Peace Lilies (Spathiphyllum) also known as Spats, are immensely popular houseplants, and because of their name are usually first in line as gift plants.
Not that their new owners have anything to worry about. Spats are among the easiest of houseplants to grow. They fit in anywhere, being tolerant of low light but thrive in brighter light. They don’t like over watering but are forgiving as well. If their leaves droop from lack of water, a good soak will quickly restore them.
What makes Spats even more desirable, is that they are among the top air purifying plants identified by NASA. As well as purifying the air, removing neutralising toxic gases like carbon monoxide and formaldehyde, and increasing humidity, Spats release large amounts of oxygen throughout the day.
The only negative, is that the leaves are toxic to cats and dogs. Make sure plants are out of reach, especially from kittens or puppies who like to chew on anything and everything. Chewing the leaves won’t kill but can cause serious diarrhea.
Did You know? Spats come in various sizes, from petite tabletop plants to a 2m high and wide plant with huge, lush leaves that rival philodendrons for size. In between there are varieties with striped or flecked leaves and differing flower sizes.
Statuesque beauty… Spathiphyllum ‘Sensation’
Big leaved indoor plants are trending, and ‘Sensation’ fits right in. It will be at talking point because of its lush deeply ribbed leaves give it a terrific texture. It grows up to 2m high and leaves can be almost 1m long.
Use it as a large feature plant in a bright room, in an entrance, and as an office plant in a swanky reception area. If you are short on furniture or like the minimalist look, this plant will provide the vibe you want.
Good vibes: The white flowers (called spaths) are associated with peace because they stand up like a white flag, the universal signal of truce. They are also associated with purity and prosperity which is why Feng shui practitioners place them in the home and workplace for balance, to reduce tension and draw positive energy.
Flower child …Spathiphyllum ‘Catalina’
What sets ‘Catalina’ apart is its larger flowers that are pollen free. A happy plant can produce five to six flowers at a time. The plant is naturally bushy, with beautiful dark leaves and can grow up to 75cm.
Try this: The white flowers of the peace lily add a touch of simplicity, especially effective with minimalistic décor.
Spathiphyllum Bingo – it’s a winner.
‘Bingo’ is a regular sized spat, in other words it’s a compact desktop or coffee table sized plant but has been bred to flower more often and produce more flowers with each flush. Improvements through breeding has also produced a larger plant.
Interesting fact: The botanical name Spathiphyllum derives from Greek, in which spath means spoon and phyl means leaves. That’s why the ’flowers’ of the peace lily are called spaths. But the plant doesn’t hail from Europe, it’s a forest plant from Central and South America and Southeast Asia.
One of a kind … Spathiphyllum ’Ricardo’
‘Ricardo’ stands out for its beautiful white spathes that is produces unexpectedly. Its ruffled leaves are also marked with very fine white streaks. Plants grow up to 40cm.
Did you know? A peace lily matures within three to five years but can live for much longer and keep on flowering.
Five ways to keep your peace lily happy.
- Keep your plant in a bright room. They like being close to a window that receives filtered morning sun.
- Water once a week, depending on the season. Lightly moist, but not soggy soil is best. A plant will survive if the soil dries out but let it soak in a basin or bowl of water until the leaves revive, then drain. Plants don’t like to stand in water as the roots can rot.
- Feed once a month during summer with a liquid feed like EcoBuz MultiGro or Margaret Roberts Organic Supercharger or a kelp-based tonic.
- Keep plants in a warm room in winter and away from draughts.
- If the tips of the leaves go brown, it could be a sign of over-watering or under-watering. Check the soil and the drainage, amend your watering schedule. Brown leaf tips may also be a sign of a build up of salts in the soil. This can happen if you bottom water, where the plant draws up water from a saucer. Try flushing the soil with water until you see the water draining out. Do this once a month.