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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.

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Comments

  1. I live in Viet Nam – a tropical, hot weather country.
    I have a vase of peace lily, I don’t plant it in the soil but i put it in water. Can it live in a totally water environment ? How to care it in the water only. I heard that peace lily can live well in water and give flowers. I have put it in the water for 7 days but it still green. I have not given it any fertilizer yet.

  2. Yes, a peace lily can survive in water. Make sure to keep water filled to the same level at all times – you always want all roots submerged in the water. Always used distilled water. You should also give it a few drops of liquid fertilizer every few weeks. I am not sure what is available there in Viet Nam, but your garden center should be able to help you out. Be very careful when fertilizing, too much fertilizer can have fatal effects on your peace lily. If the lily begins to show signs of yellowing, you might consider moving it to soil to prolong it’s life.

  3. Pat Martin says:

    What is used on the peace lily to give the shine when you get them from the florist?

  4. Pat,

    Some florists use a product called leaf shine to give the plant a shiny appearance. I believe Miracle Grow has a product called leaf shine and Fertilome has one called Leaf Sheen that you can use to achieve the desired look.

  5. do you cut the flower of or just let it fall of .

  6. It is best to dead head the spent bloom. Just follow the stem down to the base of the plant and cut it off.

  7. I live in Chicago. Can the Peace Lilly survive outdoors?

  8. Unfortunately the peace lily will not survive outdoors during the winter in Chicago.

  9. What can you do with the seed pod that is part of the bloom? Can they be planted to start new plants?

  10. Inside the peace lily bloom, you will see a large seed pod in the center. Wait for the pod to turn brown or black in color instead of the original green or yellow. You can then cut the pod off with scissors or a sharp knife. Be careful not to twist or otherwise damage the pod. Place your seed pod on a sheet of white paper and remove the seeds. Tweezers may help with this process. Fold the paper up or put the seeds in an envelope and store in a cool, dry location until you are ready to plant them. Hope this helps!

  11. Darrell Maynard says:

    I live in New Orleans, La. and was wondering if the Peace Lilly plant can be planter outside????

  12. The peace lily is typically considered a houseplant. In warm, humid regions, the peace lily can be planted in a shady border. However there isn’t a region in the United States where the peace lily can survive outside year round. Peace lilies are found naturally in damp tropical forests; places like Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia and Venezuela.

    My suggestion if you want it outside would be to place the potted peace lily in the shade during the warm months but take it inside during the cold months.

  13. Dana Venturini says:

    I recently repotted and divided my peace lily and it’s not happy. Very wilted and not showing signs of reviving. Is this normal and do these plants have a lifespan. Mine is app. 11 years old.

  14. Dana, it’s very common for plants to go into a transplant shock after they’ve been replanted. It’s best to not fuss too much over it and let it recover on it’s own. Be sure to keep it evenly moist but not too wet and water it when it is dry to the touch, but never completely dry. You can also find a root stimulator or vitamin B1 at your local garden center or nursery to help with the new growth. In about 2 weeks, you should see new growth on your plant. Once there is enough, you can trim all of the old leaves off. Hope this helps!

    Ps. The approximate life span of a peace lily is over 25 years, so you could still have quite a bit of life left in your plant!

  15. Are Peace plants dangerous to pets – specifically cats?

  16. Yes, Peace lilies are dangerous to cats. They contain calcium oxalate crystals which cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty in swallowing. If medical attention is not giving the degree of illness may include liver and kidney damage. Hope this helps.

  17. Was given a peace Lilly last year for my birthday and it WAS beautiful!! I find that this plant is very difficult to grow. I live in an apartment and cannot find the right lighting it is now in my bathroom :(. I have about given up even the new leaves are coming up with brown on the ends. Is it true that you should mist this plant a couple of times a week? PLEASE HELP

  18. Once you find the right conditions for your Peace Lily it will get easier. First of all, peace lily needs some light. You don’t have to set it in a window, but find a room that gets light from windows. Peace lily likes filtered light. If this is not possible, try to leave a light on your plant for at least a good 6-8 hours a day. — Make sure you are watering your lily consistently and checking it often. During the heat of the summer, watering routines may need to be increased due to the heat. — Analyze your watering habits. Are you keeping your plant moist to the touch but not too soggy? Never let your plant dry out, but also never over-water. Don’t let it sit in a bowl of water. If you’ve tried all this but no results, it could be the type of water used. Try leaving the water out over night to let chlorine and other chemicals dissipate. Hope this helps!

  19. Sabrina says:

    I received, what I believe, is a Peace Lily (not much of a green thumb) in February. I water it when I remember, which is usually when it starts to droop a bit. Lately some of the leaves have been turning yellow and brown, I thought maybe I wasn’t giving it enough water but after doing some research I suspect it may be getting too much sun, it sits in a north facing window. Besides the obvious moving it to a less sunny area what do I do to get my plant healthy again? Should I remove the damaged leaves? Any suggestions?

    Attached Image: IMG_20120705_102518[1].jpg

  20. Sabrina,

    Yes – you do need to move the plant in to an area that has indirect light instead of direct light. Also, I would take a look at your humidity level and soil moisture. First, make sure that any excess water is able to drain away from the plant. You also want to make sure that the soil is not drying out completely. Instead, keep the soil moderately moist. If the air is dry, make sure to mist the air around the plant every couple of days with lukewarm water. Do remove all damaged leaves and pay close attention to your new leaves. As long as the new leaves are fine then you have corrected the problem. Please let me know how it goes.

  21. I have a big pot of Peace Lily in my office. Since the past week, most of the leave are turing yellow. The pot is next to a window and it is watered once a week. Is it a way to save this plant??–thank you

  22. Nash, it could be that the heat of the season is getting to it. First remove the dead leaves. I’d then suggest moving it away from the window, but close enough to receive the indirect light. Also, because of the heat and sun through the window, you’re plant could be getting very thirsty waiting for it’s weekly watering. Try keeping an eye on it’s soil and water it when it gets dry to the touch. You should also rehydrate it periodically. Do this by taking the plant and completely submerging it into a bucket of water and allow the soil to completely saturate with water. Hope this helps.

  23. Julia'Bliss says:

    do i need a bigger pot do theyre roots need to be spacious

  24. Depends on the size of your plant and it’s current pot. If there are any roots showing above the soil, or if the root ball touches the edges of the pot, it is probably time to replant.

  25. I recently repotted my lily to a larger pot then waited about 2 weeks prior to moving it into my new home. Now it has yellow and brown leaves and I checked the soil and it is still very moist. I don’t know how to make it ok.

  26. Anissa,

    If the new leaves emerging are green and healthy, remove the brown and yellow leaves and chalk it up to transplant shock. If the new leaves are turning brown, make sure that when you re-pot the plant the top of the root-ball was not covered with soil and buried too deep. If the plant is planted too deep it can cause a rotting problem. The solution is simply simply raise the root-ball up and remove excess soil from the original root-ball top. Also, check the drain holes in the new pot to be sure they are allowing excess water to drain away from the plant. Another thing to check is the environment in the new home. Try to place it in a room with the same condition as your previous home.

  27. I have a 9 year old plant that has only bloomed once. Even after repotting and fertilizing, it constantly appears limp. What can I do ?

  28. Robyn,

    Sometimes you need to split the plant rather than just repot it. When you divide the plant and repot it, be sure to use a container that is just slightly larger than the new half. If you are scared to do this send me pictures and I will walk you through the process.

  29. thomas spears says:

    Can I feed my Peace Lily Miracle-Gro Plant Food Spikes? I water the plant until the soil is moist approx. twice a week.

    What can I feed my plant and how often? Peace Lily Plant

  30. Thomas,

    I normally do like to use spikes, but that is only a personal preference. I recommend placing only one spike closer to the edge of the pot rather than closer to the plant.

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