Peace lily propagation cuttings

The peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii) is a very popular houseplant and is considered as an air purifying plant by the NASA.

This indoor plant is full of cheerful flags that can give your home a new look. In fact, with the right conditions, you can nurture it for several years, while utilizing it for both its aesthetic and air cleansing abilities.

The beautiful thing about peace lilies is that they can adapt to almost any environment and are easy to care for.

Since lilies are a low maintenance houseplant and enjoy humid climates all year round, all you need to keep them blooming is normal room temperature and proper care.

In this article, you’ll learn exactly how to grow a peace lily, caring for it indoor and outdoor, common problems you may face and how to solve them so your plant can stay with you for longer.

Quick Overview for the Peace Lily

Quick Facts

Origin South America
Name Peace Lily, Spathiphyllum Wallisii, Spathe Flower, White Sails, Cobra Plant.
Family Araceae (Arum family)
Fertilizer Apply diluted liquid houseplant fertilizer to your lily. You can do this every month throughout summer and spring. But be careful with over-fertilization so as not to burn the roots or tips of your plant.
Max Growth 18 to 24 inches (45 to 60 cm) in height.
Poisonous for Cats and dogs. They contain calcium oxalate, which is acidic so keep small children and animals away from your lilies.
Light Peace lilies should be sheltered from direct sunlight but can be positioned in an area with moderate lighting.
Water Give your lilies plenty of water and allow them to dry between watering. If not, peace lilies will produce fewer flowers and be prone to diseases.
Temperature Try to place your plant in an area with average room temperature. Anything below 45o F should be avoided.
Soil You can mix one part loam, peat moss, and sand to make a potting soil. Any soil designed for houseplant will also work but ensure it’s one that can hold moisture well and drain enough to support the lily.
Humidity Spathiphyllum wallisii needs a high level of humidity (usually above 50%). Low humidity will cause your plant to stop blooming and shoot out brown leaf tips.
Propagation Root cutting and leaves
Pests In a favorable state, the peace lily is highly resistant to pests.

Description of the Peace Lily

Spathiphyllum wallisii are a low maintenance houseplant and are not to be confused with true lilies which are members of the Lilium. Instead, peace lilies are members of the Araceae family.

This plant is a tropical, evergreen plant that, when it’s in the wild, thrives on the forest floor. They get consistent moisture while being protected from direct sunlight (by the bigger trees).

It’s a plant that’s grown for its attractive white flowers. Lilies are a very easy plant to grow – they are tolerant of shady conditions and the nice thing about them is that they produce flowers all year round.

Peace Lily Flower

The standard peace lilies can grow up to 40 inches. It has an attractive part, called a spathe, which resembles a white flag of surrender. The spathe has a magnificent sheath where the flowers grow out.

This white specimen enclosing the flower is usually around 3-12 inches in length while the lily can reach from 1 ft. to 3.3 ft. The leaves, on the other hand, are 5-26 inches long and 1-10 inches wide.

The flower of the peace lily is identifiable to the calla lily (no surprise as they belong to the same family).

Plant Species/Variations

Domino Peace Lily

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) Domino (Source)

Also known as Spathiphyllum Domino, this plant has shiny, dark, green leaves with a white line across the entire plant. At first glance, they don’t look much like a lily, which is as a result of the scattered leaves like that of a basil plant. Domino Peace Lilies are the only variegated (multicolored) plant of all peace lilies.

Jetty Peace Lily

Also known as Spathiphyllum Jetty, this plant is distinguished by its luxurious, long-lasting white flowers. Because of their deep green leaves, they make for a great garden ornament.

Little Angel Peace Lily

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) ‘Little Angel’ – Source

These are compact, dwarf lilies with a ready bloom you’ll love. Their flourishing flowers stay high above the main leaves, so they are easily recognizable.

Sensation Peace Lily

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) Sensation – Source

This is the largest of all lilies, with massive tropical leaves. In fact, it can stand as tall as 6 ft. and the leaves can reach 20” in length.

Patricia Peace Lily

This plant has white flowers and lush green leaves. Patricia peace lily is small and compact but does not have tall flowers like the Little Angel lilies. This makes it easy to differentiate them.

Piccolino Peace Lily

They have pure white flowers, dark green leaves, and short.

Peace Lily Care Instruction


Peace lilies thrive in indoor temperature the people generally feel safe in, which makes them one of the friendliest houseplants to nurture.

To make the most of them, however, you need to keep them in a temperature range of 65—85o F and better if in a humid climate. Any temperature that’s below 45o F can be disastrous for this plant.

This is why most people keep them indoors for the better part of the year, away from heating and cooling sources. Do this and you won’t have a problem developing your own legion of lilies.


Unlike Jade Plant, which is a type of succulents, Peace Lily needs more water.

One of the best ways of knowing your lilies needs water is when they indicate slight drooping. Like humans, lilies can express their thirst by sagging a little and you are supposed to pick up the signal.

It may be difficult when you first start, but as you get used to your plant, you’ll be picking up in no time.

Generally, you want to keep the soil moist and wet your lily at least a week, making sure you water less often during winter and more often during summer.

One fascinating thing about this houseplant is the speed at which they respond to water.

Even when they look like they are totally out and depleted, with fronds over the pot edge, a full spritz can restore them to their natural state.

In order to keep your peace lily alive, don’t serve them excess water. You can resuscitate them when they starve of water, but it’s easy to kill them with too much water

Thus, the best time to water your lily is when the soil feels dry to the hands and make sure you wet them evenly at the root.

Typically, this houseplant signal lack of water by drooping, so watching out for this will help you react promptly.

You can also boost misting by watering your peace lily throughout summer. Because peace lilies love this, they’ll bloom much better.

Note: before you wet your plant, make sure the source of water doesn’t have chlorine. Tap water will have chlorine or if you are using municipal water system, you should allow it the chlorine to evaporate before using them on the plants. Let the water stay overnight in a container and you can readily pour them on your lily the next morning.


Peace Lily can flourish even in a room without a window

Although they can tolerate fluorescent light, lilies thrive better in partial shade. They can flourish even in a room without a window.

Moreover, peace lilies can react to light, so it’s easier to monitor them as regards lighting.

When the light that goes to them is too strong, this plant will sprout yellow leaves or show up brown leaves when placed under direct sunlight. Their tender leaves tend to singe from the effect of direct sunlight.


Lilies naturally seep nutrients out of the soil. Therefore, the choice of soil and how you prepare it is absolutely important for the survival of your plant.

It’s important to note that the nutrients inherent in the soil cannot be replaced by fertilizers.

This is why it’s generally recommended to re-pot your plant every year or two so you have the opportunity to present a new source of nutrient to your plant.

As you know, you can continue to fertilize the old soil. However, keeping it for too long may create salt/chemical deposits that may harm your plant.

Repotting regularly also ensures you’re providing the maximum amount of nutrients for your peace lily to survive on. And you’ll also be able to decide whether to move the plant to a bigger pot.

The benefit of that is it will keep your lily from becoming root bound when left in the same pot for too long.


Your peace lily survives on the nutrients found in the soil. Since it’s not in the wild, you should keep it well fed by providing enough nutrients, which is achieved by fertilizing regularly.

Since you are trying to nourish your peace lily, it pays to use clean fertilizers. Try to fertilize your lily every year.

But if you don’t have the time, do it in two years. But remember that the more regular it is, the better your plant will blossom.

Peace lilies are sensitive to chemical houseplant fertilizers. Many people have used organic fertilizers and found it to do well for their peace lily.

Water-soluble houseplant fertilizer is a good one. If you choose to use that, make sure it’s balanced such as 10-10-10.

This will allow it to soak into the soil and reach all areas of the root. Also, watch out for excess fertilizer – lilies can suffer from too much of it, so it’s better to use less if you’re in doubt.


Where do peace lilies thrive?

In a tropical jungle, where it’s warm and sultry. To replicate this condition, you can mist the plant with lukewarm water – you can do this daily, or three times a day, depending on your plant’s needs.

Try to mist the leaves of the plant regularly so as to improve the humidity and keep the plant in a solid state.

A good idea is to use an air humidifier if you feel you can’t do it manually. This should work well and free you from having to worry about the air humidity around your plant, every time.


The best method is to do propagation by division, where you separate sections of the original plant. You do this by dividing the root clump in the middle of the mother plant so that each segment is separated.

You then place each part in a separate container. Dividing every 2 years will have a positive effect on your plant’s bloom.

Usually, the number of plants you wish to grow will determine how many places you divide the original plant as well as how many crowns the mother plant has.

If there are plenty of crowns already, you can separate them into more divisions, if not, you can make do with two or three.

You can cut away section from the old plant by using a sharp knife or take it away by hand gently. In order to propagate successfully, you need to ensure that the new crown has at least two leaves with roots attached.

And before you put it in a new pot, check the foliage and roots and remove brown tips or any loose part.


You should re-pot your lily once it rears its root above the soil. This is one of the joys of caring for a lily – it happens once or twice per year, so it doesn’t require too much time.

Repotting may also be needed if the root of your peace lily starts growing round in a circle and not performing very well, you may need to loosen those roots up a little bit.

Don’t worry about the new one being fragile because they can actually take well to a new environment. The new container should be an inch to two inches bigger in diameter than the original pot.

Make sure you add enough soil to the bottom of the new pot to raise the plant to its original height. It’s important to cover the roots well so you don’t leave any air pockets.

This will give a lot of space for the roots to stretch out, grow, and allow more water to be held by the soil so that the plant isn’t going to dry out too quickly.

You can use the soil from the old pot. Also, make sure the new pot is not too big if you are doing a small transplant. Remember a warm and comfortable root brings about blooming in peace lilies.

Common Problems & Pests

Although they are immune to insects and diseases, peace lilies are prone to aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. These are simple to control anyway, just wipe the leaves of your plant regularly.

Plants like roses and other houseplants can be honeypots for insect, but not peace lilies.

As long as you don’t forget wiping, you should be all right. To prevent pest invasion too, you should remember to spray it with insecticidal soap.

Another problem you may face with your plant is those unsightly brown leaf tips, which are often caused by over-fertilizing, low humidity, or excess watering.

If it’s the bottom of the leaves that are being affected, it may be because new leaves are growing and cannibalizing the older ones, in which case, not much can be done.

If your peace lily sag as it dries out of water, make it come alive by pouring it enough liquid.


Are peace lilies poisonous to cats? Yes, they are one of the most common houseplants that toxic to cats. The oxalates in lilies can irritate your cat’s mouth and stomach.

It’s possible your cat will escape harsh poisoning though. Irritation starts immediately after the first bite and sensing that most animals will back out swiftly.

However, cat’s being the curious creature they are, may find themselves back to this specter. This is why you should take appropriate steps towards protecting your cat from the wrath of the beautiful lily.

The best way to not harm your cat is to not have a poisonous cat. But if you like lilies too much and still want to adopt one, then don’t place them around objects like furniture, fixture, or similar item where you darling feline have immediate access.

You can also sprinkle coffee grounds on the potting soil, to dissuade your cat from going close.

Are peace lilies poisonous to dogs? Again, yes. If your dog ingests this plant, it may lead to an inflammatory reaction. This often causes swelling in the tongue, throat, upper airway and mouth.

Unlike cats, however, dogs will not go eating at the plant again, after this sharp sting.

So, it’s easier to control your dog, mostly through obedience training. If your pooch eventually caught on to your plant and is poisoned, see your vet.

Why is my peace lily not blooming? Check if there is sufficient light going to your lily. Low light can cause your lily to grow yellow leaves and continuous encounter can be disastrous.

Your lily can also stop blossoming when the level of moisture in the soil is low, in this case, you’ll only need to water it more frequently. Or if there is a low air humidity, your peace lily will most likely not bloom and the way out is to mist it with lukewarm water daily.

And if your lily is getting old and droopy, it’ll obviously stop blooming but wither instead. In this case, you should propagate and re-pot it.


Since they are small in height and width, peace lilies can survive in almost any area of the home that you place them.

What’s more important is to ensure the place is not exposed to direct sunlight but open to moderate light.

Ideally, you want to keep your plant in an environment with light and shade throughout the day.

One thing that endears peace lily to people is the ease it takes to care for them as well as their ability to thrive in low light environments.

Most importantly, they are resilient. You don’t have to worry they’ll die a premature death when they start sagging today.

Why are the new leaves of my peace lily smaller than old ones?

The new leaves, despite being small, are healthy, whereas the larger, slightly yellowed leaves are not. It may be that your plant was rootbound – that would cause new growth to remain small. so likely repotting it into fresh potting soil was a good thing to do. Water thoroughly when you do water, tipping out any excess in the outer pot after 30 minutes, but water only when the surface of the potting soil feels just about dry to the touch. In my experience, these plants seem to need watering more often than others, even in winter, but overwatering, or leaving the bottom of the pot sitting in water can cause rot to set in.

I’m also wondering about the light levels it receives – whilst these do not like direct sunlight, and tolerate fairly low light levels,they’re not a plant for a dark spot, well away from a window, so if yours isn’t getting sufficient light,find somewhere else to stand it. Keep away from heat sources too, so not near a radiator or electrical equipment.

I don’t know where you are in the world, but some houseplant food such as Baby Bio, given monthly, or fortnightly during the growing season, would be helpful. It’s true that the new potting soil will have had some fertilizer in it, but how much differs between brands. Average room temperatures are fine, they’re not too fussy about slight fluctuations in temperature.

If you’re in the northern hemisphere, the light levels indoors will be lower, so its possible the new, small leaves are not growing on very quickly, but that should improve over time. I’d be inclined to cut out at the base the discoloured, larger yellowing leaves.

small leaves on peace lily

I got a peace lily secondhand a little over a year ago. It had big beautiful leaves. It was originally in bright mostly indirect light (in an office set about 7-8 ft away from an east facing glass wall). When I took it home, it seemed to be doing fine in a north facing window. But then when we did a big move (across a couple of states), it went through some stress. Not to mention that my husband put it out in the yard for a few days in direct sunlight. It lost a few of its biggest leaves. Then I put it in a shady spot next to a an east-facing window. It wasn’t getting a lot of light, direct or indirect. All the leaves it grew after that were small.
I thought it was the shade, so I moved it about 5 months ago to a bright south facing window. I watched it for about 2 months. The leaves continued to grow in small, and it was browning from the sun in a few spots.
Then I thought it might be root-bound (which it was). I repotted it in a larger pot with some new soil (and left some of the old soil in as well). I kept it in the south facing window, because I don’t have a lot of other places to put it at the moment. The leaves have continued to grow small.
Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!

Peace Lily

Peace lily blooms best in high-light situations. It will tolerate low-light conditions well, but won’t bloom much, if at all, so keep lighting in mind if the flowers or foliage is more important to you.
Water peace lily enough to keep the potting mix moist, but not wet or soggy. The plant will wilt dramatically when it gets too dry, but happily, its leaves pop back quickly after it gets moisture.
Being a tropical plant, peace lily prefers high levels of humidity. If the leaf edges turn brown, supply more humidity by grouping it with more houseplants (which release moisture into the air as they breathe) or set it on tray of gravel and water so the pot sits on top of the gravel, above the water.
Fertilize peace lily once or twice a year (every six months or so) at the minimum. You can fertilize your plant more frequently if you wish, especially if you want it to grow faster or bloom better. You can use any general-purpose fertilizer; peace lily isn’t particular as to types or brands. Do be sure the follow application rates as recommended on the product packaging.
Note: Peace lily is not intended for human or animal consumption.

Finding a beautiful houseplant to take care of can be a tricky process. Fortunately, the Peace Lily plant has been well-loved among gardeners for its easy keeping. In fact, most Spathiphyllum, or tropical flowering plants, are chosen for their fragrance and ornamental display.

The Peace Lily plant is native to the tropical rainforests of South America, mainly around Columbia and Venezuela. They are known for their iconic white “flowers”, which are actually spathes. Paired amongst the dark green leaves, these plants make for a great addition.

Spathiphyllum individuals are relatively easy to take care of, especially indoors. There are some circumstances where they won’t bloom, so those with a Plant Lily must take care of them. In this article, we will look at the various needs of this plant so that you can have a thriving Spathiphyllum for guests to gaze at.


To keep a plant happy and healthy, there must be a number of daily requirements met. Here are the preferences belonging to the Peace Lily houseplant.

Soil: Spathiphyllum plants can live for a short period of time when placed in dry soil, though this isn’t the most conducive setting. These plants are happiest in soil that is always somewhat damp. As long as it drains properly, a simple potting soil will do, as they have no particular demand for a certain type of soil.

Light: The Peace Lily plant does not require a great deal of light to survive. For the best results, it is ideal to place your Spathiphyllum in a room with low light that is indirect. If you do not have a spot for this with such needs met, you can even grow them with inflorescent lighting.

Watering: To ensure that the roots support your Peace Lily, you’ll want to keep your plant watered. The top inch of soil should be consistently moistened for a happier Spathiphyllum. Without it, leaves can start to yellow and the spathe won’t develop as profoundly.

Temperature: Like most houseplants, this plant does not like a sudden change in temperature or a cold draft. They are happiest when kept in a room that stays between 18 and 26 °C (65 to 80 °F). These plants do not tend to survive temperatures lower than 7 °C (45 F).

Humidity: The Peace Lily is a tropical plant, coexisting in South American rainforests. Based on this information, it isn’t hard to tell that these individuals prefer a good amount of humidity. Many Spathiphyllum owners keep them moist with the use of daily misting and humidifiers.

Fertilizer: Although not entirely necessary, this type of plant can benefit from having the occasional food. Opting for a product that is balanced in its dilution is the best strategy. The typical water-soluble houseplant fertilizer will work every 6 weeks or so.

Propagation: The Peace Lily tends to grow to an average of 40 centimeters (16 feet) when kept inside. To ensure that your plant grows successfully, it will need to be propagated every once in a while. The most straightforward method of propagation for the Peace Lily is through division.

Growth: When met with the proper requirements, this species of Spathiphyllum blooms throughout the year, starting in the early summertime. The typical home-dwelling Peace Lily will grow to a height of 40 centimeters (16 feet), while outside cultivars reach around 182 centimeters (6 feet).

Potting: Removing your Peace Lily from its original pot once it has outgrown it is paramount for a happy plant. You can expect to need to do this every year, preferably in the spring.


Knowing the difference between too little and too much water is a challenge all plant owners must face. Understanding how to water your Peace Lily properly will save the leaves from wilting. Given their original habitat, this Spathiphyllum requires a somewhat large amount of water.

To save you and your plant from over or under watering, let’s look at a few key points.


This plant can survive when presented with a short drought, but that is far from ideal. Instead, you must try to consistently keep the soil moist. Simply achieve this by watering the entire plant until the water can be seen exiting any drainage holes. These plants do not like to sit in the water where their roots can become soggy.


The first rule of thumb with watering a Peace Lily is to take note of the top inch of soil. If it is dry, give your plant a fair amount of water until it drains out the bottom. Another indicator can be shown in the plant themselves. One of the easiest ways to identify a lack of water is to observe any flopping behavior. Watering will set them right again.

Expect to thoroughly water your Peace Lily once a week, more during the summer growing season. A commonly discussed way to water your Spathiphyllum is by placing it in the sink. Continue to pour the water slowly into the soil. Once you’ve noticed that the water escapes through the bottom of the pot, you’ve given it enough water. First, let your plant entirely drain before returning it back to its original location.


These individuals are particular in what type of water is used. Surprisingly, the Peace Lily is more sensitive to chemicals than other plants. These chemicals include common tap water ingredients such as Fluoride. The best water to use is filtered water that is around room temperature.

You do not want to let your plant become too dry. And unfiltered water may cause browning of the leaf tips. Finding that balance between the right amount of water and the correct water quality can make quite the impact. As stated above, providing your Spathiphyllum with the proper drainage is pivotal.


Not every plant owner is comfortable with the idea of propagation. This activity is necessary, however, allowing the plant to continue living in a clone. Even if you’re new to propagation, the Peace Lily is rather straightforward. The simplest way to propagate this houseplant is through division.

Once old enough, these individuals start to develop a rhizome. These rhizomes are stems that grow horizontal to the soil’s surface. This is where you can prepare yourself for propagation.

The following steps are provided to ensure that you correctly propagate your Peace Lily in order to reap the rewards of showy white spathes.

Step 1: Though not entirely important, the easiest and the best time to propagate a Peace Lily is after it blooms. This way you avoid risking a less than ideal blossom.

Step 2: Find the rhizome underneath the soil by either gently using your hands or a piece of silverware. Once you’ve identified the desired rhizome, take the plant completely from the pot and rinse away any excess wood.

Step 3: Take the newly discovered rhizomes and cut them into sharp pieces. This can be done with the use of a knife or pruning shears. Make sure that each rhizome has an associated bud or growth point.

Step 4: Use a container to store your new rhizome divisions in a potting soil mix that is of high quality. These divisions should roughly be the same size as the original Peace Lily while in the container.

Step 5: Water your new division, until there is water leaking out from the bottom. Once completed with watering, put them in a spot with indirect lighting.

Step 6: Be sure to check whether or not there are more people on the list. The soil should be moist, not soggy.

Step 7: Check on your newly divided Peace Lily plant, transferring it to a new pot when it grows too big for the current living situation.


As far as houseplants go, the Peace Lily is pretty easy to keep happy. This does not mean, however, that there won’t be problems later down the road. Realizing the more commonly found issues is a great preventative measure.

The following paragraphs discuss the problems you may find in a Peace Lily plant, the cause of the potential hazard, and a remedy to help make your individual healthy again.


Cause: The yellow coloration that you may find in a Peace Lily can be a result of a number of different issues. The most common is that the individual has been overwatered. Do keep in mind that these plants tend to yellow with age, so it might be related to seniority.

Remedy: If you notice the leaves shift from dark green to a light yellow color, the first course of action should be letting the plant breathe when it comes to watering. Allow your Peace Lily to dry out completely and then adjust your watering schedule as needed.


Cause: The likelihood of your plant showing little to no progress in terms of producing blooms can be tied to the amount of sunlight. These plants are somewhat picky when it comes to light requirements, meaning that you can simply move them around the house until you find the right remedy.

Remedy: Given the fact that blooms are related to light exposure, you’ll want to move your Peace Lily to an area with indirect light. They still need bright sunlight, yet it should not be directly in a window where damage can be sustained.


Cause: Another problem that may exist is when the edges of the leaves turn brown. The cause for this is once again related to the amount of light exposure. It may also be a result of inadequate humidity.

Remedy: The browning of the leaf edges can be linked to light or humidity requirements. To pinpoint the problem, you’ll want to tackle one issue at a time. First, see if your plant starts to heal when moved to an area of the house that is out of the direct sunlight. If that doesn’t work, increase the humidity. The easiest way to accomplish this is to increase daily misting.


We hope that this guide increases your confidence when it comes to raising a happy and thriving Peace Lily plant. Being able to display a tropical houseplant with a striking white spathe is worth the effort, even if the Peace Lily isn’t all too strenuous. To make things simple, we’ve combined a few of the most important takeaways that will keep a Peace Lily plant thriving and blooming.

1. Be careful not to overwater your plant. They do not like to be in soil that is either drenched or too dry. Add water whenever your plant becomes “saggy”, or if the top inch of soil is dried out.

2. When watering your Peace Lily, do so with filtered water that is kept at room temperature. This is due to their high sensitivity when it comes to chemicals.

3. In order to keep your plant beautiful and blooming, place it in bright indirect sunlight.

4. Take note of the temperature, making sure to not have your Peace Lily in a room that drops below 7 °C. The ideal range for these individuals is between 18 and 26 °C.

5. Identify a semi-consistent feeding schedule for your Spathiphyllum. They do not need a lot of fertilizer, averaging about every 6 weeks.

With all of these tips and tricks, surely you’ll have a happy houseplant. Even with all of this new knowledge, you may still be a little unsure about the care of a Peace Lily. Any unanswered questions hopefully can be addressed below to help you with that.


How long do Peace Lilies live?

This Spathiphyllum generally lives around three to five years. This is pretty typical for any indoor houseplant, though some can live longer if provided with the necessary nutrients and needs met.

Do Peace Lilies rebloom?

If for some reason your Peace Lily is struggling, you can rest assured that it will most likely rebloom. This all depends on the water and sun requirements met by the plant owner, as Peace Lilies won’t rebloom in the shade. Those who diligently care for their Spathiphyllum will start to see new growth anywhere between late winter and spring.

What are Peace Lilies good for?

This type of houseplant offers more benefits than simply being a beautiful addition to your floral collection. They have also been proven to purify the air and will absorb unwanted mildew, mold, and acetone vapors.

When should I repot my Peace Lily?

Unlike other plants, the Peace Lily isn’t too picky when it comes to being cramped. Though the roots can be too squished, this takes a while. Most Spathiphyllum individuals will show that they need repotting once the roots begin to become tangled.

Peace Lily Propagation: Learn About Peace Lily Plant Division

Peace lilies are beautiful plants with dark green foliage and pure white flowers. They’re often given as gifts and kept as houseplants because they’re so easy to grow. But easy to grow houseplants do have a downside – sometimes they just keep growing. With a little luck and understanding, it’s not uncommon to keep a peace lily in the same pot for years. Eventually, it will get too big and start crowding itself, in which case it’s either time to repot or divide.

Dividing peace lily plants is a great option because it doesn’t lead to overwhelmingly large pots in your home, and it makes for great gifts! Keep reading to learn more about peace lily propagation and how to divide a peace lily.

Peace Lily Plant Division

Division is the ideal way to propagate plants that grow separate bunches of foliage out of the ground. (It doesn’t work for a plant that has a single stalk or trunk). Peace lilies grow most of their foliage directly out of the soil, though, and a single plant can be divided many times.

When dividing peace lily plants, the first thing to do is to get it out of its old pot. Turn the pot on its side, grip the foliage, and gently try to rock it out of the pot.

Once your peace lily is out of the pot, examine the spots where the foliage is connected to the roots. Every new plant will have to have some foliage directly attached to roots. As long as you meet that requirement, it’s up to you how many new plants you want. You can even do as few as two by just splitting the whole thing in half or removing a small section from the outside.

Depending on how big your root ball is, you might have some difficulty splitting up the roots. If your peace lily is still small, you can probably just pull the roots apart with your hands. If it’s large, and especially if it’s root bound, you’ll probably need a serrated knife. If using a knife, simply start at the bottom of the root ball and slice upwards until you’ve split the root ball into as many pieces as you want. You will be cutting through roots using this method, but that’s okay. The plant should be able to recover.

Once you’ve divided as many times as you want, plant each of your new peace lilies in a pot that allows some room for growth. Fill the pot with growing medium up to the level of soil from the old pot. Give it a good watering and place it in an area with good light.

The plant may wilt from shock to begin with, but leave it alone and it should recover.

Peace lily (Spathiphyllum spp.). Source:

The peace lily or spathiphylllum (Spathiphyllum spp.), also called spathe leaf or white sails, is one of the most popular houseplants and with good reason. Very few houseplants that bloom so beautifully are as easy to grow. And it’s not just a flowering plant. Thanks to its attractive leaves, it makes a stunning foliage plant as well. It is often offered too as an excellent plant for air purification, although that point is debatable. (Hint, pretty much any healthy plant will clean the air.)

A white sail-like spathe surrounds the columnar spadix bearing the true flowers. Source:

Its botanical name means “leaf spathe”, referring to the white leaflike bract (spathe) that protects the true flowers. The latter are found on a columnar white to yellow structure called a spadix in front of the spathe. They’re very tiny—just little white bumps on the spadix—and scarcely noticeable, although you’ll find them shedding a bit of white pollen occasionally. Often too the flower is faintly scented at night. The inflorescence can last for well over a month, slowly turning greenish. I’ve never seen one produce seeds in a home setting.

The plant forms a rosette of attractively veined, dark green pointed leaves arching outwards, usually quickly surrounded by offsets, and is stemless at first. However, over time, as new leaves appear from the top of the rosette and lower ones are removed, a short stem will appear.

A Bit of Background

The peace lily hails from Central and South America where it usually grows in tropical rainforests, although I’ve seen it positively thriving in full tropical sun in Costa Rica, albeit in very soggy soil. It’s an aroid, that is, a member of the Araceae or philodendron family, a group that includes other popular, low-light foliage plants like pothos, monsteras and syngoniums and also a few flowering plants, like anthuriums.

The peace lily got its common name from its resemblance to a calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) flower. Source:

The common name peace lily derives from the resemblance of the inflorescence to that of the calla lily (Zantedeschia spp.), another aroid. Neither resemble a true lily (Lilium) in any way. Where the name “peace” comes from, though, I have no idea.

There are about 40 species of spathiphyllum, a few possibly still grown as houseplants (S. wallisii, for example), but most spathiphyllums you’ll see today are hybrids. They can range in size from no bigger than a coffee cup to as tall as a human being (notably the giant cultivar ‘Sensation’). Some, ‘Domino’ for example, have variegated leaves.

Growing Spathiphyllums Well

A thoroughly wilted spathiphyllum someone forgot to water. Don’t do this too often or you’ll kill your plant! Source:

Although spathiphyllums are touted as easy-to-grow houseplants, they aren’t really the toughest plants around. They notably truly dislike drying out and will wilt like lettuce in the sun if you don’t water them regularly. Do that too often—or leave one without water for too long a time—and your plant will be toast! That’s why the main rule in spathiphyllum care is to remember to water them, always. As soon as the soil feels even slightly dry to the touch, pour on enough water to thoroughly moisten the root ball.

Some authorities recommend using the earliest signs of wilting to recognize when the plant needs watering. They’ve got it wrong! Wilting even slightly damages the plant, causing root damage and eventually leading to brown leaf tips. Here’s the real truth: moist soil = happy spathiphyllum. It’s that simple!

How often do you need to water them? That will depend on your growing conditions, the size of the pot and how full of offsets the pot is, but it can be more than once a week under some circumstances. Under low light, though, where the plants struggle a bit more to survive, you have to be careful to water more moderately and certainly not let the pots soak in water for long periods.

Spathiphyllums will survive in low light, but won’t bloom much. Source:

The main selling point for spathiphyllums is that they tolerate low light … and they do. But what the salesperson doesn’t tell you is that they won’t bloom in low light, not indoors at least. Maybe in some tropical forest, they would. If you want flowers, they’re going to need at least moderate light and—yes!—possibly some direct sun. Ideally, you’d set them in a well-lit room, but back from the window. They do very well in office settings where most of the light comes from overhead fluorescent lamps … but will bloom better if you set them on top of filing cabinets, nearer the source of light, then on the floor.

Spathiphyllums will let you know if they’re getting too much light (a surprisingly rare phenomenon), as the leaves will start to turn yellow and curl under. Full outdoor sun may even cause leaves to burn, leaving black necrotic marks, so if you put your spathiphyllums outdoors for the summer, keep them in at least moderate shade.

Spathiphyllums grown in bright light will flower abundantly, mostly heavily in the spring, but sporadically throughout summer and fall and sometimes even in winter. Those grown in low light will struggle to bloom at all.

All the rest is routine houseplant care. They like warm temperatures indoors, above 55˚ F (13˚ C) at all times (they’ll tolerate less down to 45˚ F/7˚ C, but why stress them?). They also like good atmospheric humidity, but will put up with dry air. Don’t spray the leaves in trying to remedy this: you can spread diseases (more about that below). Instead use a humidifier or a humidity tray to keep humidity up. They don’t require much fertilizer. I suggest using fertilizer as a reward, applying any all-purpose fertilizer at ¼ the recommended rate whenever they come into bloom.

Cut off or remove faded flowers and yellowing leaves as needed. Dead leaves often cling stubbornly to the stem, as they wrap right around it at the base. Read When Dead Leaves Just Won’t Let Go! to learn how to remove them more easily.


You’ll occasionally need to divide your spathiphyllum or at least repot it into a larger container. Source:

Most spathiphyllums produce offsets (baby plants) at their base and, indeed, the pot often fills with them, creating serious competition for resources, often to the point where the mother plant actually starts to shrink in size and bloom less. So you have to pot spathiphyllums into larger and larger pots over time … and eventually, divide them. When you split them up, I suggest starting off with just one to three plants per pot. You may find this results in dozens of babies to give away!

You can repot them at any time during the growing season, but it’s best not to repot in winter, when they’re a bit stressed out and will take longer to recuperate.

Repot into a container large enough to readily hold the root ball, using just about any potting soil. Set the plant lower in its pot than it was originally so that any bare stem—already covered in short, stubby adventitious roots—is covered. These roots will soon lengthen and come to strengthen the plant. Finish by watering well.

Pests and Diseases

Spathiphyllums aren’t particularly subject to pests, but mealybugs, scale insects and aphids will attack almost any plant, spathiphyllums included. Repeated treatments with insecticidal soap or neem may be needed to control them. The best way of avoiding such problems is to carefully inspect plants before you buy them and keep any houseplants that are so infested away from your spathiphyllums.

Root rot is possible, especially if you overwater a plant that previously had suffered root loss to underwatering. If your plant wilts even when you water well, and if the soil smells like a rotten potato, it probably has root rot. I’d suggest culling such a plant, tossing its soil, and thoroughly cleaning its pot before reusing it. You could, however, always try to save a healthy offset or two … if there are any!

Leaf spots, patches of yellow or dead tissue caused by fungus or bacteria, are possible and are best prevented by not buying infected plants. Since most spathiphyllums these days are grown from tissue culture, that is, in laboratories under sterile conditions, they’re usually disease-free when you get they get to the store. However, if your local supplier doesn’t keep fairly sterile conditions (yes, I do mean those big box stores whose plants always seem half dead!), they can pick them up there. Also, diseases can spread from your other houseplants, notably if you have the bad habit of regularly spraying your plants with water. I recommend only spraying spathiphyllum leaves when you’re cleaning them, something you only really need to do once a year at the most.

Brown leaf tips usually result from underwatering or a buildup of mineral salts in the soil.

Brown leaf tips or edges? This is usually caused by chronic underwatering. Water is simply not making its way all the way to the tip of the leaves. The other cause is soil contaminated with excess mineral salts. You can try leaching to remove some of the contaminants, but repotting into fresh soil is a much better way of solving the problem.


Spathiphyllum ‘Domino’ is one of the rare spathiphyllums that is easy to recognize without a label. Its variegated foliage gives it away. Source:

There are dozens of spathiphyllum cultivars — ‘Chopin’, ‘Clevelandii’, ‘Mauna Loa’, ‘Petite’, ‘Sensation’, ‘Sweet Pablo’, etc. —, but the plants you see in garden centers are usually sold without any label. (Typically, nursery owners believe home gardeners don’t care about such things. They’re wrong!) Given the impossibility of getting a correct identification, I suggest just buying a spathiphyllum whose size and appearance suits you. If you want to start collecting known varieties, you’ll be pretty much forced to contact specialized nurseries.


Yes, spathiphyllums are considered poisonous to both humans and pets. Like all aroids, they contain oxalic acid, which can cause a needlelike burning sensation in the mouth and even greater irritation if swallowed. In fact, though, just how toxic they are has never been studied and there appear to be no cases of serious poisoning on record. Simply biting into a leaf causes enough instant discomfort, without doing any serious harm, that the person or animal usually stops immediately.

Peace lilies: easy enough to grow, but if you want flowers, give them more light!

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