Peace lilies, also known as spathe flowers or spathe lilies, are an easy-to-grow indoor plant that can express purity, support, forgiveness, and healing. Peace lilies are often given as a housewarming or sympathy gift, and they have health benefits too. This NASA-backed, air purifying plant helps remove household toxins, according to Healthline.
If you received a peace lily as a gift, or you’re just looking for a low maintenance plant, explore our growing guide for this blooming houseplant.
A Blooming, Tropical Houseplant
Native mainly to tropical America, peace lily (Spathiphyllum sp.) is a perennial with leaves and stems rising directly from the soil. It is named for its flamboyant white blooms, which resemble flags of peace (or flags of surrender, depending on how you look at it). Happy peace lilies surrender constantly, producing bloom after bloom.
In reality, the showy part of the flower is a white, hoodlike sheath (called a spathe) attached to a spike of tiny true flowers. The spathe fades to green as it ages, at which point, you cut it off and wait for more.
How to Grow Peace Lilies
Unlike many houseplants that we inevitably end up killing, peace lilies like growing indoors. They don’t need direct sun, preferring bright, indirect light from a nearby window. They’ll grow just fine across the room from a window but won’t bloom well in such low light and may also become leggy. Give them evenly moist, well-drained soil and temperatures of at least 55 degrees. If peace lilies wilt every two to three days, repot them in larger containers, which don’t need watering as often. Fertilize plants growing in bright light about every six weeks with a liquid 20-20-20 product. Feed plants growing in low light half as often. About every six months, take them outside, and flush them with water to remove salt buildup from fertilizer.
Maintaining Peace Lilies» Beautiful Appearance
There a a few tips to keep your peace lily looking its best. First, peace lily foliage tends to accumulate dust, so periodically wipe the leaves with a damp sponge or cloth to keep them looking nice. Second, cut off at the base all spent flowers and dead or yellowing leaves. Third, if you don’t like white pollen showered all over the leaves, cut off the spikes several days after they appear, and allow the beautiful spathes to remain on display.
Types of Peace Lilies
Not only are peace lilies easy to grow, but they come in a variety of sizes to suit different spaces in your home, from compact tabletop varieties to mid-size floor plants to tall human-height types that look perfectly scaled in a large room.
«Power Petite» and «Sweet Chico’ are compact types that are suitable for tabletops and plant stands. Depending on the pot size (they grow larger in bigger pots), they may reach anywhere from 10- to 20-inches tall and wide.
Most peace lilies serve as floor plants growing about 3-feet tall and wide with big, bold leaves about 10-inches long. Place these in corners, beside end tables, or on either side of the fireplace (when there’s no fire, of course). «Mauna Loa Supreme» (also sold as «Supreme») is the standard midsize type. It grows up to 4-feet tall and wide with broad, shiny leaves and an abundance of large, cupped spathes.
Have a large room that needs a really big plant? Try «Sensation,» the largest peace lily by far. Featuring thick, deeply ribbed, paddle-shaped leaves up to 20-inches long, it grows 4- to 6-feet tall and wide. Even when not blooming, it dominates the space.
Are Peace Lilies Toxic?
Peace lilies are from the Araceae family, shared with plants like caladiums, elephant ears, and calla lilies, and are not an actual lily, such as Easter lilies, tiger lilies, daylilies, and Asiatic hybrids from the Liliaceae family. Lilies are highly toxic to cats, and can cause acute kidney damage, according to the ASPCA. Peace lilies contain calcium oxalate crystals that can cause burning of the lips, mouth and throat, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing if ingested by pets or humans, according to the North Carolina State Extension.
Common Problems With Peace Lilies
Peace lily doesn’t bloom
If your peace lily isn’t blooming, look at how much light the plant is getting. Peace lilies need bright, indirect light or low light, but not shade. If the plant has insufficient light, it will not bloom and will get leggy. Move the plant into a brighter location to encourage blooms.
Pale green foliage has burned leaf tips
Again, peace lilies prefer bright, indirect light or low light. Hot direct sun damages its foliage. Move the plant out of direct sun to repair and help the plant thrive.
Deep green leaves develop brown tips and edges
If the leaves have brown tips and edges, you’ve let the soil get too dry. Water to maintain evenly moist soil. “Soil should be kept moist but not soggy and allowed to dry out slightly between waterings,” according to Clemson Cooperative Extension.
The plant suddenly collapses
If the plant suddenly collapses when the soil is moist, overwatering and poor drainage are to blame. Empty the saucer beneath the pot, and let the soil drain.
Plant collapses when soil is dry
Wilt is due to lack of water if the soul is dry. Water plant thoroughly and it should pep back up.