Houseplants can transform any indoor space and purify the air, but not all plants are created equal when it comes to care and maintenance. Some require high humidity, excellent drainage, and just the right amount of sunlight. But there is one hardy houseplant that even novice gardeners find easy to grow: the peace lily. With its lush green leaves and classic white blooms, the peace lily brings life and tranquility wherever it is placed. Meet the long-lasting houseplant with a forgiving heart.
An Introduction to the Peace Lily
The peace lily, also known by its botanical name Spathiphyllum, is one of the most popular houseplants sold today. Native to tropical rainforests, it thrives indoors in normal household temperatures and moderate humidity. These evergreen perennials can grow quite large, up to 3-4 feet tall, but most indoor specimens are smaller.
Peace lilies are loved for their graceful white flowers that resemble calla lilies. These blooms appear throughout the year whenever conditions are right, especially in spring and summer. Even when not in bloom, the dark green oval leaves add life to any room. NASA lists peace lilies as one of the best houseplants for removing indoor air pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.
Easy Care for the Forgiving Peace Lily
One of the secrets to the peace lily’s popularity is its ease of care. This plant thrives on benign neglect and adapts well to less-than-ideal growing conditions inside the home. Here are some tips for keeping your peace lily healthy and happy:
- Light – Bright indirect light is ideal, but the peace lily will tolerate low-light conditions inside the home. Avoid direct hot sunlight which can scorch the leaves.
- Water – Allow soil to dry out partially between waterings. Overwatering leads to root rot. The graceful drooping leaves will perk up after a drink.
- Temperature – Normal indoor temperatures between 65-80°F suit the peace lily just fine. Avoid drafty locations.
- Humidity – Mist leaves occasionally to boost humidity. Not a strict requirement though as this plant adapts well to dry indoor air.
- Soil – Use a general houseplant potting mix. Ensure the pot has drainage holes to prevent soggy soil.
- Fertilizer – Feed monthly in the spring and summer with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. Stop fertilizing in fall and winter.
The peace lily does best when somewhat pot bound, so only repot every 2-3 years as needed. Dust the leaves periodically to keep them looking their best. With this simple care, the peace lily will thrive for years.
Warning Signs from a Dramatic Diva
While largely unfussy, the peace lily does communicates clearly when cultural conditions are not to its liking. Here is what to watch out for:
- Drooping leaves – This signals under-watering. Perk the leaves back up with a thorough soaking of water.
- Yellow leaves – Usually an indication of overwatering or soggy soil. Allow the soil to dry out to remedy.
- Brown leaf tips – Dry air is probably the culprit. Misting more often can help boost ambient humidity.
- Failure to bloom – Insufficient light is a common reason for no flowers. Try a new location or grow lights to encourage blooms.
When properly cared for, the peace lily will reward you with lush evergreen growth and gorgeous white flowers for many years to come. Have no fear of this dramatic diva wilting under your care!
Perfect Peace Lily Companion Plants
The peace lily’s clean lines and subtle color palette lend themselves well to combination plantings with other low-maintenance greenery. Here are some great pairing ideas:
- Group with ferns for an lush, old-world feel. The soft-textured leaves contrast nicely.
- Mix with pothos or philodendrons for easy-care tropical style. Both trail beautifully.
- Set off the dark leaves with silver-colored plants like pilea and caladium.
- Combine with other plants that filter indoor air like spider plants, dracaenas, and aloe vera.
- Complement the white flowers with purple leaves from plants like purple waffle plant.
No matter what plants you choose, the resilient peace lily is sure to be a steady living air purifier and source of tranquility in your indoor garden sanctuary for many years. With a forgiving heart and willingness to tolerate imperfect conditions, this beautiful houseplant deserves a spot in every home.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should you water a peace lily?
Peace lilies should be watered whenever the top inch or two of soil feels dry to the touch. Typically they need watering every 1-2 weeks depending on factors like sunlight and humidity. Allowing the soil to dry out partially between waterings prevents root rot.
What type of light does a peace lily need?
Bright indirect sunlight is ideal for the peace lily. Some morning sun is fine, but avoid intense direct light which can scorch the leaves. Low light also works, but may result in less frequent blooming.
What is the optimal temperature range for peace lilies?
Normal indoor temperatures between 65-80°F are perfectly suitable for the peace lily. Avoid drafty locations for optimal growth. As a tropical plant, they do not respond well to chilling below 50°F.
How humid should the environment be for a peace lily?
Peace lilies tolerate low indoor humidity quite well. But for lush growth and prolific flowering, consistent humidity around 40-50% is ideal. Periodic misting of the leaves can help boost moisture when indoor air is very dry.
How do you encourage a peace lily to bloom?
Ensure the peace lily gets bright indirect light. Fertilize regularly in the spring and summer. Keep evenly moist but not soggy. Give it a mature root system in a snug pot. Avoiding move or repotting right before the flowering period. Meeting these conditions will promote the most abundant blooms.
For indoor gardeners of every skill level, the resilient yet elegant peace lily should have a place of honor. Cascading dark green leaves provide a soothing accent, while the clean white blooms truly live up to the plant’s tranquil name. When given bright indirect light and a weekly drink of water, this forgiving houseplant will thrive and produce flowers for many years. The peace lily filters indoor air pollutants, adapts well to less-than-ideal conditions, and communicator clearly when it requires care. For enduring beauty and ease of growth, the peace lily may just be the perfect houseplant!