Peace Lily vs. Calla Lily – What’s the Difference?

One of the most common yet popular types of lilies is the peace lily (Spathiphyllum spp) and the calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica). They belong to the Araceae family that have around 100 species and hybrids that can be enjoyed especially from the middle of spring to the end of summer.

Peace lily and the calla lily are among the prettiest and most beloved bulbs for the summer garden. They are easy to care for and the flowering bulbs multiply readily. They are well-loved and quite popular. They make a delightful addition to a garden with their lush foliage, and dazzling flowers that are delicate and sweet-scented.

This article explores the popular and common types of peace lilies vs calla lilies and then looks at the similarities and the differences that set them apart.

Peace Lily

calla lily

The peace lily is a tropical flower, originally found in parts of Southeast Asia and the Americas. The peace lily is not actually a lily but an evergreen perennial. It is named “peace lily” because of its flower which looks like a lily.  It is a beautiful and easy-to-maintain houseplant, with about 47 varieties, and can grow to a height of 6 feet, while the medium or dark green leaves can grow up to 25 inches in length.

Peace lilies are top houseplants as they purify the air by reducing and controlling indoor toxic gases. Here are 5 of the most popular peace lily varieties that are well-loved.

Sensation Peace Lily

Being one of the largest varieties of the peace lily family, the Sensation peace lily has dark glossy green leaves growing in a layered manner with leaves that are ribbed. They can grow up to 4 to 6 feet tall. The flowers have large white spathes that beautifully contrast against the lush dark green foliage.

Little Angel Peace Lily

The Angel peace lily is a miniature version of the standard household peace lily which makes them great for tables and countertops. The prominent feature of this type of peace lily is its flowers growing on top of the leaves, making this plant appear like a charming bouquet when the plant is in full bloom.

Patricia Peace Lily

This is also a compact type of peace lily that has rich green leaves and white flowers with a yellowish color at the center.

White Striped/Silver-streaked Peace Lily

The White Striped or Silver-streaked peace lily is very different from the regular peace lily species. The distinguishing feature of this type of peace lily is its leaves, which are shiny green and have white stripes or a line in the center of its leaves. The leaves are thicker but a lighter green in color which when newly growing has a sparkly silver underside.

Piccolino Peace Lily

This is one of the dwarf varieties of peace lily that grows no more than 10 to 12 inches in height. The dark shiny green leaves stand up straight and there is usually a single white flower having a creamy yellow center, growing almost in the middle part of the plant.

Calla Lily

calla lily

Calla lilies belong to the Araceae family and are not regular lilies although they share many characteristics with true lilies. Calla lilies are easy-growing plants, being sensual, suggestive, exotic, and graceful as true lilies. The traditional species of calla lilies have only white flowers, whereas the hybrid varieties have flowers that include a wide range of colors.

Here are 7 most common varieties of calla lilies that are very popular.

Night Life and Night Cap

night life night cap lily

Both types bloom flowers that are rich, deep shades of purple. Night Cap’s flower is smaller and goes towards a redder shade of purple, while that of Night Life is a bit bigger and has a darker and bluer tone.

Acapulco Gold

calla lily gold

This produces large blooms that are of bright yellow color. If you are looking to give a sunny touch to your garden, then choose this variety of calla lily.

Pink Melody

pink melody

This is a tall variety of calla lily, going to a height of 2 feet. The flowers of Pink Melody are triple-toned and are green at the base, then go from white to pink as it grows away from the base.

4.     California Ice Dancer

The leaves of this variety are dark green, and the flowers are perfectly creamy white and quite large. The stalks of California Ice Dancer can grow to a height of about 18 inches.

5.     Crystal Blush

This type of calla lily variety comes with abundant, pure-white flowers, shaped like trumpets, which have edges blending to soft pink as the flower grows. The sturdy stem of Crystal Blush can grow up to 24 inches in height.

6.     California Red

The flowers are of orange and coppery red color, with the red color spreading out gradually across the petals as the flower grows until it covers the whole flower.

7.     Fire Dancer

Being one of the most prominent types of calla lilies, Fire Dancer comes with orange and yellow bi-colored flowers that bloom from late spring all through the summer. The plant can reach a height of 18-20 inches, with the same expected width.

Similarities and Difference of Peace Lily vs Calla Lily

Peace lily and calla lily are both adored for their lush foliage and delicate-looking flowers. They are both members of the Araceae family and have features that are similar to true lilies.

Many tend to confuse calla lily and peace lilies, but they have some prominent differences. Let’s look at a few things that will help you set apart peace lilies from the calla lilies.

The Size

The most prominent difference between a peace lily and a calla lily is the size of the plant. The outdoor varieties of peace lily grow to about 6 feet high and 5 feet wide. While the indoor ones just reach the height of fifteen or sixteen inches.

Calla lily isn’t as big as the peace lily, the biggest ones growing to around 3 feet high and 3 feet wide. They need quite a lot of space to grow, but not as much as the peace lily would need.

The Foliage

Both these plants differ from each other in terms of their leaves and foliage as well. Peace lily leaves are shaped like ovals and are broad, dark green, and glossy. Some varieties of peace lily have variegated leaves, while some have plain leaves and others are ribbed.

On the other hand, calla lily has paler leaves with pointed tips and are shaped like arrowheads. They are thinner and less dramatic as compared to the leaves of peace lily.

Light Requirements

Peace lilies prefer a lot of light but cannot cope well with full sun. When growing them indoors, remember to place them in a location a few feet away from the window and away from direct sunlight. It is good to grow peace lilies under another plant having a light canopy so that the peace lily receives just enough light to carry out effective photosynthesis.

Calla lilies on the other hand grow better under full sun, or in partial sunlight. They can even grow well in shady areas, without having enough light, but calla lilies prefer good sunlight. However, it is important to note that too much sunlight during the peak summer days can burn the leaves, so placing them in the shade for a while when the sun is at its strongest would be a good idea.

Rhizomes and Roots

Peace lily and calla lily may seem similar above the ground but are very different undergrounds. A peace lily has a ball of tangled roots that gathers nutrients and moisture for the plant whereas calla lily grows from rhizomes, which are blobby, bulbous and pale brown in color. These absorb moisture and nutrients for the calla lily to grow.

The Growing Medium

The peace lilies may like wet conditions but are to be dried out from time to time. Make sure that you have good drainage material when planting a peace lily so that the roots do not rot due to moisture.

Similarly, calla lilies like wet conditions to grow, and you can even grow them directly in water. Water them regularly and don’t dry them out, even if they seem wet. Don’t grow the plants in poor conditions, but rather in nice and rich soil.

The Flowers

The flowers of peace lily and calla lily are quite different. White flowers bloom on a peace lily plant that has a yellow spike in the center. Calla lily on the other hand can bloom flowers of many different colors, ranging from yellow, pale pink, cream, red, and purple.

An important thing to note about the flowers is the time they bloom. Calla lily flowers bloom just in summer in warm weather with a lot of light while peace lily can even bloom in the middle of the winter if you use a grow lamp.

Take – Away

When it comes to peace lily vs calla lily, the most interesting fact is that they are both named ‘lily’ but belong to the Araceae family and are not regular lilies. Both varieties of lilies can thrive as houseplants or outdoors and are very popular for their lush foliage and beautiful and delicate flowers.

Peace lily and calla lily can be easily differentiated on prominent features, such as their leaves, their size, the amount of light they need for growth, and their foliage and flowers. Despite the similarities and differences, both the peace lily and the calla lily make wonderful plants to add character to your indoor and outdoor living spaces.