Caring for Your Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum). One of the easiest houseplants for everyone to enjoy, follow these few tips and tricks for successful Peace Lily growing.
Being the plant lover that I am I have several house plants that make me happy. Plants are known to help reduce stress and thus blood pressure in not only the home but also the work place. One plant that is a trooper in both environments is the Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum).
Another benefit is the Air Purifying of your indoor air. I have an entire post on that along with the names of some of the most beneficial house plants widely available today, I called it Clear the Air with House Plants CLICK HERE TO READ
Researching for this post I found that the information out there on the care of the Peace Lily is as varied and contradictory as can be. So what I am going to share is my experiences with the Peace Lily and how I get my plants to look their best.
I have about 7 Peace Lilies in my home and studio. The one you see above on the far right is nearly 3 feet tall. The two on the left are a variegated variety that came from a small division that my mom gave me a couple years ago.
(since they love being moist they are a prime candidate to be a haven for Fungus Gnats, I use these traps to keep them under control) Safer Sticky White Fly Trap
The sticky traps are all I use and they work great.
So here is how I have successfully grown healthy Peace Lilies the past 20 years.
They like lots of water for a house plant. Yes, contrary to other house plants that take less watering these beauties love a good drink of water more frequently. Root rot would be a problem if you keep them saturated all the time so do let them dry out before really watering again but for the most part it is hard to over water them. I water enough that water runs through to the dish I have underneath. I let the water remain in the catch dish and the plant typically absorbs even that within hours, that being said, don’t keep water in the dish beneath the plant all the time.
If I am going to be gone from my home for a week or more I do keep more water in a dish beneath the plant and let it sit in it to absorb as needed, but I only do this once in a great while. I have not lost one Peace Lily from over watering or letting them sit in water from time to time. I have a friend who actually only grows her Peace Lilies in water, no dirt.
They do not like chlorinated water and will get the brown tips on them from the chemical. To eliminate this problem I use a porcelain pitcher, fill it with water from the tap and let it sit out for 24 hours or longer. Being a pretty pitcher it is a decorative element that I love. It comes in various sizes but the 32 oz works the best for me.
Some say no feeding in winter and others say yes. I actually do feed mine every 6 weeks year round. I only use an organic kelp based liquid that is good for many types of plants. It promotes lush growth. This is the actual one I use, Grow More Seaweed Extract. Don’t worry it does not have a bad smell. My plants love it and my Peace Lilies bloom often. I have read that Peace Lilies do not like chemical fertilizers and that can cause browning of the leaf tips but I have not used one so I can’t verify that. I should do a test and see so I could report on that.
The broad leaves of the Peace Lily do get dusty. You can sit there and wipe each and every leaf with a damp cloth but who has time for that! I just stick them all in the shower and turn on the water. I adjust it to a luke warm setting but other than that I just make sure each plant gets a good shower then I leave them there to dry off enough to put back into their regular spots around my house.
During warm weather I take them outside and use the spray nozzle on my garden hose to get the job done.
Dividing and Repotting
Peace Lilies are easy to divide. Many of mine have shot up entirely new plants alongside the parent in the same pot. As you can see in the pot below there are 3 plants now.
I don’t feel it is crowded and it is growing just fine so I can just leave it be but if I wished to divide it I could. To do so I will remove the entire plant, soil and all from the pot, gently pull apart the roots, which may be growing together under that soil and re-pot each plant in a new pot with fresh good quality potting soil. Another way I do it is to fill a bucket with water, put the soil into the bucket and wash it off the roots, then separate. When I do this method typically the roots come right apart with little effort on my part.
I usually use some extra perlite in the base of a new pot for good drainage but other than that nothing special. A good quality potting soil will have many nutrients in it already and you most likely will not need to feed the freshly potted plant for a good 3 months or so.
Peace Lilies will tolerate very low light conditions. Some feel they prefer them.
I have mine in several locations and some get bright light (never direct) and others are in the darkest parts of my home. All my Peace Lilies seem to react the same in all conditions, blooming in both bright light and low light situations and generally growing well. So my experience is they are not that picky about lighting as long as they are not in direct sunlight.
The Peace Lily contain insoluble crystals of calcium oxalate that are in bundles called raphites. Chewing or biting into the plant releases the crystals which penetrate tissue resulting in injury. But that being said I raised 4 kids and all types of dogs and never had one eat a plant in my home.
The level of toxicity is considered mild to moderate by a pet poison site but note worthy to put here.
One last note on the power of the Peace Lily to remove harmful toxins in the air. I recently purchased a throw rug to go in my studio. I needed something to keep my feet warmer as the floor can become quite chilly in winter. I kick off my shoes before entering to keep the floors cleaner so my stocking feet need more than bare linoleum to stand on. When I unfurled the rug I was hit full in the face with a chemical odor that had my chest burning and eyes watering profusely. Knowing that newly manufactured things do need to out gas I left it on the porch of my studio. After several days I felt it was safe to put inside and did so. The next day I went into my studio to work (it is a 12′ b 12′ space) I was again hit with the toxic odor and repercussions.
I don’t normally keep Peace Lilies in my studio as it can get below 60 degrees inside at night and they do not like temps lower than that one bit. But I figured turning up the heat was worth getting rid of the noxious fumes. I brought in two Peace Lilies to my studio to reside and within 48 hours the fumes were gone and I could again enjoy my studio with no symptoms. Formaldehyde is used a lot in the manufacture of rugs and they can out-gas for a very long time. The Peace Lily is a champ at removing formaldehyde from the air.
Happy Indoor Gardening!
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