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Caring for Peace Lily Plants

Peace Lily Spathiphyllum Clevelandii

Peace Lily Spathiphyllum Clevelandii

The Peace Lily has become one of the most favored houseplants of our day. Perhaps no other commonly grown interior plant offers so much beauty in return for so little. It readily survives in very low light situations, it produces an abundance of glossy, dark green foliage, and it regularly adorns itself with dramatic white blossoms. With the current surge in popularity of these specimens, caring for peace lily plants is a timely topic.

Peace Lily Background

Peace Lilies, botanically known as Spathiphyllum, are members of the Aroid family, which includes such other familiar flowers and plants as Anthurium, Calla, Philodendron, Dieffenbachia, and Chinese Evergreen. Most of the Aroids are indigenous to the warm and shady forest floors of the tropics. Thus, they are well-adapted to the low light levels and comfortable room temperatures found in most homes.

Peace Lily Lighting

Even among shade-loving Aroids, Peace Lilies are most tolerant of reduced light. They’ll even flourish under the completely artificial flourescent lighting commonly found in offices and commercial spaces, although their preference is for bright, filtered, natural light. This makes caring for Peace Lily plants relatively easy.

Watering A Peace Lily

As far as watering is concerned, Peace Lilies prefer an evenly moist soil. Most people find that they can water their plants once a week, depending of course on light and temperature conditions. At lower light levels or cooler temperatures, any plant will use less water than when it is more actively growing. Use room temperature water. Soil should never be soggy, and plants should never stand in a saucer filled with water. Peace Lilies should also never be allowed to completely dry out, which will result in wilting of the plant, death of the tiny root hairs which conduct water to the plant, and subsequent yellowing or browning of the leaf edges.

Peace Lilies do exhibit a sensitivity to chlorine in the water, so in metropolitan areas where it may be heavily chlorinated, it’s best to allow the water to stand overnight to allow the chlorine to dissipate before watering the plants.

Fertilizing A Peace Lily

Fertilizing is another important factor in caring for Peace Lily plants. The soil in any given container will become depleted of nutrients over time as the plant grows. So it’s a good idea to help replenish it by feeding the plant once a month or so, during the growing season, with any standard house plant fertilizer, such as 20-20-20, at one-quarter the recommended dilution rate. The delicate root hairs as well as the edges of a Peace Lily’s leaves can burn if the fertilizer is too strong.

Repot the plant every year or two in a rich soil consisting of equal parts of loam, peat moss, and sand.

Peace Lilies & Pests

Peace Lilies are rather resistant to most insect pests. An occasional infestation of mealy bugs may show up, and can be easily treated by wiping with rubbing alcohol and spraying with insecticidal soap. Because these plants have broad evergreen leaves, they benefit from having their foliage regularly wiped with a damp sponge to remove dust.

Peace Lilies Provide Clean Air

It’s interesting to note that in caring for Peace Lily plants, we are also helping them to care for us! Spathiphyllums were among the top ten plants in the Clean Air Study conducted by NASA, and were shown to be highly effective at removing formaldehyde, benzine, and carbon monoxide from the air, thus fighting “Sick Building Syndrome”.

Peace Lily Options

Peace Lilies have been extensively hybridized in recent years, so that now we have many more choices among the varieties. “Flower Power” is a new introduction which, as its name suggests, is a prolific bloomer. “Sensation” is a huge plant, potentially becoming 6 feet or more across, with bold, dark green, ribbed foliage; quite effective in interior-scaping. “Domino” is a variegated type, with irregular white splashes mottling its thickened leaves. Check with your local professional florist for these and other varieties, and bring home a breath of fresh air, courtesy of the durable Peace Lily.

Comments

  1. Hi… Hopefully someone is still around :)

    I’m a new FIRST TIME plant father. I just adopted two twin Peace Lily plants ;) 6 inches. I have about 10 questions (lol) hopefully that’s cool. There’s a few so bare with me :)

    1. I got these twins from the local grocery store. So it came in a plastic pot with those sort of gold colored wrappers around the pot. So I started to take one off until I saw that they had holes poked out in the bottom. So what should one usually put underneath these?

    2. When to re pot? How will I know if the root system outgrows the current pot its in? Im guessing just by the mere sight of the roots growing out on the bottom?

    3. Does the new pot need to have holes in the bottom? When I think of the pots I have seem they seem solid on the bottom, the terra cotta ones etc. So a bit confused on that front.

    4. If one does re pot, Im guessing since these are 6 inches, the next pot would be 8 inches , and would one need to add potting soil to this?

    5. Is there any specific *organic* plant food you would recommend? I read that for a granular, a good rule of thumb could be once every 2-3 months but do not over fertilize! A Spathiphyllum could go 6 months without getting fertilized and be just fine. So should I just hold off on it?

    6. I’m in Los Angeles, so I know climate and how dry it can be effects how much you should water. Using the heater or AC can change a humid room into a dryer room due to the lack of humidity in the air. Best to check you plant frequently so you can get an idea of how fast the moisture evaporates. I purchased these plants on this past Tuesday and being a new doting father have been checking everyday and the soil is still moist, but when the soil is dry and it’s time to water, these are 6 inch plants so how much water? ( Just until the soil is moist? 1 cup, 2 cups of water? I have read Peace Lilys are very susceptible to root rot ( what does root rot look like?)

    7. Also I know chlorinated water is a no go. I don’t even like chlorinated water for myself. I get reverse osmosis water, basically nothing in it. I do ad 1/2 tsp of raw himalayan sea salt into the 1 gallon jug to ad minerals… will this water be okay to use on peace lilys?

    8. I read nasa’s report on house plants and their cleaning properties, this plant purifies many chemicals. I read that a 6 inch peace lily cleans 100 sq of the air. So I wanted to know do peace lily’s in order to maximise air cleaning abilities do all the plants need to be in close proximity to each other? I have my 2 plants on each night stand in my bedroom. I want to purchase more (hopefully bigger ones) and have them spread across my apartment. Hopefully they don’t have to all be positioned next to each other for maximum effect. I have a studio apartment, and wanted to spread them out.

    9. If one buys bigger peace lily’s that would have to be placed on the ground ( in my place is a slight colder draft that comes in from low on the ground) will this possible effect the peace lily negatively?

    10. LAST ONE! * audience cheers* I wanted to purchase larger peace lilys, and when I went to home depot, they had a larger one, but the leaves were brownish, didn’t look very well. I didnt purchase but I cant seem to find larger ones in stock. Can peace lily’s with these brown leaves be saved? Or is it better to just avoid. Also is there a time of year when peace lily’s, larger ones are more available?

    Thanks thanks thanks. Hopefully it was okay to ask all this. Knowledge is power :) I want my twins to live long :)

  2. David,

    We enjoy answering questions – so here goes:

    1. I hate foil wrapping because it holds the water instead of let it drain away and this can be bad for the plant. Instead of foil I recommend placing a saucer under the plant to allow the excess water to drain away from the plant.
    2. I usually repot the plant when I start seeing roots coming out of the drain holes and more roots than soil at the top of the rootball.
    3. Drainage is very important – having drain holes in the bottom of the pot allows for good drainage. If you pot doesn’t have drain holes, place pebbles, gravel or rocks in the bottom of the pot before adding soil. This will help with drainage, but you will have to be more diligent when watering to give the plant the right amount of moisture.
    4 Rule of thumb when re-potting is to go up a size half-again as large as the existing pot. So for a 6inch pot you can go to a 8-9 inch pot.
    5. I use a liquid soluble fertilizer about every 3-6 months on my houseplants. The one I use is called Daniels plant food (it is a seaweed extract) , but there are others Miracle grow – peters etc.
    6 So here a trick – when you stick you index finger in the soil up to your first knuckle and pull a little soil out. If you can’t roll it into a ball then it is time to water. If you can roll it into a ball and squeeze water out it is too wet. I usually wait until the soil is dry and then give the plant water until a little water runs out the drain holes.
    7 Don’t add salt to the water. Simply place your tap water in an open container and let the chlorine evaporate. This usually takes 24 hours.
    8. Spread them out.
    9. No need to plant them in the ground – You can buy bigger piece lilies and simply grow them in bigger pots.
    10. Yes peace lilies can survive with some brown leaves. However, if you want healthy peace lilies I suggest you purchase your plants from a real nursery/garden center instead of a box store that sells plants. A real garden center will be more knowledgeable and helpful than the box stores.

    Hope I was able to answer all your questions.

  3. Hi,
    Our well water has a water softner unit attached to it. With it having water softner salt associated with it, would it be harmful for peace lilies, or would it be ok?

  4. Lisa,

    If the unit uses salt, this could be a problem over time because the soil will develop a salt build-up that can damage the plants. Not sure how long it will be before it causes a problem.

  5. Marie Jorland says:

    My plant needs to be cut in half! It has out grown it’s pot and I don’t want a bigger pot. The one it’s in now is huge. Will I kill it if I cut it in half?

  6. Marie,

    I am going to assume that you have a peace lily. If this is true, it will not harm the plant to divide it in half.

  7. I have 2 Peace Lilly’s that came from my moms memorial Service and I want to keep them alive as long as possible, I live in Texas where is very humid and i want to keep them inside I’m just not really sure what kinda light I should have them in to bloom , I have had these for 2 years now I’ve only have a few browning on the leaves , I actually cut the brown off and they seem to be OK with that.. I want them to bloom so bad , I have read to move them to a darker room to make them bloom is this true ? I am assuming this means less lighting .. They are in a window shelf now with filtered light from the morning sun and they get no evening sun , maybe someone could answer my question ..
    1) what kinda light to make them bloom ??

  8. Nikki,

    As far as I know more light is needed for a peace lily to bloom. Keep in mind the peace lily growers have a little trick to get them to bloom that you won’t have – a hormone called Gibberellic acid. However, you can try the following to see if you can get the plant to bloom – increase the amount of light the plant gets and use a water soluble fertilizer every two weeks. Hope this information helps.

  9. Marie Jorland says:

    My Pwace Lily is about 9 years old, I have it in front of my patio door facing west. It blooms like crazy and I have never fertilized it. It needs to be split because it has out grown it’s huge pot.

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