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Spath Plant Care

peace lily image by Ronnie Howard from

The common name of the spathiphyllum (or spath) is peace lily. The plant originated in Columbia and has become a popular houseplant. It is also used at weddings and funerals. The plant has dark green leaves that grow upwards. A long stem protrudes from the leaves and produces a white single-petal flower. The peace lily can grow to heights of 3 feet.


The soil for the spath must stay moist. Do not allow the soil to dry completely before adding more warm water, but do not keep the soil soggy or this can cause root rot. Keep a gravel-filled drainage tray under the pot, so that the plant does not sit directly in water. If the water you are using has a high concentration of chlorine, as city water often does, let it sit overnight in a container before you use it to water the plant.


Place the plant in an east or west window. The plant does best with full sunlight, but a location with indirect sunlight will work as well. The peace lily can be placed outside during the summer if it is kept out of the hot sun.


The ideal temperature for the spath is between 60 and 85 degrees F. The plant likes high humidity; mist the leaves weekly or more often depending on the temperature and humidity level in your home.


Add fertilizer to the soil starting in summer. Avoid fertilizing the peace lily during the spring, fall and winter months. Use a 20-20-20 (nitrogen, phosphates, potassium) fertilizer once a month. Make a weak solution, using only a quarter of the dosage recommended on the package. A full dose of fertilizer can damage the tiny hairs on the roots of the plant and cause the leaves to yellow and turn brown.


The peace lily is an air purifier that can remove ethyl acetate, acetone, methyl alcohol, benzene and formaldehyde from the air in the home. The plant prefers to be root-bound and can be divided into multiple plants about every two years or so if the pot becomes overcrowded, or to refresh the soil. The best soil for the peace lily is one with equal parts of sand, peat and loam.

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