A peace lily plant – also known as Spathiphyllum or white sails – is a great houseplant with beautiful white flowers and lush green foliage. It is renowned for its air-purifying powers and can help remove toxins from the air.
But most impressive is its ability to communicate with you – if you learn how to speak its language.
Here I will teach you how to care for a peace lily, meet its needs and keep it happy. Answering all your care questions with tips and tricks based on my years of experience and thorough research.
Table of Contents:
- Which Variety of Peace Lily Do I Have and Why Does It Matter?
- Where Should I Put My Indoor Peace Lily?
- How Often Should I Water My Peace Lily?
- Do Peace Lilies Need High Humidity?
- How Often Should I Fertilize My Peace Lily?
- When Should I Repot My Peace Lily?
- How Hard Is It to Propagate a Peace Lily?
- How Do I Bring Back the Bloom?
- How Large Can Peace Lilies Grow Indoors?
How to Care for a Peace Lily Guide
The first thing to know is that they are actually not lilies. They belong to the Araceae family, which also includes other houseplant celebrities such as monstera (Swiss cheese plant) and philodendron.
Luckily, these beauties are far easier to care for than regular lilies.
They come from the South American rainforest, where they would enjoy the regular drip of rainwater and dappled sunlight. Keep these natural conditions in mind as you learn more about caring for them.
Which Variety of Peace Lily Do I Have and Why Does It Matter?
There are many varieties! They range massively in size, but are all easy-going plants.
Knowing which variety you have will help you to meet your plant’s particular needs.
- Spathiphyllum “Power Petite”: A very small variety which only grows to around 38 cm.
- Spathiphyllum “Mauna Loa Supreme”: A very common type has large leaves (up to 22 cm) and can grow to a huge 122 cm.
- Spathiphyllum “Sensation” or “Giant Peace Lily”: This is the largest variety. It can grow to 180 cm and is easily identifiable because of its massive 50 cm leaves.
- Spathiphyllum “Mojo”: A large variety which has exceptionally vibrant green foliage.
- Spathiphyllum “Golden Delicious”: New growth on this variety will be a beautiful gold-green.
- Spathiphyllum “Starlight”: This variation has narrower leaves with wavy edges. One “Starlight” plant can have up to 20 white flowers.
Remember that larger varieties will require more water and a larger pot. Other than that, all the different varieties are actually similar in terms of care.
All peace lilies are simple to care for and the following tips will apply no matter which variety you have.
Where Should I Put My Indoor Peace Lily?
They don’t need a lot of light. Too much direct sunlight will scorch their beautiful leaves. In their natural habitat, they would have been partially shaded from the sun by the rainforest canopy. Remember that brown scorches on the leaves suggest there is too much direct sunlight in particular.
Follow the tips below for finding the best spot:
- Choose a bright spot away from direct sunlight.
- East-facing windows are great.
- Morning light is weaker and so less likely to scorch the leaves.
- If the leaves begin to curl and go pale, or show brown spots, it means there is too much light.
- Move your plant to a shadier spot if you notice either of these signs.
- Ensure it is away from any cold draughts.
- Avoid keeping it near any doors or windows. Also keep it away from heat sources.
- Humid atmospheres work best.
- The bathroom, kitchen or laundry room can be good locations.
- Make them difficult to access.
- They are toxic to pets and small children.
How Often Should I Water My Peace Lily?
One of the big questions new owners have is how often to water their new green baby.
Peace lilies tend to prefer a light watering.
They are perfect for forgetful waterers as they won’t kick up a fuss over dry soil.
As you water, think about its natural home – the rainforest – and the steady drip-drip of rainwater that would sustain it in its natural environment. While managing your indoor peace lily care, remember it will need more than a few drips (given the lower humidity levels in our houses), less is more when it comes to watering these indoor plants.
Avoid over-watering by waiting for the top 2-3 cm of soil to be dry before watering again. Use the finger test once a week to check the moisture levels in the top few centimeters of soil. If it’s dry, give it a light water. If it’s damp, skip the water.
In one sense they have a tendency to be a little fussy – they prefer purified water instead of tap water (which can contain fluoride – a chemical many houseplants are sensitive to). You can work around this by using rainwater, which these tropical beauties will accept ungrudgingly.
How Do I Know If I Have Over- or Under-watered My Peace Lily
The most common issue is being over-watered by over-zealous owners. Watch out for soggy soil, yellowing leaves, brown leaf tips and root rot.
Peace lilies are quite good at going droopy when they are unhappy. Leaf droop is often a sign that they have been over-watered. Simply skip a water or two and it will bounce back.
Overall they prefer being under-watered than over-watered, so err on the side of neglect.
When they are under-watered, peace lilies will wilt quite dramatically. But they will be unfazed by one or two missed waters, so don’t worry too much. A light plant shower can re-perk it when it’s wilting.
Do Peace Lilies Need High Humidity?
While not considered high humidity divas who will wilt at the slightest sign of dry air, they prefer humid conditions over dry ones.
If the room is particularly dry, you can mist every few days. Or keep it near other humidity-loving indoor plants so that they can form a microclimate support system.
Bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms are great spots that care for peace lilies due to the higher humidity levels. To create the perfect humid conditions, check out our post on the best humidifiers.
Keep its leaves fresh and lush by lightly wiping them with a damp cloth. This will prevent dust from building up and will help the leaves absorb light.
Or give it a light shower every now and then to keep it glossy and hydrated.
Peace Lilies Prefer Room Temperatures
A room temperature which is comfortable for humans will be comfortable for your plant too. The ideal temperature is somewhere between 16 – 21°C or 60 – 70°F, but it won’t sulk at slight temperature variations.
Just make sure to keep this guy away from heaters, radiators and cold draughts to avoid wilting. Like many of us, they don’t like sudden, extreme temperature changes.
There’s no need for a particular type of soil in order for it to grow well – a generic houseplant compost will keep everyone happy.
But, for the best results use an indoor potting mix that doesn’t contain compost or bark which can encourage fungus gnats to invade. Equally, soil with a pH-level closer to acidic will help it to really flourish.
How Often Should I Fertilize My Peace Lily?
Fertilize with generic liquid houseplant food in the spring and summer. Fertilizing peace lilies doesn’t need a super regular schedule.
Add a little liquid fertilizer every few weeks or even months in the warmer season.
Skip fertilizing altogether in winter. Most will flourish with very little fertilizing.
When Should I Repot My Peace Lily?
Repot every two or three years to ensure it has room to grow. The best time for repotting is early spring, before it blooms.
A clear sign that your plant needs a larger pot is wilting that increased watering can’t overcome. This suggests the root ball is now taking up too much space and hindering the soil’s ability to hold water.
Also watch out for roots growing through the bottom of the plastic nursery pot.
Peace lilies can thrive with semi-constricted roots, so avoid repotting in an over-large pot. Select a pot that is around a third larger than the root ball. Opt for a pot that provides draining holes to help avoid root rot. Clay or terracotta pots are great options as they will help limit excess moisture in the soil.
Fill around two-thirds of the pot with the compost (make sure to read our guidance on soil). Plant your peace lily, fill around the root ball and pat down the soil. Then water well.
Remember to adjust your watering schedule according to the size of its new pot – larger pots require more water.
Peace lilies take time to adjust to new pot homes, so don’t be worried if it stops flowering for a while. If the summer months have come and gone without any flowers, follow the tips in our bring back the bloom section.
How Hard Is It to Propagate a Peace Lily?
Propagating is a very simple process that is perfect for first-time propagators.
To propagate, simply split your plant into multiple flowering plants by following this method:
- Remove the entire plant from its pot and cut away a large section from the root ball.
- Make sure that your plant has a solid root ball. A piece with at least two leaves and well-attached roots should grow into a healthy plant.
- Fill a new 15 cm pot (with drainage holes!) with fresh potting soil to around two-thirds full.
- Add your new plant to the pot and fill up the soil to just below the rim. Pat down the soil and make sure all of the roots are covered.
- Give it a thorough water, but make sure the water drains out of the bottom. A light plant shower can also work well.
- Keep it in a warm, well-lit place, away from direct sunlight. Within a month the roots should have reestablished and your plant will begin to grow.
- Don’t forget to repot your original mother plant too!
Give the new plant (or plants) time to adjust to their new pot. It is likely that they won’t flower immediately.
How Do I Bring Back the Bloom?
Peace lilies can bloom twice a year, adding a serene white pop to your houseplant collection that can last for months. But encouraging reluctant peace lily plants to bloom can seem complicated.
Luckily, there are some easy things that you can do to increase the chance of a beautiful bloom.
Keeping this houseplant in bright, indirect light will encourage it to flower. Peace lilies growing in low light are unlikely to flower.
A little plant food could encourage a reluctant bloomer to flower every year. But be careful not to over-fertilize – once a month would be plenty.
How Large Can Peace Lilies Grow Indoors?
Peace lilies are moderate-speed growers and tend to reach maturity at around 3 – 5 years.
On average an indoor peace lily will grow to around 40 cm tall, but they can grow up to 122 cm if they are very well looked after. (See our breakdown on this plant species and how tall each variety is likely to grow.)
When this plant produces its white flowers it will gain a little extra height as the flower stem tends to grow taller than the foliage.
Peace lilies can also become quite wide, on average reaching 30 – 50 cm in width.
Is There a Way to Keep My Peace Lily Small
Owning a towering peace lily might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Luckily, there are two simple methods which can help you keep it small – and still retain its health.
The first method is pruning. Simply cut back the outer leaves once a year. You can also prune its roots to limit your plant’s expansion. Make sure to do this before the growing season begins.
The second option is splitting. By splitting the original mother plant into smaller flowering plants you can control its growth and you get the bonus of multiplying your houseplant collection! For tips on how best to do this, see our section on propagating peace lilies.
FAQ About Peace Lily Care
Why are there yellow leaves?
It is quite common for the lush green leaves to be slowly replaced with a less attractive yellow. This is often just a natural process that happens as the leaves age.
It is not a sign that anything is particularly wrong.
And there are some simple steps you can take to restore the green appeal.
- Remove yellow leaves to make room for new leaves to grow. Cut near the base of the yellow leaf’s stem to remove it neatly.
- Allow the soil to dry out more as overwatering can turn the leaves yellow.
- Make sure the pot is draining correctly.
More rarely, yellowing leaves can be caused by a lack of nutrients in the soil. If this is the problem, you will notice that the veins on the plant are still green and only the leaves are yellow. To counter this:
- Increase your fertilizing schedule. Though avoid adding too much fertilizer at once.
How can I stop brown edges on the leaves?
Light levels will be your main culprit here and will manifest through the slow browning of leaves. This browning will begin with the tips and edges of its leaves.
- Move your plant away from any direct sunlight. A shaded spot in a room with bright indirect light would be perfect.
- Increase the humidity to prevent leaves from browning. Use a mister or give your plant a light shower.
- Also try wiping down the leaves with a soft damp cloth.
Why do my plant’s leaves droop?
Peace lilies are good communicators. When their leaves droop, it generally means they are under-watered.
- As soon as you notice the leaves drooping, WATER. Your plant should revive in an hour or two.
- Try a semi-regular light plant shower to avoid future drooping.
- Or experiment with bottom-up watering (simply put your pot – with drainage holes! – in a tray of water for a short period, then shake the pot at the end to remove excess water).
How do I get rid of insects?
Small flies – especially fungus gnats – may be particularly drawn to the compost.
Although irritating, fungus gnats don’t usually harm houseplants and even their larvae only feed on already decaying plant matter.
However, you probably want to stop these pests from flying around your house.
- As fungus gnats love moist compost, try watering less to avoid attracting them.
- Lure small flies away from your plant by creating a homemade fly-lure. Try leaving out a shallow dish with sweet-smelling squash or beer to lure pesky flies away.
- You could also try a pesticide (the insecticide Bt Bacillus thuringiensis will work here) to kill the larvae before they develop into flies. But a natural solution that will cause no harm to the plant – or the planet – is always recommended first.
Caring for Peace Lillies Is Quite Easy
Caring for a peace lily – or five! – can be a rewarding experience for even the most novice of houseplant owners. Just a little knowledge of the conditions in which peace lilies thrive can set you up for successful growth and bloom.
Key Tips to Remember
- Keep in bright, indirect sunlight to encourage healthy growth and a pretty bloom.
- Let the top 2-3 cm of soil dry out before you water again.
- Mist or lightly shower every now and then to keep it glossy and happy.
- Repot every two years, using a pot that is only slightly bigger – these roots like it cozy!
Peace lilies love to communicate with you – watching out for leaf droop will help you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to their care.
Find Your Zen With Peace Lilies
Speaking with your plant to understand what it wants is pretty darn cool, if you ask us. Learn how to speak with other houseplants by clicking one of the articles below or by heading over to our main vault of houseplant tip info. After you’ve learned how to ‘speak plant’, make sure to grab the full list of necessary tools to get the job done! Happy houseplanting!
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