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Peace lilies have a bit of a reputation for being hard to care for, but I’ve found them quite easy to look after. I mean, they’ve bloomed and everything.
But, like most house plants with a rep, there are little tips and tricks that can dramatically improve your peace lily’s health.
Where do peace lilies come from?
Peace lilies hail from the tropical rainforests of South America, more specifically Venezuela and Colombia.
The *proper* name for peace lilies is Spathiphyllum. They’re aroids, so belong to the same family as Philodendrons and Anthuriums, but they’re also in the sub-family Monsteroideae, so they’re closely related to Monstera, Rhapidophora, and Epipremnum.
Do you care? Probably not. But the blogging rules dictate I must write this stuff.
Where should I put my peace lily?
In my experience, peace lilies aren’t too picky about where you put them.
Bear in mind that they’re non-vining plants from dense rainforests, so they won’t thank you for being sat in a hot window with the sun beating down on them.
They are plants though, and need some light.
One of my peace lilies is in a dark corner with a grow light pointed at it (this bog-standard Amazon one) and it’s doing ok, even in the darkest depths of a Yorkshire winter.
It’s variegated though, and a few of the leaves are coming out all green, so I’m guessing variegated ones need more light to maintain variegation.
In terms of heath though, it’s a-ok.
I have another peace lily growing in my kitchen, in a spot that’s next to my french windows, but that doesn’t get much direct sun (apart from the very end bit). It gets a bit of bright, indirect light, but mostly medium. It’s thriving.
The brown bit on the leaf in the top right is from a grow light. Don’t let them get too close (this is from the aquarium days when the plant actually grew around and then above the lights, so was often literally touching the lights).
What kind of light do peace lilies need?
As you might have guessed, peace lilies are quite happy in medium-light situations. Possibly even low light, though you won’t get them to thrive quite so well.
They also won’t appreciate bright sunlight. It’s not that it’ll hurt them – they’ll probs be fine – but it won’t massively improve their growth and, most importantly, they’re taking up a spot that another plant would really benefit from.
I used to keep my big lily in my boyfriend’s aquarium, where it THRIVED. I mean big leaves and blooms all the time. Technically it was under bright (aquarium) lights, but they don’t have as much heat as the sun (obvs).
So whilst you don’t want to sit your lily in the sun, good grow lights will do wonders.
What level of humidity do peace lilies need?
Peace lilies love a bit of humidity, but they’re less prone to temperature tantrums than Calathea if they’re not kept at a cosy 60%.
To be on the safe side, I like to keep my peace lilies in rooms with higher humidity. As I mentioned, the one living in the aquarium THRIVED (she got too big, sadly) and there was some seriously humidity going in there!
How to water peace lilies
There’s a bit of contention over this.
Peace lilies droop when they’re dry, like fittonias. As in, they collapse.
Some people claim that you shouldn’t let them get to this point, and should water them before they dry out to the point of collapse.
I, em, do tend to dry them when they droop. I like to wait until they’re a bit sad and then bottom water them.
You can top-water them, but it can be quite logistically challenging. Mine are quite large compared to the pot, so soaking them is easier, and ensures that the soil is thoroughly moistened.
Peace lilies are well known for not liking tap water, but I've never had a problem with crispy tips (literally not one). My peace lilies tend to get old aquarium water or rainwater, but they've occasionally had tap water and not complained.
If you do have crispy tips, check your humidity levels before assuming it’s an issue with water quality.
I treat the water with an aquarium conditioner (my boyfriend the fish expert highly recommends this one from Seachem)
Rainwater will also work just fine. I don’t use distilled water so I can’t comment.
Can you put peace lilies in LECA?
When my lily was ousted from the tank (THANKS DAVE), I decided to put it in LECA. I had leca and a pot (this one from Lechuza) ready to go, and the lily had water roots so it all worked out well.
I actually had a tiny peace lily in soil (originally in the same pot as the aquarium one, but it hadn’t grown nearly as much) so I washed off the soil and put that in too. They’re all doing really well.
The only issue with peace lilies is they’re suuuuper top heavy, so getting them to stay upright is…tedious.
How to fertilise peace lilies
Ok, so since peace lilies aren’t heavy feeders and my hydroponic one did so well, I’d recommend either watering with aquarium water (if you can) every time you water, or adding a tiny bit of natural fertiliser (seaweed or fish emulsion) every time you water.
Like, a tiny bit. A drop. A quarter of whatever the manufacturer recommends.
If you see yellowing leaves or crispy tips, stop fertilising for a couple of months and see if that makes a difference.
Pests common to peace lilies
Oddly, they’re not a plant that I’ve ever had an issue with, pest-wise. And that’s saying something, considering my variegated one lives in a nook that I lovingly refer to as ‘spider mite corner’.
I did a quick search to see if this is something unique to my lilies, but apparently peace lilies don’t tend to suffer from pests.
If you’re unlucky and your lily does get bugs, try keeping it in the bathroom and showering it every couple of days for a couple of weeks. The lily won’t mind the wet (though try not to saturate the soil as best you can), and you’ll wash the bugs away. Simple and non-toxic!
Ok, so bottom left of that pic is my little peace lily. Compare it to the peace lily in the aquarium, and consider that they’re from the same pot. This one is approx 10x smaller!
Look at that flower!
What potting mix do peace lilies prefer?
Since they’re aroids, I’d go for a chunky aroid mix – coir, orchid bark, perlite, charcoal, and worm castings is a great mix, though you can just add some bark and/or perlite to store-bought house plant potting mix if you’re prefer.
Peace lilies have quite fine roots compared to other large aroids, so they don’t typically need repotting that often.
What type of pot do peace lilies need?
I would stay away from terracotta unless you’re a chronic overwaterer, but I don’t think they’re that fussy.
How to propagate peace lilies
Propagating peace lilies by division is probably the easiest way to propagate them – I don’t think you can take cuttings.
Often you’ll find that when you go to repot your peace lily, you’ll have several plants in one pot. It’s just a case of removing as much soil as you can, and gently easing the plants and their roots apart.
In the picture below, it’s quite easy to see all the different plants. You can literally just pull them apart, and they’ll separate. Some roots will snap, but they’ll recover.
You can always use scissors and hope for the best if you’re impatient, but only do this is you have a good amount of roots.
Do Peace Lilies bloom?
Yes, and quite easily.
But be aware that only mature peace lilies will bloom. You may buy a baby lily with blooms though – growers can add a hormone that causes the plants to bloom early. The only issue is that once those blooms die, you may need to wait a few years before you see any more flowers.
Peace lilies bloom easily, if they’re well cared for. If yours isn’t blooming, make sure it’s warm enough, gets enough light, and is getting enough humidity.
I’m afraid I have no special tips for blooms other than….grow your peace lily in an aquarium.
Can you grow peace lilies in water?
Yes, you absolutely can, but it’s not a guarantee that you’ll get good growth.
When you grow a plant in an aquarium, you get warmth, humidity, fertiliser, and great lighting as one great package. It’s not the same as just putting a plant in a vase of water.
If you want to grow your lily in water, make sure you change the water every couple of weeks at least, be sure to add fertiliser, and consider adding an air stone to oxygenate the water.
Regular plant fertilisers don’t always work the same in water (rather than soil) so maybe consider getting some specific hydroponic nutrients. I use these ones from General Hydroponics to fertilise the plants I have in LECA.
I have a whole article here on watering plants with aquarium water, and whether it’s worth setting up an aquarium for your plants (no – too much work)
Are peace lilies toxic?
Yes they are. Don’t let your pets/kids near them.
BUT DON’T CONFUSE THEM WITH TRUE LILIES.
Spathiphyllum are mildly toxic. They might cause a stomach upset. They’re still toxic, but they’re highly unlikely to kill your cat, while true lilies can.
- Blooms last a good few weeks before browning, but how long they last depends on how well you care for them. I’m pretty sure the blooms will be sacrificed before the leaves, so if you let your plant get too dry, the blooms may brown
- The blooms sometimes get a bit mouldy. I don’t think that’s anything to worry about.
- You can collect seeds and grow them. There’s a good article on that here. I do not have the patience, plus peace lilies are cheap.
If you have an questions about peace lilies that I haven’t covered, be sure to let me know!