Peace lilies can purify your air

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Peace lilies are a good indoor plant choice for people who don't have a lot of light in their home. The flower on the plant can last from a few weeks to two months, depending upon the variety.<br/>
John Zvirovski / The Jamestown Sun
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Of all the houseplants that people have in their homes or workplaces, the peace lily has to be the most common. For very good reason also, as this plant is very adaptable to our indoor spaces, easy to grow, and produces flowers during most seasons of the year. Not only does it have these great qualities, but it also purifies the air of toxins as it grows! Who wouldn't be a great candidate for this type of plant?

Oftentimes we will see this plant given as a gift at funerals as it represents the innocence after a death and serves as a glorious reminder to those left behind in which life continues on in its purist of forms. We also see this plant in wedding decorations and ceremonies as it represents purity and new beginnings. It can be taken with the newly married couple as a symbol of joy and prosperity. Most of the time, it is given as a housewarming or holiday gift as it is very easy for most people to nurture for many, many years with great results.

There are many aspects that make this a wanted plant within our homes and workplaces. In its native habitat of the tropical Americas and Asia, this plant grows on the humid forest floors, where it receives no direct sunlight. Most of us struggle with our indoor plants trying to give them the light they require to keep them healthy and happy. This plant usually does poorly if it receives direct sunshine and shows its symptoms by getting brown or yellow leaves due to sun scorch. This plant prefers to be 6 to 8 feet away from any window that receives direct sunlight. It can even survive in areas that do not have windows, such as office spaces. They do well under fluorescent lighting that brightens the interiors of most buildings, thus making them great plants for desks or floors.

They almost seem to communicate with us when they need water as the entire plant will begin to wilt and the leaves will sag to the sides of the container. When the plant begins to react in this nature, give it the drink of water it is looking for and it will soon be its own perky self without ever missing a beat. If you allow this plant to go completely limp over and over again, you will begin to see yellowing leaves, as it will slowly become stressed. So always water the plant when it shows the slightest of wilting signs. Usually watering once a week is sufficient. If you find you are watering every other day, your plant may be pot bound and require repotting into a larger container. Always water your lily with distilled water. If using tap water, let it set out for a full day to allow the chlorine to evaporate. Watering fresh from the tap can cause damage, as they are very sensitive to this element.

Another wonderful feature of the peace lily is that it blooms with ease. It produces a flower stem that terminates in a long, white bud that opens in the shape of a cupped hand. In the center is a cream- or yellow-colored stem called a spathe. These plants usually develop flowers from early spring through the summer months. Each flower can live from a few weeks up to two months depending on the variety. Once the flower has faded, remove the stem so the energy is not wasted on the seed head.


The plant itself grows from ‘crowns' in which the leaves grow. As the plant ages, these crowns will split and divide into new plants, which can be separated yearly to produce new plantings. Each leaf is on its own stem and is anywhere from 8 inches long and 2 inches wide in small species to as large as 2 feet long by 6 to 8 inches wide. The smaller plants will only reach up to 18 inches tall where other varieties, such as Mauna Loa can reach over 4 feet tall in their native environment. The air-purifying qualities, with its great surface area, are just an added bonus within our indoor settings.

The soil should be well-drained and high in organic matter and peat. This holds the moisture without causing the roots to grow in soggy or heavy soils. Heavy wet soils will only result in fungus and root rot. A sure sign of this is when the plant becomes wilted and never regains its composure after watering.

Peace lilies require very little fertilizing, thus a weak mixture of 20-20-20 once a month during the spring and summer months works best. A sure sign that your plant is receiving too much fertilizer is that the flowers will remain green when open instead of white. If this should happen, lessen the amount of fertilizer the following growing season. During the winter months, lessen the amount of water given and stop using any fertilizer.

Whenever repotting a peace lily, never increase the pot size any larger than 2 inches bigger than the original container. Overall, peace lilies tend to do better in root-bound conditions for blooming. These plants require repotting every one to two years to keep them healthy and vigorous, but with this little effort, you will be rewarded for many years to come.

If you are in the market for a plant that is easy to grow, enjoys low light conditions and produces flowers throughout most of the year, this might just be the one to try. It works well in offices, hospitals, nursing homes and other locations where it is always nice to see healthy green plants. And on a final note, this plant is nearly pest free, which is just another added bonus for most people who do not like to deal with those kinds of issues.

Add a little peace into your environment and acquire this plant. There doesn’t have to be a special occasion to get one, but maybe today is just a special enough of an occasion for you to get one for yourself!

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