The ABC's of Caring for Peace Lilies

Healthy Peace Lily.

Note the lack of "droop" in the leaves of this healthy peace lily.
Note the lack of "droop" in the leaves of this healthy peace lily.

The ABC's of Caring for a Peace Lily

Overview

The peace lily is considered by experts to be one of the top ten easiest house plants to grow. It grows well in low light and, according to NASA, does a bang-up job of cleaning the air in your house of toxic gases like benzene and formaldehyde. So why do so many people have so much trouble keeping them alive and making them bloom? Part of the problem may be that the Peace Lily is very different from other kinds of house plants. The ABC's of caring for a Peace Lily are as follows:

A. Always set your peace lily in a cool shady spot. Too much sunlight or heat can retard growth, make leaves turn yellow and keep the plant from doing well. A hot or bright location can make the plant droop, tempting the owner to overwater when the soil is already still moist. They like bright filtered sunlight about 5 to 8 feet from the nearest window. They will also survive nicely under total fluorescent lighting. This characteristic makes them popular in inside offices and north facing rooms that don't get direct sunlight.

B. Be careful how you water peace lilies. You'll know when they are thirsty when the foliage droops noticeably. It's best not to let them totally dry out. They like a lot of water, but even so, it's easy to overwater. The soil should be moist, not soggy. Watch for the slight droop in the leaves that is a cue that it's time to water. Once the lily is watered, it will spring back in a matter of minutes. Don't let the soil dry out too much or the bottom leaves will yellow and the tips will turn brown. On average a peace lily likes to be watered about once a week with room temperature water. If you live in a city where the water is heavily chlorinated, let your water stand in an open container overnight to allow the chlorine gas to percolate out of the water before watering you lily with it. They don't like chlorine!

C. Check the humidity of the room. Peace lilies like humidity and most houses are far too dry. A heated home in winter can have a humidity that matches that of the deep Sahara desert. Mist the plant a couple of times a week to keep the air around it more humid like its tropical rainforest home.

D. Don't forget the fertilizer. Peace lily plants will deplete nutrients from the soil as they go. Replenish lost nutrients by fertilizing every month or so during the growing season with a 20-20-20 houseplant fertilizer diluted to about ¼ of the recommended dilution rate. If the fertilizer you use is too strong, it can burn off the fine hairy roots that are responsible for taking up moisture and nutrients into the plants. Repot the plant every year or two. Shake some of the excess soil off the root ball and pack fresh soil around the plant in the new pot. Use a mix of peat moss, sand and loam in equal amounts to create a nice light replenished soil.

E. Evergreen plants like the peace lily enjoy attention. They don't attract many insects other than the occasional mealy bug infestation. Treat that by simply wiping the leaves with rubbing alcohol and spraying with an insecticidal soap. Peace lilies love to have their leaves dusted with a damp sponge. A peace lily with clean leaves is a healthy and blooming peace lily.

References:

Peace Lily – Spathiphyllum – Going Droopy: http://www.plant-care.com/drooping-peace-lily-spathiphyllum.html

Peace Lily Care: http://houseplants-care.blogspot.com/2006/10/peace-lily-care.html

Flower Shop Network: Caring for the Peace Lily Plant: http://www.flowershopnetwork.com/pages/newsletter/NewsletterMarch2003.php


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Comments 10 comments

Elaine Parker 2 years ago

My peace lily is emitting sticky stuff that collects on the tile floor.


twayneking profile image

twayneking 3 years ago from Puyallup, WA Author

See my suggestions above in the article. The most common cause of lack of blooming is over-watering. The yellowing can be related to over-watering as well. If the soil is damp and the leaves yellow, the plant likely doesn't need more water. You may have to set up a little artificial drought as described in my comment to Linda. If you'll follow the advice in the article, you should see it perk up in a few weeks. If there are too many roots pushing out of the pot, get a bigger pot for your baby and repot it.


Kay 3 years ago

I have plenty of new growth, no flowers since I got it about 3 months ago. But the tips of my leaves are yellowing. How do I fix this problem? And what about shoots that need to be removed. Do I cut from the base or simply trim? Also, I do not think that my roots have settled in the pot (perhaps the reason for not blooming), how do I help it to root accordingly?


twayneking profile image

twayneking 4 years ago from Puyallup, WA Author

A couple of things. Many tropical plants will respond to a mild drought stress by blooming. Cut back on the water for two or three weeks so that the soil at the surface is almost dry and the plant may bloom. Also, peace lilies don't bloom till they are slightly root bound in the pot. If you've transplanted into a larger pot and the roots haven't filled the pot yet, that may be your problem.

Sunshine and watering is the key to having a healthy peace lily. Too much of either will inhibit blooming.

Good luck - Tom


linda 4 years ago

how do i make it bloom it has not bloomed in 7 years


Rob 4 years ago

Thanks Tom, Much appreciated

Regards

Rob


twayneking profile image

twayneking 4 years ago from Puyallup, WA Author

I don't think the light rating matters so much. Unless your florescents are really close to the plants, they should do fine with normal fluorescent lighting. The heat or direct sunshine will harm peace lilies, but flourescents won't have the same effect. - Tom


Rob 4 years ago

Thanks for this page, some nice info.

Was just wondering, What temp light does the lily require if i went and added some fluorescents?

Thank you


twayneking profile image

twayneking 6 years ago from Puyallup, WA Author

Be careful that when you try to save an underwatered plant that you don't go to the other extreme and overwater. The soil should be moist, not wet. Check for bugs and treat as above. Bug are opportunistic and if the plant was unhealthy from not being watered, it may have picked up a little infestation. Also make sure the light is as discussed above. If the soil is too wet, don't water for a while till the soil starts to dry out. Try misting the leaves every day.

Let me know how it goes.


carol 6 years ago

My peace lilly plant is very droppy due to my daughter didn't water when I was on vacation, I'm doing all I know to do, but its still very droopy, any suggestions for me, this was a plant from my moms funeral,,, thanks

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