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The peace lily, also known as ‘the Closet Plant’, is a popular flowering plant among gardeners as it requires little maintenance and has a long lifespan. This tropical houseplant produces spectacular pure to creamy white blooms and has dark green foliage which gives it its attractive look. Since this plant is so easy to grow with minimal effort, it’s an ideal choice for an indoor plant.
If you’re considering growing your very own peace lilies, we’ve got you covered. Our quick guide has everything you need to know about it and you’ll find that it’s a lot easier than you think. Let’s take a look!
What are Peace Lilies?
The peace lily, (Spathiphyllum), is indigenous to the tropical regions of the Americas and Southeast Asia. Despite its name, this houseplant is not a lily but an evergreen perennial. It was named “peace lily” because of its beautiful flowers that look much like ordinary lilies.
The peace lily was declared by NASA as one of the top houseplants for purifying air back in the 1980s. This plant has the ability to purify air by reducing and controlling up to 60% of indoor toxic gases and vapors. These include carbon monoxide, benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and vapors from acetone and alcohol products. The peace lily has the ability to absorb these toxins, making its surroundings a healthier place to live.
The peace lily can also prevent the formation of mold spores from the air by absorbing excessive moisture maintaining humidity levels. As a result, there’s a decreased risk of exposure to various mold-related such as irritations of eyes, throat, skin, and even lung diseases.
Is the Peace Lily Toxic?
As amazing as this plant is, it also has its downsides. It carries a toxic amalgam called “calcium oxalate crystals”. If consumed, not only is it poisonous to humans if ingested but also to animals. If you have any children or pets, remember to place your peace lily plants well out of their reach.
In case of ingestion, the peace lily can cause the following symptoms:
- Burning sensations in the throat, mouth, and lips
- Nausea and vomiting
- Excessive salivation
- Loss of appetite
- In extreme cases, it can cause kidney failure or respiratory issues
Tips for Growing Peace Lilies
There are more than 40 different varieties of peace lily around the world, all of which are loved by plant lovers for their beauty and easy upkeep. This article includes tips on how to grow peace lilies in soil, but if you’d like to know how to grow them in water, we’ve got a whole other article for that. Check out how to grow peace lilies in water.
Regardless of the variety you choose, growing your own plants and maintaining them is easy. Here are a few tips you can follow:
Choosing the Right Pot
Based on the different varieties, peace lilies grow from about 1 to 6 feet in height and width. They’re known to be slow-growing plants that take years to reach their full size, but if you’re planning to grow them indoors, opt for a smaller variety.
The smallest variety of the peace lily is the ‘Spathiphyllum Petite’, which grows up to 10 inches in height, so if you’re looking for a type that’s easy to maintain and grow indoors, this would be a great choice.
Choose a pot or container that’s not a lot deeper or larger than the roots of your baby lily plants. The pots should have a good drainage system, so make sure to drill a couple of small holes in the bottom if they don’t already have them.
The best pots or containers should be no bigger than 1/3 bigger in size than the plant root balls
Choosing an Area to Place the Plants
In nature, peace lilies are mostly found in the shady areas of warm and moist tropical rainforests. This means they prefer sheltered and humid places that are exposed to indirect sunlight and protected from cold air.
Peace lilies grow best in temperatures above 60-70 F (16-21 C). However, exposure to full sun or cold weather for a long period of time can cause these plants to burn and wither.
To avoid this happening, place your peace lilies in an area where they will get enough but not too much sunlight and humidity. For example, an area close to a window or door but not directly under or on top of them would be ideal. Placing the plants facing west or north is also ideal, as they’ll be less exposed to full sun throughout the daytime.
Planting Peace Lilies
Peace lilies love well-drained, loose, yet moist, and fertile soil with a slightly acidic pH level between 5.0 and 6.5. If the chosen soil isn’t rich enough in nutrients, add some organic compost before planting. Avoid using sandy or clayish soil that’s too dry or damp for your plants.
After choosing the perfect soil, fill two-thirds of the pots with it and place the plant roots inside. Then add another layer of soil, compost, or mulch on the top. But always remember to leave at least a space of one inch between the rim of the containers and the said top layer for watering.
Watering and Misting Leaves
Peace lilies love water, so make sure to water them often so they can flourish and bloom. In normal weather conditions, watering at least once per week is enough. However, this depends on the weather conditions. In dry weather, your plants will need a lot more water than they will in cold weather.
Start watering your peace lilies as soon as you plant them. Water them until the excess water drains out of the drainage holes of the bottom of the pots. Then, leave the plants until the top layer of soil is dry before watering them again. If you keep watering the plants before the soil gets dry, they’ll be at risk of overwatering.
While overwatering causes the root balls of your plants to rot and die, underwatering will cause them to wither. If you notice the plant leaves turning yellow, it means they’re not getting enough water and if the leaf tips turn brown, it means they’re getting too much water.
During the summer, you can occasionally use a sprayer to mist the leaves of your peace lily plants. This will help the plants to stay healthy and will protect them from wilting.
Remember to use clean water without any chlorine in it since chlorine will kill your plants. If your water is chlorinated, leave some standing in a bucket for at least 24 hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate before you water your plants with it.
Feed your peace lilies every now and then with a fertilizer that contains phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium. Start fertilizing your plants in the spring and summer. In the early growing season, use a slow-release pellet fertilizer or a balanced all-purpose house plant fertilizer. In the middle of the growing season, feed the plants with a diluted liquid fertilizer at least once a month. During the winter, you don’t need to fertilize the plants at all.
Fertilizing is important since it will help your plants grow and flower well, but be careful not to overfeed them as this will cause them to become stunted and less healthy.
Pest and Disease Controlling
Just like any other houseplants, peace lilies are prone to various pest infestations such as mites, aphids, fungus gnats, and mealybugs. Most of these infestations present in the form of white-colored webbing on the plant leaves and stems or a mucky, wet discharge on the roots.
If your plant is being attacked by mites, aphids, and mealybugs, remove them by spraying them with water and then spray the plant with a safe, soap-solvent insecticide. Fungus gnats tend to make their homes in wet compost and soil, so if you notice any, reduce watering and add an organic pesticide to the soil to control the larvae population.
A dark-colored coating on the leaves and stems of your peace lily plants means that they have caught a serious fungal infection. In this case, remove and separate all the infected parts of the plant from the healthy parts to stop it from spreading further. Finally, water the plant with a natural fungicide like compost tea as this will help kill the remaining fungus spores on the plant.
Repotting Your Peace Lilies
If you’re planting a larger variety of peace lily, you’ll have to re-pot the plants once a year or every two years. After filling the new pots with soil just as you did the first time, take your plants out of their old pots. To do this, soak the soil with water until it loosens so that you’ll be able to pull the plants out gently without damaging the roots, or use a tool to take them out. Never try pulling the plants out while the soil is dry because the roots could easily break.
Remember to add some of the soil from the old pot and firmly press down the soil to keep the plants in place. If they’re having a hard time staying upright, use a wooden stake to temporarily provide them some support until their roots began to settle in and water them well.
As you can see, peace lilies are easy and fun plants to grow and care for. The best part is, you don’t have to be an expert at gardening to grow these plants successfully. Even a beginner can do it with just a few tips and a basic understanding of gardening.
If you’ve decided on growing your own peace lilies, go ahead and get started! You’ll soon be enjoying beautiful blooms, and cleaner, healthier air in your home!