Care for peace lily

With their lush, green foliage and graceful white blooms, peace lilies are not only lovely to look at, but they’re also one of the easiest houseplants to care for. They thrive in indoor settings and don’t need a lot of sunlight, watering, or feeding, as you can see from the following summary of how to care for a peace lily houseplant.

Contents

Peace Lily Houseplant Care Summary

  • Soil: Rich, loamy, well-draining soil
  • Light: Bright indirect light
  • Temperature: 65-85 °F (18-30 °C)
  • Humidity: Medium to High (>50% humidity is best)
  • Watering: Water when potting soil is almost dry (check the potting soil before watering)
  • Fertilizing: Diluted balanced fertilizer once a month in spring and summer
  • Propagation: Plant division

Peace lilies are known to be some of the easiest houseplants to take care of. But there are plenty of fascinating facts to learn about these tropical beauties as well as important information that you should know about.

So read on for details on how to provide the best care for these easygoing houseplants to help you grow a peace lily houseplant with the most vibrant foliage and vigorous blooms

Introduction To The Peace Lily

The peace lily is a perennial evergreen that belongs to the genus Spathiphyllum, which is a member of the Araceae family containing about 40 species of flowering plants.

Relatives in the Araceae family include calla lilies, anthuriums, and philodendrons.

In their native tropical rainforests of the Americas and southeastern Asia, the peace lily grows in consistently humid conditions on the forest floor, where it receives dappled sunlight that filters down through the thick canopy above.

Despite the name, peace lilies aren’t actually lilies. True lilies grow from bulbs and produce large, colorful, multi-petal flowers that feature prominent stamens at the center.

In contrast, peace lilies grow from rhizomes, which are actually modified stems that usually grow below the surface of the soil from which both roots and plant shoots develop.

On top of that, those elegant white blooms that peace lilies put out aren’t actually flowers. Rather, they are spathes, which are a specific type of bract, or modified leaf.

These large, hood-like sheaths enclose a fleshy, green or yellowish flower spike called a spadix that bears the small, not-very-flowery looking flowers that are typical of plants in the Araceae family. With such insignificant flowers, it’s up to the lily-white spathes to attract pollinators to the plant.

While they come in a variety of types and sizes, the standard peace lily houseplant reaches to about 3 feet (1 meter) high. The large, glossy leaves of the peace lily are usually deep green in color, although there are variegated varieties that have splashes or stripes of cream.

Potting Soil For Peace Lily Houseplants

In nature, peace lilies grow in rainforest soils that are well draining and enriched by lots of decaying matter. So for peace lily houseplants, use a loamy, well-draining potting mixture that’s rich in organic matter.

A blend of peat-based potting soil containing composted bark with some sand or perlite will hold moisture and nutrients while allowing the plant roots access to plenty of oxygen.

Alternatively, you can use a pre-made houseplant potting mix. See my recommended equipment and materials section for the potting mix I like to use.

Peace Lily Lighting Conditions

Peace lilies prefer bright shade conditions, meaning they should be placed in a well-lit location that doesn’t receive direct sunlight. Set your peace lily 6-8 feet away from a window that lets in some sunlight during the day. Or place it a bit closer to a sunny window with sheer curtains.

Although the peace lily will survive in low-light conditions, this will weaken the plant and sap it of the energy it needs to produce blooms.

Household Temperatures Are Perfect For Peace Lily Houseplants

Since peace lilies hail from the tropics, they need warm temperatures in the range of 65-85 °F (18-30 °C). This is the same temperature range that we commonly maintain in our homes and other indoor environments, which is one of the reasons peace lily houseplants are so easy to care for.

Just make sure your peace plant is not exposed to cold drafts from exterior doors and windows.

Maintaining High Humidity For Peace Lily Houseplants

In tropical rainforests, the level known as the forest floor, where peace lilies grow, remains very humid because the thick layers of plant life above block solar radiation.

This prevents daily temperature changes and the resulting transfer of water to the atmosphere that normally occurs in more exposed areas. Additionally, there isn’t a lot of air movement in this highly protected zone to help dissipate the moisture.

Peace lily leaves are specially adapted to handle high humidity. Their glossy finish and pointed tips, which are sometimes referred to as drip tips, cause water to run off the leaves rather than collecting there and inviting fungus and rot.

To mimic the environment of a tropical rainforest floor, increase humidity as much as possible with one of these methods, or by using a humidifier. Also, protect your peace lily houseplant from any and all air currents, which have a drying effect that will deprive the plant of the high humidity these plants crave.

How To Water A Peace Lily Houseplant

The peace lily’s need for high humidity does not mean it needs a lot of water in its soil as well. While tropical rainforests do receive a great deal of rainfall, the well-draining soils in these regions allow the water to percolate down and away from the root zone, so plant roots remain healthy and free of root rot and diseases caused by too much moisture.

For peace lily houseplants, wait until the potting soil has dried out before watering.

It’s often recommended that you aim to water these plants about once a week. However, since the time it takes for a plant’s soil to dry out varies according to factors such as the current weather, climactic conditions, and growing phase of the plant as well as the condition of the potting soil, the size of the pot, and the size of the plant, it’s best to always check the soil for dryness before watering.

It’s easy enough to do this by either poking your finger down into the soil, using an implement such as a chopstick to poke into the soil, or lifting the pot to get a sense of when it feels light as compared to how it feels when you picked it up just after watering.

Another common peace lily watering recommendation is to wait until you see the plant leaves start to droop and be sure to water immediately, once your peace lily signals you that it’s ready for another drink.

But be aware that too much moisture in the soil can also cause a peace lily to droop, so again, testing the soil is always best.

When you water, moisten the soil thoroughly and then allow the excess water to drain away, being sure never to leave the pot sitting in water for more than about 15 minutes.

Use Pure Water For Peace Lily Houseplants

Peace lilies are sensitive to chemicals, including the chemicals that are typically found in tap water such as chlorine and fluoride. So to avoid harming your plant, use purified water, filtered or de-chlorinated tap water, or captured rainwater.

You can easily de-chlorinate your tap water by simply leave it sitting at room temperature in an open container for 24 hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate away.

You can further prevent harmful chemical salts from building up in the potting soil by setting the plant in a sink and flushing it with pure, clean water every few months.

Fertilize Peace Lily Houseplants Cautiously

Peace lilies are also sensitive to other chemicals besides chlorine, so be cautious with fertilizers. You don’t really need to fertilize a peace lily to grow a healthy, thriving plant.

But if you want to encourage it to produce larger, more vibrant blooms, feed the plant once a month during the spring and summer growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to 1/2 or 1/4 strength. But don’t fertilize peace lilies at all during the fall and winter. See this article for my recommended houseplant fertilizer.

How To Repot A Peace Lily Houseplant

Peace lily houseplants should be repotted every 1-2 years. Signs that your plant has outgrown its container include crowded plant stalks, crowded roots that are visible at the surface of the potting soil, yellowing leaves, and the plant needing to be watered more frequently.

When choosing a new pot for your plant, keep in mind that the roots of the peace lily prefer to be somewhat tightly packed, and they may react badly to suddenly having too much space in a pot that’s too big. Also, always make sure to pick one that has drainage holes in the bottom.

Look for a pot that is about 2 inches (5 cm) larger in diameter than the one it has outgrown, with the largest size you should need being a 10-inch (25-cm) pot. If you are planting newly separated sections of an existing plant (see the next section on propagating peace lilies), go with small pots of no more than about 6 inches (15 cm).

It will take a while for the roots to become established enough to hold up a repotted peace lily, so use a stake to support your plant until it is able to stand up on its own. When inserting the stake into the potting soil, be careful not to damage the plant’s roots.

Propagation

The easiest way to propagate a new peace lily is by plant division, or rhizome separation. This type of plant propagation is also sometimes described as separation of the plant crown, which is the part of the plant that grows above ground. As the peace lily matures, the “mother” plant produces new rhizomes that have their own roots and clusters of foliage that grow directly out of the soil alongside the main part of the plant.

To create new peace lily houseplants from a single mother plant, start by removing the whole plant, including the root ball, from its pot.

Next, divide the plant by gently pulling sections of the crown away from the mother plant, taking the time to carefully disentangle the roots, if you can. Although some breakage is inevitable, you want to avoid it as much as possible.

However, with more mature plants or plants that have become root bound, you may need to cut the sections away using a sharp, clean knife. Importantly, each section must have at least two leaves as well as having roots attached.

Once you have your new sections separated, remove any loose roots as well as any leaves with brown tips, plant them in appropriately sized pots, stake them, and water them thoroughly, waiting for at least two months before fertilizing.

If your new peace lilies wilt, don’t worry: It’s just the plants reacting to stress. Peace lilies are very resilient, so if you take good care of them, they will soon recover.

Foliage Care

To prevent dust buildup on the leaves of your peace lily houseplant, wipe them down with a damp cloth or give the plant a shower with tepid water every few months. Not only does this bring out the glossy shine of the foliage, but it also helps the plant conduct photosynthesis more efficiently.

If you are wiping the leaves, just use water and resist the temptation to use commercial leaf shining products, as these will clog up the pores through which the plant breathes and weaken the plant.

Pests and Disease

Peace lilies are generally unbothered by common houseplant insects such as spider mites, mealy bugs, and aphids, although it’s best to take preventative action against them, just to make sure.

Regularly wiping down the leaves with a damp cloth works great, especially if you take the opportunity to inspect your plant for the first signs of bugs, which include brown spots, white webs, and sticky slime, so you can wipe them away with rubbing alcohol before the infestation gets out of control.

The other issue to look out for with peace lily houseplants is fungus. A gray fuzz on the surface of the potting soil may appear, but it isn’t harmful to the plant. You can easily remove it with a sprinkling of cinnamon, which is a natural fungicide.

A black coating on the surface of the plant foliage, however, is a serious problem that may require discarding the plant to prevent it from spreading to your other plants, although you can try thoroughly cleaning the entire plant, pruning away the affected leaves, and pouring compost tea diluted with water into the soil to make sure you don’t have any residual spores. Be sure to wear gloves, and keep the plant quarantined until you are confident that you got the job done.

Peace Lily Toxicity

As is common throughout the Araceae plant family, all parts of the peace lily contain needle-like crystals of calcium oxalate known as raphides. These crystals are considered to be toxic to people and animals. If ingested in large enough amounts, raphides can cause irritation to the mouth, tongue, and throat that may lead to excessive drooling, throat swelling, difficulty breathing, a burning sensation, stomach upset, and vomiting.

Although these possible symptoms may be alarming, know that the peace lily is considered to be only mildly toxic. Furthermore, it’s unlikely that enough of the plant will be ingested to cause severe problems because the irritating effects to the mouth are immediate, which is very effective in preventing animals and children from going beyond that first nibble.

To avoid any worry about these toxic effects, keep peace lily houseplants out of reach of small children and curious pets. On a similar note, since the sap of the peace plant can also be irritating to the skin, use gloves.

If you feel a burning or itching sensation after skin contact with a peace lily, washing with soap and water is effective in bringing relief. Additionally, be sure to clean your tools with soap and water and then wipe them down with rubbing alcohol after use on your peace lily plant.

How To Encourage Blooms

When we talk about peace lily blooms, we’re actually referring to the showy white spathes or bracts rather than to the small flowers that appear on the spadix. These blooms last anywhere from a couple of weeks up to several months.

When the blooms begin to turn green and wilt, prune this part of the plant back, cutting the stalk off as far down as possible. This will redirect the plant’s energy away from the bloom and toward the production of healthy roots and foliage.

If your peace lily houseplant is refusing to bloom, it’s most likely because the plant isn’t getting enough light. Move it to a location that receives brighter indirect sunlight, or install a full-spectrum fluorescent light to encourage flowering.

If your peace lily is getting plenty of light and still isn’t blooming – or if it is blooming, but the blooms it is producing are meager or frail – it’s likely due to a lack of phosphorous. So if you haven’t been fertilizing your plant, start feeding it according to the guidance outlined here. And if you have been fertilizing your plant, then try switching to a fertilizer that’s made for flowering plants, which will have a higher phosphorous content. However, be careful that you don’t go overboard with the fertilizer.

If your peace lily houseplant is producing only green spathes, it’s a sign that you are over-fertilizing. Cut back on the amount of fertilizer you are giving the plant by as much as half. And remember that you should never fertilize these plants during the fall and winter.

Another issue that can prevent a peace lily houseplant from blooming is the size of the pot it’s in. These plants prefer to be somewhat root bound in their pots and will be healthier and have more energy for blooming when this is the case, so make sure you haven’t placed your peace lily in a pot that’s too big.

How Often Do Peace Lily Houseplants Bloom?

In nature, peace lilies bloom in late winter or early summer, triggered by the increase in the amount of sunlight each day brings, and the earliest cultivars used as houseplants carried on this habit. However, newer hybrids have been developed that will produce more blooms over a longer period, given that they are healthy and receive plenty of bright indirect light.

What Are The Most Popular Peace Lily Houseplant Varieties?

Most peace lily houseplants today are varieties of the species Spathiphyllum wallisii, with many cultivars being hybrids. The species is named after the German plant collector Gustav Wallis, who first introduced the peace lily to the European market in the late nineteenth century upon discovering it growing in the wilds of Central America.

The most popular peace lily houseplant varieties include:

  • ‘Jetty’: A lush, fast-growing variety that produces long-lasting blooms
  • ‘Domino’: A medium sized variety with eye-catching cream and white variegation
  • ‘Little Angel’: A newer hybrid, this dwarf peace lily puts out lots of blooms
  • ‘Mauna Loa’: A larger sized hybrid that’s named after a Hawaiian volcano
  • ‘Sensation’: One of the largest of peace lily hybrids, growing up to 6 feet (2 meters) tall
  • ‘White Stripe’: A compact variety whose green leaves feature a white mid-vein and a matte finish

What Is Another Name For A Peace Lily?

Besides peace lily, these plants may also be known by the names spathe flower, white sails, snowflower, or simply by the genus name Spathiphyllum.

Why Are The Leaves Turning Yellow On My Peace Lily?

Yellowing leaves are a sign that your plant is in distress and can therefore have several causes, so it may take a bit of investigating to figure what to do to fix the problem:

  • Over-watering: Yellowing leaves often indicates problems due to over-watering.If you are not allowing the soil to dry out between waterings, you are drowning the plant’s roots, which will lead to root rot and disease.Immediately repot your plant in fresh soil, making sure to remove any slimy or unhealthy looking roots.
  • Too much light: Leaf burn from too much light also results in yellowing leaves, so consider moving the plant to a shadier spot.
  • Under-watering: If yellowing leaves is accompanied by wilting and dry soil, it’s a sign that the plant isn’t getting enough water. Peace lily houseplants generally need to be watered about once a week, but individual circumstances vary, so you should be checking the soil more often to make sure you are providing water when the plant needs it.

Why Are The Tips Of My Peace Lily’s Leaves Turning Brown?

Brown leaf tips can likewise indicate several different problems. These are the most likely causes, along with how to remedy the problem:

  • Low humidity:Increase the humidity by misting more often, installing a humidifier, or placing the plant on a humidity tray made by placing pebbles in a shallow dish containing water. Also, make sure the plant is not exposed to any air currents from drafts or room fans.
  • Salt buildup in the potting soil: Salts from chemicals in fertilizers as well as the chlorine and fluoride in tap water can build up in the potting soil and cause the tips of your plant to turn brown. De-chlorinating your tap water or switching to a more pure form of water, cutting back on fertilizer, and flushing the potting soil are all good general practices that could be the key to reversing and preventing this problem.

Note that if it’s only the older leaves at the bottom of the plant that are turning brown, it’s a natural growth habit rather than being a sign of any problem. The plant is simply putting its energy into new growth rather than into these leaves that have seen their day. You can safely prune them away to tidy up your plant.

Why Is My Peace Lily Houseplant Drying Out So Quickly?

If your plant begins drooping a lot and seems to be needing water more often, despite regular watering, these possible causes and cures could be the answer to the problem:

  • High temperatures: While peace lilies like warm temperatures, too much heat will cause the plant to dry out quickly. So consider moving the plant to a cooler location.
  • Low humidity: If you are watering regularly, adding more water to the soil will cause root rot and thus cause great harm the plant. Follow the tips provided in the previous section to increase the humidity for your peace lily houseplant.
  • Plant is root bound: A plant that has outgrown its pot can’t absorb the water it needs from the potting soil, so check to see if your plant has become root bound. If so, repot it into a pot that’s no more than about 2 inches (5 cm) larger in diameter than the one it’s in.

Why Are My Peace Lily’s New Leaves Remaining Small?

In addition to yellowing leaves caused by leaf burn, younger leaves that seem to be stunted in their growth are a sign of too much light.

I hope you’ve found this article about peace lily care useful and that your plants stay healthy and thrive. If you’d like to improve your knowledge and enjoyment of growing plants indoors, check out the rest of my articles. I’ve also got a really useful resources section where I have compiled a list of the best books, tools and resources that can help you to have more success in looking after your plants.

Plants with white flowers

White-flowered plants are a key component in many types of garden.

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They are particularly useful in shady corners, where the blooms show up especially well, and their luminescent blooms are also the most visible at dusk. They will combine with other flowers of virtually any colour in beds, borders and containers, or you could create a white-themed flower border, inspired by Sissinghurst.

Many white-flowered plants are richly scented, which helps to attract nocturnal pollinators, like moths.

Find more plants with white flowers by taking a look at our handy Plant Finder.

Discover some of our favourite plants with white flowers, below.

White-flowered plants are numerous in both nature and in cultivation.

Snowdrops

Snowdrops have got to be one of the best known plants with white flowers. If dividing existing clumps, do so while they’re still ‘in the green’, which is just after they have finished flowering. Will provide early nectar for bees.

White snowdrops in a clump

Anemones

White-flowered anemones you could grow include Anemone nemorosa, Anemonella thalictroides and Anemone blanda ‘White Splendour’. All are woodland plants that enjoy a rich, moist but well-drained soil.

White anemone ‘Vestal’

There are several climbing jasmines you could grow for their white, fragranced flowers. The most reliable in the UK climate are star jasmine, Trachelospermum jasminoides and common jasmine, Jasminum officinale.

White, common jasmine

Roses

No white garden is complete with a romantic, frothy white rose. Browse our plant database for beautiful white roses, including ‘Claire Austin’ (pictured), ‘Iceberg’, ‘Wedding Day’, ‘York Minster’, ‘Kiftsgate’, ‘Rambling Rector’ or the recent introduction, ‘William and Catherine’.

Double, white rose ‘Claire Austin’

Gaura

Gauras are beautiful and useful in equal measure. Their bushy, informal growth makes them perfect for filling gaps in beds, borders and containers. These perennials also have a long flowering season, usually from spring into autumn.

Palest pink-white gaura ‘Geyser White’

Cosmos

Cosmos are half-hardy annuals that are easy to grow from seed. Keep deadheading them as the blooms fade, to prolong flowering. For planting ideas, check out eight plants to grow with cosmos.

White flowers and frothy foliage of cosmos

Nicotiana

Looking for plants with evening scent? Nicotianas are renowned for their heady perfume, which is released from the trumpet shaped blooms. Discover how you can boost your borders with these half-hardy annuals.

Elongate trumpet-shaped, white nicotinia flowers

Pittosporum tobira

Also known as Japanese mock orange, Pittosporum tobira is an attractive evergreen shrub or small tree. The clusters of white flowers have a powerful fragrance and are very attractive to honeybees.

White Japanese mock orange flowers

Amelanchier lamarckii

Seeking a small tree? Snowy mespilus (Amelanchier lamarckii) is a great choice. The pretty white blossom appears in spring, just as the leaves are opening. Snowy mespilus is also a good plant for clay soil.

White snowy mespilus flowers

Solomon’s seal

Gardening in shade? Solomon’s seal (polygonatum) is an instantly recognisable perennial, with white, pendulous flowers hanging from arching stems. Try growing alongside other shade-lovers like lamprocapnos, anemones and ferns.

Dangling, white Solomon’s seal flowers

Sarcococca

This evergreen shrub will provide year-round colour, with the bonus of deliciously fragranced flowers in winter and spring. Grow Sarcococca confusa in sun or shade, in a moist, well-drained soil.

Delicate, white sarcococca flowers hanging beneath the stem

Think about foliage

White-flowered plants combine especially well with plants with silver or grey foliage, so be sure to add some of these to your planting scheme.

White blooms of stephanotis

Houseplants with white flowers

  • Stephanotis floribunda – tropical evergreen climber with jasmine-scented flowers
  • Peace lily (spathiphyllum) – evergreen with lush green leaves and elegant white blooms
  • Jasminum polyanthum – grow this tender jasmine in a spot with bright, indirect light. Strongly scented
  • White-flowered dendrobium orchid – easy to grow, they require cooler temperatures and less humidity than phalaenopsis

  • White-flowered phalaenopsis orchid – also easy to grow, choose a warm, bright, humid spot for them, such as a kitchen or bathroom
  • Gardenia jasminoides – glossy, evergreen leaves with rose-like, richly scented flowers

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  • Paperwhite narcissi – a tender, indoor daffodil with white, fragranced flowers in late winter and spring

White garden: The best plants to create a white border

There is something magical about a white garden. It has a freshness and purity that is difficult to achieve with other colours.

White planting schemes look chic and elegant without being boring. There is no risk of clashing colours or plants that don’t ‘go’.

And this simplicity allows you to focus on more complex design ideas. Form, shape, height and texture all play a big role in white gardens.

So here is how to create a white border in your garden.

10 great white plants

Most plants have a variety with white flowers. But remember to choose a mixture of heights, sizes and flower forms. Here’s 10 great varieties I spotted at the Chelsea Flower Show this year.

Orlaya grandiflora

Also known as the white laceflower, this delicate variety has flower heads that resemble umbellifers. It’s a hardy annual that flowers June to September.

Rhododendron ‘Cunningham’s White’

A great white flowering shrub for structure and volume. It will produce spectacular ruffled blooms in spring that make it a strong focal point.

Delphinium grandiflorum ‘Guardian White’

Spires of flowers like delphinium and lupins are great for adding height to borders. This variety has clear, pure-white flowers that bloom in early to mid-summer.

Viburnum burkwoodii ‘Park Farm Hybrid’

This is a hardy woody shrub that produces dense balls of tiny white flowers, like snowballs. It’s a good choice for height and structure.

Cytisus x praecox ‘Albus’

Cytisus is a good bushy shrub with slender green stems bearing delicate white flowers in spring. The small flower size gives it a good texture. Plant in full sun for the best display.

Silene alpestris’Starry Dreams’

A delicate alpine perennial that will thrive at the front of borders. It is evergreen and likes soil to be well-drained but not too dry.

Lunaria annua ‘Alba Variegata’

This is a spring-flowering honest plant with lovely white flowers and patterned leaves. It will self-seed freely around the border.

Convolvulus cneorum

This is sometimes known as silverbush or shrubby bindweed. It is a small spreading evergreen shrub with silvery leaves and trumpet-shaped flowers.

Leucanthemum ‘White Breeze’

These are gorgeous white shasta daisies that will attract plenty of pollinators. Deadhead for more flowers.

Anthriscus ‘Ravenswing’

For something a bit darker, try this cow parsley with deep purpley-black foliage. It’s great for adding depth to a white garden and has tiny lacy flowers too.

Other good white plants

Try white varieties of rose, primula and foxglove for a more cottage garden style. For late summer blooms, plant phlox, dahlias and echinacea. Add spring height with white tulips and alliums.

Best additions for white borders

To make a white border sing, your white flowers will need a rich green backdrop. Don’t scrimp on foliage plants – they are the key to a successful white garden.

Many people use the classic box plant (buxus) for a formal garden look. But there are so many more great candidates.

For tree height, the silvery stems of birch add an extra white element. Consider silver and grey foliage too.

This silvery-green Elaeaganus ‘Quicksilver’ is a stunning tree for a small garden.

Fluffy lamb’s ears (stachys) and dusty miller (Centaurea cineraria) both have great pale silver leaves. Or try artemesia, white lavender and blue fescue grass for clump-forming foliage.

Grow plants with variegated and yellowy foliage too. Ivy, cornus, brunnera and calmagrostsis grasses all have lovely patterned leaves.

See my top 10 picks for foliage here.

Planting and design tips

Plan out a new border on a piece of paper before you start planting. It will help you see how much space your plants need and make sure you don’t buy too many, or too few!

Repeat key varieties throughout the border. Many designers recommend that you plant in groups of three, but this can become regimented. Better to use a few key varieties and add extras around them.

I like to plant from front to back. Start with the lowest growing varieties at the front and get taller as you go back.

What are your favourite white plants? Let me know in the comments!

The Perfect Houseplant

Laurey W. Glenn

My wife, Judy, and I have a peace lily in the living room, a peace lily in the TV room, and a peace lily in the bedroom. Heck, we even have one in our bathroom.

They were gifts from her former boyfriend, and to show the world just how compassionate and generous I am, they’re all still living and blooming. Caring for them doesn’t tax my brain, as they’re among the easiest of houseplants to grow. So, even if you’re one of those people who seem to kill everything green indoors, to paraphrase John Lennon, give peace lily a chance.

Just the Facts
Native mainly to tropical America, peace lily (Spathiphyllum sp.) is a perennial with leaves and stems rising directly from the soil. It is named for its flamboyant white blooms, which resemble flags of peace (or flags of surrender, depending on how you look at it). Happy peace lilies surrender constantly, producing bloom after bloom.

In reality, the showy part of the flower is a white, hoodlike sheath (called a spathe) attached to a spike of tiny true flowers. The spathe fades to green as it ages, at which point, you cut it off and wait for more.

Versatile to the Max
Why, besides being an exceptionally kind person, do I have a peace lily in almost every room? One big reason is the number of sizes and kinds available. For example, more compact types such as ‘Power Petite’ and ‘Sweet Chico’ are suitable for tabletops and plant stands. Depending on the pot size (they grow larger in bigger pots), they may reach anywhere from 10 to 20 inches tall and wide. Steven Hotchkiss of Oglesby Plants International in Altha, Florida, says the dark green foliage of ‘Power Petite’ is amazingly glossy. “I’ve had customers ask me what we polished the leaves with,” he says.

Most peace lilies serve as floor plants, however, growing about 3 feet tall and wide with big, bold leaves about 10 inches long. Place these in corners, beside end tables, or on either side of the fireplace (when there’s no fire, of course). ‘Mauna Loa Supreme’ (also sold as ‘Supreme’) is the standard midsize type. It grows up to 4 feet tall and wide with broad, shiny leaves and an abundance of large, cupped spathes.

Have a large room that needs a really big plant? Try ‘Sensation,’ the largest peace lily by far. Featuring thick, deeply ribbed, paddle-shaped leaves up to 20 inches long, it grows 4 to 6 feet tall and wide. Even when not blooming, it dominates the space.

Care Is Easy, Easy, Easy
Unlike many houseplants that we inevitably end up killing, peace lilies like growing indoors. They don’t need direct sun, preferring bright, indirect light from a nearby window. They’ll grow just fine across the room from a window but won’t bloom well in such low light and may also become leggy. Give them evenly moist, well-drained soil and temperatures of at least 55 degrees. If peace lilies wilt every two to three days, repot them in larger containers, which don’t need watering as often. Fertilize plants growing in bright light about every six weeks with a liquid 20-20-20 product. Feed plants growing in low light half as often. About every six months, take them outside, and flush them with water to remove salt buildup from fertilizer.

I’ll end with a few more housekeeping hints. First, peace lily foliage tends to accumulate dust, so periodically wipe the leaves with a damp sponge or cloth to keep them looking nice. Second, cut off at the base all spent flowers and dead or yellowing leaves. Third, if you don’t like white pollen showered all over the leaves, cut off the spikes several days after they appear, and allow the beautiful spathes to remain on display. Finally, don’t send your old married boyfriend or girlfriend a peace lily. Not everyone is as charitable as I.

PEACE LILY PROBLEM SOLVER
Problem: Peace lily doesn’t bloom.
Cause: The plant has insufficient light.
Solution: Move it into a brighter location.
Problem: Pale green foliage has burned leaf tips.
Cause: Hot direct sun damages foliage.
Solution: Move plant out of direct sun.
Problem: Deep green leaves develop brown tips and edges.
Cause: You’ve let the soil get too dry.
Solution: Maintain evenly moist soil.
Problem: The plant suddenly collapses when the soil is moist.
Cause: Overwatering and poor drainage are to blame.
Solution: Empty the saucer beneath the pot, and let the soil drain.
Problem: Plant collapses when soil is dry.
Cause: Wilt is due to lack of water.
Solution: Water plant thoroughly, and beg it for forgiveness

“The Perfect Houseplant” is from the February 2006 issue of Southern Living.

Offering tropical foliage, bright blooms and even fruit, these varieties are some of the prettiest indoor plants available. As a bonus, many are super-easy to grow or have air-purifying qualities—so snap up your faves from the garden center and get started!

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Wandering Jew

Difficulty level: Easy

Why you want it: The stripey purple leaves on this trailing houseplant make for such a pretty pop of color. This plant prefers full sun—the more light it gets, the more purple you’ll see, according to the blog Plants Are the Strangest People. Keep the soil wet for best results.

RELATED: The 15 easiest indoor house plants that won’t die on you

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Phalaenopsis Orchid

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why you want it: This classic orchid has long sprays of large white flowers that are well known for their elegant, sophisticated look on coffee or side tables—or anywhere! There are many species of this plant, which favors bright, indirect sunlight and humid conditions, according to Just Add Ice Orchids.

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Geranium

Difficulty level: Very easy

Why you want it: If you love the splashy, bright look of geraniums in the garden, try one indoors. Varieties like ivy geraniums are easy to grow and have blooms in vibrant colors. These plants favor bright light, the better the light, the more they’ll flower. Don’t overwater, advises Garden Guides, given that geraniums thrive when the soil dries out between waterings.

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Jasmine

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why you want it: The fragrance that wafts from the white or pink flowers on jasmine plants can be downright intoxicating. The plants are vining, so you can train them into pretty topiaries indoors. According to Life on the Balcony, jasmine prefers bright, filtered light and a bit of humidity—so a bathroom could be just right.

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Ponderosa Lemon

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why you want it: Who doesn’t love the aroma and look of a citrus tree? Ponderosa lemon, which produces large, juicy fruits with bumpy peels, is among the varieties that can grow well indoors under the right conditions, according to SFGate Home Guides. Water deeply just a couple of times a week and fertilize each spring, and you’ll have not only a pretty plant but also a source of a common recipe ingredient—not to mention cocktail garnish!

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African Violet

Difficulty level: Easy

Why you want it: These flowering houseplants are a snap to maintain and bloom with pretty flowers all year long. They come in tons of colors and varieties, from pale pink to white. You’ll have the most success with indirect or filtered light, according to Weekend Gardener—and lay off the overwatering!

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Dieffenbachia

Difficulty level: Easy

Why you want it: For a pretty pop of green anywhere around the house, this is a hardy and quick-growing plant with visually interesting leaves that can have spots or stripes. (It’s also known as “dumb cane” for the effects of its toxic sap—so use caution.) It favors moderate to low light and moderate to heavy watering, according to the blog Houseplant Care Tips.

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Hibiscus

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why you want it: You know hibiscus adds a tropical feel to outdoor gardens—but did you know it grows great indoors too? The huge flowers don’t last long, but they’re lovely and come in shades of orange, red, yellow, pink and more. Keep the soil moist but not too wet, advises Garden Guides.

RELATED: The trendiest plant of the year? What to know about the fiddle-leaf fig tree

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Anthurium

Difficulty level: Challenging

Why you want it: The flowering version of this plant has pretty red or yellow blooms that conjure lush, tropical gardens. Try one in your home if you can provide bright light and low to moderate watering, according to the Houseplant Care Tips blog.

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Cape Primrose

Difficulty level: Easy

Why you want it: The pretty flowers on this plant come in an array of colors and look bright and cheerful on a kitchen windowsill. Find versions of this flowering plant in purple, red, white and more. Cape primrose, also known as streptocarpus, does well in normal to cold room conditions, according toAmateur Gardening. Just be careful not to overwater.

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Oxalis

Difficulty level: Easy

Why you want it: Small white flowers complement the purplish leaves on this shamrock-like plant. Water only when the soil is dry to the touch or the plant starts to droop. Oxalis thrive in sunny to partly sunny conditions, according to Home Rehab.

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Golden Pothos

Difficulty level: Very easy

Why you want it: Also known as Devil’s Ivy, this vining plant has pretty marbled leaves and a visually interesting yellow hue. It’s easy to grow and has an air-purifying quality. It thrives in bright, filtered light—the yellow patterns on the leaves become more pronounced in brighter light, according to the Flower Shop Network blog.

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Begonia

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why you want it: If you love this pretty flowering plant outdoors, why not give it a shot inside as well? Choose one of the many varieties best suited to your home’s conditions for a splash of pretty color in a window or on a coffee table. Brad’s Begonia World suggests using fluorescent lights to control the conditions; they should run about 14 hours per day if possible. Let the surface of the soil dry slightly between waterings.

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Peace Lily

Difficulty level: Very Easy

Why you want it: One of the prettiest indoor plants is also one of the easiest to grow and maintain (not to mention one of the most widely available). In many varieties, the curved white flowers bloom year round. Bonus: It also has an air-purifying quality. Peace lily can thrive in lower lighting conditions, meaning it can do well almost anywhere around the house, according to the Houseplant Care Tips blog. Water heavily. And keep away from kids and pets, as this plant is toxic.

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Yellow Goddess Amaryllis

Difficulty level: Easy

Why you want it: Talk about a cheery pop of color! This lovely plant has pretty trumpet-shaped yellow blooms, and a relatively compact size for easy placement around the house. It does well in bright, indirect light according to the blog Cozy Bliss.

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Flowering Maple

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why you want it: With the right care, you’ll almost always find delicate flowers blooming on this pretty plant. In yellows, pinks, oranges and yellows, they pop from leaves reminiscent of its namesake maple tree. This plant likes filtered sun and evenly moist soil, according to the Garden Helper.

Gardening 101: Must-knows for perfect planting

May 17, 201304:04

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.

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