How to Care for a Peace Lily Plant
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:
Low light is better, avoid direct sunlight.
Quality soil with good aeration and drainage.
Don't over saturate the soil. High humidity areas are preferred (i.e. in a steamy bathroom).
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.
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.
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
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!
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. 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. Miracle Grow Indoor Plant Food Spikes
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.
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.
What aspect of caring for your Peace Lily do you struggle with?
Questions & Answers
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.
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.
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.
© 2012 Kate Daily