The Greenhouse

The Amazing Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily)

August 16, 2013
Peace lily in bloomIf 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.

Peace Lily in glassSpaths 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.
Peace Lily "Bloom"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!


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  • Reply sandra September 10, 2015 at 11:08 am

    my plant one of the lily is brown and looks like dead,my question is do i cut the flower out down to root

    • Reply chestersflowers September 12, 2015 at 8:56 am

      Hi Sandra! Give us a call at 315-797-2360, someone from our greenhouse can answer your questions regarding your lily.

  • Reply Thursday Thirteen: Indoor Plants That Improve Your Overall Air Quality March 31, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    […] 3. Piece Lily Plant: (photo via Chester’s Flower Shop) […]

  • Reply Merlene Lindley November 12, 2016 at 11:10 am

    I have 2 peace lily’s, I notice that one of them had the white blooms, my question is does the seeds suppose to drop white dust onto the leaves.

    • Reply chestersflowers December 31, 2016 at 9:31 am

      Hi Merlene! Please give us a call and someone from our greenhouse can help you out with all your plant care questions. Our number is 315-797-2360

  • Reply Marcia Workman February 22, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    My Peace Lily has fungus gnats. They appeared after I re-potted the plant. It has been struggling ever since. It is a sentimental plant from my dad’s funeral 20 years ago. Can you please advise on how to I resolve the issue?

    • Reply chestersflowers March 2, 2020 at 11:11 am

      Hi Marcia, fungus gnats thrive in excess moisture. So a couple of things might have happened when you re-potted the plant to cause moisture buildup and then gnats. First, you might have potted the plant into a container that was too large. You should only ever re-pot a plant in a container one size bigger, so if your plant is in a 6″ pot, you should size up to 8″. Anything larger and you risk having too much dirt in the pot that the plants roots can’t reach to absorb moisture. So, the soil sits wet and can cause mold or becomes fertile ground for pests to move in.

      If the pot size was correct it could be that you are over-watering. Peace lilies are very resilient and should only be watered when the top 1″ or so of soil is dry. They might even droop a little when they are thirsty and will pop back up with a good watering. Does the new pot have a hole? If there is no where for the moisture to drain to it could be accumulating at the bottom and causing rot, etc again leading to gnats.

      Those are a couple of preventative measures. At this point you want to get rid of whatever soil is in with the peace lily as the gnat eggs are below the surface. You can also mix one part hydrogen peroxide to four parts water and drench the soil to eliminate eggs and larvae. After a soil drench allow the plant to dry out very thoroughly before watering again, you’re basically starving the gnats. You can pick up yellow sticky traps to attract the adults so they cannot lay anymore eggs. Quarantine the plant from any other plants to avoid infestation.

      Things might get a little worse before they get better, but again peace lilies are very resilient and it will come back with a little time and patience. Best of luck!

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