Everything You Need to Know about Growing and Caring for Peace Lily Plants at Home
What plant is perfect for beginner gardeners yet diverse enough to capture the attention of experienced green thumbs? Peace lily plants because they’re both easy to care for and lovely to look at. This luscious, eye-catching plant has become a favorite around the world for displaying in the home, brightening up the office, and giving to friends and loved ones as long-lasting gifts of beauty.
Although they’re easy to care for, peace lily plants do have some best-practices when it comes to indoor cultivation, propagation, potting, and blooming. Read on to learn all about the lovely, low-maintenance peace lily plant and its care.
- All About Peace Lily Plants
- Peace Lily Plant Meaning and Symbolism
- How to Grow Peace Lily Plants in Your Home
- Peace Lily Plant Care
- 5 Common Peace Lily Problems and How to Treat Them
- 8 Essential Indoor Gardening Tools for Growing Peace Lilies
If you’re looking for your next Peace Lily Plant check out our guide to the best plant stores and garden centers delivering Peace Lily Plants throughout the United States.
Peace Lily Plant Care – The Essentials
Peace Lily Plants should be potted in a planter or potting vessel with at least one drainage hole to allow excess water to disperse. Use a well-draining all-purpose soil mix free from bark or compost. Position the plant in a location where it will receive bright, indirect light throughout the day in an environment with a mean average temperature between 65°F to 85°F. Water the Peace Lily Plant only when the top 1 to 2 inches of topsoil are dry to the touch. Ensure the soil base is consistently moist whilst avoiding stagnant or standing water in the potting container. Fertilize with a balanced houseplant formula every 6 weeks during spring and summer only. Pruning the plant of dead or dormant growth can be undertaken throughout the year using sharp sterilized pruning shears cutting close to the stem.
All About Peace Lily Plants
Peace Lily Origins and History
Peace lilies are native to the rainforests of Central America, South America, and Southeast Asia. The tropical evergreen plants arrived in Europe and other cooler locales in the late 19th century. Today, the peace lily plant is a favorite for gifting and indoor gardening all around the world.
The plants we commonly refer to as peace lilies have white spathes that resemble lily flowers. However, it turns out that peace lilies are not actually lilies! All species of peace lilies belong to the spathiphyllum genus of the Araceae plant family. The genus includes more than 50 natural species and cultivated hybrids of the grass-like flowering plants we call peace lilies.
Peace Lily Plant Characteristics
The peace lily plant gets its scientific name from the Greek words “spath” (spoon) and “phyl” (leaves) because they feature spoon-shaped spathes or bracts that surround the plant’s flower-carrying spikes. Depending on the species of spathiphylla, the spathes range in color from greenish-whites and creams to pure, snowy white. Peace lily plants have a lush silhouette that bursts with dark-green foliage and glossy, pointed leaves.
Peace Lily Plant Varieties and Popular Cultivars
The most popular peace lily, the Mauna Loa, is a mid-sized plant, but it can still reach up to four feet in height with proper care. With over 50 varieties and hybrids, there are a myriad of peace lily plants to choose from. They range in size, color, shape, and leaf patterns. Some species feature compact silhouettes, and others show off with white stripes or speckled leaves.
Some of the most common peace lily varieties include:
- Domino Peace Lily
- Spathiphyllum “Mauna Loa”
- Piccolino Peace Lily
- Spathiphyllum wallisii
- Jetty Peace Lily
- Spathiphyllum Cochlearispathum
- White Stripe Peace Lily
- Sonia Peace Lily
Are Peace Lily Plants Toxic to Pets or People?
Peace lily plants aren’t technically poisonous. However, all parts of the peace lily – roots, stems, spathes, spikes, flowers, and leaves – contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals which can be dangerous for both dogs and cats. These compounds can also be bothersome for adults and dangerous for children.
The insoluble calcium oxilate crystals (also called raphides) are extremely sharp. Since they do not dissolve in liquid, they cause an intense inflammatory response when they come into contact with skin, soft tissues, or when ingested. This causes a severe burning sensation and swelling.
Peace lily plants should be handled while wearing protective gardening gloves. Be sure to display them in a location that’s out of the reach of children and pets in your household.
Uses and Benefits of Peace Lily Plants
Not only nice to look at, but peace lily plants will also help you breathe easier. The plant’s natural breathing process removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and replenishes indoor oxygen. Plus, a NASA study found that peace lilies are one of the best plants for purifying the air. The study demonstrated that in addition to removing mold spores, peace lily plants also cleansed indoor air of dangerous airborne toxins including trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, and ammonia.
Peace Lily Plant Meaning and Symbolism
A peace lily’s white spathes resemble white flags, an international symbol for truce. As a result, the plants naturally symbolize peace. In addition to peace, the peace lily plants are also considered symbols of purity, tranquility, and prosperity. With their white spathes, peace lilies also make an appropriately somber sympathy gift.
How to Grow Peace Lily Plants in Your Home
3 Things to Do Before Planting a Peace Lily
- Choose the Right Container – Peace lilies prefer tight quarters. Choose a well-draining container that’s no more than 1/3 larger than your peace lily’s root ball.
- Find a Good Location – Peace lilies can grow in just about any indoor conditions, but some locations are better than others. You could keep your peace lily in the closet, but it’ll be happiest in a location where it receives lots of indirect sunlight, is safe from drafts, and won’t be bothered by pets or children. Choose a room with plenty of south-facing windows. Avoid placing your peace lily in the path of cold drafts. Drafty windows, doors, or air conditioning vents will chill the plant and stunt its growth. Keep your plant out of the reach of pets and children.
- Gather Supplies – Before you plant a peace lily, make sure you have all the necessary supplies (gardening gloves, container, soil, and more) on hand.
Peace Lily Growth Expectations: How Big and How Fast Do Peace Lilies Grow?
You can set your expectations for growth based on the type of peace lily you have. Most dwarf varieties top out at about one-foot tall, while the largest peace lily plants can reach heights of up to six feet. Commonly, peace lilies sold for indoor gardening average at about 16-inches tall, while outdoor varieties tend toward the larger range of varieties.
Peace lilies are relatively slow-growing plants. As a result, they’re considered a low-maintenance choice for a house or office plant because they don’t quickly outgrow their designated space and seldom require repotting.
How to Plant a Peace Lily
- First, put on a sturdy pair of gardening gloves to protect your skin from the tiny, sharp crystals that emerge from damaged peace lily plant fibers.
- Choose a container of the right size that will allow water to drain easily.
- Pour soil into the pot until it’s about 1/3 full.
- Hold your peace lily plant at the base near the roots and gently tease as much of the used soil away from its roots as you can.
- Position the peace lily in its new container, leaving about one or two inches of space above the top of the root ball to allow room for watering.
- Add additional potting mix to fill in around the plant’s root ball. Use your hand to gently compact the soil, until the plant’s roots are covered completely.
- Place your newly potted plant in the sink or outside and water it until water begins to drain from the bottom. Let the pot drain before placing a saucer beneath it and moving the plant to its intended location.
The Best Soil Mix for Peace Lily Plants
An all-purpose, indoor, well-draining soil mix free from bark or compost is ideal for indoor peace lily plants. They can also thrive in an all-purpose soil mix that’s formulated especially for blooming or flowering plants.
For more, see our essential guide to the best soil for peace lily plants.
The Ideal Light for a Peace Lily
In nature, peace lilies grow on forest floors, where they receive a dapple of indirect, filtered sunlight. Mimicking these conditions in your home will produce the best results. Although, a peace lily plant can survive in just about any light conditions. If you’re hoping to increase a plant’s foliage, keep yours in a darker location. If you want to encourage your peace lily to bloom, then place it in a spot where its leaves can bathe in indirect sunlight.
Creating the Right Temperature and Humidity for Peace Lily Plants
Native to tropical rainforests, peace lilies prefer comfortable indoor temperatures (65°F to 85°F) and moderate humidity. To keep yours at the right temperature and humidity level, avoid placing it in direct sunlight or near any vents or cool air drafts.
If you live in a particularly arid climate, your peace lily will appreciate a nearby humidifier or having its leaves misted with water about once a week.
5 Tips on How to Get Peace Lily Plants to Flower
Peace lilies stay green year round, and they usually bloom from late spring or early summer until the beginning of fall. In your home, you can create conditions that encourage your peace lily plant to bloom throughout the year. Consider the following tips:
- Make sure your plant is mature. Peace lilies need about one year to reach maturity and bloom for the first time.
- If your plant is not blooming, it might not be getting enough sunlight. Move it to a location in your house where it will receive lots of indirect sunlight or beneath a strong fluorescent light.
- A lack of flowers, weak-looking flowers, or green-colored flowers can indicate poor nutrition. When spring arrives, consider repotting your peace lily with fresh soil or adding a fertilizer formulated for flowering plants.
- Make sure the pot drains easily and your plant is not sitting in standing water. This can lead to rot and stress your peace lily plant.
- Do not give your plant chlorinated water.
Peace Lily Plant Care
How and When to Water Peace Lily Plants
Peace lily plants do best with consistently moist soil, but they should never be left in standing water because this can cause the plant to rot. Before watering your plant, move it into a sink or shower. Water your peace lily plant with filtered water (to protect the plant from chemicals like fluoride and chlorine) at room temperature until the excess begins to drain from the bottom of the pot. Allow the excess moisture to drain completely.
To make sure your peace lily plant enjoys the proper amount of moisture, you should water it whenever the top inch of soil is dry. You can test this using a moisture meter or simply with your finger. In average conditions, a peace lily plant will require watering about once every week or two.
Peace lilies usually need a little more water during the growing season (spring and summer). Water yours more frequently in exceedingly hot, dry weather or less frequently in cool, wet weather.
Fertilizing a Peace Lily Plant: Why, When, and How
Like all living things, peace lily plants require nutrients to grow. Peace lilies draw their nutrients from the soil in which they’re potted. In nature, these nutrients are perpetually replenished through natural processes. Indoors, we use fertilizer to replenish the nutrients available to potted plants.
With a bit of fertilizing, your peace lily plant will thrive. It’s best to fertilize potted peace lily plants during the growing season. Starting in late winter and stopping near the end of summer, fertilize a peace lily once about every six weeks.
Use a balanced fertilizer formulated for blooming houseplants to feed your peace lily plant. Follow the instructions on your fertilizer’s container and apply the food either directly to the soil or diluted in water.
Peace Lily Pruning: When, Why, and How to Do It
To prevent bacterial growth and make room for new plant growth, peace lily plants require pruning in two circumstances: 1. when leaves turn brown; and 2. after flowers are spent.
Whether you’re removing a dead leaf or a browned flower stalk, always clip it away at the base of the plant. Be sure to use sterilized pruning shears and clean them between each use to prevent spreading disease or bacteria between your plants.
When and How to Propagate a Peace Lily
Peace lily plants can’t be propagated by using leaves or cuttings. They can, however, be easily multiplied by dividing an existing plant. You can propagate a peace lily at any time of the year, but the new plants will be more resilient and take to their new potted homes more quickly at the beginning growing season (about February through April).
To propagate a peace lily plant, remove it from its container. Holding the plant at its base, break apart the root ball and divide the leaves and stalks into separate plants with at least three or four leaves each. Repot each smaller peace lily plant into an appropriately sized container. Continue care as before and enjoy!
The Best Method for Repotting a Peace Lily
As slow growers, peace lilies don’t require frequent repotting. However, if you notice your plant’s leaves drooping or browning more often and fertilizer doesn’t help, then the plant is probably rootbound.
As with propagation, peace lilies can be repotted any time of the year, but you’ll get the best results if you do so early in the growing season when you first notice the plant producing new shoots.
To repot a peace lily, select a container with a diameter that’s just one or two inches larger than its current pot. Then, follow the same potting instructions as above.
5 Common Peace Lily Problems and How to Treat Them
Peace lily plants generally require basic, straightforward care. Sometimes, however, they can develop problems. Look out for these signs of trouble and read on to learn how to address them.
1. Yellow Leaves
Overwatering and underwatering can cause persistently yellow leaves. If just one or two leaves are yellow, this is likely due to old age. Simply prune at the base and continue care.
2. Brown Leaf Edges
Over-fertilization, excessive sunlight, lack of water, or low humidity can all cause the edges or tips of a peace lily plant’s leaves to turn brown. Adjust your plant’s environment or care accordingly.
3. No Blooms
Most commonly, a lack of blooms is due to a lack of sunlight. If this isn’t the case, however, take a critical eye to the rest of your plant’s environment and care routine.
4. Dusty Leaves
Dusty leaves prevent plants from getting enough sunlight and air. Wipe yours down annually with a damp cloth. Avoid using store-bought plant wipes, as these can actually clog your plant’s pores.
5. Fungus Gnats, Scale, and Mealy Bugs
Fungus gnats are easily prevented with a well-draining soil medium. Scale and mealybugs can be fought off by wiping your plant’s leaves with warm, soapy water or insecticidal soap.
8 Essential Indoor Gardening Tools for Growing Peace Lilies
- Well-Draining Container
- Plant Saucer
- Moisture Meter or Soil Probe
- All-Purpose Indoor Plant Potting Mix
- Gardening Gloves
- Balanced Plant Fertilizer
- Garden Secateurs or Small Pruning Shears
- Tap Water Filter
Whether you love breathing clean air or propagating green gifts for all of your friends, peace lily plants are the perfect choice for indoor gardening. They’re easy to grow, can thrive in a wide variety of indoor growing conditions, and they’re lovely to admire any time of year. Enjoy!
Peace Lily Plant Care FAQ:
Do peace lilies need sunlight?
Peace Lilies in their natural habitat on the forest floors are accustomed to receiving bright, indirect light throughout the day. Replicating bright, indirect light conditions in your home will help your peace lily to truly thrive.
Where should I place a peace lily in my house?
Peace lily plants thrive in rooms with a southern or easterly facing windows ensuring there is consistent light exposure for the majority of the day.
How do I get my peace lily to flower again?
Peace Lily Plants will typically flower once, maybe twice every annual growing cycle. To ensure your plant has the best chance of flowering again maintain consistent moisture levels in the soil base and fertilize with a good all-purpose houseplant formula every 6 weeks during spring and summer months.
When should I cut back my peace lily?
You can cut back peace lily plants once growth has died or there is presence of any infections or yellowing of the leaves.
What does an overwatered peace lily look like?
Over-watered peace lily plants will often display yellowing across all the leaves and the plant will appear to droop or wilt. Black spots on the stems or leaves may also be present indicative of a fungal infection caused by the damp, stagnant conditions.
How long do peace lilies last?
Peace lily plants can often thrive for 5 years or longer when given due care and attention.
Do Peace Lilies stop flowering?
Peace lily plants are renowned for maintaining their bloom for many months but will eventually fade back typically in late autumn into early winter before re-blooming in the spring.