I Have a Very Happy Spath!
Yes, that is a photo of my Peace Lily. No, it’s not plastic 🙂
I’m usually a brown thumb – I’ve certainly killed way more pot plants that have thrived under my care, but this one is amazing. Maybe it’s just a great specimen? I can’t take the credit for the watering regime though – I have a good friend who is a horticulturalist, and he gave me the best advice ever with Spathiphyllums. So I tweaked it a little for what I thought was best (I’m a computer guy – of course I know what’s best!) for our rather hot Brisbane summer, and here it is:
Healthy Peace Lily Recipe:
- Self watering plastic pot of right size (see below).
- Average quality, well draining potting mix.
- Use a soil meter to measure the moisture about 3-5 inches down – only water the plant when “DRY” or “DRY+”
- Once a week take outside and drench it. Don’t give it a jug of water, give it a 5 minute soaking. Allow to sit for an hour.
- Before bringing inside again tip about 2/3 of the water out of the self watering pot base.
- Liquid fertilise a small amount at half strength at most a couple of times a year. They don’t like much fertiliser. If your flowers are green you are over fertilising.
Why I Think This Works
OK, so normal pot (not self watering) and good quality potting mix are the way you are supposed to do it, but I tried that on another spath, and it didn’t end so well. I think that less water retaining soil combined with water when needed by the plant is the winner. I also think that you need the right combo of the soil and pot so that by the end of a week the soil around the roots is dry. Too big a pot and it might not dry out in a week. Too small a pot (or wrong type – like terracotta) and it might dry out too quickly. I think average quality potting mix works best. The expensive stuff seems to have a lot of peat and retains too much moisture. Spaths need to dry out between watering, but they are fussy critters – dry out too much they wilt and die. Dry out not enough and they rot and die. Sometimes there is still a little water in the bottom of the self watering pot at the end of the week, but my soil moisture reader tells me the soil is at least dry, if not dry+
I have another couple of peace lilies that I nearly killed before I applied this technique, and they are bouncing back to life. Terracotta is terrible. Just saying.
The self watering pot seems to help with the subtropical heat in the Brisbane summer. If you live somewhere cooler, perhaps a non self watering pot may work better? I really don’t have much of an idea of what I am doing here, but I just wanted to record this success so I can replicate it in the future – and maybe someone else in a similar climate may benefit from this too.
Why You Need A Peace Lily In Your Home and Workplace
The whole reason I have persisted, even though I am usually terrible with plants is simple: air quality. We spend too much time indoors. But if we aren’t going to change that, we can at least make it a bit more healthy.
According to NASA, Spaths are one of the best indoor plants for improving air quality. They are one of only two on their list that filter out all the common nasties (Benzene, Formaldehyde, Trichloroethylene, Amonia, Xylene and Toulene) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NASA_Clean_Air_Study
They also look pretty amazing, and add life to a room.
The only downside is that Peace Lilies aren’t so great for pets or preschoolers – apparently if eaten they are mildly toxic to humans, dogs and cats. Thankfully all our kids are old enough to identify the pot plants before they munch on them.