Spathiphyllum wallisii: how to grow the incredible Peace Lily

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Written By Martin Cole

Plantsman, gardener, plant-obsessive

Spathiphyllum wallisii

Spathiphyllum wallisii, commonly known as the Peace Lily, is the first plant I ever had.

It maybe the same for you. It is certainly amongst the most popular house plants across the world.

And there are good reasons for that popularity – Spathiphyllum wallisii is:

  • easy to look after
  • hard to kill
  • good are purifying the air, and
  • pretty gorgeous.

Because it so common, it is easy to overlook the charms of this plant. So next time you see one, look at it again with fresh eyes. Look hard at those lush, deep green, shiny leaves and that exotic flower spike, and you’ll really appreciate its beauty.

Factor in that it is one of the easiest plants to care for, and you won’t be able to resist buying one for yourself.

This then is an excellent choice for both new plant parents and experienced plant enthusiasts.

You can display Spathiphyllum wallisii as a stunning solo plant or groupit together with other foliage plants to create a mini indoor jungle. Native to the tropical rainforests of Colombia and Venezuela, it will bring that steamy rainforest vibe to your home.

Spathiphyllum wallisii quick care guide

  • Light: Thrives in medium, indirect light, but can tolerate lower light. Avoid direct sunlight. Best placed near a north-facing window. Lower light levels will affect flowering.
  • Water: Keep the soil moist during the summer, but do not overwater. Water approximately once a week. More may be needed in summer – drooping leaves will tell you that watering is required.
  • Humidity: Prefers high humidity. Consider a pebble tray or humidifier for dry environments.
  • Temperature range: Ideal temperatures range from 65-75°F (18-24°C). Avoid temperatures below 45°F (7°C) or above 85°F (29°C).
  • Soil: Well-draining soil. A mix of peat, perlite, and vermiculite is good.
  • Fertiliser: Feed with a balanced, water-soluble fertiliser every 6-8 weeks during growing season
  • Propagation: Mainly by division (see further below)
  • Repotting: Every 1-2 years, preferably in the spring.
  • Pruning: Trim yellow leaves and faded flowers to encourage growth.

Read more in our comprehensive guide to the 7 critical requirements of house plant care here.

All about Spathiphyllum wallisii

Spathiphyllum wallisii is one of those rare house plants that we grow for its flowers as well as for its foliage. The flowers start off light green, turning to white.

As a rainforest plant, it is adapted to lower levels of light. This is why it has those lovely dark green leaves. They are filled with chloroplast cells which enable it to make the most of the available light for photosynthesis.

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii) key facts

  • Scientific name: Spathiphyllum wallisii
  • Meaning of scientific name: From the Greek ‘spathe’ meaning blade and ‘phyllum’ meaning leaf and named for German plant collector Gustav Wallis (1830 to 1878)
  • Common names: Peace Lily, White Sails, Spathe Flower
  • Plant family: Araceae
  • Origin: Tropical Central America
  • Type of plant: Evergreen Perennial
  • Size: Up to 1-4 feet indoors
  • Foliage: Dark green leaves, shiny, and lance-shaped
  • Flower: White spathes surrounding a spadix, usually in spring
  • Fruit: Rarely produces fruit indoors
  • Toxicity: Toxic to cats, dogs, and humans if ingested. Causes irritation and discomfort.
The spathe (outer part) and spadix (inner part) of the Peace Lily flower

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US Buyers

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Uk Buyers

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Maintaining your Spathiphyllum wallisii in good shape

Peace Lilies are not demanding when it comes to general care. But other than following the care guide above, there are some other maintenance steps you can take to keep them looking their best:

  • Dusting: Peace Lilies seem to get more easily covered in dust than other plants. Perhaps the dust just shows up more against their dark leaves. In any case, you should wipe the leaves regularly with a soft, damp cloth to remove dust. This not only keeps the plant looking fresh but also allows for better photosynthesis.
  • Trimming: Use sharp scissors to snip off any yellow or brown leaves at the base. This helps the plant direct energy to new growth.
  • Misting: If your home is dry, misting the leaves can increase humidity around the plant, which they enjoy.
  • Inspecting: Regularly check the underside of leaves for pests like spider mites or scale and treat as needed.
  • Avoiding Chemicals: Don’t use leaf shine products, which can clog the pores of the leaves and do more harm than good.
  • Cut back spent flower stems: When the flowers have faded they’ll turn brown. Cut them off as close to the base of the stalk as possible.

Division is the best method for propagating the Peace Lily. It should be performed during repotting by gently separating the plant into smaller sections, each with roots attached, and potting them separately.

How to divide a Peace Lily

Propagating a Peace Lily by division is straightforward. It is a great way to multiply your plants and refresh an older Peace Lily that may have outgrown its pot. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Choose the Right Time: Spring or early summer is the ideal time for propagation when the plant is in its active growth phase.
  2. Prepare Your Materials: You’ll need a sharp knife, fresh potting mix, and pots for the new divisions.
  3. Remove the Plant: Take the Peace Lily out of its pot, gently shaking off excess soil to expose the root ball.
  4. Divide the Root Ball: Look for natural divisions where the plant has multiple crowns. You can see examples of these in the image above. Using your hands or a knife, separate the plant into smaller sections, each with several leaves and its own root system.
  5. Pot the Divisions: Fill new pots with potting mix, place each division in its own pot, and fill around the roots with more mix. Firm gently to support the plant.
  6. Water Thoroughly: Water each new plant well to help settle the soil around the roots and eliminate air pockets.
  7. Care After Propagation: Place the new plants in indirect light and maintain consistent moisture. But do not overwater, as the roots are quite sparse to begin with. Avoid fertilising for at least a month to allow the roots to establish.

Common Problems and Solutions

The Peace Lily is generally a fairly trouble free plant.

If you don’t give it enough water, the leaves will flop dramatically. But don’t panic, the plant can revive remarkably quickly with a good soaking.

If you give it too much water, the leave may start to go yellow.

Spathiphyllum wallisii troubleshooting guide

Leaves and shoots

  • Yellow leaves: Overwatering or poor drainage. Adjust watering schedule and ensure good drainage.

Roots

  • Root rot: Caused by overwatering. Let the soil dry out more between waterings.

Pests

  • Mealybugs and spider mites. Treat with insecticidal soap.

Diseases

  • Fungal infections can occur. Improve air circulation and avoid wetting the foliage.

Winter care

During winter, reduce watering and cease fertilisation as the plant enters a dormant phase. Ensure the plant is not exposed to cold drafts.

Read more about how to overwinter your house plants here.

Buy

So, if you’ve got this far and are feeling like you can’t resist this beautiful plant, I’ve listed some buying options below – depending on whether you are US or UK based.

The buy links are affiliate links, which means I’d be paid a (very) small commission if you go on and buy after clicking these links. But that does not affect the price you pay.

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US Buyers

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Uk Buyers

Uk

Spathiphyllum wallisii: frequently asked questions

How often should I water my Peace Lily?

A: Once a week, or when the top inch of soil feels dry.

Should i cut the brown tips off my Peace lily?

A: You can, but you’ll probably find that the cut tips go brown after a while too. The best thing to do is cut off any browning or fading leaves at the base.

Can Peace Lilies handle low light?

A: They can tolerate low light but won’t flower as much.

Are Peace Lilies good for air quality?

A: Yes, they are known to filter indoor air pollutants, purifying air and improving air quality.

How do I know if my Peace Lily is overwatered?

A: Soggy soil and yellowing leaves are common signs.

Other Spathiphyllum wallisii cultivars

Consider Spathiphyllum ‘Sensation’ for larger foliage or ‘Domino’ for variegated leaves, both excellent cultivars within the same genus.

Other great foliage plants

See our guides to caring for these other great foliage plants:

Key references and resources

Alloway, Z and Bailey (F). (2018) RHS Practical House Plant Book: Choose The Best, Display Creatively, Nurture and Care, Royal Horticultural Society, UK.

Camilleri,L and Kaplan, S. (2020), Plantopedia: The Definitive Guide to Houseplants, Smith Street Books.

Hessayon, Dr D.G. (1991) The New House Plant Expert, PBI Publications, UK.

Brickell, C. (2016). Royal Horticultural Society AZ encyclopedia of garden plants. 4th Edition Dorling Kindersley.

Squire, D. (2017). Houseplant Handbook: Basic Growing Techniques and a Directory of 300 Everyday Houseplants, CompanionHouse Books.

Nelson, G (2021). Plant – House plants: Choosing, Styling, Caring. Mitchell Beazley. London

Brickell, C. (2011). American horticultural society encyclopedia of plants and flowers. Penguin.

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