The peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii) is a very popular houseplant and is considered as an air purifying plant by the NASA.
This indoor plant is full of cheerful flags that can give your home a new look. In fact, with the right conditions, you can nurture it for several years, while utilizing it for both its aesthetic and air cleansing abilities.
The beautiful thing about peace lilies is that they can adapt to almost any environment and are easy to care for.
Since lilies are a low maintenance houseplant and enjoy humid climates all year round, all you need to keep them blooming is normal room temperature and proper care.
In this article, you’ll learn exactly how to grow a peace lily, caring for it indoor and outdoor, common problems you may face and how to solve them so your plant can stay with you for longer.
Quick Overview for the Peace Lily
|Name||Peace Lily, Spathiphyllum Wallisii, Spathe Flower, White Sails, Cobra Plant.|
|Family||Araceae (Arum family)|
|Fertilizer||Apply diluted liquid houseplant fertilizer to your lily. You can do this every month throughout summer and spring. But be careful with over-fertilization so as not to burn the roots or tips of your plant.|
|Max Growth||18 to 24 inches (45 to 60 cm) in height.|
|Poisonous for||Cats and dogs. They contain calcium oxalate, which is acidic so keep small children and animals away from your lilies.|
|Light||Peace lilies should be sheltered from direct sunlight but can be positioned in an area with moderate lighting.|
|Water||Give your lilies plenty of water and allow them to dry between watering. If not, peace lilies will produce fewer flowers and be prone to diseases.|
|Temperature||Try to place your plant in an area with average room temperature. Anything below 45o F should be avoided.|
|Soil||You can mix one part loam, peat moss, and sand to make a potting soil. Any soil designed for houseplant will also work but ensure it’s one that can hold moisture well and drain enough to support the lily.|
|Humidity||Spathiphyllum wallisii needs a high level of humidity (usually above 50%). Low humidity will cause your plant to stop blooming and shoot out brown leaf tips.|
|Propagation||Root cutting and leaves|
|Pests||In a favorable state, the peace lily is highly resistant to pests.|
Description of the Peace Lily
Spathiphyllum wallisii are a low maintenance houseplant and are not to be confused with true lilies which are members of the Lilium. Instead, peace lilies are members of the Araceae family.
This plant is a tropical, evergreen plant that, when it’s in the wild, thrives on the forest floor. They get consistent moisture while being protected from direct sunlight (by the bigger trees).
It’s a plant that’s grown for its attractive white flowers. Lilies are a very easy plant to grow – they are tolerant of shady conditions and the nice thing about them is that they produce flowers all year round.
The standard peace lilies can grow up to 40 inches. It has an attractive part, called a spathe, which resembles a white flag of surrender. The spathe has a magnificent sheath where the flowers grow out.
This white specimen enclosing the flower is usually around 3-12 inches in length while the lily can reach from 1 ft. to 3.3 ft. The leaves, on the other hand, are 5-26 inches long and 1-10 inches wide.
The flower of the peace lily is identifiable to the calla lily (no surprise as they belong to the same family).
Domino Peace Lily
Also known as Spathiphyllum Domino, this plant has shiny, dark, green leaves with a white line across the entire plant. At first glance, they don’t look much like a lily, which is as a result of the scattered leaves like that of a basil plant. Domino Peace Lilies are the only variegated (multicolored) plant of all peace lilies.
Jetty Peace Lily
Also known as Spathiphyllum Jetty, this plant is distinguished by its luxurious, long-lasting white flowers. Because of their deep green leaves, they make for a great garden ornament.
Little Angel Peace Lily
These are compact, dwarf lilies with a ready bloom you’ll love. Their flourishing flowers stay high above the main leaves, so they are easily recognizable.
Sensation Peace Lily
This is the largest of all lilies, with massive tropical leaves. In fact, it can stand as tall as 6 ft. and the leaves can reach 20” in length.
Patricia Peace Lily
This plant has white flowers and lush green leaves. Patricia peace lily is small and compact but does not have tall flowers like the Little Angel lilies. This makes it easy to differentiate them.
Piccolino Peace Lily
They have pure white flowers, dark green leaves, and short.
Peace Lily Care Instruction
Peace lilies thrive in indoor temperature the people generally feel safe in, which makes them one of the friendliest houseplants to nurture.
To make the most of them, however, you need to keep them in a temperature range of 65—85o F and better if in a humid climate. Any temperature that’s below 45o F can be disastrous for this plant.
This is why most people keep them indoors for the better part of the year, away from heating and cooling sources. Do this and you won’t have a problem developing your own legion of lilies.
Unlike Jade Plant, which is a type of succulents, Peace Lily needs more water.
One of the best ways of knowing your lilies needs water is when they indicate slight drooping. Like humans, lilies can express their thirst by sagging a little and you are supposed to pick up the signal.
It may be difficult when you first start, but as you get used to your plant, you’ll be picking up in no time.
Generally, you want to keep the soil moist and wet your lily at least a week, making sure you water less often during winter and more often during summer.
One fascinating thing about this houseplant is the speed at which they respond to water.
Even when they look like they are totally out and depleted, with fronds over the pot edge, a full spritz can restore them to their natural state.
In order to keep your peace lily alive, don’t serve them excess water. You can resuscitate them when they starve of water, but it’s easy to kill them with too much water
Thus, the best time to water your lily is when the soil feels dry to the hands and make sure you wet them evenly at the root.
Typically, this houseplant signal lack of water by drooping, so watching out for this will help you react promptly.
You can also boost misting by watering your peace lily throughout summer. Because peace lilies love this, they’ll bloom much better.
Note: before you wet your plant, make sure the source of water doesn’t have chlorine. Tap water will have chlorine or if you are using municipal water system, you should allow it the chlorine to evaporate before using them on the plants. Let the water stay overnight in a container and you can readily pour them on your lily the next morning.
Although they can tolerate fluorescent light, lilies thrive better in partial shade. They can flourish even in a room without a window.
Moreover, peace lilies can react to light, so it’s easier to monitor them as regards lighting.
When the light that goes to them is too strong, this plant will sprout yellow leaves or show up brown leaves when placed under direct sunlight. Their tender leaves tend to singe from the effect of direct sunlight.
Lilies naturally seep nutrients out of the soil. Therefore, the choice of soil and how you prepare it is absolutely important for the survival of your plant.
It’s important to note that the nutrients inherent in the soil cannot be replaced by fertilizers.
This is why it’s generally recommended to re-pot your plant every year or two so you have the opportunity to present a new source of nutrient to your plant.
As you know, you can continue to fertilize the old soil. However, keeping it for too long may create salt/chemical deposits that may harm your plant.
Repotting regularly also ensures you’re providing the maximum amount of nutrients for your peace lily to survive on. And you’ll also be able to decide whether to move the plant to a bigger pot.
The benefit of that is it will keep your lily from becoming root bound when left in the same pot for too long.
Your peace lily survives on the nutrients found in the soil. Since it’s not in the wild, you should keep it well fed by providing enough nutrients, which is achieved by fertilizing regularly.
Since you are trying to nourish your peace lily, it pays to use clean fertilizers. Try to fertilize your lily every year.
But if you don’t have the time, do it in two years. But remember that the more regular it is, the better your plant will blossom.
Peace lilies are sensitive to chemical houseplant fertilizers. Many people have used organic fertilizers and found it to do well for their peace lily.
Water-soluble houseplant fertilizer is a good one. If you choose to use that, make sure it’s balanced such as 10-10-10.
This will allow it to soak into the soil and reach all areas of the root. Also, watch out for excess fertilizer – lilies can suffer from too much of it, so it’s better to use less if you’re in doubt.
Where do peace lilies thrive?
In a tropical jungle, where it’s warm and sultry. To replicate this condition, you can mist the plant with lukewarm water – you can do this daily, or three times a day, depending on your plant’s needs.
Try to mist the leaves of the plant regularly so as to improve the humidity and keep the plant in a solid state.
A good idea is to use an air humidifier if you feel you can’t do it manually. This should work well and free you from having to worry about the air humidity around your plant, every time.
The best method is to do propagation by division, where you separate sections of the original plant. You do this by dividing the root clump in the middle of the mother plant so that each segment is separated.
You then place each part in a separate container. Dividing every 2 years will have a positive effect on your plant’s bloom.
Usually, the number of plants you wish to grow will determine how many places you divide the original plant as well as how many crowns the mother plant has.
If there are plenty of crowns already, you can separate them into more divisions, if not, you can make do with two or three.
You can cut away section from the old plant by using a sharp knife or take it away by hand gently. In order to propagate successfully, you need to ensure that the new crown has at least two leaves with roots attached.
And before you put it in a new pot, check the foliage and roots and remove brown tips or any loose part.
You should re-pot your lily once it rears its root above the soil. This is one of the joys of caring for a lily – it happens once or twice per year, so it doesn’t require too much time.
Repotting may also be needed if the root of your peace lily starts growing round in a circle and not performing very well, you may need to loosen those roots up a little bit.
Don’t worry about the new one being fragile because they can actually take well to a new environment. The new container should be an inch to two inches bigger in diameter than the original pot.
Make sure you add enough soil to the bottom of the new pot to raise the plant to its original height. It’s important to cover the roots well so you don’t leave any air pockets.
This will give a lot of space for the roots to stretch out, grow, and allow more water to be held by the soil so that the plant isn’t going to dry out too quickly.
You can use the soil from the old pot. Also, make sure the new pot is not too big if you are doing a small transplant. Remember a warm and comfortable root brings about blooming in peace lilies.
Common Problems & Pests
Although they are immune to insects and diseases, peace lilies are prone to aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. These are simple to control anyway, just wipe the leaves of your plant regularly.
Plants like roses and other houseplants can be honeypots for insect, but not peace lilies.
As long as you don’t forget wiping, you should be all right. To prevent pest invasion too, you should remember to spray it with insecticidal soap.
Another problem you may face with your plant is those unsightly brown leaf tips, which are often caused by over-fertilizing, low humidity, or excess watering.
If it’s the bottom of the leaves that are being affected, it may be because new leaves are growing and cannibalizing the older ones, in which case, not much can be done.
If your peace lily sag as it dries out of water, make it come alive by pouring it enough liquid.
Are peace lilies poisonous to cats? Yes, they are one of the most common houseplants that toxic to cats. The oxalates in lilies can irritate your cat’s mouth and stomach.
It’s possible your cat will escape harsh poisoning though. Irritation starts immediately after the first bite and sensing that most animals will back out swiftly.
However, cat’s being the curious creature they are, may find themselves back to this specter. This is why you should take appropriate steps towards protecting your cat from the wrath of the beautiful lily.
The best way to not harm your cat is to not have a poisonous cat. But if you like lilies too much and still want to adopt one, then don’t place them around objects like furniture, fixture, or similar item where you darling feline have immediate access.
You can also sprinkle coffee grounds on the potting soil, to dissuade your cat from going close.
Are peace lilies poisonous to dogs? Again, yes. If your dog ingests this plant, it may lead to an inflammatory reaction. This often causes swelling in the tongue, throat, upper airway and mouth.
Unlike cats, however, dogs will not go eating at the plant again, after this sharp sting.
So, it’s easier to control your dog, mostly through obedience training. If your pooch eventually caught on to your plant and is poisoned, see your vet.
Why is my peace lily not blooming? Check if there is sufficient light going to your lily. Low light can cause your lily to grow yellow leaves and continuous encounter can be disastrous.
Your lily can also stop blossoming when the level of moisture in the soil is low, in this case, you’ll only need to water it more frequently. Or if there is a low air humidity, your peace lily will most likely not bloom and the way out is to mist it with lukewarm water daily.
And if your lily is getting old and droopy, it’ll obviously stop blooming but wither instead. In this case, you should propagate and re-pot it.
Since they are small in height and width, peace lilies can survive in almost any area of the home that you place them.
What’s more important is to ensure the place is not exposed to direct sunlight but open to moderate light.
Ideally, you want to keep your plant in an environment with light and shade throughout the day.
One thing that endears peace lily to people is the ease it takes to care for them as well as their ability to thrive in low light environments.
Most importantly, they are resilient. You don’t have to worry they’ll die a premature death when they start sagging today.