Peace Lily Care (Spathiphyllum) & Growing Tips
Spathiphyllums, with the tall white flowers, are very popular houseplants. Here's what to know about Peace Lily care to keeps yours healthy, looking good & flowering.
Peace Lilies are one of the most popular houseplants and have been so for years and years now. We love their dark green, glossy foliage but most of all the long-lasting white flowers rise above. I’ve done lots of posts and videos on houseplants but can’t believe this one hasn’t made it to the roster yet. Peace lily care coming your way along with growing tips and other things good to know.
Growing Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum or Spath) Indoors
They can grow outdoors year-round in places with high humidity and mild winter temps like Florida and Hawaii. Spaths are well-loved houseplants because they’re attractive, easy to find, not expensive and mostly because of those lily white flowers. There are many species and varieties of Peace Lilies – these care tips apply to them all.
They’re commonly seen in 4″ grow pots right up to 14″. You most often see these for sale as smaller plants in 6″ or 8″ grow pots which are table top plants. When you get into the 10″, 12″ & 14″ grow pot size, those are floor plants. Mine that you see here & in the video down below is in a 6″ pot & stands about 12″ tall.
As I said, there are many species & varieties of Peace Lilies. Common taller varieties are Mauna Loa (2-3′) & Sensation (5-6′) while Spathiphyllum wallisii is the old tabletop stand by. The majority of Peace Lilies have deep green leaves in various sizes. There is 1 variety, that I know of, which has green & white variegated foliage.
Peace Lilies in the greenhouse. This 10″ size is obviously a floor plant.
Peace Lilies are moderate growers. If the light is too low, the growth rate will be slow. It’s spring as I’m writing this & mine is putting out a lot of new growth.
Smaller ones (4″ pot size) are often used in dish gardens.
The most common use for Spaths is as a tabletop plant. The larger growing varieties are wide floor plants. They grow almost as wide as they do tall so you’ll need some floor space for mature specimens.
I’m adding these in for fun because I also have them growing in my home. They’re in the same plant family as the Peace Lily & are popular houseplants too: pothos, monstera, arrow head plant & anthurium. Actually, the anthurium is often called Red Peace Lily.
Here are some of my plants which are also in the Araceae plant family. My 3 Agalonemas weren’t in the picture because there wasn’t any room!
How to Care for Peace Lillies:
Peace lilies prefer moderate or medium light.
Mine grows on a table in my kitchen about 12′ away from east facing patio doors. There is also a skylight not far away. It’s very happy in this location & is currently producing 7 flowers. So, I have it placed near but not in a window.
If the light is too strong (like a hot, west exposure close to a window) , your plant will burn. Peace Lilies leaves are thinner than many houseplants so it won’t handle that situation well.
Conversely: Spathiphyllums are often billed as low light plants but they won’t put out new growth or flower in low light levels.
This is 1 plant which likes regular watering. I’ll let the top 2/3 dry out before I water again. I try never to let it go completely dry because the leaves & stems will go limp & it’ll completely droop.
I started my horticultural career in Boston as an interior plant technician. The Peace Lily is the plant which we replaced more often than any others (it was very popular!) because of under watering or over watering.
If yours goes completely dry 2 or 3 times, it’ll be fine. Letting it consistently droop will take its toll on this plant.
The weather is warming here in Tucson so I water mine every 5 days. Also, it’s in a smaller pot so that is another reason it’ll dry out faster. In winter I water it every 7-10 days depending on the temps & light levels.
Your Peace Lily might need more or less – this houseplant watering 101 posts will help you out. Basically, the more light & warmth, the more often yours will need watering.
1 thing: back off on the frequency in the winter. Plants need to rest at this time of year plus the light levels & temps tend to be lower. Even though this plant doesn’t like to dry out, it doesn’t like to stay sopping wet or sit in a saucer of water.
If your tap water is high in chlorine & salts, the leaves will show signs of burn. You may have to switch to filtered or distilled water.
If your home is comfortable for you, it’ll be so for your houseplants too. Just be sure to keep your Peace Lilies away from any cold drafts as well as air conditioning or heating vents.
Spathiphyllums are native to the damp rainforest regions. If the leaves of yours are showing tiny brown tips, that’s a reaction to the dry air in our homes. Here in hot dry Tucson, all the leaves of mine have teeny brown tips but you have to look close to see them.
I have a large, deep kitchen sink with a faucet water filter. Every time I water my Peace Lily, I take it to the sink, spray the foliage & leave it in there for a few hours to temporarily up the ante on the humidity factor. I avoid spraying the flowers – more on them towards the end.
If you think yours look stressed due to lack of humidity, fill the saucer with pebbles & water. Put the plant on the pebbles but make sure the drain holes &/or the bottom of the pot isn’t submerged in water. Misting a few times a week should help out too.
This is my little Peace Lily. A few of the flowers are turning green due to age & will eventually turn brown.
I give all my houseplants a light application of worm compost with a light layer of compost over that every spring. Easy does it – 1/4 to 1/2″ layer of each for a larger sized houseplant. Read about my worm compost/compost feeding right here.
Because Peace Liles flower, I give mine a watering with Eleanor’s vf-11 in spring, early summer & the end of summer. I’ve started using it on my other houseplants too. You can also use a balanced houseplant fertilizer like 10-10-10 at half strength.
You don’t want to fertilize houseplants in late fall or winter because that’s their time for rest.
Don’t over fertilize your Spaths because salts build up & can burn the roots of the plant. This will show up as brown spots on the leaves. Avoid fertilizing a houseplant which is stressed, ie. bone dry or soaking wet.
For me, Spathiphyllums have always flowered once a year. I’ve heard that they can flower again at the end of summer/beginning of fall.
Use a good organic potting soil when repotting this plant. You want it to be enriched with good stuff but also to drain well. I’m partial to Ocean Forest because of its high-quality ingredients. It’s great for container planting, including houseplants.
I also mix in coco coir chips & fiber, & organic compost. These enrich the soil naturally. Charcoal is an ingredient I always have on hand.
You can read how I feed my houseplants with worm compost & compost here: How I Feed My Houseplants Naturally With Worm Compost & Compost
This is best done in spring or summer; early fall is fine if you’re in a warm climate. The faster your plant is growing, the sooner it’ll need repotting.
Because the Peace Lily isn’t a fast grower, repotting it every 3-5 years will be fine. I go up a pot size or 2.
Small Peace Lilies are commonly used in mixed gardens like this.
The only way I’ve propagated this plant is by division. My 6″ Peace Lily that you see here & in the video could easily be divided into 2 plants.
Not much is needed. The main reasons to prune this plant are to take off the occasional yellow leaf or spent flower.
Just make sure your pruners are clean & sharp before you do any pruning.
The Peace Lily can be susceptible to mealybugs, especially deep inside the new growth. These white, cotton-like pests like to hang out in the nodes & under the leaves. I simply blast them off (lightly!) in the kitchen sink with the spray & that does the trick.
Also keep your eye out for scale & spider mites. It’s best to take action as soon as you see any pest because multiply like crazy. Pests can travel from houseplant to houseplant fast so make you get them under control pronto.
Peace Lilies are considered to be toxic to pets. I consult the ASPCA website for my info on this subject & see in what way the plant is toxic. Here’s more info on this for you.
Most houseplants are toxic to pets in some way & I want to share my thoughts with you regarding this topic.
Oh those beautiful flowers looking like white sails.
Cleaning The Air
This is a big topic as far as Spathiphyllums are concerned. They are billed as being air purifying wonders. All plants benefit the air in some way. However, you can’t expect a Spath or 2 to clean your whole living room.
You know I love plants, both indoors & out. But, the NASA study was done in a controlled chamber; our homes aren’t controlled chambers. Here are my thoughts on how well houseplants clean the air.
Cleaning The Foliage
Oh yes, plants breath through their leaves & like to have them be clean. Plus, they’ll look much better!
Peace Lilies are naturally shiny & don’t need any kind of leaf shine. It blocks their pores & hinders the respiration process.
I cleaned mine right before this post & video so it was nice & pretty for you. I sprayed diluted Mrs Meyer’s Soap (which I use for cleaning) onto a wet, soft cloth & wiped each leaf. It brings out the natural shine of this plant. I do the cleaning once or twice a year. Any mild, natural liquid soap (like Dr. Bronner’s) will also be fine to use.
Oh yes, we all love those lily white flowers! Each 1 lasts 3 weeks up to 6-8 weeks, depending on how warm & bright your home is.
The white part is the spathe & the flowers are tiny & found on the spadix. Technicalities aside, the whole thing is called the flower.
Mine started to set blooms at the end of winter. It’s early May as I’m writing this. Their natural cycle is flower anytime from late winter to early summer. The growers time them to be in bloom at different times of year so they’re flowering when for sale.
When the flowers start turning green, they’re on their way out. I always leave them on until they start turning brown & look bad.
Where to deadhead a Peace Lily flower: the flower stem grows inside the leaf stem. Go as far down the flower stem as you can into the leaf stem & cut there. I’ll be doing a post & video on this soon so stay tuned.
This was taken at the growers. You can see a bit of white pollen from the flowers on the leaves at the bottom of this pic. Also, a yellow/brown tipped & edged leaf Peace Lilies can be notorious for.
Good to Know
Leaves turning brown or yellow is an issue Peace Lilies are known for. It’s usually a watering, drainage or light issue but other things can come into play too. Below are symptoms I’ve had experience with. Just know there may be other causes depending on the environment your plant is growing in, how you’re caring for it, the soil & pots it’s planted in, etc.
Usually due to low light levels, not enough water or poor drainage.
Small tips are a reaction to the dry air.
Brown edges & bigger brown tips
Too much chlorine in your water, over or under watering, over fertilizing.
Cold damage & the plant repeatedly going completely dry.
Your Peace Lily isn’t getting enough light or it doesn’t like the environment it’s in.
The flowers are on their way out. They’ll stay green for a while & then turn brown & die.
White powder on leaves
That’s the pollen falling off the spadix.
You can find this plant, more houseplants and lots of info in our simple and easy to digest houseplant care guide: Keep Your Houseplants Alive.
The Peace Lily is 1 of the most popular houseplants. If you don’t have 1 already, then maybe it’s time. Just remember, don’t let yours go completely dry and keep it out of hot sunny windows. You’re going to love those flowers!
Be sure to check out these other plant care guides!
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