A decorative, easy-care flowering plant and an air cleanser – that are main reasons for the widespread interior use of Peace Lily. Among many Peace lily species and hybrids, Spathiphyllum kochii, a mid-sized variety, it is renowned as an ornamental landscape plant. Read on to learn how to care for this plant and Spathiphyllum in general.
What Is A Peace Lily Plant?
The plant known botanically as Spathiphyllum is a genus in the family of Araceae. Despite the name, these perennials are not true lilies. The Spathiphyllum genus, commonly known as Peace Lilies or Spath/Spathe, consists of about 40 species and many hybrids, and they all have a very similar look, though they come in many varieties and various sizes. These evergreen, perennial plants are native to tropical rainforests of South America, Central America and the southeastern Asia, where they thrive outdoors, but they are cultivated around the world as houseplants.
Spathiphyllum has large, usually 12 to 18 inches long and 3 inches wide, lush, dark green leaves. They bloom in spring, forming a distinct, white (or sometimes yellowish or brownish) flowers in the form of spadix – a type if inflorescence having small flowers borne on a single stem. What is usually thought to be a flower is actually a modified, petal-like leaf. This white leaf forms a sheath to enclose the flower cluster. It is typical for the plants of the Araceae family, but it’s also found in palms, arums, Irises, Crocuses etc.
The NASA Clean Air Study found that Spathiphyllum helps filter the surrounding air of various toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde.Peace LilyPeace lily is quite simple to care of –there are several basic rules to follow in order to keep you plant happy and healthy.
It doesn’t require sunny positions or frequent watering, so if you have a shady and low-light spot somewhere in your house, that is an ideal place for this plant.
Peace lily grows best in a shade or under a low-light conditions.
You can place it in in a bright spot, but with indirect sunlight. It prefers a temperature between 65 and 80°F and it doesn’t like extreme cold and can’t tolerate temperature drafts.
Are Peace Lilies Poisonous to humans?
True lilies are extremely toxic to humans, while Peace lilies are just irritating and mildly toxic. The plant produces calcium oxalate crystals that can cause skin irritation, so make sure to wash your hands after handling your Peace lily.
If a person or an animal ingest the plant, these crystals can cause a burning sensation in the mouth, nausea, stomach ache, difficulties in swallowing etc. To avoid such scenario, keep children and pets away from the plant as much as you can.Peace Lily FlowersAn interesting fact is that the young flowers or young leaves of Spathiphyllum kochii were usuallly eaten in Central and tropical South America, where these plants are native to. But just in case – don’t try this at home!
Different Species of Spathiphyllum
As previously said, there are about 40 species and several dozens of Spathiphyllum hybrids, but not all of them are suitable for growing as house plants.
The commonly available species plant, usually found as houseplants are hybrids, so the true wild species are rarely cultivated in homes. The most likely used species to create the Peace Lily hybrids are Spathiphyllum wallisii, Spathiphyllum floribundum, Spathiphyllum friedrichsthalii or Spathiphyllum cannifolium.
It would be the best if you’ve known the Peace lily name just to know what cultivar you’re dealing with. Though the care for all Peace liliy varieties is basically the same, it’s always useful to find some extra info on the plant’s characteristics and size.
The species and cultivars are usually divided into three categories based on their size: small (12 to 18 in tall) , medium (24 to 36 in) and large (3-6 feet).
Among the small Spathiphyllum plants, the most popular cultivars are:
- Golden Delicious
- Golden Glow
- Power Petite
Some popular mid-sized Spathiphyllum selections are:
- Mauna Loa
- City of Angels
- Sweet Pablo
The most popular large Peace Lilies are:
- Sunny Sails
- White Lightning
Tips For Peace Lily Plant Care
Peace lilies are perfect for growing indoors as houseplants or office plants because they prefer an environment where these’s no direct sunlight, and they can easily adapt to an indoor growing environment.
Not only are they easy to grow indoor plants, they are also air purifying house plants, pretty amazing right?! Plus they are one of my top picks for the best flowering houseplants!
One thing to keep in mind though… peace lilies can be harmful if eaten. So, if you choose to grow them at home and you have pets or small children around, then it’s best to treat your peace lily as you would any other poisonous house plants, and keep it out of reach.
Watering Your Peace Lily
Overwatering is a common problem with peace lily plant care. They do not like to be overwatered, and prefer their soil on the dry side.
If you forget about it, your plant will let you know when it needs water because it will droop (they’re a bit of a drama queen that way). But don’t worry, a good soaking will make the plant pop back up in no time, and it will be just fine.
When you water your peace lily, give it a good drink of water and allow the water to drain out of the pot before putting it back into it’s cachepot or plant tray. Never allow your peace lily to sit in water.
If you’re worried about watering your plant, I recommend getting a soil moisture gauge to make sure you’re giving your peace lily the perfect amount of water.
One important thing to keep in mind is that peace lilies are very sensitive to chemicals, including chlorine and other chemicals in tap water. It’s best to use rainwater on peace lily plants (or room temperature melted snow!).
If rainwater isn’t an option, then make sure to allow the chlorine to evaporate out of your tap water by leaving it sit in an open container for at least 24 hours before using it on the plant.
Always use room temperature water on peace lilies because they are also very sensitive to extreme temperatures, including hot or cold water.
Peace Lily Potting Soil
Peace lilies aren’t fussy about the type of dirt they’re planted in, so a general purpose potting soil will work just fine.
But the best soil for peace lily plants is a fast draining one. If you tend to overwater plants, you can mix perlite or pumice into the potting soil to increase the drainage. And make sure to always plant your peace lily in a pot that has drainage holes.
If you tend to neglect your houseplants, and you find that your peace lily is constantly drooping, then add a little peat moss, vermiculite or coco coir into the potting soil to help it retain moisture.
Related Post: Tips For Repotting Houseplants
Peace Lily Houseplant Fertilizer
Peace lilies don’t need to be fed very often, and should only be fertilized during the spring and summer months.
Be very careful about which type of houseplant fertilizer you use though, because peace lilies are very sensitive to chemical fertilizers. It’s best to use a natural fertilizer on them to avoid fertilizer burn.
I recommend using a compost fertilizer, which you can get in liquid form or buy compost tea bags and brew your own.
You can also give your plant a foliar spray using compost tea, just put it in a spray bottle and spray the leaves of the plant. They will love the added humidity, and it will also help to keep spider mites away!
This general purpose indoor plant food is another awesome organic liquid fertilizer that houseplants love, and will work great on your peace lily.
The best part about using organic plant fertilizer is that you can’t accidentally over-fertilize and burn your sensitive peace lily plant (which is another common problem!).
Peace Lily Houseplant Pests
Healthy peace lily plants rarely have problems with houseplant pests. Spider mites are the most common pests that you might have trouble with. Mealy bugs could also attack peace lilies, but it’s very uncommon.
If you do find bugs on your plant, organic neem oil is a natural insecticide that is very effective at controlling these houseplant pests, and I highly recommend it. A horticultural spray oil also works very well.
A soapy water spray is also very good for controlling pests like spider mites. I use a mixture of 1 tsp Dr. Bronner’s Baby-mild Liquid Soap per 1 liter of water. You can also buy an organic insecticidal soap if you don’t want to mix your own.
Troubleshooting Peace Lily Plant Problems
Peace lilies are easy to grow houseplants, but they are notorious for brown leaves and tips! Sometimes the leaves will turn yellow and look sickly too.
Peace lily plant care can be a bit daunting when your plant becomes fussy and starts turning brown – and you don’t know why.
Brown leaves and tips are probably the main problem you will have with your peace lily, and it can be caused by just about anything…
- over or under-watering
- lack of humidity
- too much light
- using chemical fertilizers
- chemicals in the water
- cold or hot drafts
- houseplant pests
- … you name it
Brown leaves and tips are the plants way of responding when something (pretty much anything!) is wrong, so pay attention to how you’re caring for it. After a little bit of investigating, the problem (or combo of issues) will probably become pretty obvious.