Peace lily plant care
How to care for a peace lily (Spathiphyllum) indoors
Peace lily is an adaptable and undemanding plant that will add life to any interior space. Peace lilies bloom beautifully and their gorgeous glossy leaves have the ability to purify the air in a room. These iconic indoor plants also thrive in low light, making them a rewarding choice for bedrooms, offices and any darker rooms. Thanks to these qualities, the peace lily has become one of the most popular houseplants ever.
Peace lily (spathiphyllum) is a tropical perennial plant belonging to the Araceae family. It is native to the rainforests of South and Central America, where it grows up to 4 feet/1.2 m tall. The white flowers (or rather modified leaves) of the peace lily resemble lilies and appear on the plant several times a year (mostly in spring and autumn). The flowering period lasts for at least two months and is followed by a rest period of several months.
Basic rules for growing peace lily:
1. Location with bright indirect sunlight
2. Usual room temperature without draft
3. Well-drained soil and pot with drainage holes
4. Water only after the top layer of soil has dried
Peace lily growing conditions
Peace lily prefers a semi-shaded location with indirect, diffused light. Yellowing leaves may be an indicator of too much sun. Conversely, in very dark locations, this indoor plant will not produce flowers. The ideal location for a peace lily is about 6 feet (2 m) from a north-east or north-west window.
The peace lily plant is more tolerant of a lack of water rather than overwatering. It is therefore always better to wait to water until the top 2 inches (5 cm) of soil dries up or until the leaves start to wither a little. This is usually about once a week, although in winter, peace lily watering should just be twice a month to avoid overwatering during slow growth periods.
Well-drained substrate and a pot with drainage holes are important to ensure that excess water is drained away from the root system. This will prevent root rot, to which an overwatered peace lily is susceptible. Peace lilies are sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals, so let tap water stand still for a day before watering or use rainwater instead.
Soil and fertilizer
Peace lily prefers a well-drained soil with plenty of nutrients. A common, all-purpose gardening substrate is suitable for growing this houseplant.
Peace lilies will survive without extra nutritious soil, but a small amount of slow-release fertilizer in spring and autumn, or a liquid fertilizer provided monthly from spring to autumn (do not fertilize peace lily in winter) will support the peace lily flowering at least twice a year.
Peace lily is a popular houseplant because it thrives at normal room temperatures. The range from 65–85°F (18-29°C), with slightly humid air and no drafts, is suitable for this plant.
During the summer, peace lily can also be moved outdoors as long as it is protected from direct sun. However, before the cooler nights arrive, this houseplant needs to be moved back indoors as it does not tolerate the cold.
Peace lily care
Peace lilies benefit from being transplanted or propagated by division as soon as they outgrow their pots. Signs that peace lily plant has outgrown its pot are thickened, distorted foliage or the need for more frequent watering. Peace lily should be repotted into a pot that's slightly larger by 1-2 inches (2-5 cm). When repotting peace lily, use fresh potting soil to feed the plant.
Propagating peace lily
The easiest way to propagate a peace lily plant is to divide it into several parts, leaving each of the divided plants with its leaves and an appropriate part of the root system. You can use a knife or scissors to divide the peace lily into several parts. After dividing, plant each section in a separate pot with fresh potting soil.
The broad leaves of peace lily are a magnet for dust and therefore need to be cleaned at least once a year. You can do this by showering the plant or simply wiping the leaves with a damp cloth.
Peace lily pruning
Peace lily usually does not need to be pruned at all. Exceptions are old, withered leaves and dead flowers. By cutting back the spent flowers, the flowering period of the peace lily can be extended.
Is peace lily toxic?
Peace lily is mildly poisonous to most domestic animals, including dogs and cats, because it contains calcium oxalate, which causes inflammation of the mucous membranes, stomach and intestines of animals. However, this plant is not extremely dangerous, and in most cases pets just have some stomach upset or indigestion after consuming this plant.
Pests and diseases
Peace lily is more resistant to pests and diseases than most other houseplants. Although peace lilies can be attacked by aphids, mites or worms, they can be easily removed by simply wiping the leaves or using an insecticidal soap solution.
Peace lily does not flower – This is usually due to a lack of light. While the plant can do well in low-light environments, it does need plenty of indirect sunlight to bloom, so it is important to choose a suitable spot for it at the right distance from a window. More rarely, a lack of nutrients may be the cause of peace lily not flowering. To support blooming, it is advisable to fertilize peace lilies during early spring and early autumn with a liquid or slow-release fertilizer.
Peace lily yellowing leaves – Yellow/brown leaf tips indicate overwatering, excess fertilization or low humidity. Yellowing of the lateral edges of peace lily leaves may indicate sunburn from direct sun. If the leaves are browning from bottom to top, just remove them so they don't compete with the younger leaves. Yellowing or browning can also be a signal that the plant has outgrown its pot.
Peace lily varieties
There are approximately 50 known native species of peace lily, which are found mainly in tropical parts of Central and South America and, to a lesser extent, Southeast Asia. However, varieties that have been developed through long-term crossbreeding and selection are more suitable for indoor growing. Peace lilies are available in several sizes, shapes and flower colors. Large varieties are a nice focal point, with a height and width of up to 3 feet (1 m), but there are also smaller varieties such as the peace lily “wallis,” which grows up to 1 foot (30 cm), or the even smaller peace lily “petite.” In contrast is the peace lily “sensation,” which can grow to almost 6 feet (1.8 m) in height. There are also peace lily varieties with red or pink flowers.
There are many other peace lily varieties that we have not mentioned in our selection but are noteworthy as well. For example peace lily 'little angel', 'Jetty', 'White stripe', 'Sonia', 'Piccolino', 'Patricia' and others.
Author: Julia Martin