Peace lilies are tropical species and hybrid from the Spathiphyllum genus that are favorite flowering houseplants. 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. The plant has glossy oval leaves with points that emerge from the soil. A well-grown peace lily may bloom twice a year, resulting in several months of flowers.
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.
When grown in the garden in the tropical and subtropical climates where they are hardy, peace lilies are normally planted as container-grown nursery plants in the spring while it is still cool. As houseplants, they can be purchased and brought into the home at any time, though you will want to protect the plants from cold temperatures as you move them from the store to your home.
|Botanical Name||Spathiphyllum spp. and hybrids|
|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|
|Soil pH||5.8 to 6.5 (acidic)|
|Flower Color||White or yellow|
|Hardiness Zones||11–12 (USDA); usually grown as houseplants|
|Native Area||The rainforests of Central and South America|
|Toxicity||Mildly toxic to humans and pets|
Peace Lily Care
Peace lilies are generally grown in the ground outdoors only in tropical regions 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 Fahrenheit.
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. Or, you can allow tap water to sit for several days until the chlorine evaporates out.
Temperature and Humidity
These plants really prefer moist warmth. Avoid cold drafts and temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, because the plant will die in cold temperatures. The ideal temperature range is 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Spritz the leaves every week with softened 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.
Peace Lily Varieties
Peace lilies have been heavily hybridized and there are dozens of popular 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’: the largest of the peace lily varieties; reaches up to 6 feet in height with broad, 20-inch long leaves
- S. 'Mojo': a striking, large plant with vibrant green leaves
- S. 'Golden Delicious': features new growth with a stunning golden-green color
- S. 'Starlight': has narrow leaves with wavy margins; also known for heavy, multiple blooms, with as many as 20 flowers on a single plant
Propagating Peace Lily
The peace lily is generally propagated by dividing clumps during repotting activities. Inspect the plant for small offshoot crowns located adjacent to the main mother plant; this is a sign the plant is ready to propagate.
Remove the entire plant from its container, then tug apart or cut away the adjacent crowns. You can also simply cut away a section of the main root ball. Any piece that has two or more leaves and attached roots will likely grow successfully.
Immediately plant the pieces in a roomy container filled with a good quality peat-based potting mix. Water thoroughly and keep constantly moist until new leaves begin to develop.
Potting and Repotting Peace Lily
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. Always use a high-quality potting soil, and a pot with good drainage.
Common Pests and Diseases
These plants are free of most of the diseases and pests that can plague indoor plants, but they can be susceptible to scale and mealybugs. Spot treatment with horticultural oil is a good strategy for these pests.