The Peace Lily

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Welcome to our new feature focusing on the wonderful – and very diverse – world of houseplants.

This week, we take a look at Spathiphyllum, better known as the “Peace Lily,” a great example of a spadix type of plant, where a spike of tiny little flowers is encased in a curved leaf-like structure known as a spathe. Peace Lilies are sometimes called Spathe flowers.

Besides being quite beautiful, Peace Lilies are valued as houseplants because they are easy to take care of and can acclimate to lower levels of light. They also are well known as good plants for purifying the air. In fact, a NASA study showed them to be one of the top houseplants at removing toxic agents from the air. (NASA was researching how to clean the air in space stations.)

Peace Lilies symbolize purity and innocence and are often given as a gift to those who have suffered a loss, as the white lily represents the rebirth of the soul.

Caring for Your Peace Lily

Peace lilies are tropical plants, so they like warm temps, moist soil and high humidity.

  • Try not to put them near a cold, drafty window. A nice cozy room with indirect light will make them feel at home.
  • They will put up with dry soil for a little while, but eventually, their leaves will start to brown if neglected, so keep that soil moist. On the other hand, don’t overwater!
  • Northern Arizona is a dry place, so mist their leaves on occasion for increased humidity.
  • Peace lilies are not big eaters, so you only have to fertilize occasionally – about every six weeks, particularly to encourage growth in the spring and summer.