How to Care for a Peace Lily Plant

Updated on March 20, 2018
Wolfy profile image

Kate graduated from Sonoma State University with a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Biology. She currently resides in Sonoma, California.

One of the most beautiful house plants in the plant world is the Peace Lily. The deep, dark green foliage and bright white flowers are signature trademarks of these wonderful plants and, as perennials, they bloom all year round! Their leaves reach an average of 12 inches long, and the white snowy blossoms can make an appearance at anytime.

Peace Lily's are often given as gifts for graduation parties, social gatherings, weddings, and birthdays.They became known as being representative of peace. This is partially because of the calming aromas the plant puts off as well as its bright white flowers (white flags are known internationally as the sign for cease fire in war time).

There are a few main aspects about caring for this wonderful plant that you will want to make sure you have a basic understanding of. They are: lighting, soil conditions, watering, and the use of fertilizer. With even with a basic understanding of the conditions ideal for a Peace Lily, you can be relatively confident your plant will flourish for years to come!

Aspect of Care:
Ideal Conditions:
Lighting
Low light is better, avoid direct sunlight.
Soil Conditions
Quality soil with good aeration and drainage.
Watering
Don't over saturate the soil. High humidity areas are preferred (i.e. in a steamy bathroom).
Fertilizer
Fertilize sparingly. It's easy to over do it. Brown leaves = too much fertilizer.
General Care Tips
Wet the leaves on occasion. A light mist or wipe with a damp cloth.

1. Lighting

Peace Lily's are hardy plants and usually adapt to their environment. They thrive in low light and are not to be put in direct sunlight. Too much sun causes the plant to be stressed and results in the leaves turning yellow and brown. Natural light is a favorite of this plant, but they have been known to thrive in rooms without any windows. It is vitally important to keep them from cold drafts and freezing temperatures.

2. Soil Conditions

Potting soil should be of high quality. It should be well aerated with additional sand in the mixture. Allowing drainage holes in the pot will help prevent the roots from rotting, which is a common issue with these plants. A yearly check is advisable to make sure the plant has not become root bound. If this should become a problem, gently loosen up the roots with your fingers while transplanting it to a bigger pot.

3. Watering

The most common cause of killing any plant is over-watering. This is especially the case with the Peace Lily. This particular plant really thrives in a bathroom. Steamy bathrooms really quench their thirst and they don't mind the low light conditions (see lighting section above). The key to watering the plant is to spread out the watering sessions. Check the dampness of the soil about every week. If the top of the soil feels dry, it's time to give it some water. A rule of thumb is to give the plant enough to drink, but don't saturate it.

Tip: Use a Water Sensor

THZY Moisture Meter, Indoor/Outdoor Moisture Sensor Meter,soil water monitor, Hydrometer for gardening, farming
THZY Moisture Meter, Indoor/Outdoor Moisture Sensor Meter,soil water monitor, Hydrometer for gardening, farming

If you are like me and need more of a foolproof way to make sure your lily gets just the right amount of water, try this simple to use moisture sensor. Just stick in in the soil and read the moisture level. For a peace lily, you will want to have the meter read about a 7 when you first water it. When the meter reads about a 3 or 4, then it's time to water again.

After a few weeks of relying on this meter, I was able to get a good idea of how much water my peace lily required and I removed the meter. I don't need the meter anymore, but it was a great help in the beginning!

 
A healthy Peace Lily Plant (right) vs. an over watered one (left).
A healthy Peace Lily Plant (right) vs. an over watered one (left).

4. Use of Fertilizer

Should you decide to fertilize your plant there are some things to take into consideration. If you decide to feed your plant, use a well balanced fertilizer. Use this sparingly. You will know if you are fertilizing the plant too much if the leaves turn brown. A great alternative to traditional fertilizer is compost tea.

Should you choose traditional fertilizer, look for a fertilizer with approximately a 3:1:2 ratio for it's "NPK" numbers. NPK simply refers to the percentage of certain nutrients a plant uses and these numbers are almost always listed on the fertilizer's label.

So, an example of fertilizers with that 3:1:2 ratio that Peace Lily's prefer is any fertilizers labeled with "24-8-16", "9-3-6", or "12-4-8" on the packaging. This can be in the form of a standard solid fertilizer or in a liquid form.

Tip: Use Indoor Plant Food Spikes

Here is a little secret my close friend taught me. Miracle Grow Indoor Plant Food Spikes is pretty dummy proof and does absolute wonders for Peace Lily's! All you have to do is press these fertilizer spikes into the soil and water. If you need to pull out the "big guns" to get your plant to flower, this is what you'll need. Sometimes just fertilizing it once (each fertilizer spike lasts 30 days) with this stuff will wake your plant up and it will start flowering on its own from then on.

I used these on my peace lily after my friend tipped me off and now, frankly, it's growing out of control. If the growth rate gets to be a bit much, feel free to reduce the recommended dosage to about half, you'll still see pretty good results.

General Care Tips

Every few days wipe down the plant with a soft, damp cloth. A little tender loving care goes a long way and helps keep your plant in check. Once a week check for any old or dead foliage and trim it off. Removing the dying or dead flowers will ensure new growth. Also, give it a mist of warm water to provide extra moisture and stimulate growth.

Conclusion

The Peace Lily is a beautiful plant and will bring a lot of enjoyment. Remember, it is in the spathiphyllum family of plants. So while this plant is beautiful in appearance, it can be toxic to pets and humans alike. Keep this in mind when choosing the location of your plant. The Peace Lily is one of the more easy plants to care for and can bring many years of beautiful flowers and a wonderful fragrance.

Reader's Poll:

What aspect of caring for your Peace Lily do you struggle with?

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Questions & Answers

  • How do I use the Miracle Grow Fertilizer Spikes with a peace lily plant?

    First, make sure that the plant's soil is moist and press the spike into the soil about halfway between the pot's rim and the base of the peace lily's stem. Make sure the spike is pressed down until the soil fully covers it. The number of spikes to use will depend on the size of the pot.

    You can use these spikes year round on a peace lily. The spikes should be replaced once a month during the spring and summer and once every two months during the winter and fall.

    When in doubt, take a look at the back of the package as all the instructions are spelled out there for your reference.

  • Why are the tips of the new leaves on my Peace Lily turning brown?

    There are many factors that can cause this, but the simple answer is that your plant just isn't happy. The tips of the leaves on a Peace Lily are often the first areas to show signs of distress.

    The top reasons the tips of your leaves might be turning brown are:

    1. Watering too much or too little.

    2. Lack of humidity for the plant.

    3. Too much fertilizer.

    These are in order from most common to least common. First, double check that you are not over watering your plant and that it is in an area where humidity is high. A bathroom that often gets steamy is ideal but if that is not an option, consider placing the plant on a pebble plate filled with water. Misting the plant with warm water occasionally can also help to raise the humidity levels.

    Lastly, if you are using fertilizer, ensure that you are not using too much. Peace Lilies can be sensitive to indoor plant fertilizers. If you are using a generic fertilizer for indoor plants, consider cutting the recommended dosage in half for the Peace Lily.

  • Where should I cut off the dead blooms on my peace lily?

    If you have a dead bloom on your peace lily, it means that the associated stem for that bloom is not far behind. Even if part of that bloom's stem is still green, you will still need to remove the entire stem as it will soon die without its bloom.

    To do this, cut the stem off as close as possible to the base of the peace lily. Doing this will not only make for a more attractive looking plant, but it will also help future blooms to sprout.

  • Can the peace lily be rooted to propagate a new plant?

    Yes, but do so carefully! You'll have to remove your peace lily from its existing pot, gently brush away just enough of the dirt to expose its roots, then gently cut a small portion of the plant along with it's associated roots to divide it.

    Make sure each section you divide off has at least three leaves and an ample root system to support it. The best time to do this is at the beginning or end of the growing season.

© 2012 Kate Daily

Comments

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    • profile image

      Veronica 

      3 months ago

      I have asthma. Is the peace lilly one of the safe plants for people like me with asthma

    • Wolfy profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Daily 

      6 months ago from California

      Hi Susie,

      A peace lily should be transplanted as soon as you see roots crowding up towards the surface of the soil. If you can, also try sliding the plant up out of the pot slightly to see if the roots are tightly packed. If they are, then it's time to re-pot it. Another good way to see if the roots are too tightly packed is to gauge how long it takes the plant to suck up water (more roots = quicker water absorption). If your peace lily dries out your pot's soil more than twice a week, then it is also a sign it needs to be re-potted.

      To re-pot: Water the plant 1-2 hours before attempting to re-pot. Select a pot only 1-2 inches bigger in diameter than the old pot (too big will cause the roots to sit in water too long before the plant sucks up water and can cause root rot). Pull out the old plant and gently loosen just the ends of the roots. Place in new pot with some new soil and water lightly.

      Hope this helps!

      Kate

    • profile image

      Susie 

      6 months ago

      How often & how best should peaceful lilies be transplanted

    • Wolfy profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Daily 

      7 months ago from California

      Sabin,

      It is probably time to fertilize. This seems to be the most often overlooked aspect of Peace Lily care. Try some of Jobe's Organic Vegetable and Tomato Fertilizer (shown above in the article). For me, that stuff has been a life saver for getting many of my difficult Peace Lilies to bloom. Good luck, let us know how it goes!

      Kate

    • profile image

      sabin 

      7 months ago

      My peace lily is not giving flower

    • Wolfy profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Daily 

      9 months ago from California

      A Peace Lilly needs just the right about of light and water to bloom. Is you Peace Lilly in the shade? These plants can actually grow very well in shaded areas but generally wont bloom unless they get a bit more direct light.

      If that's not the issue, then maybe it's time to try a little fertilizer? If you have never fertilized the plant before that may be causing the lack of flowers.

    • profile image

      Dorene 

      9 months ago

      My peace lily is growing beautifully but it doesn't bloom?

    • profile image

      Lilian 

      10 months ago

      Great, it's Spring here in Australia. Will update you in a week . Thanks Kate

    • Wolfy profile imageAUTHOR

      Kate Daily 

      10 months ago from California

      That should be just fine. The best advice I can give you though is try to re-pot the Peace Lilly in the spring when it's growing strong if at all possible. The re-potting process can be stressful for the plant so be as gentle as possible, don't be surprised if the flowers look sad for a few days afterwards, and try to do it when the plant is healthy and strong! Good luck, let us know how it goes!

    • profile image

      Lilian 

      10 months ago

      Can I re-pot Peace Lily while flowering?

    • profile image

      Angel 

      12 months ago

      Lots of non bloomers. Maybe try a blooming plant food?

    • profile image

      Agnes 

      12 months ago

      My peace Lily isn't bloomed maybe wrong soil ? Any ideas

    • profile image

      tracyhornby68@gmail.com 

      15 months ago

      My peace lily has not bloomed in four years. Perfect location, larger pot, watered appropriately... any ideas?

    • profile image

      Geneva 

      17 months ago

      My peace lily hasn't bloomed any flowers. Why is this happening?

    • profile image

      Meli 

      17 months ago

      Make sure to put the peace Lily out of weave of children and pets it is poisonous if they try to eat it

    • profile image

      Beth 

      19 months ago

      Don't over water.....?? Really?

      That's strange because I've had my peace Lilly for almost 2 years in beta vases, nothing but water. I get a new flower or 4 every 2-3 months.

    • profile image

      Jennie 

      2 years ago

      Can u root from a leaf of a peace lilli

    • profile image

      Maria Legg 

      2 years ago

      Thanks, have just got a baby peacelilly given to me, but it was all cut back and pretty dried out, alas love and care has got it going again. However am surprised at the low lighting it can tolerate

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