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The peace lily (also known as ‘closet plant’) has long been a favorite among houseplant fans, often used in both homes and offices. When compared with most indoor plants, they’re one of the easiest to grow. Not only can these plants brighten up your living space, but they also work as air purifiers, cleaning up the air of any room they’re placed in.
Peace lilies are great for growing in the house or workplace as they are easy to care for, require less light and do an excellent job of cleaning and purifying the air we breathe. In this article, we’ve got all the information you need to know about peace lilies and how to grow them in water.
What is a Peace Lily?
The peace lily was given its names because of the resemblance of its flower to white peace flags. It’s the common name for members of the Spathiphyllum genus of plants. This plant is also known as the spathe flower or white sails plant.
The peace lily is not an actual lily but a tropical perennial, which can live for years, blooming repeatedly. This beautiful plant is native to the tropical rainforests of America. Its standard height is 24-40 inches, but some plants grow up to 50 inches tall and there are several varieties of it available in various heights. While some peace lilies are grown in soil, others are planted in water.
The peace lily became especially popular as an indoor plant after NASA recognized it for its air purifying abilities and included it on the list of ‘Top Ten Household Air Cleaning Plants’. People around the world began growing these plants in their homes and offices. It’s a favorite due to its forgiving nature and resiliency as well as the health benefits it offers.
Today, the peace lily is regarded as one of the best indoor plants for air purification since it excels at breaking down and neutralizing harmful chemicals such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. It’s also one of the easiest indoor plants to take care of, as it requires minimal care.
How to Grow a Peace Lily in Water
The best way to propagate a peace lily is by division, meaning that you’ll need to find a mature plant with a few crowns and divide it.
This is the easiest and most reliable method since it’s not possible to grow a peace lily from a cutting and growing from seed can take many years. If you’re separating the plant from someone else’s peace lily, remember to choose one with a well-formed root structure that’s suitable for water conditions.
If you’re purchasing a peace lily, look for a plant that’s already growing in water since it will have well-developed roots that have adapted to its growth medium. Once you have your peace lily ready, follow these easy steps to start growing it in water.
- Take a glass container and fill it halfway with lukewarm distilled water. Try to avoid using tap water since it can contain chlorine, fluoride, hard water minerals, or other chemicals which are harmful to plants. Tap water may cause brown edges and tips on peace lilies.
- Take a plastic stopper and cut a hole in its center, securing your peace lily in place at the mouth of the container.
- Inspect your plant carefully and use a pair of garden shears to inspect its roots, cutting off any rot or injury.
- Gently place the peace lily in the plastic stopper, allowing the roots to sit in the glass container. Make sure that the roots are well submerged.
- Fertilize the plant every two weeks with a few drops of liquid fertilizer to keep it healthy.
- It’s important to change the water in the container once every two weeks. The roots should always be submerged in water since drying out can harm them and slowly kill the plant.
- Do not place your peace lily in direct sunlight. These plants love shade and can grow in low-light environment, which is why they make excellent house plants. Placing the plant in direct sunlight can harm it and hinder its growth. It prefers to grow in dark corners of your home, away from windows and direct sunlight.
- Keep in mind that the base of the plant should ideally be suspended above the waterline, either with a specific insert or a layer of small river stones. It permits the roots to grow into the water while keeping the base and leaves from becoming continually wet and rotting. Only the roots of the lily should be under water.
Growing a Peace Lily in Water
When growing a peace lily in water, there are several factors that should be taken into consideration, including the temperature, humidity, light, and the type of fertilizer you should use. These are extremely important for optimal growth of the plant.
Peace lilies are tropical plants, which means they can thrive in normal indoor temperatures like humans. The ideal temperature for peace lilies ranges from 65°F to 85°F (18°C to 30°C), the usual indoor temperature. These plants cannot tolerate temperatures below 45oF or cold drafts and will quickly wither in such conditions. Always place your peace lilies well away from any cooling or heating appliances that could harm it.
Peace lilies can survive in about 50% humidity, but they prefer humidity levels above 80%. If the humidity level is too low, the edges of leaves and tips will turn brown. Low humidity can also make it stop blooming. However, in this case your plant will be growing in water so humidity levels should not be a concern because the water will take care of that.
It’s best to use distilled water or rainwater for your peace lily, since the chemical content of tap water is too high for the plant and can cause its leaves to turn yellow.
Allowing tap water to rest in a container overnight allows the chlorine in the water to evaporate, making it safe for plants. Once the chemicals and residue in the water is reduced, you can use it to grow your plant in.
Change the water in your peace lily pot once a week or at least every two weeks. Growing a peace lily in water has the advantage of giving it continuous access to water and eliminates the hassle of watering the plant every day.
Place your peace lily near the north or west-facing window, as this will provide the ideal amount of sunlight for your plant. Peace lilies thrive in light partial shade and can withstand fluorescent lighting. Some grow exceptionally well in rooms without windows or ventilation. If you notice the leaves turning yellow, it’s an indication that the plant is getting scorched from direct sunlight.
Use an organic water-soluble houseplant fertilizer in the spring and summer to help your plant bloom. Organic fertilizers are the best options for peace lilies since chemical fertilizers can be toxic. You can also make your own fertilizer by turning vegetables and fruit peelings into liquid using a food processor.
If the tips of the leaves are browning, the plant may be receiving too much fertilizer. Peace lilies should be fertilized sparingly. In fact, fertilizing it once every 6 weeks is more than enough to keep it growing healthy.
When compared with other indoor plants, peace lilies do not easily attract pests. Pests like spider mites and aphids, however, can be a concern for peace lily growers. If you notice these pests on your plant, clean the leaves carefully and then spray them with insecticidal soap.
Peace lilies, if ingested, are toxic to both animals and people. If you have any cats, dogs, or small children in the house, place the plant safely out of their reach. Always wash your hands after handling it because it generates crystals that irritate the skin.
Pros and Cons of Growing Peace Lilies in Water
Growing a peace lily in water has its advantages when compared to growing it in soil. Here’s a look at the pros and cons.
- Re-potting a peace lily is easier if you’re growing it in water. All you need to do is take the plant out and place it in a container that’s slightly larger and fill it up with water.
- You will not have to worry about watering your plant or about the humidity levels.
- Without soil, your plant will attract fewer pests, which helps protect it from problems like brown and yellow leaves.
- Water will keep your plant’s roots healthy unlike in soil. Peace lilies planted in soil run the risk of being over-watered, which can result in root rot.
- If feasible, the water should be changed regularly, which can be a hassle since you risk damaging the plant.
- You also run the risk of bacteria and algae forming around your plant’s roots and stems which could cause the roots to rot and die. Your peace lily will be unable to absorb enough nutrients as the accumulation rises.
- In water, the peace lily’s growth rate is also slower since it does not get enough nutrients and oxygen unlike when placed in soil.
The Bottom Line
As a houseplant, the peace lily is well-known for its air-purifying characteristics and attractive scented white flowers. You can easily grow these plants at home since they don’t require a lot of maintenance. They also don’t require advanced gardening skills, so whether you’re an amateur gardener or an expert, they’re bound to thrive with a little care and attention.