The humble peace lily is one of my favourite plants. It is often overlooked because it can seem a bit common. Peace Lilies, aka Spathiphyllum, are actually a very diverse genus that can withstand a lot of difficult conditions. They can range in size from just a few centimetres tall up to 2m, and come in a variety of colours! Due to this variety, they are a great plant for beginners and advanced plant lovers alike!
These plants are great air purifiers, and make for great gifts due to their ability to thrive almost anywhere.
Peace Lilies are very low-light tolerant, meaning that they can survive in some of the darker spots in your home. As long as there is some kind of light source they will be fine (artificial lighting helps too!). They will grow slower and use less water in a darker spot so be sure to cut back your watering frequency.
A bright spot is great too! An hour or two of direct sun is fine but generally this is the upper limit of what they like in Melbourne.
During the warmer months, allow the top third of soil to dry out (as a minimum) before you think about watering. If your plant is in a dimly lit area it may be advisable to allow half the soil to dry out before watering again. Remember to always check the soil first as this is a plant that doesn’t tolerate wet feet. Watering once every one to two weeks is pretty normal this time of year.
During Winter your plant is going to be growing much slower, and the water in the soil will not be evaporating very quickly. Generally I would recommend allowing half or even all of the soil to totally dry out before watering again. You may find you only need to water once a month.
The worst thing that will happen to your peace lily if it gets too dry is that it will wilt. It’s best to think of the wilting as a warning sign that you need to water within the next few days. Try to only use this as a last resort and not something that you allow to happen every time before watering.
Regular indoor temperatures are perfect. Peace Lilies will tolerate being outdoors over Winter if they are in a sheltered position away from wind and frost. Be careful of hot afternoon sun in the peak of summer as this may scorch the leaves. If you are able to keep your plant in the warmest spot possible it will definitely grow faster.
Melbourne’s humidity is totally adequate for all Peace Lilies, more humidity is always welcome though. If you are consistently running a lot of heating or cooling make sure your plant isn’t in the direct path of the moving air.
Typically Peace Lilies will flower around Spring, but in the right conditions they will flower all year round. To increase your chances of a flower, keep your plant in a bright and warm position, and maintain a healthy watering/fertilizing routine. Once the plant has become slightly root bound it will be ready to flower. You can expect roughly 1-3 flowers per year. Flowers can persist for up to 2 months. After flowering the plant will need some time to recuperate.
Peace lilies really thrive when they are slightly root bound. This is another great feature which means you don’t need to buy them a huge pot. When choosing a decorative pot you can give or take an inch in pot diameter depending on how developed the roots are currently.
If you plan on upgrading your pot size this is best done in Spring and Summer. A good sign that you can repot is if lots of roots start to grow out of the drainage holes.
Apply a liquid fertilizer every time you water in Summer and every second time in Spring and Autumn. Don’t fertilize in Winter.
Peace Lilies contain oxalic acid which can cause some irritation and pain if ingested. This is a common feature of plants in the Araceae family eg. Devil’s Ivy, Monstera, & Philodendrons.
Peace Lilies are often confused with true lilies from the family Liliaceae. These are much more toxic and commonly found in florists and not indoor plant stores.