Name: spath, peace or Madonna lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii cvs).
Plant type: clump forming, evergreen, perennial.
Foliage: deep green, glossy, lance shaped.
Climate: indoors – all zones. Outdoors – tropical, sub-tropical and warm micro-climates in warm temperate.
Soil: moist, rich, free-draining.
Position: bright filtered light to full-shade. No direct sunlight.
Flowering: white spathe flowers on tall stems, mainly in warmer seasons.
Feeding: annually with controlled-release fertiliser.
Watering: keep moist, but not wet.
Dense clumps of lush, glossy, emerald-green foliage and snowy white flowers on long stems are the hallmarks of the peace or spath lily, which is one of the few flowering house plants. There are a range of peace lilies available: “giant”, green-flowering and gorgeous variegated leaf varieties.
All parts of Spathiphyllums are mildly poisonous. In rare cases, some people may suffer from contact dermatitis, and eating any parts can cause stomach upsets. Be wary of this around pets – cats especially – as they are inclined to play with the flower spikes.
A peace lily can be grown for a variety of uses, including:
A peace lily can tolerate almost any light levels indoors, but avoid direct sunlight, as this will scorch the leaves. Avoid positioning in or near the direct air stream of heaters or air-conditioners.
Keep your peace lily moist, but not wet. It can grow outdoors in pots or in gardens, provided it has a very warm position, is out of direct sun and drainage is excellent.
Only use a premium potting mix suitable for indoor plants, and ensure the pot has excellent drainage.
Liquid feed your peace lily over peak growing times (follow the product recommendations), and feed it annually with a quality controlled-release fertiliser.
Overwatering is the most common problem with peace lilies. Use your finger to check the moisture level of the potting mix before watering. If the surface is moist then it's okay. If it's dry for the first centimetre or two, then give it some water.
Don't allow your peace lily to stand in a saucer of water. If in an air-conditioned environment, consider misting lightly with water every day or two to elevate humidity.
Re-pot every 12 to 18 months. Increase the pot size if required, otherwise simply replace and replenish some of the potting mix as needed.
For best results, remove any dead or yellowing leaves, and remove flowers as they finish.
Peace lily is prone to the following pests:
Oversized plants can be carefully divided up.
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Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.
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