How to Grow and Care for Peace Lily

This popular houseplant is easy to grow, even in low light conditions.

Peace lilies are hugely popular houseplants—in part because they are so easy to grow. They feature glossy, emerald-green leaves that grow in very low light. In fact, the peace lily’s ability to grow in offices and light-deprived homes has earned it the nickname “the closet plant”. However, when placed in bright, indirect light, peace lilies can produce elegant white flowers (a.k.a., spathes) almost year-round.

Native to the tropical regions of South America, the peace lily is not actually a true lily. In fact, it is an herbaceous perennial and a member of the Araceae family—which includes other houseplant favorites like pothos, philodendron, and monstera. The most common type of peace lily is the Spathiphyllum clevelandii, which features glossy, green leaves that measure about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide with white, calla-like blooms.

The leaves and flowers of peace lilies are, however, considered toxic to humans. They are also toxic to cats and dogs, albeit not as toxic as true lilies or daylilies. Still, if you have pets in the home, you may want to consider non-toxic options like a Christmas cactus or prayer plant.

Peace Lily Overview

Genus Name Spathiphyllum
Common Name Peace Lily
Additional Common Names Mauna Loa Peace Lily, Spathe Lily, White Sails
Plant Type Houseplant
Light Part Sun, Shade
Height 1 to 3 feet
Width 1 to 6 feet
Flower Color Green, White
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Fall Bloom, Reblooming, Spring Bloom, Summer Bloom, Winter Bloom
Special Features Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Propagation Division

Where to Grow Peace Lily

In the wild, peace lilies thrive on the forest floor—so they love humid environments and dappled sunlight. Consider placing yours in a bathroom that is illuminated by a solar tube or skylight or near a north- or east-facing window. Avoid placing your peace lily in direct sunlight as the harsh rays can scorch the plant's leaves. If light options are limited in your home, a peace lily can still thrive in low-light conditions. Just be mindful that when grown with limited light exposure, peace lilies are less likely to produce their pretty flower-like bracts.

It is also best to avoid placing your peace lily near heat sources or drafts. Temperature fluctuations caused by fans, vents, air conditioners, open doors, fireplaces, radiators, and space heaters can cause the foliage to droop and wilt.

Outdoors, peace lilies are only hardy in zones 10-12. If you live in one of these warmer climates, you can plant mature, divided, or seedling peace lilies in the ground in late winter or early spring. Choose a spot with fertile soil and dappled sunlight (or partial shade) that provides shelter from strong winds.

How and When to Plant Peace Lily

If you are planting a peace lily outside, dig a hole twice the size of the plant’s root ball. Place the plant in the hole, fill in the soil, and water thoroughly. You can also grow peace lilies in containers outdoors in these tropical climates.

If you are growing a peace lily as a houseplant, you can plant it at any time, but many gardeners choose to plant or repot in the spring. Choose a container just slightly larger than the plant’s root ball. Fill the container two-thirds of the way with well-draining, peat-free houseplant potting soil or houseplant compost. Place your peace lily in the pot and hold it steady while you fill in the rest of the soil or compost. Water well.

Peace lilies can also grow in water alone with a vessel designed to suspend the plant above the waterline.

Peace Lily Care Tips

Caring for a peace lily is so simple, it is commonly recommended for first-time houseplant owners. Even in low light, this adaptable plant can produce white flower spathes on tall, graceful stems, but the shiny green foliage looks great even when the plant isn't blooming. To keep your foliage looking its best, wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth occasionally to keep dust from building up.


Indoors or outdoors, peace lilies perform best in bright, indirect light. They can, however, thrive in low-light conditions but will produce fewer spathe flowers and will have a slightly looser growth habit.

Soil and Water

Peace lilies need rich, well-draining potting mix or compost to thrive—ideally with a soil pH between 5.8 and 6.5. They are prone to rot in soggy or wet soil conditions but, oddly enough, can be grown in water alone. If you want to grow your peace lily in water, the crown of the plant should sit above the waterline to prevent rot.

Peace lilies would rather be under-watered than overwatered. The amount of water your plants will need depends on the size of your container and the drainage capabilities of the soil. As a general guideline, water only when the top inch of the soil is dry and let your plants dry out a bit between waterings.

Temperature and Humidity

Peace lilies are tropical plants that prefer a warm, humid climate—ideally with a temperature between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity level of 50% or higher. Temperatures below 40 degrees will damage the plant. To increase humidity levels for your peace lily, wipe the leaves down with a damp cloth or mist the foliage regularly with distilled water.


Peace lilies do fine with the occasional dose of a slow-release fertilizer but don’t overdo it. Limit feedings to every 6 weeks throughout the spring and summer and watch for yellowing or browning in the leaves. Over-fertilization makes peace lilies prone to leaf burn.

If you are growing a peace lily in water alone, add some liquid fertilizer to the water every 4 to 6 weeks to make up for the loss of soil nutrients.  


Peace lilies benefit from regular pruning and deadheading (every six months or as needed). After a stalk has produced a “flower”, it will not produce another one and will eventually turn brown and die. Cut back spent stalks at the base of the plant to make room for new stalks. Then, trim away yellow or shriveled leaves and spathe flowers with sharp shears.   

Potting and Repotting

Peace lilies like to be a little pot-bound, so plan to repot yours only when you see roots starting to poke out from the bottom of the pot. When you do repot, try to remove as much of the old soil as you can and only increase the pot by an inch or two in diameter.

Pests and Problems

Peace lilies don’t have notable issues with pests, but those attracted to moist microclimates can be problematic. If you see evidence of mealybugs, gnats, thrips, scale, and spider mites, it’s best to address them quickly. Allow the soil of your peace lily to dry out between waterings and use an
insecticidal soap or neem oil to eradicate the pests.

Root rot is another common issue for peace lilies—especially when they are overwatered. It causes yellowing and wilting in the lower foliage as well as brown spots on the leaves and (depending on the type of rot) also on the stalks. Leaf blight is another issue that is exacerbated by high humidity levels and moist soil conditions. It can create brown or black lesions on the leaves that appear wet and mushy. If you catch it early, you can curtail the disease by removing the affected leaves and repotting the plant in fresh soil and a sterilized pot.

How to Propagate Peace Lily

The simplest way to propagate peace lilies is via division. Spring is the best time to do this, but if your plant is becoming overly pot-bound, any time will do. Each time you divide a plant, you will need to wait until it has reached maturity and is large enough to separate into multiple sections.

To divide your peace lily, gently remove the plant from its pot and pry apart the stems into 2 or 3 clumps (making sure each clump has its own set of roots). Replant each of the new divisions in a separate container as you would a new plant.

Types of Peace Lily

'Domino' Peace Lily

Peace Lily Spathiphyllum wallisii 'Domino'
Blaine Moats

This variety of Spathiphyllum wallisii is a form with variegated foliage. It also blooms, but its main attraction is its green foliage speckled with cream and white.

'Jetty' Peace Lily

Jetty Peace Lily
Denny Schrock

'Jetty' is a fast-growing, lush variety of Spathiphyllum with loads of white spathe flowers.

'Mauna Loa' Peace Lily

Mauna Loa Lily
Marty Baldwin

'Mauna Loa' is a vigorous variety of Spathiphyllum wallisii that grows to 3 feet tall with pure white blooms.

'Sensation' Peace Lily

Sensation Peace Lily
Denny Schrock

This variety of Spathiphyllum wallisii is a giant among peace lilies, growing up to 6 feet tall, with proportionately large flower bracts.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why are my peace lily flowers turning green?

    We call them flowers, but the blooms on peace lilies are technically spathes. The large, white spathe of the peace lily is a modified leaf (called a bract). It protects the spadix, which is the spike of small flowers held upright in the center of the spathe. As these flowers age, the spathe fades to green. However, since the peace lily has little need for fertilizer, the bracts can also turn green when overfed.

  • Can I repot my peace lily into a water vase?

    Yes, but you will need a vessel designed specifically for the task or something to suspend your plant near the top of the vase. To repot your soil-grown peace lily into a water-only environment, remove the plant from its container and carefully tease out the roots. Clear away as much soil as possible and then rinse the roots. Fill the vase with distilled water and place the plant in its new vessel with the crown of the plant above the water line.

    Once it is transitioned, plan to feed your peace lily once a month with an application of liquid fertilizer. Soil-grown peace lilies get their nutrients from their soil, so your water-grown plant will benefit from a regular boost. To fend off rot, make sure the crown of the plant stays out of the water.

  • Do peace lilies purify the air?

    Yes and no. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) did a study in the late 1980s that indicated that plants (like the peace lily) could absorb certain environmental contaminants (benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene) from indoor air. However, that study was conducted in conditions that mimic a sealed spacecraft, not a home. Also, later studies have shown that you would need as many as 10 plants per square foot to create a significant filtering effect. In a 1,500-square-foot home, that would be 15,000 plants!

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Better Homes & Gardens is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources—including peer-reviewed studies—to support the facts in our articles. Read about our editorial policies and standards to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy.
  1. Spathiphyllum. North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox.

  2. Peace Lily. ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants

  3. Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA-TM-101766

  4. Potted plants do not improve indoor air quality: A review and analysis of reported VOC removal efficiencies. Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, 30(2), 253–261. doi:10.1038/s41370-019-0175-9

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