Peace lilies are beautiful and popular houseplants. Thankfully, peace lily care is also relatively easy. These tropical evergreen plants thrive on the forest floor, where they receive consistent moisture and patches of sunlight. You’ll be able to keep your peace lily healthy and happy by replicating these conditions in your home.
When given enough light, your peace lily can produce white or off-white flowers in the early summer. These flowers can bloom throughout the year when given the right living conditions.
The usual household variety of peace lilies can grow as tall as 16 inches. Amazingly, the outdoor types can grow even larger with leaves that can reach 6 feet in length!
If you’re looking to care for your peace lily, here’s the ultimate guide with everything you need to know.
Peace Lily Care: How To Plant Your Peace Lily
Peace lilies only need a container to grow happily. However, they don’t like sitting in a pot that’s much bigger than the length of their roots. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to plant them:
- Pick a container that provides good drainage and isn’t more than ⅓ bigger than your peace lily’s root ball.
- Fill your container with ⅓ potting mix. Ideally, the combination you use shouldn’t have any bark or compost. These are both known to provide a home to fungus gnats. The mixture you use should also contain coconut coir as it helps soil to re-wet easily. You can even get potting soil explicitly made for peace lilies.
- Put the plant inside your container. Ensure that the top of the root ball is around an inch below the container’s rim. Doing this will leave enough room for watering.
- Fill in the areas around the root ball with the potting mix.
- Place a saucer underneath and water the peace lily until you see moisture drain out from the container’s bottom. You can then move your peace lily to its new home.
Caring for Peace Lilies
Where To Grow Your Peace Lily
Peace lilies can grow in dark spaces – even a closet, but this doesn’t mean they should be grown there. While capable of blooming in low light, it happens rarely. If you’re after lush foliage, you can try placing your peace lily inside a dark closet. But if you’d like to have flowers, expose them to bright and indirect light.
Peace lilies are vulnerable to cold temperatures, so keep them protected from drafts. While most peace lilies grow well as houseplants, they may also grow outside if given the right conditions. Place your peace lily in a shady area with consistently moist soil. There should be more natural ambient light compared to if they are inside.
How To Water Your Peace Lily
A peace lily always needs moist soil; however, they won’t do well when sitting in too much water. Water your peace lily when you notice the top inch of its soil is dry. Water it until you see water at the bottom of your container.
Peace lilies are typically happy and healthy if they get enough water. If you notice they’re looking gorgeous one day and then flopping over the next, there’s no need to worry. Just water your plant immediately and let it soak in the liquid. Then water it again, and it’ll be beautiful again in no time.
Just remember that when it comes to peace lily care, consistent watering is the key. While peace lilies can tolerate dry soil for short periods, don’t wait too long to water them. Their leaves will turn brown if they don’t receive the moisture they need. Peace lilies are also sensitive to chemicals like fluoride, which is common in tap water. Using this can cause browning of their leaf tips, so be sure to use room-temperature, filtered water if possible.
How To Feed Your Peace Lily
Around one month after planting a peace lily, it’ll start to get hungry. Provide it with a nutritious meal using fertilizer intended for peace lilies. You can apply the fertilizer directly to the soil or mix it in their water in most cases. Whichever method you choose, be sure to follow the directions on the label.
Peace lilies aren’t heavy feeders, so only fertilize them occasionally. Use a balanced fertilizer every six weeks, starting in late winter to encourage growth during spring and summer. Read the fertilizer’s instructions first to learn how and when to use it for the best results.
Humidity and Temperatures for Peace Lilies
Peace lilies like high humidity. Place their containers on a plant tray with gravel and water. Doing so can add humidity around your plant. You can also mist their leaves with water to help with moisture. Because peace lilies are tropical plants, keep them in temperatures of more than 60°F (16°C) and away from drafty, cold windows. They will also flourish in temperatures above 70°F (21°C).
Remember to keep these plants away from direct sunlight in the afternoon. Place your peace lily in an east-facing window. This location will expose them to the gentle morning sun while avoiding the intense rays around mid-day.
Pruning and Repotting Peace Lilies
Aside from removing any dying flowers or leaves, it’s not necessary to prune a peace lily. It is best to refrain from cutting any dying leaves until you can gently pull them off. When its flowers turn brown, cut them off with sharp, sterilized plant shears.
When you repot them, peace lilies are happy to be in a crowded pot. It’s time to repot them when the plants begin to wilt at a faster rate. At this point, the roots have started taking up the container, leaving little room for the soil to absorb water. When this happens, pick out a new container that’s a few inches wider than the previous container. Then, follow the planting instructions provided above.
As mentioned previously, peace lilies tend to like being rootbound. So, when your plant has overgrown its container or is drooping more than usual, you’ll know it needs repotting. While this usually happens every two years, observe your peace lily to decide when to make a move. Again, when providing peace lily care, use a pot one or two sizes up to ensure adequate drainage.
Propagating a Peace Lily
Many people have found success with propagating peace lilies in soil rather than water. This process involves dividing the plant’s rhizome. The rhizome is the group of horizontal “stems” that grow under the soil’s surface. It is in these areas from where new plants can sprout.
Using an adult plant, find a little stem sprouting out from its base and snip it off from the rhizome. Untangle any roots tangled with the main plant’s roots. Some breakage is acceptable but be careful not to do too much damage. You’ll need to use a sharp, sterilized plant knife to help the roots separate from each other.
When they’re ready, plant the smaller plant in a proper-sized container. Then water it and care for it like you would for the other peace lilies.
How Can I Get My Peace Lily To Flower?
As mentioned earlier, peace lilies can flower all year round. While peace lilies will only bloom a few times every year, their flowers last for two months. To encourage your peace lily to produce flowers:
- Keep it snug inside the pot.
- Give it plenty of indirect light.
- Water the plant properly.
- Use quality peace lily fertilizer.
And, if they don’t bloom, don’t be discouraged, as they are still gorgeous plants to have indoors.
If you notice that your peace lily isn’t producing flowers most of the time, it might need more light. While peace lilies are highly tolerant of low light, it doesn’t mean they will thrive in darkness. Move your peace lily to a brighter location, or provide it with bright, indirect light to produce flowers. Consider using grow lights if necessary.
Weak-looking flowers, green flowers, or a lack of flowers can be a sign of improper fertilizing. If you notice green flowers, stop giving your peace lily fertilizer. For lack of flowers or weak-looking flowers, try using a fertilizer that’s made specifically for flowering plants. This kind of fertilizer contains higher amounts of phosphorus, an essential element for plants to bloom.
Recommended Peace Lily Varieties
Some of the variants in this list are quite rare and aren’t easy to find in most garden centers. As such, you’re most likely to get them from an online source that specializes in peace lily care and sales.
- The Spathiphyllum wallisii is a small member of the peace lily family, growing at just 12 inches tall.
- A smaller variant, “Petite,” stands at just 8 to 10 inches.
- “Mojo Lime” is known for its lime-green leaves and is a medium-sized peace lily.
- “Domino” is another medium-sized variant with beautiful, variegated leaves.
- “Sensation” is the largest member of the peace lily family and can grow up to 6 feet in width and height.
Growing Peace Lilies in Water
If you’re wondering if peace lilies can grow on water alone, the answer is yes. Ideally, the base of your peace lily should be above the waterline. Achieve this with a layer of small stones or using a specially-made insert. This method allows the roots to grow into the water while the plant’s base and leaves remain dry.
Peace Lilies are Poisonous
Unfortunately, peace lilies are mildly poisonous since every part of this plant contains calcium oxalate. Calcium oxalate may cause respiratory and stomach irritation if eaten in large amounts. Because of this, keep peace lilies out of reach of pets and small children. Some other plants that contain this substance are daffodils, philodendrons, hyacinths, and true lilies.
Is a Peace Lily Poisonous To Dogs?
Peace lilies are toxic to dogs if ingested, so make sure to keep them away from your beloved canines. The Pet Poison Helpline says that crystals from calcium oxalate can trigger an inflammatory reaction. This reaction can result in the swelling of a dog’s tongue, mouth, upper airway, and throat. If your dog suffers from peace lily poisoning, immediately bring your pup to your vet for treatment.
After such an experience, most dogs will not go after the plant a second time. However, to keep your dogs safe from your indoor peace lily, place the plant somewhere out of reach. You can also use obedience commands to help your dog stay away from peace lilies that they may see outdoors. If you happen to have peace lilies in your yard, it’s best to keep them inside a fenced-off area.
Is a Peace Lily Poisonous To Cats?
Yes. In fact, according to the ASPCA, peace lilies are among the most well-known house plants that are poisonous to cats. As mentioned, peace lilies contain calcium oxalates that may irritate a cat’s stomach and mouth. Most of the time, though, you can avoid severe poisoning because irritation quickly starts after the first bite. The annoyance typically makes cats stop eating the plant right away. If your cat has ingested the leaves of a peace lily, they will shake their heads, salivate profusely, and paw their mouths.
Cats are known for their curiosity and are also highly agile. You can best protect them from harm by not owning poisonous plants in the home. Lastly, you can also try various deterrents. Sprinkling coffee grounds around the plant or placing mothballs inside a small container full of holes may keep cats away.
How To Troubleshoot Peace Lily Care Problems
The needs of a peace lily tend to be straightforward. However, you may notice a few problems with them, so keep an eye out for the following:
- Not blooming: If you see that your peace lily isn’t blooming, place it in a spot where it can get more indirect sunlight.
- Mealybugs and scale: These will quickly take up residence on your peace lily as soon as they see the opportunity to do so. An intensive wipe-down of its leaves using insecticidal soap is an excellent solution to this problem. Repeated application, however, may be necessary.
- Fungus gnats: Depending on the potting mix you use, this may be more or less of an issue. But if you’re using a potting mix that attracts these critters, it’s necessary to fight against them. Try to water your peace lily less and make sure that the soil completely dries out between waterings. If this method doesn’t work, kill off larvae inside the soil with an insecticide for home gardens like Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt).
- Yellow leaves: These may be caused by underwatering, overwatering, or simply the old age of the leaf. Over time, older leaves on your peace lily will turn yellow, so there’s no need to panic. To remedy this, remove them by cutting to the plant’s center. Overwatered plants can also develop yellow leaves. Let its soil dry and stop watering for a while so the plant can recover.
- Brown leaf tips: This is a giveaway sign that a peace lily is getting too much direct sunlight. To fix this problem, remove the plant from sunlight, or elevate the humidity levels around your peace lily. You can mist the leaves to increase the humidity or keep the plant on a tray with moist gravel. Another method to take is to fill the saucer you’re using under the pot with pebbles. Then add water to about ⅓ inch under the top of the stones. Doing so will cause the water to evaporate around the leaves and will raise the levels of humidity.
- Dusty leaves: The leaves of peace lilies tend to collect dust due to their large size. You can put the plant inside the shower to wash it down. Allow the leaves to dry and apply leaf shine to retain the gloss of the leaves. Alternatively, use a plant leaf cleaning solution.
FAQs for Peace Lily Care
Yellow leaves can mean overwatering, underwatering, or be a sign of the leaf’s old age. As time passes, the older leaves of the peace lily may turn yellow, which is natural. To fix this, remove each of the affected leaves by cutting into the plant’s center. If the problem is from overwatering, stop watering the plant and let the soil dry to help it recover.
Peace lilies are poisonous and should be handled with care. They contain calcium oxalate. This substance can cause stomach and respiratory irritation if consumed in a large amount. Keep these plants away from children and pets to ensure they don’t ingest any part of the plant.
Peace lilies are capable of blooming throughout the year. While they may only bloom a few times a year, they can provide you with beautiful flowers for two months. Even if your plant doesn’t produce flowers, it will still serve as a beautiful house plant. If the peace lily isn’t making flowers, try one of the following:
- Provide it with more sunlight or move it to a brighter location.
- Stop giving it fertilizer.
- Opt for fertilizers that are made specifically for flowering plants.
Lilies propagate better in soil compared to water, so start by dividing the plant’s rhizome. Use an adult plant to look for small stems that are sprouting from the base. Snip it off and untangle roots from the mother plant — it’s OK to have some breakage, but be careful. Once ready, plant the smaller plant inside a container with drainage and water it.
If you’re looking to have complete and lush leaves, growing your peace lily inside a dark area is the best place. But if you’re looking forward to seeing its flowers bloom, expose it to indirect sunlight. Keep it far away from drafts and direct sunlight.