?

Yes, Peace Lilies are toxic to cats and dogs if ingested, due to calcium oxalate crystals. Symptoms of ingestion can include mouth and throat irritation, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing. Keep Peace Lilies out of reach of pets.

How can I increase humidity for my Peace Lily?

You can increase humidity by placing a humidifier nearby, setting the plant on a pebble tray filled with water (ensure the pot is not sitting in water), or grouping plants together to create a microclimate with higher humidity.

How big will my Peace Lily get?

The size of a Peace Lily can vary depending on the variety. Some, like the ‘Petite’ variety, remain relatively small, while others, like the ‘Sensation’, can grow several feet tall and wide. Check the specific variety’s growth expectations when purchasing.

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