Everything You Need to Know About Fertilizing Peace Lily Plants
The Peace Lily plant makes a perfect companion in homes and offices that are too dark for most other houseplants. Needing little light, these plants offer attractive dark green foliage and may even produce white flowers when given the proper care. One of the tricks to getting this plant to flower is correct fertilization. These Peace Lily plants do need a little boost now and then, but it’s actually too much fertilizer that is a common problem for them. This guide will take you through everything you need to know about when and how to fertilize your Peace Lily plants at home.
- Fertilizing Peace Lily Plants – The Essentials
- The Benefits of Fertilizing Peace Lilies
- Common Types of Fertilizer for Peace Lily Plants
- Signs Your Peace Lily Plant is Lacking Nutrients and Needs Feeding
- How Often Should You Fertilize a Peace Lily Plant?
- The Best Fertilizer for Peace Lily Plants
- How to Apply Fertilizer
- Key Considerations About Fertilizing Peace Lily Plants
- Fertilizing Peace Lily Plants FAQs:
- Fertilizing Peace Lily Plants – The Final Word
Fertilizing Peace Lily Plants – The Essentials
Peace Lily plants need a dose of fertilizer higher in nitrogen than phosphorous or potassium about once every six to eight weeks. Don’t use too much nitrogen, or flowering may stop for a few months. Avoid over-application of fertilizer, which is a bigger problem than a lack of it.
The Benefits of Fertilizing Peace Lilies
Fertilizer is often mistakenly referred to as “food” for plants. While it’s actually the sugars they produce from photosynthesizing in response to sunlight that feed them; fertilizer still plays an important role for the plant.
Think of fertilizing as giving your plant a dose of vitamins while supplying them with nutrients they can’t get any other way. These nutrients help support healthy plant growth by strengthening stems, supporting new foliage growth, and helping to fend off common pests and diseases.
Without at least a little fertilizer naturally found in the soil, even a perfectly positioned Peace Lily plant getting appropriate light, temperature, and water levels will struggle to grow. Some plants can start growing just fine from the small amounts of nutrients already available in the soil mix. Yet soil mix slowly loses nutrients over time, resulting in the need to add fertilizer now and then, even for Peace Lily plants.
Common Types of Fertilizer for Peace Lily Plants
There are a few common types of fertilizer to choose from, most of which will work for houseplants like Peace Lily plants. The types include:
- Liquids that are pre-measured and ready to apply
- Plant-feeding spikes that slowly release nutrients over time
- Dry granules or powders you either mix with water or let dissolve on top of the soil.
Depending on the desired balance of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, fertilizer may be made from chemical, mineral, natural, or animal sources.
Animal sources include blood meal, bone meal, and manure. Other fertilizers are mined from the earth in a form that’s easily applied to the soil or must be produced through chemical processes.
Organic fertilizers tend to be made from natural materials like compost or animal by-products. However, they provide a far smaller amount of nutrients and take longer to release into the soil.
You may have to turn to chemical or mineral fertilizers to help a struggling plant and then switch to organic treatments later to support ongoing robust growth.
Signs Your Peace Lily Plant is Lacking Nutrients and Needs Feeding
It’s best not to wait until a Peace Lily shows signs of nutrient deprivation. However, these dark green plants often don’t indicate they could use some extra nutrition until the problem is quite severe.
Stick to a basic schedule of adding a low-dose fertilizer routinely during the months of active growth rather than trying to look for signs of a problem. If you notice your plant hasn’t made any flowers in the last few months, it may be time for some more fertilizer. This is definitely the case if the leaves are glossy and healthy-looking, but new growth isn’t appearing to take the place of lost foliage.
If the plant goes too long without fertilizer, new leaves may stay curled up and fail to completely unfurl. This leads to a thin, leafless look without the actual loss of new leaves. Don’t wait until this stage to apply a slow-release fertilizer. At that point, you’ll need to add a fast-absorbing product instead to keep it healthy.
Don’t take brown tips, yellowing peace lily leaves, or drooping when the soil is damp to signify that the plant needs fertilizer. These symptoms are actually caused by over-fertilizing in many cases, so aim to provide less rather than more for a healthy Peace Lily.
How Often Should You Fertilize a Peace Lily Plant?
Peace Lily plants only need doses of fertilizer during the active growing seasons. For this plant, that will be the spring and summer of your local area (which is also the best time to consider repotting a peace lily if needed).
Since the Peace Lily needs relatively little fertilizer compared to other houseplants, it’s easy to apply nutrients too often and damage the plant that way instead. Avoid weekly or even monthly applications of fertilizer. Providing nutrients once every six to eight weeks is the best approach.
If you’re using a slow-release fertilizer, stretch the time to three months or so instead, so there’s no chance of build-up in the soil. Applying a half-strength dose of fertilizer may be the best way to avoid fertilizer burn without having to stretch the intervals between doses too long.
Apply a low dose of fertilizer every six weeks or only use slow-release fertilizers twice per six months to ensure there are no negative effects on the houseplant.
The Best Fertilizer for Peace Lily Plants
Since Peace Lily plants primarily put out a lot of foliage, they need fertilizers slightly higher in nitrogen than the other two nutrients. Yet too much nitrogen can also prevent flowering.
Aim for a relatively low-value fertilizer so that a normal dosage won’t risk burning the plant. Products that are 2-1-1 or a similar ratio of NPK will provide a good supply of nutrients for the Peace Lily without running any risk of overwhelming it. If you have to use a product with higher values of fertilizer, consider using a diluted dose.
Fast-releasing fertilizers are usually recommended for Peace Lily plants because it prevents build-up in the soil while helping plants showing signs of nutrient deficiency. If you choose a slow-release product, look for something that is designed to dissolve within a month or two at the most.
You can apply compost or aged manure to the top of the plant’s soil if you have it on hand for a steady supply of homegrown fertilizer. For commercial fertilizer products, consider a liquid fertilizer with a low ratio that is higher in nitrogen. Most tropical houseplant fertilizers will offer the balance you need in a convenient form to apply.
How to Apply Fertilizer
Check the instructions on the fertilizer first. If the product is higher than 3-2-2, dilute it to that ratio at the highest. For example, a product with 12-8-8 on the package will need to be diluted until it’s only at 1/3rd the standard strength. Add three times the recommended water to dilute it or only apply 1/3rd of the recommended dose. Repeat fertilization after two to three months, even if the plant doesn’t look like it needs it.
Also, it’s worth noting that peace lily plants are considered toxic to both humans and pets so it’s prudent to wear gloves when handling these plants (particularly when repotting or pruning).
Key Considerations About Fertilizing Peace Lily Plants
Over-fertilizing Peace Lily plants is more common than under-fertilizing for many houseplant owners. Unless you’re unfamiliar with fertilizing houseplants at all, you’re likely to apply a little too much to this plant and trigger some symptoms.
Yellowing leaves and browning tips are both common signs that the plant is getting too much fertilizer. Variegated peace lily plants can be particularly susceptible. Lush light green growth and a lack of flowers indicate too much nitrogen in particular. Root rot may set in as a secondary problem due to the proliferation of root growth after fertilization that is spaced too closely together.
Choosing the wrong fertilizer for your Peace Lily plant is less of a concern. While a fertilizer high in phosphorous or potassium may not do much to help trigger foliage growth, it won’t damage the plant either. You’ll simply notice fewer positive effects and may waste your money by using the wrong fertilizer.
If you discover the product you’ve been using isn’t the best choice, simply find a new alternative and apply it a few weeks from now.
Fertilizing Peace Lily Plants FAQs:
Do Peace Lily Plants need fertilizer?
Despite their reputation for being a low-maintenance houseplant, Peace Lily plants need fertilizer occasionally. Without fertilizer, they will eventually stall out in growth.
When should I fertilize my Peace Lily Plant?
Fertilize your Peace Lily only during the spring and summer months. Aim to apply fertilizer every six to eight weeks or even less often.
What is the best fertilizer for Peace Lily Plants?
These plants prefer a fertilizer that is higher in nitrogen than the other two nutrients. Aim for a low number ratio like 2-1-1 or 3-2-2.
Is Miracle Grow good for Peace Lily Plants?
With a ratio of 24-8-16, Miracle-Gro can work just fine if highly diluted. Aim only to apply a dose of about 1/12th of the recommended amount for other plants.
Are used coffee grounds good for Peace Lily Plants?
Used coffee grounds can help keep the soil mix slightly acidic, which the Peace Lily prefers, and help supply some extra nitrogen.
Fertilizing Peace Lily Plants – The Final Word
Don’t let your Peace Lily languish. Dose it with a light feeding of fertilizer once every other month or so to keep this symbolic plant thriving.
If you’re looking for your next Peace Lily plant to add to your collection, see our in-depth guide to the best plant shops delivering Peace Lilies nationwide.