You'll find peace lilies in most big-box stores. These recognizable plants have flower-like leaves known as spathes that are usually white and smell delightful. Each "bloom" partially encloses a spiky spadix or stalk. And then there's the long, glossy green foliage.
Peace lilies — Latin name Spathiphyllum, fare well indoors across the globe and outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. Spaths can live up to five years and your modest investment will aesthetically pay off in spades if you can keep this underrated plant alive.
The peace lily hails from the lush rainforests near the northernmost coast of South America. In the late 19th century, it arrived in Europe as Victorian England was going through their famous flower craze. Fast forward to recent years, and German breeders have been introducing new free-flowering hybrid varieties to the American market.
The 1989 NASA Clean Air Study found that peace lilies had fantastic air-purifying abilities compared to many other plants. Peace lilies remove toxic volatile organic compounds or VOCs from the air.
These VOCs come from our detergents, appliances, and other common household items, and they include but aren't limited to acetone, ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene.
Some people enjoy a hands-off approach like the one you might employ with a ZZ plant, and others love to literally shower their plants with attention. Do you relish the ritual of watering plants, and have you been guilty of murdering a plant or three in the past because of your overzealous ministrations? Peace lilies are low-maintenance indoor plants because you don't have to overthink care — at least beyond watering frequently. In other words, don't stress if you occasionally overwater; peace lilies often brush off heavy-handedness and enjoy the drink.
Peace lilies do well in low-light conditions because it mimics the understory environment where they flourish in the shade of other flora. Rainforests are also humid and hot like bathrooms, so peace lilies thrive next to tubs and showers but will do fine anywhere else in your home, provided you hydrate them and keep them in well-draining soil to prevent root rot.
Take care of placement near windows: full sun will barbeque the foliage.
You won't have to play too many guessing games with a peace lily. These plants provide plenty of hints about their well-being—you just have to be present to notice. When they're thirsty, they droop, and when you hydrate them, they go back to their excellent posture. If you don't see the white spathes, try giving your peace lily more indirect sunlight.
There are more than 40 peace lily types with subtle differences between them. Cultivars include the Clevelandii with its super long leaves and the Piccolino, a dwarf variety. Sensation peace lilies can grow as tall as a basketball player, and Patricia peace lilies are nice and compact.
Little Angel peace lilies produce many blooms and make for a visual treat, and White Stripe peace lily leaves look precisely the way they sound. The Mauna Loa variety is an award winner—it received the honor of the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
Peace lilies look like white flags, the international symbol for surrendering and coming to a truce. These plants are all about good vibes and are a popular feng shui option to attract positive chi or energy to your home.
Peace lilies are thought to bring balance, prosperity, and calmness. You may have spotted them at funerals, where they're gifted to express sympathy, but it's worth noting that if someone is grieving, they might not be in the mood to take care of a plant, no matter how easy it is to maintain.
Peace lilies belong on home interior mood boards because they're a chic addition to any design aesthetic and add an inimitable natural element. Neutral colors ensure this plant goes with just about any color palette.
Place peace lilies in woven baskets for a pop of texture, or group them in pots or planters of varying heights for a structured, architectural look. Stick them on floors, dressers, benches, chairs, or bedside tables, and hero them in the focal point or let them elegantly occupy space in a corner.
In the critically acclaimed 2007 movie Hot Fuzz, a buddy cop film made in the U.K., one of the officers diligently takes care of a peace lily plant. The plant makes numerous appearances and serves as a motif representing predictability and order. The lead character, Nicholas, must break the mold to succeed, and he does so by throwing his pot plant forcefully at the antagonist, Lurch.
Peace lilies aren't true lilies—they belong to the Araceae or arum family, the same family as anthuriums, calla lilies, philodendrons, and monsteras. True lilies are from the Liliaceae family.
One crucial difference between peace lilies and true lilies is relevant for pet owners and parents. True lilies are highly poisonous for your beloved canine or feline besties, but peace lilies are only mildly toxic. Still, avoid consumption by placing your plants out of reach or in rooms your fur babies don't visit.