How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Peace Lilies

Peace Lilies are beautiful flowers that can add a bit of personality to any garden. But growing them can take a little more patience than many gardeners have. In this article, organic gardening expert Logan Hailey walks through every step you'll need to follow to successfully plant, grow, and care for Peace Lilies.

Grow Peace Lilies

Undemanding and easygoing, peace lilies are a popular hybrid from the Spathiphyllum genus of tropical plants. These stunning houseplants are easy to grow and bloom for several months of the year. With verdant green foliage and striking creamy white flowers, they are sure to catch your eye in any room or garden.  

A symbol of purity and prosperity, peace lilies are a very popular houseplant for offices and homes because they don’t require direct sunlight and are very easy to please. They can make any indoor space a little more lively, especially when paired with other indoor plants, like one of the many pothos varieties.

Though they can handle a little neglect, it is still important to give peace lilies proper growing conditions to thrive. There are many factors you’ll want to consider before adding these to your indoor or outdoor gardening space. Let’s dig into how to grow and care for a peace lily plant. 

Peace Lily Plant Overview

Spathiphyllum spp

Plant Type

Perennial Tropical Flower

Family

Araceae

Genus

Spathiphyllum

Species

Spathiphyllum spp

Hardiness Zones

USDA 11-12

Planting Season

All year, spring if outdoors

Maintenance

Low

Plant Height

1-3 ft indoors, 6 ft outdoors

Fertility Needs

Light to Moderate

Soil Type

Acidic

Native Region

Asia and Central America

Bloom Time

Spring, Fall

Pot Size

1-5 Gallon Pot

Watering Needs

Moderate

Sun Exposure

Indirect Light or Partial Shade

Days to Maturity

2-3 Years

Pests

Scae and Mealybugs

Diseases

None

All About Peace Lilies 

Peace lilies are popular houseplants with glossy deep green leaves and long flower stalks that seem to dance above the foliage. They take 2-3 years to mature and bloom once or twice a year, resulting in several months of lovely oval-shaped white flowers. 

Indoors or Outdoors? 

Common Houseplant Growing Outdoors
Although they can live outdoors, peace lilies perform better when they grow indoors.

Peace lilies are most commonly grown as indoor potted plants. While they are not hardy outdoors in most areas of the United States, houseplants can be moved outside during the warmest summer days as long as the temperature remains above 65°F.  

If you live in USDA zones 11 or 12 (parts of southern Florida, Texas, or southern California), you can grow them outside in shady parts of your garden.  

Among the easiest house plants to grow, they are remarkably resilient even in the face of neglect. As long as they have indirect sunlight, consistent temperatures, and moderate moistureSpathiphyllum will purify indoor air and brighten up any space. 

Removes Toxins From the Air 

Houseplant in a Pot
This plant is well known for its air-purifying properties.

Through their indoor air pollutant studies, NASA actually found that peace lilies are one of the best plants for filtering toxins from the air. Many chemicals from building materials, insulations, paints, and furniture can become trapped inside your home and cause Sick Building Syndrome.  

Peace lilies help filter the air from chemicals like Benzene, Formaldehyde, and Trichloroethylene, which are commonly found in many home products. Through its natural growth and respiration process, the plant absorbs these pollutants through its leaves and sends them down to the roots where soil microbes can break them down.  

This means that they are incredible air-purifying plants for any indoor living space. They clean the air year-round and also reduce mold spores and allergies inside your home. 

Are They Considered True Lilies? 

Tropical Herbaceous Perennial Plants
These plants are not true lilies, despite their name.

Technically not lilies, Spathiphyllum are tropical herbaceous perennials that got their name because of their gorgeous white flowers that look like white flags of peace. In contrast to true lilies (Lilium species), peace lilies do not grow from bulbs nor are their flowers ”true flowers.” What we call the “spathe” (flower of the peace lily) is actually a large, modified leaf bract around the tiny insignificant flowers inside.   

Flowers or Leaves? 

Tropical Plants With White Leaf Bracts
The “flower” of a peace lily is technically a leaf bract that has a similar texture to a flower petal.

Yes, the peace lily is most famous for its gorgeous hooded white “flowers.” But these flowers are actually leaves, more specifically leaf bracts. The creamy white leaf of a peace lily is called a spathe and the white or yellow cylinder that sticks up inside the hood is called a spadix. Inside the spadix are the “true flowers” of the peace lily, which are small and not very noticeable.  

After a few weeks of flowering, you may notice powdery pollen. Soon, the flower-like spathe leaves will begin to brown and fade, at which point you should cut off the stem to encourage more growth.  

Keeping Away From Pets & Children

White Cat Looking at Houseplant
Both pets and humans can suffer mildly from ingesting the poisons from peace lilies.

This plant is mildly poisonous to both humans and pets. All parts of the plant have the toxic compound calcium oxalate that can cause respiratory and stomach problems if ingested. This compound is also found in daffodils, true lilies, and philodendrons. It’s best to keep peace lily potted plants up on shelves or in a place that is difficult for pets or kids to reach.  

Propagation and Planting 

Peace lilies are widely available at garden stores and nurseries. It is best to start with a full-grown healthy peace lily that becomes acclimated to your home.  

When to Propagate 

Propagating a Tropical Houseplant
They can be propagated 6-12 months after acclimating to your home.

After 6 months to a year, you can propagate peace lilies into several other baby plants. Wait until the plant has thoroughly filled its pot and roots are peeking up from the soil surface. You may see shoots growing in the pot around the central mother plant. This is a sign it’s time to divide and propagate.  

Dividing Crowns 

Dividing Crowns of Tropical Plant
The crowns of a peace lily can be divided and planted separately into new pots.

Begin by gently removing the plant from its original pot and cutting out any dead plant parts that may be diseased or decaying. Then, lightly wash the roots under running water until the soil has been mostly washed away from the root surface. Find where the whole plant’s crowns remain and gently divide them with your hands, pruners, or a knife.  

Planting Crowns 

Freshly Planted Crowns of Tropical Plant
Once planted in their new pot, they should be cared for as usual.

Now that you’ve divided the crowns, you can return the mother plant to the original container and prepare new pots with a shallow layer of rich, well-drained potting mix. Hold the newly divided baby crown gently inside the pot, ensuring its roots are suspended straight down.

Scoop soil into the pot to backfill, keeping the baby plant in place until it sits just above the soil surface in the pot. Thoroughly water in the new crown and care for it just like the original. 

When Do They Mature?

Tropical Plant at Maturity
This particular plant can take 2-3 years to mature.

Most peace lilies you will find in stores are already a year or two old. It can take up to 3 years for a newly planted peace lily to mature and begin flowering. This is because the plant’s initial growth is all vegetative, with a focus on developing roots, shoots, and leaves.  

Once it reaches a certain stage in its life (1-3 years depending on conditions), the peace lily plant will be ready to enter reproductive growth and begin producing flowers every year (if conditions are favorable). 

Peace Lily Care

Perhaps another reason Spathiphyllum got its name is that it is an incredibly peaceful plant. It is not very finicky or needy in terms of care. The most important thing to remember about peace lilies is that they hate “wet feet” (overly moist roots) and love indirect sunlight.  

Water 

Houseplant With Watering Globe
It is best to allow the soil to dry out completely before watering.

Peace lilies really despise soggy soil. It is best to wait to water when the plant begins to slightly droop. It will bounce back very quickly after a thorough watering through its well-drained soil. Allow the soil to thoroughly dry out before watering again to ensure that the plant does not get too damp.  

Despite their ability to filter toxins out of the air, this plant is very sensitive to chlorine in the water. It is best to leave the watering can out overnight to let the chlorine dissipate, or water only with filtered tap water or rainwater. 

If growing outside, they can be left relatively to their own accord in tropical southern regions of the U.S. In rainy areas, the best course of action is to broadfork or loosen the soil and amend with compost at planting to ensure that the peace lily does not become waterlogged. 

Soil and Fertility 

Person Putting Fertilizer Stick in Houseplant
A diluted fertilizer can be used every 2-3 weeks during the growing season.

Like many potted plants, peace lilies prefer a rich well-drained potting mix. Plenty of organic matter like compost is ideal for this plant because its native habitat is under tropical rainforest canopies where lots of decaying plant matter has accumulated. They also prefer slightly acidic soil, so consider  

Loose, easily-drained soil is also important because peace lilies hate damp conditions as I described above. Choose a potting mix that is rich in compost, perlite, and/or vermiculite that will thoroughly drain when watered.  

When it comes to fertility, peace lilies appreciate semi-frequent feeding during the spring and summer. An all-purpose organic granulated fertilizer or a liquid fish fertilizer, diluted to 1 tablespoon per gallon of water every 2-3 weeks will work perfectly. You don’t need to fertilize during the winter. 

Temperature and Humidity 

Plenty of Tropical Plants With White Leaf Bracts
Because they are naturally tropical plants, peace lilies prefer warm temperatures.

Peace lilies thrive in humidity and warmth around 68-85°F. They will tolerate down to 55 or 60°, however, prolonged cold temperatures or chilly drafts will weaken and kill the plant. It is best to keep them in the warmest area of your home during the winter. As a rule of thumb, remember that if you need a jacket, your peace lily is too cold. Keep it near well-insulated, heated areas for the lushest growth and flowering.  

If you live in a dry region, maintain humidity around the peace lily by misting it with distilled water throughout the summer. A simple mister bottle will do as long as it doesn’t have heavily chlorinated water. The mist can be applied directly to the leaves every other day or so. Peace lilies that grow in humid areas don’t require any extra care as long as they remain warm enough. 

Sunlight 

Tropical Plants on a Sunny Day
Peace lilies prefer indirect sunlight for 6-8 hours a day.

In the wild, peace lilies thrive in the shady rainforest floors of Central America and Asia. Keeping this native habitat in mind, it is best to put your peace lily plant in an area with indirect or filtered sunlight. Depending on the variety, direct sunlight can harm the plant and cause it to have pale, curled-up leaves or even scorched leaf surfaces.  

A north-facing window, bathroom, office, or middle of a room with muffled light are great places to grow potted plants. Be aware that indirect light does not mean no light. Peace lilies still need 6-8 hours of indirect sunlight to properly photosynthesize and grow.  

In an outdoor tropical garden, plant peace lilies beneath the soft shade of large shrubs or trees, but not too close to the base of dense trees.  

Varieties 

Spathiphyllum Sensation
Spathiphyllum Sensation is one example of a variety of peace lily.

Spathiphyllum is a genus that contains dozens of different varieties. These plants have mostly been hybridized for unique flowers, sizes, and traits. Some peace lilies are miniature and others are massive and lush.  

The classic white-flowered peace lily with glossy green leaves is the most well-known, but there are also varieties with light variegated leaves, pink flowers, or even golden-green foliage. 

Spathiphyllum ‘Picasso’: oblong leaves and shiny white-splotched leaves make for a unique variegated peace lily. 

S. ‘Sensation’: a giant variety that can grow over 6 feet tall with extra-wide, 20-inch long leaves.

S. ‘Starlight’: a varietal with wavy, narrow leaves and heaps of flowers (sometimes 15 or more at a time).

S. ‘Power Petite’: the smallest variety that grows to 15” tall and is perfect for small pots. 

S. ‘Golden Delicious’: gorgeous green and gold speckled leaves make this hybrid stand out amongst other houseplants.  

Troubleshooting  

One amazing fact about this plant is that it’s virtually pest-free and disease-free. However, every once in a while they can fall victim to these easy-fix issues: 

Scale and Mealybugs  

Mealybugs on a Houseplant
Mealybugs can make a home on peace lilies.

These tiny annoying bugs are relatively easy to control. First, keep a healthy plant with plenty of airflow, fertility, warmth, light, and drainage. If scale or mealybugs begin to colonize the leaves, simply use soapy water or horticultural oil directly on the leaves to wash or rub them off and prevent them from returning. It may take several applications.  

Curled or Scorched Leaves 

Scorched Leaves on a Houseplant
Too much direct sunlight can cause the leaves of your peace lily to scorch.

If your peace lily begins to have withered, curled, or crispy scorched-looking leaves, this means it is getting too much direct sunlight. Peace lilies naturally live in the undergrowth of dense tropical rainforests, therefore they cannot handle intense light. Move it away from the window toward an area with indirect light.  

North and west-facing windows tend to be best for this plant. If this is not an option, simply place the plant further toward the center of a room where it can get diluted sunlight throughout the day.  

Droopy Leaves 

Houseplant With Droopy Leaves
Droopy leaves are caused by your peace lily not receiving enough water.

Underwatering will lead to droopy peace lily leaves. Fortunately, this scenario is better than overwatering because the plant bounces back very quickly. Peace lilies tell you when they are thirsty! Check if the soil is overly dry and then thoroughly water until wet but not soggy. The plant should perk back up in a few hours.  

Avoid letting the leaves stay droopy for extended periods of time or they may begin to get brown tips and wither. Consistent moisture is important, so pay attention when your plant tells you it is thirsty!  

Dusty Leaves 

Person Wiping Dust Off Houseplant
Being in the home, this plant can accumulate dust that needs to be wiped off.

Because peace lilies are just peacefully relaxing around your home, they can be a magnet for dust accumulation. In order for the plant to properly photosynthesize and breathe through its leaves, it is best to gently wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth every couple of months.  

Alternatively, you can bring it on your patio on a warm day and hose it down to wash the leaves clean. Be sure you don’t leave it in direct sunlight for very long, especially with wet leaves that may attract harsh sun rays. Allow it to air dry in the shade and then return to its spot in your home.  

Deformed Leaf Growth 

Person Repotting Houseplant
If your peace lily has deformed leaves, it is probably because it has outgrown its pot and needs a new home.

If your peace lily looks deformed or is still droopy for a week after watering, it has probably outgrown its pot. This means it is time to upsize and transplant into a larger pot or divide the plant into smaller pieces with a sharp knife cut through the center of the root ball. Replant each half in its own container, backfill with soil, and continue caring for the plant as usual.  

Why Isn’t My Peace Lily Blooming? 

Tropical Plant With No Flower
Peace lilies need the right conditions to flower, so be sure it is warm enough and getting enough sun.

If your peace lily never seems to put up any flowers, it probably isn’t getting enough warmth and sunlight. While it enjoys the indirect light of shady areas, it still needs enough sun to trigger the photosensitivity necessary to flower. Remember, low light does not mean no light! 

You should also check that it is getting enough water, warmth, and fertility. If the flowers are green, you are over-fertilizing. If there is a lack of flowers in general, consider watering with a diluted liquid fish fertilizer every 2 weeks during spring and summer.  

It’s also worth noting, that if your peace lily is very young, you may have to wait a year or two before it begins flowering.  

Frequently Asked Questions 

How do you care for for them indoors?

The peace lily plant thrives with indirect sunlight and room temperatures (70° to 80°F). Choose a container with good drainage and a bottom pot. Plant peace lilies with a well-drained potting mix rich in organic matter and place 3-6 feet away from a window. Indoor plants thrive with consistent moisture that is never soggy or waterlogged.

Where should I place a peace lily in my house? 

Peace lily houseplants are best placed in indirect sunlight near a north- or west-facing window. Too much direct sunlight will scorch peace lily leaves. Ensure that this room is consistently warm and no cold drafts come through the window in the wintertime.

What is a peace lily good for? 

Peace lilies are one of the most effective air-purifying house plants. NASA experiments found that the peace lily plant cleaned spaceship air of dozens of toxic indoor pollutants and allergens. It is also a beautiful addition to any room to reduce stress and improve sleep.

How long do they last?

Peace lilies can bloom for two months or more if they receive proper watering (consistent but not soggy) and indirect sunlight in a warm environment. After blooms fade, peace lilies may not bloom again until the fall or the spring of the following year. A peace lily plant can live for three to five years or more if provided a large enough pot and proper care.

How hard is it to keep a peace lily alive? 

Peace lilies are relatively easy to keep alive indoors, however, they require a little extra care to keep them thriving and flowering. They love high humidity, warm environments, and medium light conditions (not too much light, but not too little).

Keep your peace lily thriving with an organic liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks during the summer and a regular misting to increase humidity during dry months.

How do you fix brown tips on peace lily? 

Brown tips are usually a sign of overwatering, underwatering, scorched leaves (too much light), or not enough fertility. To sort out the problem, begin with watering. Overwatering and underwatering tend to have the same symptoms, so pay close attention to the soil moisture levels by regularly sticking your finger in and providing water if your finger comes out dry. Never let the plant sit in soggy soil.

Next, check that your peace lily is getting diluted indirect sunlight throughout the day. If it is too close to the window, move it back in the room to prevent brown scorched tips. Lastly, provide a bi-weekly feeding of all purpose liquid fertilizer during the main growing season (summer and fall) to ensure that tips stop browning.

What is the spiritual meaning and symbolism of a peace lily? 

Peace lilies represent peaceful exchanges because their white flowers resemble white flags of peace. They also are symbolic of innocence, purity, hope, healing, prosperity, and virtue. Traditionally, peace lilies are given as gifts for condolences, sympathy, birth, weddings, or coming-of-age celebrations.

Final Thoughts 

Potted peace lilies make an excellent gift, air-purifying houseplant, tropical landscape plant, or office companion. May your peace lily growing adventure be filled with glossy leaves and gorgeous flowers! 

SHARE THIS POST
Grow Globe Amaranth

Plants

How to Plant, Grow, and Care For Globe Amaranth

Are you looking for some new flowers to brighten up your garden bed? Globe Amaranth may be just the trick! These beautiful flowers can liven up any garden space, but they do have a few needs to satisfy before you'll get a perfect bloom. In this article, gardening and flower expert Taylor Sievers examines how to plant, grow, and care for Globe Amaranth.

Grow Asters

Plants

How to Plant, Grow, and Care For Aster Flowering Plants

Are you looking for a bit of fall color in your garden beds? Asters are your answer. These stunning perennials are popular across North America, especially in pollinator gardens. Plant one variety, or choose several of the hundreds in this genus and plant family for a garden full of wildlife and color throughout summer and fall.

Blue Flowers

Plants

61 Blue Flowers: Complete List With Names and Pictures

Blue is a color that comes in many different shades, and can compliment just about any home garden or landscaped area of your home. But which blue flowers should you plant? In this article, you'll learn all about some of our favorite plants with blue flowers that will add some extra color to your home or garden.

Grow Peace Lilies

Plants

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Peace Lilies

Peace Lilies are beautiful flowers that can add a bit of personality to any garden. But growing them can take a little more patience than many gardeners have. In this article, organic gardening expert Logan Hailey walks through every step you'll need to follow to successfully plant, grow, and care for Peace Lilies.

How to Grow Zinnia

Plants

How to Plant, Grow, and Care For Zinnia Flowers

Are you thinking of adding some color to your garden by adding some Zinnia flowers? Zinnias come in a variety of different colors, and are easy to both plant and care for. But there's some tricks you'll want in your back pocket to make sure they flourish. In this article, gardening and flower expert Taylor Sievers walks through every step you'll need to successfully plant, grow, and care for Zinnia flowering plants.