It’s not unusual to just let your peace lilies grow and thrive as much as possible! However, if you’re like me, there may be occasions where you need to start trimming it back. But, do you know how to prune a peace lily – and when the best time to do so might be?
The good news is, you won’t need to prune peace lilies too often. Typically, people prune back these beauties when their flowers start to wilt or when leaves begin to wither.
In this guide, I’ll show you how to prune a peace lily and share some of my secrets with you to help your specimens flourish for months to come.
When should I prune a peace lily?
You probably won’t need to prune a peace lily unless you notice its leaves or flowers starting to shrivel, crisp up, and/or wilt. However, there are further benefits to pruning back if you wish.
For example, pruning back your peace lily will allow you to redistribute energy to the rest of the plant. Much as you’d expect from other flowering specimens, the more flowers a plant has, the less energy and nutrients it will have to share elsewhere.
You can normally tell a peace lily’s flower is starting to fade when it turns a shade of green and starts drooping. That, along with leaf yellowing, tells us that it’s time to prune a plant out of sheer kindness.
There’s no harm in pruning your peace lily as soon as you notice your leaves and/or flowers sagging. Just make sure to start cutting back before they really start to shrivel up for the worse!
Of course, peace lily leaves can turn yellow for a variety of reasons, so it’s worth checking for any other symptoms or potential problems if you don’t want to go crazy with the clippers straight away.
Is there a specific time of year when I should prune peace lilies?
There’s no set time of year or season when it’s typically “best” to prune peace lilies. They don’t go into dormancy for the winter like many houseplants, which means they can just keep on growing!
It’s best to create a routine of sorts in any case, or to check your peace lily regularly so that it’s pruned back and healthy. Of course, it’s more likely to grow and flourish in the warmer months, so it pays to be more proactive during the growing season.
Why pruning a peace lily is a great idea
If you’re still not sold on cutting back your prized specimen, here are a few quick reasons why peace lily pruning may help to boost its health.
It’ll help you find pests
Peace lilies, like many houseplants, suffer from their fair share of pests and minibeasts. In particular, you’ll find spider mites and mealybugs are persistent threats. However, the larger your peace lily grows and flourishes, the more likely it is that these critters will hide behind your plant’s plumage.
Therefore, pruning your peace lily back can prove advantageous, if only to give you a clearer insight into what’s happening behind the scenes!
It’ll help your plant grow
As mentioned, pruning back can help to redistribute energy and nutrients across your plant. Older stems and leaves will start to wither up as new shoots emerge. What’s more, your plant will only grow so large if it is still supporting older stems!
Therefore, pruning back older leaves and stems will help your plant to refocus growth in new shoots. It’ll also help your peace lily to start blossoming anew.
It’s great for keeping your peace lily tidy
Keeping plants tidy isn’t always necessary providing you’re looking after them properly, but you may want to keep up a certain look or aesthetic. As such, pruning back a peace lily will help you to stem its growth and keep it nice and compact.
Peace lilies can grow to a staggering five to six feet wide in some cases! I’ve looked after a three-foot-wide peace lily of my own in recent times – meaning pruning back really isn’t a joke if you want to stop your plant from taking up too much space.
Remember, pruning is also ideal for helping to tidy up leaves, flowers, and any fallen debris, too. Peace lilies are gorgeous specimens that don’t deserve to be left looking quite like this!
Pruning your peace lily
Pruning peace lilies is, thankfully, a pretty easy task. It’s normally just a case of deadheading, and unlike with some houseplants, you don’t have to be an intricate horticulturist to keep your Spathiphyllum healthy.
Pruning back your peace lily should only really take 15 minutes at longest providing you’re careful, but remember – we all make mistakes.
There’s not much in the way of equipment you need to assemble for this task, so simply ensuring you have protective gardening gloves and a trusty pair of clippers or bypass shears will do you fine.
You may also wish to keep some rubbing alcohol to hand to clean up your blades between clips.
Handy tip! Always make sure your pruners, clippers or shears (even scissors if you prefer) are clean and dry before pruning a new plant. For all you may assume your other plants are healthy and disease-free, you never know what you may pass onto your other specimens by accident.
Peace lilies are generally hardy, but making the assumption your clippers are “clean enough” just isn’t worth the risk – trust me (been there, done that)!
Caution! The reason I recommend using gardening gloves when pruning peace lilies is for your own protection. Peace lily sap can contain irritating chemicals, meaning you may suffer some skin lesions if you charge into pruning without protection.
Step one: start clipping away the stems of dead flowers
Remember those greenish and spent-looking flowers I mentioned earlier? Step one of pruning a peace lily is simply making sure you deadhead these dying blooms away.
Always make sure to clip your flowering stems away at the very base of the plant so it’s able to regrow again.
Ideally, you should try clipping stalks away at around 45-degree angles and right down to the soil. Angling your clippers will prevent water pooling and therefore any risk of fungus growth.
To be extra careful while pruning various stems, make sure to swab your blades down with a little rubbing alcohol as you go. This mitigates the risk of infections spreading, even if you’re confident you’ll be disease-free.
Handy tip! If you’re pruning to cut back the size of your peace lily, make sure to start from the outer edges and work inwards. In particular, focus on those leaves, stems, and flowers starting to droop along the outside.
This is important since peace lilies generally shoot up from the centre outwards, meaning if you clip completely within the plant, you risk removing some genuinely healthy growth.
Caution! Don’t go hell-for-leather – it’s possible that pruning too much will stress your plant. Try and keep pruning to around a quarter per clipping run. In my experience, this is enough for a peace lily to recover from in the short term.
I then normally leave it around three months before I go back to prune again. Of course, if your peace lily is struggling with serious problems that only pruning can solve, then it makes sense to get handy with your clippers. But, where possible, be conservative about how and where you cut.
Step two: carefully clean up your plant
Yes – seriously – that really is all there is to pruning your peace lily! Now, however, it’s just as important to clean and tidy up your plant after you’re done clipping.
Tidying away dead leaves, stalks and flowers is important as there may be a risk of you spreading bacteria across the plant (keeping your gloves on is important for this reason, too).
Then, you may wish to wipe the leaves of your peace lily a little if you want to keep it looking fresh and sprightly. For this, I usually suggest using a clean cloth and wiping around your plant’s leaves with dechlorinated water.
Step three: prune back leaves if you wish
Some plant parents choose to prune leaves after they clip away stems and flowers, and honestly, I think it’s a worthwhile practice. As with stems, you’ll need to clip back leaves towards the very base of the plant (and, again, at an angle for safety’s sake).
As always, do clean your clippers with a little rubbing alcohol between cuts, and don’t be too hasty to take those gloves off yet!
Will pruning a peace lily help with overgrowth?
Pruning peace lilies is a great idea if your plant’s starting to overgrow its station, but remember, it’s always worth moving your specimen to a different pot or container if it’s getting too big for its boots.
If you start to notice roots popping up or the plant is suffering in other ways, it may already be telling you that it’s root-bound or pot-bound. In which case, it’s always worth gently easing your peace lily out of its pot to check the roots are all white and healthy.
If not, be prepared to trim away any brown or foul-smelling roots and to prepare a new batch of growth medium in a whole new pot.
Above all, you should always be prepared for a period of re-acclimatisation after you prune or repot peace lilies. These plants will take some stress but may need a little extra TLC (in the shape of a little extra water and careful repositioning in indirect sunlight).
When will my peace lily regrow from pruning?
Give it time! Provided you follow the above steps carefully and make sure your peace lily is free from potential disease and pests, you can expect new shoots to start emerging within weeks. Again, you must give any peace lily time to readjust from the shock of pruning!
It’s worth remembering that, unlike many other plants, peace lily leaves will sprout from the soil upwards. It’s not the stalks that grow back! Peace lilies only ever grow from their rhizomes (and, by extension, their roots).
Weirdly enough, it’s the health of the submerged part of the plant you need to worry about! A healthy peace lily beneath the soil is always likely to grow back.
Peace lilies will always take some time to regrow, regardless of how much you prune it or when. These are pretty slow growers!
In my humble opinion as a plant parent, pruning back peace lilies is both an act of kindness as well as a necessity for keeping things tidy and compact. Unless you’d like your specimen to grow wild and free in unlimited space, there are going to be times when you’ll need to prepare your pruners.
Peace lilies aren’t usually too tricky to care for, making them ideal beginner plants. However, if you do need a little extra guidance, take a look at our complete guide to peace lily care!
Looking after your peace lily properly means you can enjoy its stunning leaves and gentle flowers for even longer. And yes, sometimes, you’re going to need to clip back! Don’t be afraid to reach for the pruners.