How to Propagate Peace Lilies in 5 Simple Steps
Peace lilies are beautiful plants, that are also easy to propagate. In this article, gardening expert Madison Moulton looks at the best methods to propagate peace lilies, and how to do it following a few simple steps.
Peace lilies are houseplant staples, known for their interesting blooms and glossy green leaves. These plants have garnered a fan club that appreciates their tolerance of low light, as well as their low-maintenance nature.
These common plants are not usually too expensive and are great options for gifting. But if you’ve exhausted your gardening budget on some new and interesting houseplant favorites, it doesn’t mean you can’t expand your peace lily collection.
With a strong parent plant and the power of division, you can turn one peace lily into many in one afternoon.
Peace Lily Propagation Methods
Unlike other houseplants that come with a long list of propagation methods, peace lilies only come with one – division. As the plant grows and particularly begins to outgrow its current container, the new sections can be split and replanted to become standalone plants.
The benefit of division is that you can expand your collection almost instantly. No need to wait for root growth or transplant several times before you can treat your peace lily as established. Once you’ve planted your divisions, you can treat them as you did your original peace lily from the get-go.
Unfortunately, this method does have some limitations too. You can only propagate when your peace lily is large enough to divide, and the amount of plants you get from one will depend on the plant’s original size. This is in contrast to other houseplants like spider plants that produce multiple pups throughout the growing season.
You also can’t propagate peace lilies too often. After splitting the sections, you’ll have to wait until the plant has grown large enough to split again, which takes a while. The process also involves plenty of root disturbance which is best avoided where possible to limit the chances of transplant shock.
However, if you want to grow more peace lilies without spending more money, this is the best (and only) way to do it.
What You’ll Need
To get started, you’ll first need a relatively large peace lily. I recommend choosing one that is due for repotting to complete two tasks in one. Spring is the best time to repot, but if the roots are peeking out the drainage holes, it’s better to repot sooner rather than later.
Next, you’ll need as many new containers as there are divisions. It’s hard to tell before taking the plant out of the pot and looking at the roots.
That’s why I prefer to use recycled plastic pots when propagating – I always have some on hand in a range of different sizes, ideal for dividing.
Make sure the containers have drainage holes at the bottom to avoid rotting. If your containers don’t have any holes, make some in the bottom evenly before filling with soil.
Speaking of soil, you’ll also need a fresh houseplant potting mix to plant in. Specialized houseplant potting mixes are required to ensure your peace lilies have the right soil conditions to grow indoors. It should also closely match the existing soil mix to limit chances of transplant shock.
You can find houseplant potting mixes online or at several nurseries. But if you’re like me and prefer to make your own, my standard recipe is two parts potting soil, one part perlite and one part coconut coir.
Mix the soil before you start so you can quickly transfer each section from one container to the other without worrying about ratios and running out of ingredients.
How to Propagate Peace Lilies in 5 Easy Steps
After you’ve prepared everything you need, grab your plant and clear a space to get started. I like to lay down some newspaper to catch the soil before starting to make clean up easier, but you can also repot outside if you have the space.
Step 1: Remove The Plant From Its Container
Before you can identify and split your peace lily into sections, you need to remove it from its current container. Pull the plant from the base (not the leaves), turning the pot on its side to avoid damaging any of the leafy growth.
If it is still resistant to being pulled, squeeze the sides of the container to release the roots first. For terra cotta or ceramic containers that don’t move, run a knife around the edges and turn the plant upside down to pop it out of the container.
Step 2: Tease The Roots And Remove Old Soil
After removal, start from the base and gently tease the roots to begin untangling them. Depending on how overgrown the plant is, this process can take a while. Don’t worry if a few of the roots break off while you’re pulling – plants are quite resilient and will bounce back well.
While you’re teasing the roots on the bottom and on the sides, try to remove some of the old soil at the same time.
This will give you a closer look at the roots and the base of the plant, making it easier to identify possible divisions. You can rinse the base with water to remove some of the soil if you are struggling.
Step 3: Identify And Split Sections
Once you can better see the plant’s base, you can identify where each section should be split. Some sections may come off independently, but overgrown plants will typically need to be teased and pulled a bit to release each section.
Aim to keep sections quite large as the more leaves you have, the quicker your peace lily will be able to establish.
Pulling each section apart can be a stressful process. I always feel like if a keep pulling, all the roots will completely break down. But if you persevere, go slowly and gently pull and shake the roots as you go, they will eventually come apart.
Step 4: Repot Into Individual Containers
Look at how many divisions you’ve managed to get from your plant. It may just be two, or it could be many. Now it’s time to prepare the same amount of containers as you have divisions.
Fill each container with the houseplant mix discussed above up to just below the pot’s rim. This will stop any soil from spilling out when you water.
Make a hole in the center with your finger or a trowel and plant the individual sections into their own pots. Bury the roots and base of the plant but don’t plant too deeply as this can cause the leaves to rot.
Step 5: Water And Replace
Immediately after replanting, water thoroughly until the excess moisture flows out the bottom of the container. This encourages the roots to grow outwards into the new soil and settles them after the stress of repotting and air exposure. Once the excess has drained, you can place one of the sections back where the original plant was and find homes for the rest of them.
It may take a couple of weeks for the plant to establish while it focuses on root growth. But after that, with the right care, you should soon notice new green growth emerging.
Although overwatering is important to avoid at all times, it is especially important to avoid it soon after dividing. The roots will take up less moisture while adjusting to their new environments.
Plus, there is plenty of empty soil without root growth that will hold onto more moisture than usual. These conditions all make overwatering and potential root rot much more likely.
Choose a spot with bright indirect light and each division should be happy in its new home.
Now that you’ve learned how to propagate your peace lilies, all that’s left to do is get started! Whether you are propagating a new plant or one that you’ve had at home for a while, the process is fairly straightforward and can produce many additional plants to place around your home or give to friends and family as gifts.