How To Care For My Peace Lily to Keep it Happy and Healthy
Peace lilies are popular houseplants. Their lovely elegant white flowers in spring are a welcoming sign that summer is just around the corner. If you’re looking for an easy-to-grow house plant, peace lilies may be a good choice. However, if you’ve recently been gifted or purchased a peace lily, you may be asking yourself, how do I care for my peace lily to keep it healthy? We’ve got the full guide below that answers that question for you.
To care for your peace lily to keep it healthy all year is simply a matter of providing a suitable sized container, bright indirect sunlight, adequate water, and fertilizer. You will also need to deal with insect pests or diseases quickly to prevent damage and spreading. And lastly, you will need to find a suitable location in your home away from cold drafts to keep your peace lily happy.
Read on to find out everything you need to know to care for your peace lily.
Estimated reading time: 11 minutes
Make sure your peace lily has an adequate growing pot
Peace lily pots should be sturdy, with at least one drainage hole. Peace lilies are fine if their roots are slightly crowded, but if you start to notice the roots growing through the drainage holes, it’s a sign that the plant is root-bound and will need a new pot.
When choosing a larger container for repotting, choose one that is only slightly larger than the starting pot. Too much moist soil around the roots can cause root rot, so be sure not to go too big when picking a larger pot. To re-pot your peace lily:
- Fill the new container about 1/3 full of fresh potting soil.
- Remove the peace lily from the container and inspect the roots. If the roots are very tightly compacted, you can loosen them very carefully and gently with your fingers. Loosening the roots will encourage them to spread into the new soil.
- Place the peace lily in the new pot and fill the rest of the container so that the top of the root ball is one inch below the container’s rim. Gently press and firm the potting mix with your fingers. Water the lily well.
Your peace lily may pout and droop after being transplanted, but that phase will not last long, and the plant will rebound relatively quickly.
Provide bright indirect light
Provide your peace lily with bright indirect light. Peace lilies are plants that do well in rooms with low light conditions. A bathroom or a non-drafty northern window sill are perfect locations to place your lily.
If you notice your peace lily presenting with new yellow leaves, it may indicate that the light source is too strong. Likewise, brown leaves or brown streaks are a sure sign of too much light, or the direct sunlight is too strong.
Peace lilies are very tolerant of low light, but that doesn’t mean they thrive without any light. So to encourage their white blooms in spring, be sure to provide “some” sunlight, or the plant may fail to flower.
Related: Did you know that peace lilies are considered one of the best plants for air purification? We wrote a blog post dedicated to the topic of clean air plants that you may want to check out.
Water your peace when the top inch of soil is dry
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The Peace lily is a native tropical plant from South America. The plants grow in humid climates right on the forest floor. They like humidity and they like moisture but they can be fussy when it comes to underwatering and overwatering.
Peace lilies need consistently moist soil, but they will not tolerate standing water around their roots. You can water when the top inch of soil is dry. Water the plant until the overflow starts to come out of the bottom of the container. Wait until it stops draining, then set the pot back in its saucer.
It’s best to water them a few times a week with filtered, room temperature water. However, peace lilies are sensitive to chemicals in tap water (especially hard water), so using distilled water or rainwater is optimal.
Learn More: If you are new to growing houseplants we highly recommend the two following books:
- The New Plant Parent by Darryl Cheng
- Plant Parenting by Leslie F. Halleck
Don’t forget to feed your peace lily with adequate fertilizer
Peace lilies are not heavy feeders, so you only need to fertilize occasionally. To encourage spring and summer growth, fertilize every six weeks with a balanced fertilizer made for houseplants starting in late winter.
When it comes to fertilizing a peace lily, any water-soluble houseplant fertilizer is fine. However, look for a product with a balanced ratio of 20-20-20, diluted to one-quarter strength.
Peace lilies can sometimes suffer from magnesium deficiency. Your plant requires magnesium if your lily leaves turn yellow with green vines. Treat magnesium deficiency with a magnesium fertilizer or sprinkle a bit of Epsom salts on the soil around the plants. Don’t allow the magnesium to touch the leaves.
Place your peace Lilly in a spot away from cold drafts
Pick a spot in your home for your peace lily that will provide shelter from cold drafts. Choose a post away from doors, drafty windows, and open fireplaces.
Peace lilies are tropical plants, and they love humidity, so placing them in a bathroom is a good choice.
Take care of pests as soon as you find them
Peace lilies can be prone to several pests, but the most common two are spider mites and fungus gnats.
Spider mites are tiny and difficult to see with the naked eye. They thrive in hot, dry environments and quickly take over a peace lily.
If you spot white or yellow stippling, tiny yellow or red dots on the upper surface of the leaves, your plant is likely infested with spider mites. Leaves, shoots, and stems may also be shrouded with fine white webbing. Leaves will yellow at the veins and spread over the entire leaf surface. Heavy infestations will cause stunted or deformed growth with sickly-looking yellow foliage.
If you suspect your peace lily has spider mites, examine the underside of the leaves with a magnifying glass. You can also use a sheet of paper to tap a few of the leaves to see if you can spot mites crawling around.
To control spider mites, you can use an insecticidal soap spray every 3-5 days. Be sure to spray the underside of every leaf.
Spider mites like hot, dry environments, but fungus gnats like humid, wet environments. You can prevent fungus gnats with a few environmental methods:
First, do not overwater your plants. Overwatering can cause root rot, creating a welcome environment for fungus gnats to breed. Overwatering is a common problem for indoor houseplants, it can lead to both pest infestations and diseases, so be mindful of how much you’re watering each week.
Second, you can add a layer of fine sand or gravel at the top level of the soil. Adding grit to the top of the soil is an excellent idea if your peace lily resides in a humid environment like a bathroom. The sand and gravel prevent the fungus gnats from breeding because they cannot get to the damp soil.
To Control Infestations
If you have fungus gnats that have already taken hold, you can remove the top inch of soil and dispose of it outdoors. Then, add fresh new potting soil and add a layer of sand or grit to the top. You can also use an insecticidal soap spray to destroy any remaining gnats on the plant.
To ensure all larvae in the roots are destroyed, you can add hydrogen peroxide. Mix one part peroxide with four parts of water, and pour it through the soil at the root zone. The peroxide kills fungus gnat larvae on contact.
Also, be sure to store your potting soil in a closed container. Fungus gnats can make their way into a bag of soil and breed.
Treat diseases quickly to prevent damage and spreading
Root rot is an infection caused by Cylindrocladium spathiphylli. Your peace lily can be infected by this disease when overwatered or when the plant lacks adequate drainage.
This disease will present itself with the yellowing of the lower leaves in combination with wilted foliage. The leaves may also have dark brown spots. Unfortunately, by the time you notice the markers of this disease, it may already be too late, and the roots may be already heavily infected. Therefore, discard the plant and soil. Do not compost.
Be sure to clean and disinfect any gardening tools that come into contact with diseased plants or soil to prevent spreading.
Related: We wrote a post dedicated to the best indoor gardening tools to have on hand to take care of all your house plants.
Dasheen Mosaic Virus
Mosiac virus will appear on new leaves with a mosaic pattern of yellow to light green. Dasheen mosaic virus generally does not cause too much reduction in growth. The virus is spread by insects, gardening tools, and infected soil. Although the disease will not cause much harm to your peace lily, it can spread to other house plants that will be negatively impacted by an infection, like dieffenbachia and philodendrons.
Leaf blight is a water mold that causes blight on many plants. It is generally caused by splashing water. High moisture levels and high humidity will create an environment where the disease can thrive and spread.
The symptoms of this disease are leaf margins and centers that have black or dead brown spots. As the disease progresses, the areas will expand into more extensive lesions.
If you catch the disease early, you can try repotting the plant into a new clean container using fresh potting soil.
To ensure the disease is under control, you can use a soil drench fungicide.
How to care for your peace lily during the winter months
Keep the peace lily away from non-insulated drafty windows and doors because cold drafts will cause damage to the leaves.
Also, low humidity, which is common indoors during the winter heating season, can cause brown tips on the leaves.
Peace lilies enjoy good water misting during dry seasons a few times a week. Misting will help prevent leaf tip browning and keep your plant healthy through the dry winter months.
Propagate Your Peace Lily To Make new Plants
Unfortunately, You can’t propagate peace lilies via leaf or stem cuttings, but you can multiply by plant division.
There are different ways to propagate a peace lily from its leaf, also known as dividing, if the peace lily has outgrown its container or pot.
To propagate or divide, remove the plant from its pot and split it into smaller plants. Be sure to leave several leaves per area. Then, use a knife to separate the root ball and re-plant each smaller plant in a pot that allows room for growth.
Keep your peace lily away from small children and pets
But are peace lilies poisonous for humans and pets?
Yes, peace lilies are poisonous to humans and pets. Although the plant may not kill, ingesting the flowers can cause a burning sensation, followed by a possible allergic reaction. The effects can cause swelling of the tongue, mouth, and lips. The plants can also cause stomach upset and vomiting. Therefore, it is best to keep the plants well out of reach of children and pets.
Learn More: See the ASPCA’s advice regarding the toxicity of peace lilies for pets.
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