Ever thought of getting a peace lily of your own? They make for brilliant entry-level plants – and are gorgeous to watch grow and prosper. What’s more, learning how to take care of a peace lily is surprisingly simple.
Peace Lilies are plants with very distinct appearances. They have slender, dark green and shiny leaves, and thin stalks supporting elegant angular flowers. They’re also known as arum lilies.
When flowers are not in bloom, these plants are still popular for display because their leaf form is so attractive. They can often form a great backdrop to other houseplants!
How to Look After a Peace Lily Plant
Looking after a peace lily is – short of looking after cacti – perhaps one of the easiest houseplant tending jobs you’ll ever take on.
Experienced plant parents agree that peace lilies enjoy good, natural light in draft-free areas. However, they do not tolerate strong sunlight well, and you may see signs that they are suffering. If you should find them wilting and act quickly enough you can help them regain their proud upright posture!
Therefore, you should ideally place your peace lily plant out of the way of glare and direct light. Windowsills aren’t great for these plants, so try and place them in a cool spot in the middle of a room.
Generally, peace lilies do best with compost or soil that’s nice and moist. Wet soil isn’t great for these plants, either. It does sound as though peace lilies are quite particular, but once you start caring for them, you will see how easy maintenance can be!
Do Peace Lilies Need Sun?
As mentioned, peace lilies do well with just a little sun. However, they may start to wilt or suffer if they are subject to too much heat.
If this is the case, simply move your peace lily away from the strong light and keep them away from draughts. If you have only just watered them, do not give them another drink. They are not thirsty if the compost is moist.
If it’s dry and they have been overexposed to intense heat, they may be thirsty. Use cool tepid water and only a small amount – very cold water, and too much of it, can do more harm than good.
Do not be tempted to put them outdoors. The change in temperature and humidity will detract from their recovery! Peace lilies prefer an uninterrupted and peaceful life! Give them time to regain their posture in a light but not too bright space.
Peace Lily Watering
Watering a peace lily is nice and simple – as mentioned, providing the plant’s compost or soil is moist, they won’t need watering. Try to ensure you tread the fine line between dried out and completely awash with water.
Ideally, only the top inch of compost or soil should be dry before you water them. You’ll normally be able to tell if your peace lily is low on water when it’s starting to wilt. It’s therefore time to start topping up on good old H2O.
How Can I Tell if I’ve Over-Watered My Peace Lily?
Many indoor gardeners rely on the reliable ‘finger test’. Poke your finger gently into the compost from the top of the pot. Do this a few moments after giving your plant a drink. Don’t probe down too far, however, because you could do more harm than good.
Try not to disturb the roots and aim for the outer edge of the pot. If the compost feels heavy, like wet sand, you have over-watered. If no grains of compost stick to your finger, you may have under-watered. If so, do not make another attempt from above.
Tip an egg cup full of water into a container under the pot. This way, water can be gradually drawn up.
Re-Potting a Peace Lily
A key element to peace lily care is knowing when to repot them. This should normally take place every couple of years. In fact, if your plant is wilting but well-watered, it’s worth considering moving into a new pot.
Overcrowding in a pot reduces the number of flowering shoots and makes for smaller leaves, shorter in stature – or leggy and straggly – as shoots compete for light. Rehoming can restore their happiness, too!
When peace lilies outgrow their pots and eventually need larger ones, think about dividing the plants. You may decide to divide the plant into two or more containers. This sounds logical and simple, but it requires gentle handling and patience. It is not always immediately successful.
If you do decide to split a plant, loosen the soil until the crown is easy to see and roots are loosened. If some are tightly tangled, you may lose a few. Don’t worry if a few become damaged and snap or become detached.
Take your time and gently untangle those on the extremities of the plant. Roots towards the centre which are tangled should be left intact as much as possible at this stage.
Next, turn the root ball in your hands and check for areas of excess root growth or weak areas. Looking at the leaves, you will see how proportionally balanced your plant has become. This will have been affected by how often you have turned it for even light and water distribution.
It’s then time to decide where to split the plant! You may be lucky enough to get two or more equally proportioned pieces, each with good roots. Alternatively, you may take this opportunity to remove a strong, healthy section from an area of weaker, more straggly plant.
If you have potted up a peace lily, it’s likely you will have used new or dry compost. This will be powdery, and water will make a depression in the content when watered from above. This is preferable to watering from below because the water will moisten a larger area of compost, and help the plant settle.
After potting up, a regular watering routine will be needed – as above, keep checking the soil!
How to Care of Potted Peace Lilies – What Should My Pots Look Like?
Always ensure your peace lily pots are clean and can drain well. You may wish to insert a little gravel at the bottom or a clean stone to position over a drainage hole. Do check that once covered, the drainage hole will still allow water to escape. Peace lilies do not like their roots to get soggy!
Partly fill your pot with general potting compost to a depth where roots will rest above the unprobed compost. There should be at least an inch of compost beneath the length of the root ball. You’ll need to allow space for roots to spread without touching undrained water or being compelled to rest in oversaturated compost.
Hold your plant with one hand and slowly fill the pot gently with compost to cover the roots. The crown of the plant should sit just below the surface of the medium. The base of the plant, where crown meets roots, should sit just below the level surface of the container.
Finally, gently add water. This is called ‘watering in’!
Fertilising Your Peace Lily Houseplant
Newly potted peace lilies with fresh compost should have sufficient nutrients available for them to thrive upon for up to four months or more. Beyond this, you may wish to boost their growth by adding fertiliser – normally in powder or spray form.
Always make sure to read the packaging of any fertiliser you buy with care. While it’s easy enough to feed a peace lily, it’s always worth following the instructions!
Peace lily care really doesn’t take much effort or knowledge – just keep your fingers in the soil occasionally and ensure you keep them out of full sun.
Indoor peace lily care starts with a good watering schedule and a pot that allows for plenty of drainage. If you’re looking for a nice starter houseplant that is less demanding than most, peace lilies are ideal.