How to Make Peace Lilies Bushier

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A lot of houseplants aren’t naturally bushy, so we have to fake it to get the look we’re after. This is fine, but sometimes it’s nice when plants just grow in an aesthetically pleasing way without you having to mess around with chopping and propping and replanting etc etc forever.

Peace lilies get a lot of hate, and whilst they grow well for me, they receive that hate for good reason. They don’t like bright light, but also need light to live. They like a lot water but is it from a tap? That’s fine, but expect crispy tips. Ambient humidity is ok, but not ideal.

HOWEVER

Growing bushily is one thing peace lilie can do! And do you don’t even have to anything to help them other than care for them well!

How to make peace lilies bushier

There are two ways to make your peace lily bushier, both are fine to do and for reasons I’ll explain later, both end up amounting to the same thing, it’s just that if you plant several plants together, you can achieve in an afternoon what good care can achieve in an entire season.

Plant several together in one pot

This is often viewed as cheating in the houseplant community, which is bizarre, but there you go.

When people plant several, say, Syngonium in one pot to make a bushy plant, you often get naysayers claiming that it isn’t natural, and that it’s cheating.

Obviously, this is ridiculous because nothing about keeping Syngoniums indoors is natural BUT the point they’re making is that Syngoniums are vines, with a single growth point, and will never achieve the bushy look without human intervention.

The same thing can’t be said for peace lilies. They grow bushy naturally – new plantlets grow up next to the mature plant, spreading out horizontally over the forest floor as they go.

Hence them not needing any outside (physical) support.

Whether you plant several specimens together or wait for the plant to produce new pups itself, it’ll all end up looking the same.

Optimise light, warmth, and humidity

Originally I headed this section ‘maximise’ rather than ‘optimise’, but optimise is definitely the word. You’d very much get diminishing returns after a point if you maximised light and heat!

We know that peace lilies like light, warmth, and humidity, BUT they like all three elements to be kept in balance.

Great light is ok even if humidity is low and it’s cold. However, high humidity and low light/cold temps can cause the plant to become weak, and therefore more susceptible to pests and bacterial infections.

Peace lilies are pretty resistant to pests (and bacterial infections for that matter) so whilst they’re unlikely to perish in cold, dark conditions (within reason), they grow a bit spindly and sad, rather than full and bushy.

How to maintain a bushy peace lily

Why does that heading make me giggle? Is it funny or am I experiencing cognitive decline?

You don’t need to prune peace lilies. You can, if there’s a bit you don’t want, but they don’t need pruning.

Their growth pattern is very much just…leaves. They don’t have a stem as such – the new growth emerge from underground rhizomes, so…there’s nothing to prune, at least from a shaping or maintaining business perspective.

HOWEVER

There is a bit of pruning maintenance you can do that can help the overall bushiness of your peace lily.

Remove all dead leaves

It’s best practice to remove the dead leaves from ALL your houseplants, but peace lilies just…look the saddest when you don’t. I think it’s because they tend to droop anyway, so the dead leaves just look so…dead.

Just get some scissors and remove the leaf as close to the soil as you can.

How to get a mature peace lily to regrow in the middle

Sometimes (hopefully it’s not something that only plagues me) the original plantlet dies off, and you’re left with a hole in the middle of your plant.

The rhizome is usually perfectly healthy, but the rhizome won’t regrow because there’s not enough room/it’s too dark/I don’t know they just don’t.

Here’s what to do:

Step 1: take the plant out of the pot

We’re kind of propagating/repotting, though you can keep the same pot and soil unless it’s necessary to up-pot.

Step 2: separate the plantlets so you have the bald rhizome

You don’t need to take apart ALL the rhizomes – just try to remove the one in the middle that you want to regrow. It should have plenty of roots – way more than it needs – so be careful, but don’t overthink it.

I’ve had peace lily plantlets that had like half an inch of wispy roots that turned out fine. Sure, they droop, but that’s a peace lily’s prerogative after being repotted/moved/breathed on.

Step 3: rearrange the rhizomes so the leafless one is on the edge

Move your old, bald rhizome so that it’s one the edge of the plant, rather than in the middle.

Step 4: reassemble the plant

Put the soil and plants back in the pot. You haven’t really propagated OR repotted – it more sort of…rearranging.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I have a video of me doing this exact process:

Bushy peace lily FAQ

Are all peace lilies bushy?

All peace lily cultivars have a bushy, shrub-like growth pattern, but some of the larger-leaved forms can be quite sparse in the early days.

Do you need to thin out peace lilies?

No. Just regularly remove dead leaves and it’ll be grand.

Do peace lilies like to be rootbound?

They like to be snug in the pot and they don’t like to be repotted. I leave mine until the last possible moment for repotting, wait another year, and then do it.

I hope this was helpful! As ever, leave me a comment below if you have any questions. Just bear in mind that it won’t notify you if I reply (for your privacy, I think?) so if you’re not planning on coming back, message me on Instagram or YouTube the like (keep scrolling down and you’ll find the links).

Before you go, you might like these articles:

Caroline Cocker

Caroline is the founder and writer (and plant keeper) of Planet Houseplant

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