Now that our lives are transitioning indoors for the cold season, we wanted to share some information about one of the best air purifying plants – the peace lily. The peace lily is not actually a lily but a variety of Spathiphyllum, an easy care plant native to parts of the sub tropical regions of both the Americas and Asia. It’s a shade loving tropical that works well as a houseplant and a great selection for beginners. (Learn about more easy houseplants here.) They are excellent at filtering indoor air and topped the list from NASA’s Clean Air Study for removing all of the most common Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs): formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. It can also combat toluene, xylene and ammonia according to further research by B.C. Wolverton. When compiling the research by NASA and B.C. Wolverton, Peace lilies seem to be the only plant to remove all toxins tested. That is just one of the reasons we love it.
Water: Plan on watering once per week but make sure it dries out between waterings- peace lilies are susceptible to root rot. It will also begin to droop when it’s thirsty but try not to let it wait quite that long. Make sure it is planted in a well-draining pot and soil.
Light: Peace lilies like a little bit of indirect light but no direct sun. In windows facing East or North, plants can be placed in front of the window. With windows facing South or West, place plants at least three feet away. Yellowing leaves or brown spots can be a sign of too much light. These plants have also been known to do well under overhead florescent lighting with little or no sun at all.
Temperature: They do best with temperatures between 65-80 so the indoor air temperature of a home or office is usually just right. Keep them away from drafts.
Fertilization: Do not over fertilize. Give them a balanced fertilizer every 6 months.
Perhaps the best part of a peace lily is not its large, pointed oval shaped leaves but the interesting white blooms. The long lasting flowers sit above the leaves on stalks- a center spadix cupped by a single “petal” called a spathe. Expect blooms from March through June, and occasionally throughout the year. Typical plants are 24-40” with some varieties getting up to 50”. They look beautiful alone or grouped together.