Wondering how often to water peace lily? I was too when my new houseplant arrived. Here’s what I found about the natural soil moisture conditions of peace lilies and how to re-create their favorite habitat in your home.
Peace lilies should be kept in slightly damp soil at all times. These plants should always have access to fresh, clean water. Some indoor gardeners water peace lilies every other day, while those in especially dry climates may need to water daily. Plants in humid homes may only have to be watered once or twice a week. Peace lily plants do not need or want all their soil to dry out between waterings. Check the soil with your fingers or use a moisture meter to monitor dampness.
Read on to learn more about the frequency of watering your peace lily and how to keep soil moisture levels appropriate for plant health.
How to water a peace lily plant indoors
In general, water your peace lily plant every two days. In a dry climate, it may need daily watering. In a humid climate, it might be ok with getting watered only once or twice a week. Check the soil moisture with your fingers daily until you become accustomed to the soil moisture pattern of your potted peace lily houseplant. You can also use a moisture meter to check soil dampness.
“While a peace lily prefers a consistent watering schedule, it will bounce back if underwatered. When the plant really needs water, it will droop. It will perk up again once it’s properly hydrated, but to avoid stressing the plant, try not to let this happen too often.”How to Houseplant: A Beginner’s Guide to Making and Keeping Plant Friends, by Heather Rodino
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.
“Though the peace lily is very demonstrative about its thirst, try not to let it get to the point of drooping, as it stresses the plant. That said, while it’s a lot of work for most plants to recover from drying out too much, peace lilies are unusually hardy in this respect.The Inspired House Plant: Transform Your Home With Indoor Plants from Kokedama to Terrariums and Water Gardens to Edibles, by Jen Stearns
What to water a peace lily houseplant with
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.
“Maintain a consistent watering schedule, watering when the top inch (2.5 cm) of the soil feels dry. If your water is highly chlorinated, use filtered water. Average room humidity is fine for this plant.”How to Houseplant: A Beginner’s Guide to Making and Keeping Plant Friends, by Heather Rodino
“Water whenever the top of the potting medium becomes dry to a depth of 1 inch. Peace lilies can be sensitive to chlorine in tap water so filtered or bottled water is a better choice.”What’s Wrong With My Houseplant?: Save Your Indoor Plants With 100% Organic Solutions, by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth
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 2 weeks during the warmer months.
“Keep moist at all times. Water with standard liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks from spring to autumn. Dry air should be avoided at all times by setting the pot on a tray of moist pebbles. In warm conditions, the plant will not have a definite rest period, and both watering and fertilizing should be reduced but continued.”The Complete Guide to Houseplants: The Easy Way to Choose and Grow Happy, Healthy Houseplants, by Valerie Bradley
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.
“Mist your plant regularly with a spray bottle of water on a mist setting, or use a handheld mister. Put the pot in a saucer or tray of water, making sure the bottom of the pot never sits directly in the water by raising the pot up on pot feet or pebbles.”What’s Wrong With My Houseplant?: Save Your Indoor Plants With 100% Organic Solutions, by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth
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.
“Not a true lily at all, the peace lily, or Spathiphyllum, is in the same family as the philodendron. It is popular both for glossy, deep-green leaves and attractive and distinctive white flowers, which are formed by a tubular spadix surrounded by the spathe, a “petal” that is really a modified leaf.”The Inspired House Plant: Transform Your Home With Indoor Plants from Kokedama to Terrariums and Water Gardens to Edibles, by Jen Stearns
Do Peace Lily Plants Need Lots of Water?
Peace lily plants love water! A happy, healthy peace lily has high air humidity and constant soil moisture. These houseplants thrive when they have consistent and reliable access to clean, fresh water.
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 available 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 therefore 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.
“This is a stemless plant, with glossy dark green leaves up to 14 in. (35 cm) long and 4 in. (10 cm) wide on petioles of up to 8 in. (20 cm), which grow directly from the rhizome. The striking armlike flowers are produced on stalks up to 12 in. (30 cm) long and consist of a concave, oval spathe that starts off white and gradually changes to green, surrounding a white, scented spadix.”The Complete Guide to Houseplants: The Easy Way to Choose and Grow Happy, Healthy Houseplants, by Valerie Bradley
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