Peace Lily

Common Name: Peace Lily, White Flag, White Sails, Spath Flower
Latin Name: Spathiphyllum
Family: Aroid
Plant Type:  Perennial
Origin: Central and South America
Blooming Time: Year round
Humidity: High humidity
Temperature: 60-85°F
Height: 5′ H  4′ W
Color: Dark green foliage, white flowers
Insects and Diseases: Thrips, mealy bugs

Description:
The Peace Lillies are very pretty houseplants even just for their dark green foliage that gracefully arches over. The leaves can grow to over one foot in length. The white blossoms develop on top of slender, straight stems and create a dramatic effect against the dark green foliage.

The blossoms are generally taller than the foliage and resemble a Calla Lily. Flowers begin a pale green and turn to a creamy white as it matures. They’re long lasting blooms, but have a very light fragrance.

Lighting:
Peace Lily’s will thrive in areas of low light, 5 to 8 feet from a window is a great location for this plant. The plant shouldn’t be set in direct sunlight for long periods of time, the leaves will turn yellow and fall off.

Watering:
Peace Lily’s need evenly moist soils, but the soil should never be soggy. Standing water will kill the root system, as a matter of fact the most common reason Peace Lily’s die is because of over-watering. Normally watering about once a week is plenty for this plant.

Many have found success with watering by allowing the leaves to slightly droop before adding water. However, keep in mind that if you allow the plant to droop too much, it can damage the plant.

Severely drooping leaves means the plant has been dry long enough to damage some of the roots and the bottom leaves may turn yellow and fall off. To help provide the higher humidity levels this plant likes, mist the foliage several times a week.

Soil:
A high quality potting soil works well for Peace Lily’s. Choose one that will drain good, but still retain water. The soil should be well aerated and if the soil packs to tightly, add Perlite, sand or peat to the mixture.

If you want to make your own soil mixture you can add equal parts of garden soil, coarse sand or Perlite and peat or humus. It’s best to use a pot that has a hole for drainage to prevent root rot.

Peace Lily’s like to be somewhat root bound, re-potting is only needed about every other year. Just move up to a pot that is just a couple of inches larger than the original pot so that the roots will still be slightly together.

Fertilization:
The plant will usually be fine with no fertilization at all, but if you do feed the plant, moderate fertilization is all that is needed. A well balanced fertilizer with a 20-20-20 diluted at one fourth of the recommended dose is enough to suffice. If the tips of your leaves or roots are turning brown, you’re fertilizing the plant too much.

Propagation:
The main way of propagating Peace Lily’s in a home environment is by plant division. New crowns will form at the side of the plant that can be cut away and re-potted. Choose crowns that have a least two leaves present and use a sharp knife to separate it from the parent plant.

Try to remove as many roots as you can with the crown. Pot the new plant in a small pot about 3″ in diameter. It’s best to use the same type of potting mix that the parent plant was growing in. Water the plant right after potting, but don’t apply fertilizer for at least three months.

Toxicity-Poisonous:
The sap of the plant contains oxalate crystals and ingestion can cause swelling of the tongue and throat. And, can cause dermatitis or skin irritations in some people. An upset stomach is generally experienced if parts of the plant are ingested. But, it would take a large amount of plant ingestion to cause severe problems.

Care:
If you experience skin irritation from contact with the plant sap, thoroughly wash the affected area with warm water and soap. If serious symptoms occur from contact or ingestion, contact your physician.

Tips:
While Peace Lily’s prefer natural light, they can be used in rooms that have no windows at all. They can thrive very well under fluorescent lighting alone.

Peace Lily’s should be kept out of any drafts or cold air to keep from damaging the plant. They can be misted frequently with warm water and to provide extra moisture, place the pot on top of gravels in the watering dish.

Remove any dying or dead flowers, they will take energy away from the plant and cause the new leaves to grow out smaller. Remove both the flower and the stalk as far down as you can without damaging the plant.

If after the blooms die your Peace Lily just doesn’t seem to want to bloom again, place it in a darker area for awhile. The period of darkness will trick the plant into thinking it’s had a dormant stage and the blooms will soon start to sprout again!

Written by Connie Corder for HouseplantsForYou.com, Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved

20 Comments

  1. Ron Newton
    Mar 9, 2009

    My Peace Lilly is several years old and beautiful. Why won’t it bloom?
    Thanks. Ron Newton Roanoke AL

  2. anna
    Apr 9, 2009

    thank you for the info on the peace plant. My Mom passed away in Feb. and someone sent me the plant. It is a beautiful plant. Now I know how to care for it. sincerely, Anna

  3. Juani
    Apr 29, 2009

    My peace lily has had a number of “children” in the ten years I have had it. I now have seven plants not counting a couple I have given away. Lately I see the leaves turning a greyish or beige color. Why is this?

  4. Anonymous
    May 21, 2009

    should you trim off the brown tips?

  5. Saundra
    May 29, 2009

    The blooms on my peace lily are turning a dark green. The same color as the leaves.

    I have never seen a peace lily do this and I don’t know what I am doing wrong. The are white when they bloom and then turn this dark green

  6. Sheryl
    Jun 2, 2009

    When the blooms start to turn green, it just means they are spent. (Look at the leaves under the bloom and you may see a white dust — that’s the pollen from the flower.) Take a sharp pair of scissors and cut them off as far down as you can without harming the leaves of the plant and discard.

  7. claire
    Jun 5, 2009

    thank you for the great advice, I have a lovely lilly that is abundant in beautiful leaves but no blooms, now i think I know why….

  8. kkkkkkkkk
    Jun 21, 2009

    Is it normal for 2 leaves to grow on the same stem??? Because i think that’s what mine’s doing. It’s still new and has only had one flower that died a while ago.

  9. maree fraser
    Jul 3, 2009

    I found a plant with about two leaves on it that a “moving out” neighbour had left at the curb. I didn’t know what the plant was at the time, but thought I would look it up at some time. The two leaves look healthy enough….the container was broken…very little soil.

    I put what was left of the plant and roots in a fairly small container. To my surprise, within a few months I had a lovely bloom and knew what plant I had. These blooms came on after another and I consistently had lovely blooms. My mother, who loved Peace Lily plants and had one was very envious since she’d had a large one for many years.

    I moved 5 years ago, potted my peace Lily into a larger pot. and one bloom, so I TRULY believe the idea that they like to pot bound, and have thought that was the problem all along.

    Thanks to you people on this site, I am going to try take some little babies off this plant and put them in fairly small pots. I’m really looking forward to some beautiful blooms!!

    Thanks for all the information!!

  10. mhjohnson
    Jul 6, 2009

    The leaves on my peace lily seem to start turning brown shortly after they open. The brown is not just on the tips but can cover the entire leaf. It may begin in the center of a leaf or start along the edge and continues to worsen until the entire leaf is black. What can / should I do?

  11. Tamera
    Jul 26, 2009

    I have a peace lilly that i love, but the white leaves never re-bloomed after i got in 2007 now my leaves are turning yellow and i water once a week . I have only put actual rain water in the plant for water will i shock it if i put tap water in it? How do i get the white leaves to bloom again, and water in the drip pan is that a sign of too much water? Help please…thanks

  12. Rebecca
    Jun 15, 2010

    My peace plant is over 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide! I have it in the biggest pot that I could find anywhere. I am wondering how to split it. Can I just cut it in half and repot it? I love it but I am running out of room. My other question is should I split it while it has flowers or wait for it to go dormant? It has over 30 flowers right now! Thanks for the help.

  13. TRACEY
    Jun 27, 2010

    SO SHOULD I CUT THE BROWNING LEAVES OFF AND HOW FAR DOWN? PLEASE HELP ME BECAUSE I REALLY DON’T WANT THIS PLANT TO DIE!

  14. jane
    Nov 11, 2010

    We have had a variety of spaths for years; most were purchased many years ago from FL landscape nurseries, but we use them as house plants!
    I have never heard them called peace lilies! Are these really a lily? Why the name peace lily?
    Curious

  15. Jim
    Nov 14, 2010

    I have a large leaf peace lily and it broke off at the base. Is there anyway to regenerate a new root base or save the plant??

  16. sonya
    Dec 19, 2010

    Please help, I have a very droopy plant and don’t know what to do. This plant means a lot to me due to it was to plant at my Grandfathers funreal this year and my heart is hurting very badly and don’t know what to do to try to save it.

    I beleive I may have overwatered it due to it was off schedule of watering from my other house plants and forgot. Listing to a co-worker she said let it dry completly out and put it in new dirt than water it, which I did. Now it is still very droopy. The leaves are still very dark green it hasn’t turn colors yet, do this mean that it may make it or what.

    Please advise this is tearing me apart it’s like I am hurting my Grandfather. Thanking you in advance for your advise.

  17. Anonymous
    Jan 6, 2011

    having a water lily in your home, can there be any symptoms for nausea or allergy
    reactions

  18. Pauline
    Jan 23, 2012

    The spikey part in the middle of the peace lily flower has turned brown. On all of the flowers and the white part is turning green. Any ideas why? I’m concerned it a reflexion on the air quality in the room. Coud it be? Thanks!

  19. MA Johnson
    Nov 15, 2012

    I have a couple of blooms on my Peace Lily turning brown, what reason would this happen? It’s the bud inside of the white flower. Very alarm about this because the Peace Lily is such a beautiful plant. It was gave to me about a couple of months ago by my brother-in-law after my sister-in-law passed. When should I replant it?

    • Mary A Johnson
      Nov 15, 2012

      I have a couple of blooms on my Peace Lily turning brown, what reason would this happen? It’s the bud inside of the white flower. Very alarm about this because the Peace Lily is such a beautiful plant. It was gave to me about a couple of months ago by my brother-in-law after my sister-in-law passed. When should I replant it?

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