Water your potted peace lily when the top inch of soil feels dry. Typically, this means watering indoor plants once or twice a week. However, adjust based on your room’s humidity and light. Peace lilies prefer consistently moist soil but not muddy, waterlogged conditions. Over-watering can be as harmful as under-watering.
Watering schedule for an indoor peace lily plant
Water your peace lily when the top inch of soil is dry. Use your fingers or a moisture meter to check soil dampness. Avoid letting the soil dry out completely or letting the plant droop.
Peace lilies need slightly damp soil and consistent watering. Watering frequency depends on your home’s humidity and climate; it could range from every other day to once a week. Houseplant gardeners in dry climates will likely have to water their plants more often than those in humid climates.
How to water a peace lily plant indoors
To water a peace lily indoors, follow these steps:
- Check soil moisture: Before watering, ensure the top inch of soil is dry. Use your finger or a moisture meter.
- Use room temperature water: Cold water can shock the roots. Let tap water sit for a while to reach room temperature and to let chlorine evaporate.
- Water evenly: Pour water evenly around the base of the plant until it starts to drain from the bottom.
- Avoid over-watering: Don’t let the plant sit in water. Empty any excess water from the saucer to prevent root rot.
- Adjust frequency: Water when the top inch of soil feels dry, typically once a week, but adjust based on light and humidity.
- Mist occasionally: Peace lilies enjoy humidity. Mist the leaves occasionally, especially in dry environments.
Different lighting levels affect watering frequency
The amount of water required by houseplants varies with changes in light, both natural and artificial. I have to water my potted peace lily almost daily in the summertime when it is out on the patio, but only weekly or even less when it’s indoors in the wintertime.
In brighter sunlight, especially during the summer when days are long, peace lilies may need more water as the soil dries out faster and the plant is able to photosynthesize for a long period each day. In lower light, particularly in winter, they require less water, as the soil stays moist longer and photosynthesis is decreased.
Artificial light can substitute for natural light, especially in low-light environments. Depending on the light’s intensity and duration, it may dry the soil at a different rate. Regularly check the soil moisture to adjust watering as needed.
Tips for peace lily soil conditions
Peace lilies grow best in evenly damp porous soil where the roots have adequate access to both moisture and fresh oxygen. Moist soil is good, but soggy wet soil is bad. When re-potting your peace lily, a soil mix of half potting mix and half orchid mix is generally recommended. Peace lilies can actually grow in ponded water as long as the water is flowing enough to provide fresh oxygen to the plant’s roots.
These plants are pretty hardy and can handle the soil drying out now and then (although they don’t like it). You can even have live peace lily plants packaged up and shipped across the country.
Tap water and chlorine considerations
Peace lily houseplants can be watered directly with tap water in some municipalities. They are a bit sensitive to chlorine, so those in areas with highly chlorinated tap water may not want to water directly from the tap. If your water is quite chlorinated and you don’t want to bring in bottled water specifically for your plants, fill a jar with water and leave it on the counter overnight so some of the chlorine in the water can naturally off-gas.
Water-soluble plant fertilizer for peace lilies
Water-soluble plant fertilizer can be added to your watering routine on a regular basis. Add a diluted amount of high-quality organic plant fertilizer to the water every couple of weeks during the warmer months when the days are longer.
Increasing water levels in surrounding air/indoor humidity for your peace lily
Peace lilies in nature live in a warm, humid environment under the canopy of the tropical rainforest. This is an environment of near-constant moisture in most months of the year.
You can mimic the natural humidity of the rainforest with a humidifier, by misting or showering the plant, and/or by setting the plant on a dish of water and pebbles. A whole house humidifier is likely to be much more effective than temporary measures like misting or a tray of water.
Soil moisture in the natural habitat of peace lily plants
Soil moisture in the natural habitat where peace lily plants grow wild is generally quite high. Peace lilies grow near the bank of streams and ponds of water. While sometimes these areas are shady, they are also prone to moderately bright light. This environment under the canopy of the tropical rainforest is warm and humid.
The peace lily plant is more closely related to philodendrons than to true lilies. Like philodendron, these plants like their soil a little more on the moist side when compared to most other tropicals grown as houseplants.
Peace lilies are accustomed to the wet, warm environment of the rainforest. They have adapted to survive the dry season, but they’re also quite at home in a continuously moist environment, so long as fresh oxygen is available to the roots. Root rot in peace lilies is not due to overwatering per se; it is due to a lack of oxygen for the roots. Use fast-draining soil for peace lily houseplants (not a rich potting compost).
Do peace lily plants need to dry out between waterings?
Contrary to popular belief, peace lilies don’t need to “dry out” between waterings. There are months on end of rain in their natural environment, with some plants growing while semi-submerged in gently-flowing water. Peace lily plants do not need to dry out between waterings.
What peace lily plants do need is for their roots to have consistent access to both air and water. This is achieved by using a soil mix that drains relatively quickly. Many gardeners use a blend of half potting mixed with half orchid soil. This creates a porous growing medium that drains quickly, leaving a soil matrix that is damp but also has air pockets.
An additional reason to avoid letting the soil dry out between waterings is that potting mix is prone to desiccation and can get “crusty” if allowed to dry out. The crust restricts airflow and restricts the roots’ ability to access fresh oxygen. The desiccation of potting soil also makes the initial soil moistening a bit tricky, as the water can sometimes just run right over the crusty soil.