How to Grow and Care for the Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

The delicate white flower of this tropical plant is unmistakable.

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii) on blue background
Lynne Brotchie/Photolibrary/Getty Images

The Peace Lily (spathiphyllum) is a favorite houseplant that offers majestic, long-lasting white blooms which typically appear in spring. The plant itself has glossy oval leaves with a striking point that emerge from the soil. They are tropical plants, native to the rainforests of Central and South America and do exceptionally well when potted indoors under the right conditions.

Peace Lillies are a member of the Araceae family and related to other aroids, including anthurium and alocasia.

Typical of aroids, the white flowers emerge from the leaf stalk surrounded by a cupped white spathe that gradually fades from pure white to a greenish or yellow color over time. The central spadix—floral spike—is either white or yellow.

Growing Conditions

Light: Peace Lilies are shade-loving plants in their native habitats. Quite naturally, they prefer light to moderate shade in the home. Some varieties can withstand more light than others.

Water: During the summer, water and mist the plant frequently because they thrive with higher humidity like that of the rainforest. In winter, reduce watering but never allow the soil to dry out.

Temperature: These plants really prefer moist warmth. Avoid cold drafts and temperatures below 55 F, if possible.

Soil: Peace Lilies like a rich, loose potting soil containing plenty of organic material.

Fertilizer: Feed weekly in the summer or use slow-release pellets at the beginning of the season.

Propagation and Repotting

Repot Peace Lilies annually in the spring or as needed. They're easy to propagate by division while out of the pot. Large plants can be divided into clumps, which can then be independently potted. Always use a high-quality potting soil.

Varieties

Peace Lilies have been heavily hybridized and there are dozens of varieties available.

They range from miniature to massive and from deep green with snow-white flowers to golden-leaved beauties.

Some of the popular hybrids include:

  • S. Mauna Loa - A larger plant, that grows up to 2 feet.
  • S. Mojo - A striking, large plant with vibrant green leaves.
  • S. Golden Delicious - The new growth has a golden-green color that is stunning.
  • S. Starlight - The narrow leaves on this plant have wavy margins. It's also known for heavy, multiple blooms, with as many as 20 flowers on a single plant.

Grower's Tips

The Peace Lily is a striking plant when used in a massed display. They bloom in the spring with long-lasting flowers that hover gracefully over the leaves on thin stalks. They can also be forced to bloom in the fall or winter. A very well-grown Peace Lily may bloom twice a year, resulting in several months of flowers.

All spathiphyllum are vulnerable to bugs including aphids, mites, and scale. Neem oil or an insecticidal soap can be used to treat all of these. The plant is also prone to root rot if it's allowed to sit in water. Plants that are not properly fertilized may fail to bloom.

Curled, pale leaves generally indicate that the plant is receiving too much light and scorched leaves indicate direct sun.

In either case, the plant should be moved to a shadier location.

Guard your Peace Lily from children and pets. Though they're not a true lily and are not poisonous, they can irritate the stomach or cause extreme salivating if ingested.