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How to Care for Peace Lilies

The beautiful, pristine peace lily (Spathiphyllum) is a popular houseplant that serves in many capacities. Peace lilies lend a tropical air to any room, while removing harmful toxins from the air. It’s often used to adorn wedding bouquets and centerpieces and appears frequently in funeral arrangements. The peace lily is typically given as a gift and is a favorite for any sentimental occasion. Peace lilies aren’t extremely difficult to maintain, but they are low-light tolerant natives of the tropics -- they tend to be a bit fussy and require some tender loving care.

Remove any decorative cover that may be dressing up your peace lily’s container. It probably looks lovely, but it’s a death sentence to a plant subjected to confinement in it. A pretty pot cover won’t allow your peace lily to drain properly. Water will run from the plant’s pot but remain inside the bottom of the cover. Peace lilies can’t survive standing in water.

Position your peace lily in bright, indirect natural light, although it can tolerate lower household light conditions. If necessary, the plant can thrive even in the fluorescent lighting common in most office environments. Never expose it to direct sunlight, which can severely damage or kill it. The longer a peace lily suffers direct light exposure, the more likely it will be to sustain injury. Keep the plant out of drafty areas, and don’t allow the temperature to drop below 50 degrees. Maintain a consistent temperature range of between 60 and 80 degrees.

Water your peace lily only enough to evenly moisten the planting medium. Never water so much that the soil is soggy or waterlogged. Typically watering once weekly is sufficient, depending upon the temperature and lighting conditions, but monitor the plant carefully. Water less if temperature or light levels drop. Don’t let it dry out completely, which will cause it to wilt and damage tiny root hairs. The container should allow the plant to drain freely, as these plants do not like wet feet. If your water is chlorinated, allow a container of it to sit out overnight so that the chlorine will evaporate.

Feed your peace lily once monthly during the growing season with a one-quarter diluted solution of a good 20-20-20 houseplant fertilizer as per the packaging instructions. Strong feedings will cause the plant’s leaves to burn.

Dampen a sponge or soft cloth with water to wipe dust from the peace lily’s leaves now and then.

Move the plant to a cooler spot if the medium is moist but the plant wilts in spite of it. The peace lily may be telling you that it’s feeling too warm. Alternately, the leaves may begin to look wrinkly. This can occur if its environment is too hot for its liking. New leaves coming in won’t look wrinkled if they’re happy with the relocation temperature.

Move your peace lily up a pot size every two to three years. By that time, it may have stopped blooming, it may be drying out more frequently than it normally does or it might be pot-bound. If the plant is doing well, don’t repot. More plants are killed by unnecessary repotting than by just leaving them alone if they’re thriving.

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