If you’re a first time plant owner and you are looking for a good starter plant to add to your home, you really can’t go wrong with a Spathiphyllum.
More commonly known as a “peace lily”, the Spath is beautiful, easy care and is also a natural air cleaner! Spathiphyllum was first discovered in South and Central America and has been bred and cultivated quite extensively in the United States. There are many hybrids of the plants. They are known for their broad, glossy, spade shaped leaves and single white flowers on long fleshy stems. The name “Spathiphyllum” is derived from the Greek words Spathe (Spade) and Phullon (Leaf ). Although they are not a true lily, they are associated with peace, purity and innocence after death which is why they are often given as expressions of sympathy.
Spaths make ideal houseplants for everyone from expert gardeners to beginner plant owners. They are often referred to as “indestructible” because they thrive in low light conditions and will actually “tell” you when they need water!
- Light: They like medium to low, indirect sunlight and also do well in fluorescent light. Yellow leaves indicate that the plant is getting too much light. Brown spots and streaks indicate that the plant is getting scorched from too much direct sunlight.
- Temperature: One of the reasons that they make such wonderful houseplants is that Spaths flourish in the indoor temperatures that people enjoy. A temperature range of 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit keeps them content. Since cold drafts will harm them, keep the Spath away from non-insulated windows and doors.
- Fertilizer: Not every grower fertilizes their Peace Lilies, but those who want the best blooms make sure that they fertilize during the spring and summer season. Feed a general houseplant fertilizer (20-20-20) at one half or one quarter strength once per month during spring and summer.
- Water: Many growers wait for the plant to droop slightly before watering, allowing the plant to “tell” them when it’s thirsty. In general, water at least once a week and you can also mist the leaves with soft or distilled water during the growing season. Water the plant a bit less in winter. If your municipal water system is heavily chlorinated, fill a container with water and allow it to stand overnight so the chlorine can settle out before using it to water. Peace lilies can be sensitive to chlorine.
- Blooming: The white blooms of the Spath generally appear in the spring as more of a modified leaf, or spadix , rather than a multi-petaled flower. Blooms can last for two months or more and very well cared for plants may also bloom again in the fall.
- Re-potting: Re-pot the Peace Lily when roots are apparent or when it seems to be taking up all water provided every few days.
In addition to the obvious beauty that it lends to your home, the Spathiphyllum was also included in the list of top air filtering plants in a NASA study which researched how to clean the air on space stations!
Scientists found that in addition to doing the things that all plants do such as release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, certain plants such as the Spathiphyllum filtered the air of toxic contaminants and reduced indoor air pollution. Evidently, practitioners of Fengshui have long known about the Peace lily’s air purifying qualities and also believe strongly that it has a calming and harmonizing effect on a home.
So if you are looking to “breathe” a little life into your home or office, why not try a Spathiphyllum? They can be planted into baskets or ceramic containers in a variety of colors to suit any decor!