How to grow and care for Peace Lily

Houseplant, Peace Lily

Botanical name: Spathiphyllum wallisii
Family: Araceae

Peace Lily is one of the most popular houseplants on account of its ability to clean the air. The dark-green glossy leaves and white blooms wil brighten any space. The bloom is a spathe which appears pale green as it begins to grow and turns white at it opens. It surrounds a spadix that is densely covered by tiny, white flowers. Peace Lily can grow to a height of 3 ft. which makes it very versatile. It can be grown as a table-top plant, on top of a shelf or even in a floor positioned pot. Peace Lilies are easy to grow and are ideal even for a beginner. Peace Lilies are tropical evergreens which grow from underground rhizomes. Keep them out of direct sunlight and cold draughts. Ensure to keep the soil moist at all times and Peace Lilies will thrive. According to a study carried out by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), Spathiphyllum wallisii was found to get rid of common VOCs like xylene, toulene, benzene, formaldehyde and ammonia from indoor air. Peace Lily is native to the tropical rainforests of Central America and Southeastern Asia. In its natural enviroment, it grows in consistently humid conditions on the forest floors where it receives filtered sunlight. Peace Lily has many hybrids and cultivars like Mauna Loa, Sensation, White Stripe and Domino among others.

How to Grow Peace Lily

Light

Peace Lily grows best in partial shade. It can tolerate fluorescent lights. Protect it from direct sunshine to avoid scorching the leaves. Find out how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Water

Peace Lily prefers consistently moist soil but not soggy. Allow the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering during the cold period. Use tepid, chlorine-free water; Peace Lily is sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in water. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

Temperature

Peace Lily prefers average warmth with a minimum of 160C. Protect it from cold and hot draughts. Find out more on temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Average room humidity is adequate for Peace Lily. However, for lush growth, set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity if the air is too dry. Occasionally clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth.

Feeding

Feed Peace Lily monthly during the growing season with a phosphorous-rich water-soluble fertilizer that contains micronutrients. Withhold feeding during the cold season. Peace Lilies are sensitive to chemicals in the soil. Regularly flush out excess chemical deposits from the soil by running a stream of water through the soil until water comes out through the drainage hole. Let the stream of water run for a few minutes. Learn more on how to feed houseplants.

Repotting

Keep Peace Lily pot-bound to promote flowering. Repot during the growing period when it has outgrown its current pot. Use a pot 1 size larger and free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Large plants can be divided at this time to allow adequate room for growth in the new pot. Cut through the rhizomes with a sharp sterile knife and pot up the sections in individual pots. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent waterlogging.

Pruning

Pruning Peace Lily is easy. Get rid of dead leaves to keep the plant neat and tidy. Once blooms are done, cut them off as close to the base as possible. Find out more on how to prune houseplants.

How to Propagate Peace Lily

Peace Lily can be propagated at the begging of the growing season by division of mature plants. Carefully divide the rhizomes into several sections while ensuring that each division has at least 2 leaves and some roots. Pot up the sections into individual pots in moist free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Water thoroughly and place in a shaded place. Maintain the soil moist thorough out but not soggy. The plant may slightly wilt due to the repotting shock but it will recover. Allow it adequate time to be well established before beginning routine care and moving it to its display position.

Common Problems in Growing Peace Lily

  • Yellowish leaves
  • Yellow leaves in Peace Lily are due to too bright light. Move the plant in a more shaded place. Peace Lily is an understory plant and thus prefers dappled light away from direct sunlight. Find out how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants

  • Brown spots on leaves
  • Brown spots on leaves in Peace Lily are an indication of sun scorch marks due to exposure of the plant to direct sunlight. Keep the plant away from direct sunlight.

  • Yellow leaf edges
  • Yellow leaf edges in Peace Lily are due to lack of micronutrients like Magnesium and Iron. Feed Peace Lily monthly diring the growing season with a phosphorous-rich water-soluble fertilizer that contains micronutrients. Learn more on how to feed houseplants.

  • Brown leaf tips
  • Brown leaf tips in Peace Lily are due to a number of reasons. One cause is overwatering; maintain the soil consistently moist but not soggy. The second cause is low humidity; to raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray. The third cause is salts accumulation in the soil; Regularly flush out excess chemical deposits from the soil by running a stream of water through the soil until water comes out through the drainage hole. Let the stream of water run for a few minutes.

  • Dry shrivelled leaves
  • Dry shrivelled leaves in Peace Lily are caused by too low humidity. To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray.

  • Drooping leaves and blooms
  • Drooping leaves and blooms in Peace Lily are due to two reasons. One reason is underwatering; thoroughly water the plant and mist the leaves. It should perk up in a short time. The second reason is that the plant is extremely root-bound which means the soil dries out a few days after watering because there isn't much soil to hold the water. Repot the plant with fresh soil and water it thoroughly. Peace Lily prefers consistently moist soil.

  • No blooms
  • There are several reasons for no blooms in Peace Lily. One reason is too little light; move the plant to a brighter spot but away from direct sunlight. The second reason is low humidity; Peace Lily likes humidity, to raise humidity, place the pot on a wet pebble tray. The third reason for no blooms in Peace Lily is underwatering; maintain the soil consistently moist and do not allow the soil to dry out completely. The fourth reason for no blooms in Peace Lily is underfeeding; feed Peace Lily monthly during the growing season with a phosphorous-rich water-soluble fertilizer that contains micronutrients.

  • Green colored blooms
  • Overfeeding is the cause of green colored blooms in Peace Lily. Reduce the amount of fertilizer by as much as half and observe the result. Withhold feeding during the cold season.

  • Drooping leaves and plant collapse
  • The reason for drooping leaves and plant collapse is waterlogging which leads to root-rot disease. Ensure proper drainage of both the soil and the pot to prevent waterlogging.

  • Pests
  • Peace Lily is fairly resistant to pests. However, weak plants can be attacked by Mealy Bugs, Aphids, Fungus Gnats and Spider Mites.

Toxicity

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii) though called lily is not a true lily. It is only mildly toxic to humans and pets. It contains Calcium oxalate crystals which can cause skin irritation, a burning sensation in the mouth, difficulty swallowing and nausea. It does not contain toxins found in true lilies which could cause acute kidney failure in cats.

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