Peace lily also referred to as Spath lily, White sail plant or Madonna lily is one of the most popular ornamental plants generally sold for the home interior. The plant bears broad, dark green leaves and charming, creamy-white flowers on tall stems above the foliage. The flower rises up creamy white from the arching sword-like foliage.
Peace lilies as evergreen plants are native to rainforests of Central and South America. Peace lilies also come in different varieties, however, most indoor peace lilies grow up to 16 inches tall, but large outdoor varieties can reach 6 feet in height.
With exposure to maximum light, peace lilies produce white flowers in the early summer and continue to bloom throughout the year. In this article, provides insights into all areas of concern in as far as growing, propagation and caring for peace lily plant is concerned.
Peace Lily Plant Profile
|Peace lily, Spath lily, White flag,Madonna lily, cobra plant.
|The rainforests of central and South America
|Clump forming, evergreen, perennial
|Deep green, glossy, lance shaped.
|Indoors-all zones. Outdoors-tropical, sub-tropical and warm micro-climates in warm temperature
|White spathe flowers on tall stems, mainly in warmer seasons.
|Root cutting and leaves
|Moist and free-draining soil
|18 to 24 inches (45 to 60 cm)
|Dilute liquid houseplant fertilizer
|5.8 to 6.5
|Medium, Indirect light
|In favorable weather, peace lily is resistant to pests.
Peace Lily Care Tips
Peace lilies as sited early in this article are native to tropical rainforests. They ideally grow under a thick forest canopy and thus sometimes are described as shade-loving plants. However, when grown as a houseplant, they require plenty of bright but indirect light. Direct sunlight is known to damage the leaves of peace lilies though there are some varieties that can withstand more direct sunlight than others. Generally, curled, shriveled, pale-brown or scorched leaves are an indication that the plant is receiving too much direct sunlight.
As a precaution, try to avoid exposing your peace lily plant to cold air or too much sun, as these can cause the plant to become unhealthy and die in the long run.
Generally, peace lilies grow wonderfully in a rich, loose potting soil containing plenty of dead organic matter. This is because they are native to tropical rainforests where they are ever surrounded by a decaying plant matter. Therefore, when growing them as outdoor garden plants require a soil that mimics this condition.
Ideally, a standard well-draining, nutrient-rich potting soil is good for growing beautiful peace lilies indoors. Alternatively, you can use a peat-based potting soil that contains composed bark, along with sand or perlite. Typically, your soil should be light and springy to allow proper drainage.
Water the peace lily plant enough to keep the potting mix moist, but not wet or soggy. If your Peace Lily is in a warm environment, it may need more frequent watering. The warmer your home, the more quickly your houseplants will dry out. If you happen to be living in a warmer climate, you will realize that your peace lily needs watering more often especially during the summer months.
Just like other indoor houseplants, the leaves of peace lily will droops down as a signs that it needs to be watered. After it is watered, the plant will bounce back up healthy once again. More importantly, too little water causes the plant to wilt and die. Ideally, water about once per week when the soil is dry.
More often if care is not taken, it is possible to overwater peace lilies. Yellow or brown streaks on the leaves often mean that the plant is getting too much water. To make sure you don’t fall in this trap, always allow the soil to dry out between watering routines. You can feel the top inch of the potting soil with your finger and if you notice it’s dry, then, you are free to water your plant again. In the winter, reduce watering but never allow the soil to dry out.
Once you have planted your peace lily in a well draining soil with plenty of organic matter, fertilizers and nutrient supplements may not be necessary for the growth of a healthy, thriving peace lily plant. However, if you are desirous to apply fertilizer to your plant, any dilute houseplant fertilizer can still make your lily to have exceptionally large, vibrant blooms.
It is important to note that, peace lilies are sensitive plants and over application of fertilizer may affect the optimal growth of the plant. Usually, green blooms are a sign of over-application of fertilizer. Therefore, use a standard 20-20-20 houseplant fertilizer at one half or one quarter its recommended quantity at least once per month in the spring and summer, when the plant is experiencing active growth. More importantly, avoid fertilizer application to your plant during winter periods.
Peace lily grows effectively in high humid environments. The plant is also tolerant to normal household humidity. If you live particularly in a dry-humid environment or when the weather is dry, you need to look for innovative ways that will humidify the environment around your plant.
Well, you can try things like pebble tray humidifier or grouping the plants together to boost humidity. You may also try misting the leaves with a spray bottle or keeping the plant near a bathroom or a dishwasher.
Peace Lilies are native to tropical rainforests, they grows optimally at temperatures of between 18oC (65oF) and 30oC (80oF). This indeed makes it as an ideal indoor plant since it is friendly temperature is within room temperature ranges. When growing the plant indoors, ensure that the plant is kept away from heating and cooling appliances.
Peace lilies can still be grown outside in the garden yard under a shade or on the balcony of the house. However in most temperate climates or during winter, the plant should not be left outside, it should be taken inside the house where temperatures are relatively warm and humid.
Unlike other houseplants, peace lilies do not necessarily require to be pruned frequently. But should you notice one or more leaves has shriveled, turned brown, yellow or wilted, then pruning becomes very much necessary to relieve the plant from wasting energy on the dying parts.
In this regard, you will need to use dry-clean, sharp pruning shears or scissors to remove the unhealthy leaves and stalks. During the process of pruning, also remove the leaves on the base of the plant that are too close or touching the potting soil. Such leaves are known to spread fungal and bacterial infection from the soil to the plant.
- Wipe leaves of the peace lily with a damp cloth to remove dust or moisture. This is very important in as far as prevention of insect infestation and pest control is concerned. In case the leaves are already infested with insects, rub them off using a cotton ball dipped in isopropyl alcohol.
- Repotting the peace lily at least annually in the spring invigorates the growing and blooming potential of peace lily.
- If there is presence of white webbing on your peace lily leaves or stalk, it’s likely that the plant has pest infestation. Use a strong stream of water to blast the pests off and then spray it with a plant-safe insecticide or a homemade insecticide.
How To Get Peace Lilies To Flower
Flower or spathe is one of the main characteristic or feature that make peace lily a beautiful plant. Normally, the flower rises up creamy white from the arching sword-like foliage. Generally, peace lilies are usually forced to bloom by use of gibberellic acid, a natural plant hormone that stimulates cell division and elongation.
However, in the absence of gibberellic acid, the plant can still be raised to maturity and natural flowering, though the process can take up to a year. To get your peace lilies to flower naturally, you only need to give it correct cultivation and attention.
Typically, just grow your peace lily in a well-draining, potting soil rich in organic matter and water it correctly, at least two to three times per week using distilled or tap water. Avoid using mineral or salty water in this regard.
You will also need to keep the plant in an area out of too much direct sunlight and feed it with a balanced houseplant fertilizer at least once every two to three month.
How to Divide Peace Lily Plant
Ideally, plants that grow from the soil with a single stalk or trunk cannot be propagated by division but for plants such as peace lilies that grow separate group of foliage directly out of the ground/soil can best be propagated through division. Here is the procedure of how to divide the peace lilies:
- Get the peace lilies out of their growing pot. Turn the pot on its side, grip the plant foliage and gently try to knock the pot away from the plant.
- Once the pot has been knocked away from the plant, examine places where the foliage is seemingly connected to the roots.
- During your examination always keep in mind that every new plant will always have some foliage directly attached to the roots.
- Split the plants into half or into small sections. At this stage there some difficulty is usually experienced in splitting up the roots. Work from the top of the group/crown/cluster down to the roots, disentangling the roots of the crown from the roots of the main plant.
- If the peace lily is small in size, just pull the roots apart with your hands. If the roots are relatively large and it’s somehow root bound, you will require a sharp knife at this stage.
- Using the knife, split the root ball into as many pieces as possible, don’t be worried that you are cutting through much of the roots using the knife, the plant will just recover from the knife damage.
- After successful division, use a spacious pot with enough room for growth to plant each of the new peace lilies.
How to Transfer a Peace Lily Plant To a New Container/Pot
All houseplants occasionally require transfer or replanting into new pots/containers for a variety of reasons that borders on the overall health and being of the plant. This process is commonly referred to as repotting. Reporting process gives a plant a more suitable growing environment with additional space and soil with brand new nutrients. Pests, diseases and molds often infiltrate the over-stayed soil of potted plants. Therefore, reporting helps to prevent such problems.
Other than the health benefits for the plant, transferring to a new containers or pots improves the aesthetic beauty of the houseplant.
With time, peace lilies eventually outgrow their containers, causing the roots to become crowded and compacted. Without enough space for roots, peace lilies may experience stunted growth or can even die. Some of the signs that might point to the fact that your peace lilies have outgrown their current pots/containers include roots growing through drainage holes or above soil level, water runs through the container or literally unhealthy-looking leaves and visibly crowded roots.
It is normally recommended to re-pot peace lily plant every 1-2 years, however, if you notice some of the above mentioned symptoms before the recommended time, then, repotting your plant is quite necessary and urgent.
To effectively repot your peace lilies, fill a suitable sized pot/container with enough soil. Gently pack your soil down so that it will support the plant firmly without sinking down. Remove the plant from the old pot/container and then divide it using the procedure above. Then, plant your peace lily into the new pot/container; you will also need to add some organic matter/dirt around the sides of the plant. Finally, water your plant and add more soil when the water makes the soil in the pot to settle.
What Are Some Of The Peace Lily Varieties?
Just like many other exotic houseplant varieties, peace lily is also heavily hybridized and there are dozens of varieties available. The varieties range in size from miniature to massive and from deep green with snow-white flowers to golden-leaved plants.
Domino Peace Lily
Domino peace lily is formed with variegated foliage. Just like other peace lily varieties, it also blooms, but its main distinguishing feature is its green foliage speckled with cream and white. In other words the green leaves are streaked with white marks.
Jetty Peace Lily
Jetty is a variety that features lush, full growth and long-lasting white flowers.
Little Angle Peace Lily
Little Angle peace lily is a dwarf, compact variety that blooms more readily than many older varieties.
Patricia Peace Lily
Patricia variety is a compact in nature and features rich green leaves and white flowers.
Piccolino/ Mauna Loa Peace Lily
Piccolino variety is a dwarf in nature with dark green leaves and pure white flowers. It usually grows up to 3 feet tall.
Sensation Peace Lily
Sensation peace lily is typically the largest among peace lily varieties. It is characterized by massive tropical leaves and can reach at least 5 feet tall with proportionately large blooms.
Sonia Peace Lily
Sonia peace lily variety is distinguishable from other peace lily varieties due to its small stature and adorable flowers.
White Stripe Peace Lily
White stripe peace lily is characterized by green leaves with a matte finish and a white stripe running up the center.
Are Peace Lilies Poisonous?
Peace Lilies are toxic to humans, dogs as well as cats if ingested. Any part of the plant including the leaves, stems, roots, stems and even the attractive blooms contain calcium oxalate crystals which is an irritating toxin. When ingested it causes burning pain and swelling of the upper airway. It also causes swelling of the mucous membranes of the mouth, throat and digestive tract.
Symptoms of peace lily plant poisoning in cats and dogs include:
- Dilated eyes
- Excessive drooling
- Hoarse barking
- Loss of appetite
- Labored breathing
- Swelling of the tongue and lips
- Difficulty swallowing
Symptoms of peace lily plant ingestion by your dog or cat will always present themselves almost instantly. Symptoms have occasionally been known to take between 2 to 3 hours to show up if large proportion of the plant sap or material is ingested.
If the symptoms are mild and the dog or cat is not in too much discomfort, remove the debris of the plant that might be still hanging in your dog or cat’s mouth. You can try rinsing the mouth and force it to drink enough water.
However if your dog or cat has started experiencing severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, tongue swelling or excessive vomiting, take it to the veterinary doctor for further management of the symptoms. In many cases, steroids, analgesic and anti-inflammatory medication are usually prescribed in this regard.
To prevent your dog or cat from eating any part of the peace lily plant, place the plant indoors out of reach. You can also use obedient commands to train your cat or dog to stay away from peace lilies. For outdoor peace lilies, you will need to fence-off your garden yard.
Diseases And Pests That Affect Peace Lilies
Mealybugs are white fuzzy pests you can easily see on stem and leaves. They can also appear cream or brown-colored. Mealybugs are probably the most common pests for indoor peace lilies. They damage the plants by sucking sap from roots, tender leaves and petioles. They excrete honeydew on which sooty mould develops.
Due to the wide foliage of peace lilies, pests such as Mealybugs often gather under the bottom of the leaves, therefore, cleaning the leaves regularly with a damp cloth immersed in alcohol will be useful in removing the Mealybugs and help in removing dust particles hence improving the overall appearance of the peace lilies.
Scale insects are also a common problem among houseplants such as peace lilies, the insects usually thrive in warm, dry environments. They are small, oval and flat creatures with a protective brown shell-like covering ‘scale’. The scales generally target the undersides of leaves and around leaf joints. Just like the Mealybugs, scale insects suck sap from plants, robbing them off essential nutrients. This consequently makes the plant leaves to turn yellow and eventually drop from the plant.
If the infestation of the scale insects is not controlled, the death of the peace lily becomes inevitable. Several well-known remedies can be used to eliminate scales from the lily plant. Cleaning the leaves and other parts of the plant with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab is usually the best way to get rid of these insects. You can also use plant-safe pesticides and insecticides. Any of these chemicals must be applied thoroughly each week for a period of at least one month.
Root Rot Disease
Root rot is a disease that majorly affects plants growing in excessively wet or soggy soils. Soil can become waterlogged for a number of reasons including poor drainage, continuous heavy rainfall and overwatering.
Overwatering and poor drainage are ideally the main cause of root rot disease in many indoor plants including peace lilies. Root rot condition is very much hard to detect in timely manner given that it starts developing underground, out of sight and is more often detected when the damage has already been done.
Yellow leaves can be a sign of telltale sign of root rot. Occasionally due to this condition leaves of the plant will drop off the plant by themselves and more so the plant may look wilted no matter how much you water the plant. When you inspect the roots of the plant, you will notice that they are a different color than normal i.e darker, reddish-brown and stink with rot.
Once inside the root system, the bacteria causing root rot grows and follows the water conducting vessels of the roots, it quickly grows into the trunk or stem and eventually reaches the plant extremities. At this stage, the plant cannot be saved, it will just die.
Spider mites not only make your peace lily plant to look unsightly; it can even kill the plant. Spider mites damage causes small yellow or brown spots on the leaves of the plant, the damage may also include spider web type webbing on your lily plant.
It is difficult to see spider mites on houseplants and outdoor plants with the naked eye, however, if you suspect that your plant is infested with spider mites, use a cotton swab dipped inside alcohol to clean the leaves, petioles and stem of the plant. You can also spray the plant with homemade insecticides or pesticides.
Aphids are small, soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects that exist in a variety of colors. These pests rarely present a serious problem on peace lilies, though very heavy feeding can cause distortion of new growth. Aphids tend to cluster on new leaves, leaf undersides and near flowers.
Should Aphids infest your peace lily plant, you can get rid of them by wiping the plant down with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or spraying the plant with ready-to-use insecticidal soap, spray until the soap drips all the plant’s surface including the backs of the leaves. Spray the plant at least once a week for one full month.
Trouble Shooting: Common Problems Associated With Growing Peace Lily
Peace Lily Not Blooming
The most common reason why peace lilies don’t bloom is because they aren’t getting enough light. Although they can grow in low light conditions, peace lilies won’t bloom in the shade. Peace lily plant blooms best in bright or medium indirect sunlight.
Peace Lily Has Brown And Yellow Leaves
This is usually an indication that the plant requires more water. In this case try to change your watering routine to at least two times a week.
Drooping, Yellow Leaves That Are Brown At The Tips
This is quite a common issue for peace lily plants that have been growing in the same container for more than one or two years. This condition is usually a sign of root rot disease and therefore, repotting your plant in this case becomes inevitable.
Brown leaf tips can also be caused by excessive light, over-application of fertilizer, lack of water or low humidity.
Webbing On Leaves
Webbing on leaves of peace lily plant is normally a sign of spider mites infestation. In this case, you will need to move with speed in getting rid of these insects before they completely damage your beautiful peace lily plant.
High temperatures and low humidity are usually the cause of leaf curling in peace lilies.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can Peace Lilies Be Grown In Water?
Peace lilies can indeed be grown in water. The base of the plant is just suspended above the water line, either by a specially-made insert or a layer of small stones. This allows the roots of the plant to grow into water while at the same time keeping the base of the plant and its leaves from being wet throughout a factor that can result to root and stem rot.
Can I leave my peace lily outside?
Depending on your climate, you can leave your peace lily plant outside for part of the year on a shay patio or similar location when weather is warm and humid. If you live in tropical region, you can leave your plant outside year-round.
When is the best time to prune my peace lily?
There is literally no best time to prune your peace lily plant. Any day and time you notice damaged parts such brown or yellow leaves and petioles, dead flowers then that could be the most appropriate time to trim off this damaged parts.
Can I place my peace lily in a windy area?
Try to avoid exposing your plant to cold air or placing it in a windy area as these can cause the plant to become unhealthy and develop brown, shriveled leaves.
Is it appropriate to apply fertilizer to my peace lily plant during winter?
Winter is normally a dormant phase for peace lily plant, in other words, no growth is taking place and therefore fertilizer application during this period is not necessary. Fertilizer application only ideal during the periods of active growth and that is, during spring and summer.
Where can I place the peace lily inside my house?
The peace lily should be close to, but not directly under a window in a warm room in your house where it will benefit from indirect sunlight. North or West facing windows are best as these do not allow direct sunlight all day. During winter keep the peace lily away from non-insulated windows and doors because the cold drafts can severely damage the plant.
Can commercial Insecticides affect my peace lily?
Many commercial insecticides contain corrosive ingredients that can have undesirable effects on your houseplant on long-term use. However, there are also many certified plant-safe insecticides can are readily available in local stores. Alternatively, you can use home-made insecticide using neem leaves, Epsom salt and alcohol.