Peace Lily: The best ways to keep you plants looking good

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The name peace lily relates to its white flowers, which are thought to look like white flags (a symbol of peace). There are many types of peace lily within the genus. But in general, peace lilies have large, glossy, oval leaves. They typically bloom in the spring, though that can vary when growing them as houseplants. A healthy peace lily might bloom twice a year, resulting in several months of flowers. However, sometimes these houseplants need a little encouragement for them to bloom, here’s how.

According to the experts at The Healthy Houseplant, the “best way” to encourage a peace lily to bloom is to give it a “good amount” of bright, indirect sunlight.  They also noted that it’s “crucial” to water thoroughly and to apply “weak but regular doses” of fertiliser during the growing season. 

Plant owners are encouraged to use moderation when getting their peace lily to bloom as ingredients like sun, water, and fertiliser are necessary, but “too much of a good thing can hurt your plant”. The pros said: “Don’t try to force your spathiphyllum to bloom.  Just give it an environment where it can do what comes naturally.”

Here are the seven things you can do to help your peace lily make more blooms:

1. Wait

Probably the least exciting of the whole list, but “necessary”, peace lilies don’t naturally flower until they reach a certain level of maturity. The experts said: “With ideal growing conditions, they can get to that point in about a year. However, conditions aren’t always ideal in non-tropical, non-greenhouse indoor spaces. Sometimes it can take a spathiphyllum houseplant a few years to mature.”

Just peace they are shown blooming in the shops, this doesn’t mean they have reached maturity as retailers use a hormone spray to push peace lilies to flower before they’re ready. 

2. Move it somewhere brighter

One of the “most common misconceptions” about this houseplant is that it needs hardly any light to grow. However the experts warn that this will only result in “a compact foliage plant”. They said: “If you want flowers, though, you’ll have to give your peace lily some sun. Look for a place that gets six to eight hours of fairly bright light per day during the growing season.”

That said, don’t leave peace lilies in direct sunlight for more than two hours per day. The pros said: “Avoid placing your plant within five feet of an unfiltered southern exposure.”

The experts shared a nifty trick for checking the light quality. They advised: “You can check the light quality by looking at the shadow your hand casts when you hold it up. Direct light makes dark shadows with sharp edges and indirect light gives them some fuzzy edges. If the shadows are extremely faint or have no clear shape, the light is probably too dim for your peace lily to flower.

3. Don’t let it dry out

Peace Lilies tend to droop dramatically when their roots run out of moisture. While some argue this is a good thing as it indicates that the plant needs water, the experts said that peace lilies in water before they start to slouch. They said: “If you let it dry out down to the roots, you’re damaging it. That stress will make it much harder for your plant to flower.”

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Instead they recommended testing the soil with your finger every two to four days. They explained: “When the topmost inch of the potting mix is dry and crumbly, it’s time to water your plant. Give it a good thorough drink, too. Make sure the entire mass of soil gets wet enough that the drainage holes underneath are dripping. Other than sunlight, water is the most important ingredient in getting a peace lily to flower.”

4. Keep it warm

This point can be challenging, especially during winter. However, peace lilies like roughly the same thermostat settings as humans. However, the pros noted: “If you want to extend your plant’s window for flowering, warmth will help. Temperatures between 18 to 20 degrees are best for bloom formation, especially at night.”

Temperatures for this houseplant should not exceed 29 degrees, as the experts claimed that this is “too hot” for them and said that even if the room’s average temperature is about right, owners should watch out for localised hot or cold spots.

5. Add humidity

Humidity isn’t usually a major problem for these houseplants, that being said they are adapted for the jungle, and really dry air “can stress them enough to prevent flowering”. If the peace lily “won’t bloom”, even with lots of light, water, and warmth, it’s worth checking the humidity levels.

Household should look to keep humidity levels at 50 percent or above. An easy way to raise humidity levels is to place the peace lily by other houseplants or place the plant on a pebble tray with water.

6. Fertilise them 

While houseplant fertiliser will not push a peace lily to flower when it’s not ready, or mean bigger blooms, it does “keep your peace lily from running low on the nutrients it needs to grow flowers”.

The experts said: “Potting soil doesn’t have a steady stream of decaying organic matter to refresh it with nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, etc. You need regular fertiliser inputs to keep it well-stocked. A little fertiliser goes a long way with peace lilies.”

They suggested using a formula that you can dilute to a lower concentration. The pros said: “Give your plant a quarter to half a strength application every four to six weeks during the growing season. Stop fertilising in mid-to-late autumn. When the days are too short for your peace lily to grow, it uses fewer nutrients, increasing the risk of an unhealthy buildup.”

If the leaves wilt and turn brown at the tips shortly after fertilising, owners have probably used too much. To rectify this rinse the minerals out of the pot by slowly letting a large volume of water drain through the soil.

7. Remove old blooms

The experts said: “You don’t just want your peace lily to flower. You want it to keep on flowering, over and over again, as much as possible. Maintaining the conditions helps with that. But it’s also good to get rid of the flowers once they’re spent.”

Peace lily blooms usually last for at least four weeks, and sometimes remain healthy for up to two months. After that, the plant gurus warned that they’ll start to brown up and sag. Even though the blooms are dead at that point, the houseplant will still spend energy maintaining them. This delays the next crop of flowers.

To remove the spent blooms, clip them off as soon as they start to get brown and wrinkly. Sanitise pruners first with some 10 percent bleach, rubbing alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide. Then snip off the flower and the stalk it’s attached to, as close to the base as possible. 

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