January 24, 2015
Peace Lilies, whose botanical name is Spathiphyllum Cochlearispathum, is a genus of approximately 40 species of flowering plants in the Araceae family. Its botanical name translates from Greek to “leaf spathe,” and is so named for the plant’s unique bloom. The flower consists of a one to two-inch, greenish-white spadix, backed with a single white or cream-colored spathe, (a single petal), which proudly stands atop a tall stem.
Though not a true lily, Peace Lilies are an evergreen perennial plant that grows as a bushy clump of leaves that can grow up to a foot in length. Known as an easy to care for plant, the flower’s natural habitat is a tropical rainforest, with its origins in southern Mexico. They love shade, though will tolerate some indirect sun. This plant however, cannot survive hot, direct sunlight. Too much sun causes their leaves to singe and will stop the growth of the plant. Too much sunlight can also kill a young plant. Peace Lilies will tolerate an hour or two of morning sun, but they should never be exposed to the hot afternoon sun. In the United States, this plant is only hardy in zones 11 and 12, as they will survive outdoors year round in hot, humid areas of Hawaii and Florida.
Known for its lush foliage and unusual blossoms, for most Americans, these flowers are considered houseplants, and are one of the most common houseplants sold to gardeners. Even if grown indoors, this plant should still be kept away from direct sunlight and it should be kept a few feet back from the window. Peace Lilies like a constant temperature between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit, and should be protected from cold drafts and drastic changes in temperature.
When watered, Peace Lilies like to be watered a lot; however, they also need to dry out slightly between waterings. Too much drying out can cause the plant to wilt and will cause the leaves to yellow. And, as we all know all too well, too much water will kill a plant. When watering, it is very important that you use room temperature water that has sat for twenty-four to allow the chlorine to evaporate, as these plants are susceptible to chlorine damage. As they are native to tropical rainforests, Peace Lilies like to be sprayed with a mist every few days, again using water that has been allowed to sit for twenty-four hours. This plant looses a lot of water through evaporation via their leaves, especially when grown indoors.
Peace Lilies will flourish in almost any well-drained soil. Because of its natural habitat, growing in the undergrowth of decaying plant matter in a tropical rainforest, a peat-based soil is best, especially if grown in pots. Like most every potted plant, they should be re-potted every two to three years. Though it does not require fertilization, however it does best if fertilized on a regular basis using a well balance houseplant fertilizer at one-half of the recommended strength.
Over the years, this plant has been greatly hybridized and as such, there are dozens of different varieties available to flower enthusiasts. These “lilies” range in size from miniatures twelve inches tall up to six feet in height, and in clumps up to five feet wide. One of the great benefits of this plant is its air-purifying capability. Besides their very unusual flowers, Peace Lilies are great for breaking down and neutralizing toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, benzene and formaldehyde when grown indoors.
If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment. Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!
Steven H. Spring