Peace lily

The peace lily has been cultivated since the end of the 19th century in Europe. Here’s what you need to watch out for when planting and caring for Spathiphyllum.

Apr 09, 2021 02:32 pm
readtime icon 8 Minutes
Growth type
  • Perennial plant
Growth height (from)
from 30 cm to 80 cm
Growth characteristics
  • upright
  • overhanging
  • horst-forming
Flower color
  • yellow
  • white
Flowering time (month)
  • June to September
Flower shape
  • Pistons
  • Spatha
Flower characteristics
  • lightly fragrant
  • Bracts
Leaf color
  • green
page format
  • elliptiques
  • full margined
  • stalked
  • oblong
Sheet properties
  • evergreen
  • scattered light to shady
Soil type
  • gravelly to loamy
Soil Moisture
  • fresh
Lime compatibility
  • lime-tolerant
Nutrient requirements
  • nutrient-rich
  • rich in humus
Decorative or utility value
  • Flower Decoration
  • Leaf ornaments
  • Interior greening
  • Planters
  • Winter garden
Garden style
  • Pot garden

The peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii) from the Araceae family originates from the tropical regions of South America, primarily Columbia and Venezuela, where it grows in the shadows of large trees. There are 50 further species that belong to the genus of the peace lily - however Spathiphyllum wallisii is the most frequently cultivated species, next to the abundant flowering Spathiphyllum floribundum. The peace lily is not only prized for its appearance, it also improves the room climate, as its leaves filter formaldehyde out of the air. A note of caution: As with all Araceae, the peace lily is poisonous.


There are maxi, mini and midi types of the clump-forming peace lily available: They grow between 11.81 and 31.5 inches tall, depending on the variety. Spathiphyllum is the most long-lasting overall and adorns homes as a houseplant for years.


Peace lily leaves are shiny and dark green. They grow up to 9.84 inches long and are attached to long stems. They are elliptical to elongated, the center rib has a triangular shape. The foliage itself has a highly decorative value, and during the flowering period it also creates a particularly beautiful contrast to the creme-white flowers.

Peace lily flower
Typical for the peace lily: Attractive, white spathaceous bracts surrounded by spadix shaped flowers

The flowering period is from June to September - however, it is common for the peace lily to flower throughout the entire winter in the house. The yellowish spadices, typical for Araceae, form the actual peace lily flowers. The pretty appearance they radiate is due to the conspicuous white or green-white spathaceous bracts that nestle around the spadix: These transform the Spathiphyllum into a real feast for the eyes. A vanilla-like scent can be detected which is emitted from the flowers with varying potency, depending on the time of day.


The peace lily is one of the few houseplants that tolerates pruning and also thrives in dark corners: Its location should be humid, semi-shady and, crucially, out of direct sunlight. If it is too sunny, the leaves will quickly burn or develop discolored leaf margins. In addition, it will then often fail to form flowers. As a houseplant, the peace lily also prefers rooms with a temperature between 64.4 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. In winter the temperature may not drop below 60.8 degrees Fahrenheit. However, increased air humidity is beneficial all year round. This is why many people also cultivate peace lilies in the or ensure it has a place next to a north facing window. The plant also thrives in bedrooms.

Peace lily Spathiphyllum
With its modest dark green foliage and elegant flowers, the peace lily is perfect for modern interiors

Standard trade potting soil with a high humus proportion is an adequate substrate for peace lilies. You can also mix in some additional clay granulate, sand, or expanding clay for better aeration. This also helps the water to flow off more easily. Tip: Spathiphyllum thrives in hydroponics.


The substrate for Spathiphyllum should always be damp and the root ball should never fully dry out - not even during the resting period from October to January (which can sometimes also be skipped indoors). Use temperate water where possible, and ideally also lime-deficient tap water. The soil should be regularly, but sparsely watered. In very dry room air or high temperatures in the summer, it is advisable to spray the plants now and again.


Provide the peace lily with a low dose of liquid fertilizer every week during the flowering period for flowering plants. It is enough to fertilize sparingly every three weeks in the winter. Caution: Over-fertilization quickly leads to brown Spathiphyllum leaf tips. Observe the saying: Less is more!


The peace lily should be repotted every one to two years - after this time the substrate is exhausted and the will usually not have enough space anymore. Spathiphyllum leaves react to a lack of space over extended periods by turning paler or developing brown, dry tips. The best time for repotting is from spring to early summer. Make sure that the new pot, which can happily a few sizes bigger, is tall enough so that the tips of the overhanging leaves do not lie on the soil (and then turn brown in due course).


The peace lily does not require pruning as such, however, withered leaves and flowers can and should be regularly removed. Use shears for this and cut at the very base of the stems.

Additional Care

In suitable locations, the peace lily proves itself to be an undemanding and very easy-care houseplant: It is therefore considered the perfect “beginner’s plant” and causes very few problems even for plant fans who lack a green thumb.


The varieties of peace lily vary both in growth height and the color and shape of their leaves by species. Spathiphyllum wallisii ‘Gemini’, for instance, is a variety with variegated foliage. ‘Pearl Cupido’ and ‘Cupido Opal’ have lush, dark green and more lanceolate leaves. ‘Chopin’ remains somewhat more compact in growth - perfect if you don’t have much space. ‘Sweet Paco’ gives off a particularly lovely, very sweet vanilla scent. ‘Manua Loa’ is a peace lily variety with particularly large flowers and therefore a good choice for fans of flowering houseplants.

Peace lily Spathiphyllum ‘Chopin’
Spathiphyllum ‘Chopin’ grows somewhat more compact than other varieties

If you would like to propagate peace lilies, it is best to divide the plant when repotting. Remove the peace lily roots from the soil and carefully separate off sections with a sharp, clean knife, each with two to three leaves. These sections should be immediately replanted and usually develop their own roots within a few weeks at a constant room temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

Diseases and Pests

There may be an occasional mealybug or aphid infestation. The peace lily should be regularly checked for these in the winter in particular - this is the only way to prevent these pests from causing large amounts of damage and/or infesting other plants in the house. Spathiphyllum does not generally have a problem with plant diseases.

Frequently Asked Questions

How tall does the peace lily grow?

Depending on the variety, the peace lily can grow to between 11.81 and 31.5 inches tall.

What kind of soil is suitable for peace lilies?

Trade standard potting soil with a high proportion of humus is a fully adequate substrate for peace lilies. The substrate can be mixed with some expanding clay, clay granulate, or sand to improve aeration to the root area.

How often do I need to water peace lilies?

The soil should never completely dry out. Even in the winter, during its resting phase, the substrate should always be slightly damp.

Are peace lilies poisonous?

As with all Araceae plants, peace lilies are poisonous.