The peace lily is a tropical species that is a favorite flowering houseplant. A striking plant when used in mass display, the peace lily blooms in spring with long-lasting flower stalks that hover gracefully over the foliage. A well-grown peace lily may bloom twice a year, resulting in several months of flowers. The plant has glossy oval leaves with points that emerge from the soil.
Peace lilies are indisputably terrific as houseplants. Small varieties look attractive on a tabletop and bigger ones can occupy a nice-sized spot on the floor. They filter more indoor pollutants than most other plants, so are great for bedrooms or other frequented rooms. Inside the tropical plant's pores, toxic gases like carbon monoxide and formaldehyde are broken down and neutralized. Peace lily can also be grown outdoors in warm climates, where it can tower as much as 6 feet high.
Despite their name, peace lilies are not members of the lily family. The peace lily is a member of the Araceae family of plants, known collectively as aroids. It is related to the philodendron, anthurium, and alocasia—also very popular as houseplants.
|Common Name||Peace lily, spath lily|
|Plant Type||Flowering tropical plant|
|Mature Size||Up to 3 feet tall indoors; up to 6 feet tall outdoors|
|Sun Exposure||Medium, indirect light|
|Soil Type||Peat-based potting mix with perlite, sand, or bark|
|Soil pH||5.8 to 6.5|
|Flower Color||White or yellow|
|Hardiness Zones||11 to 12, USDA|
|Native Area||The rainforests of Central and South America|
How to Grow Peace Lilies
Peace lilies are generally grown in the ground outdoors only in tropical habitats such as Florida or Hawaii; elsewhere, they are grown only as potted plants. If you have potted peace lilies, you can move them outside during the summer months, but once temperatures dip, bring them back inside.
When grown in pots, soil for a peace lily must be kept moist but not soggy, which will cause the leaves to turn yellow. Avoid direct sunlight, but do give them lots of bright filtered light. They like warm conditions and will react badly if exposed to temperatures below 40 degrees F.
There are few pest and disease problems with peace lilies, although mealybugs are sometimes an issue. Cleaning the leaves with a damp cloth often is enough to remove these pests.
Watch Now: How to Grow and Care for Peace Lilies
Peace lilies are shade-loving plants in their native habitats, but when grown indoors they need plenty of filtered light, though not direct sunlight. Some varieties can withstand more light than others. Curled, pale leaves generally indicate that the plant is receiving too much light and scorched leaves indicate too much direct sun. In either case, the plant should be moved to a shadier location.
Peace lilies like a rich, loose potting soil containing plenty of organic material. These plants are native to tropical canopy conditions where the soil is rich with deteriorating plant material. Growing them as outdoor garden plants requires soil that mimics this composition.
During the summer, water and mist peace lilies frequently because they thrive with higher humidity, such as that found in the rainforest. In winter, reduce watering but never allow the soil to dry out. If your water is highly chlorinated, use filtered water.
Temperature and Humidity
These plants really prefer moist warmth. Avoid cold drafts and temperatures below 55 degrees F, because the plant will die in cold temperatures. Ideal temperature range is 65 to 80 degrees. Spritz the leaves every week with soft or distilled water throughout the summer growing season.
Feed weekly in the summer or use slow-release pellets at the beginning of the season. Do not fertilize in the winter.
Potting and Repotting
Peace lilies are best grown in large pots and generally should be kept somewhat root-bound. But when the plant has clearly exceeded the capacity of the pot, it can be potted up to a larger container in the early spring. Repotting offers a good time to divide large plants into clumps, which can then be independently potted. Always use a high-quality potting soil.
Varieties of Peace Lilies
Peace lilies have been heavily hybridized and there are dozens of varieties available. They range in size from miniature to massive and from deep green with snow-white flowers to golden-leaved beauties.
Some of the popular hybrids include:
- Spathiphyllum ’Power Petite’: a small variety, growing to only about 15 inches.
- S. ‘Mauna Loa Supreme': a very common variety, growing to 3 to 4 feet tall with leaves up to 9 inches wide.
- S. ‘Sensation’: This largest of the peace lily varieties will reach up to 6 feet in height with broad, 20-inch long leaves.
- S. 'Mojo': This striking, large plant has vibrant green leaves.
- S. 'Golden Delicious': The new growth on this variety has a stunning golden-green color.
- 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.
Toxicity of Peace Lilies
Protect your children and pets from the peace lily. Though they're not true lilies and are not lethal, they can irritate the stomach or cause extreme salivating if ingested. Like other members of the Araceae family, these plants contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which can interfere with blood calcium levels and lead to renal failure. Cats and dogs that ingest peace lily leaves will begin to salivate profusely due to mouth irritation. Speak with your vet or poison control if you suspect your child or animal ingested this plant. In mild cases, you might be instructed to simply offer children cool drinks or foods to ease mouth discomfort, but larger ingestion may require supervised medical intervention.
Spathyphyllum. North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension
Cultural Guidelines for Commercial Production of Interiorscape Spathiphyllum. University of Florida IFAS Extension
Bertero, Alessia et al. Indoor Companion Animal Poisoning by Plants in Europe. Frontiers In Veterinary Science, 7, 487, 2020, doi:10.3389/fvets.2020.00487
Buysschaert, Benoit, Aydin, Selda, Morelle, Johann, Gillion, Jadoul, Michel, Demoulin, Nathalie. Etiologies, Clinical Features, and Outcome of Oxalate Nephropathy. Clinical Research, 5, 9, 1503-1509, 2020, doi:10.1016/j.ekir.2020.06.021