Peace Lily Watering Tips: How And When To Water Your Peace Lily

Do you have a peace lily and you are unsure about how often you should water it? Like all plants, Spathiphyllum (a.k.a. peace lily) likes the same conditions it has in Nature, including air humidity and soil moisture, and you can achieve both with correct watering.

How often you water your peace lily depends on the weather, air humidity, temperature, season and type of soil. On average, you will do it every two days to a week maximum, but there are two key indicators you can use: the top inch of soil being dry and the leaves starting to sag.

Peace lilies need regular watering, but they are also very demonstrative when it comes to telling us that they are thirsty.

Understanding your Spathiphyllum and its needs are the first steps, and we will start from there in this comprehensive guide to watering your peace lily.

We will look at all aspects of watering, with clear but well informed tips, so that you too can grow a peace lily like a professional”

Make Your Peace Lily Feel At Home

Make Your Peace Lily Feel at Home

We said that the best way of having a healthy houseplant is to recreate its natural environment.

You need to make your peace lily feel at home, but of course, you cannot recreate a full Asian or South American rainforest! Don’t worry; you won’t heed to go that far…

But you can recreate some of the conditions peace lilies enjoy in Nature. And watering is essential in order to achieve this.

So, what makes a peace lily feel at home? Imagine you were in the Amazon Forest, what would you find?

  • You would find that rain is regular and abundant.
  • You would find that air humidity is constantly high.
  • Sunlight is filtered by the canopy of the trees and never direct.
  • You would find that the soil is vey fertile, but also very loose and well drained.
  • The temperature never gets rally cold.

You can recreate this fairly easily at home, in most cases, but be aware that filtered light, well drained and aerated soil as well as regular temperature alp affect how often you will need to water your peace lily.

So, the better and more stable these conditions are, the more regular and easy watering your peace lily will be.

Too much light will mean extra watering, as does dry and hot weather… Therefore, get these straight when you bring home your houseplant and you will have fewer watering problems.

How To Tell If Your Peace Lily Need Watering

Great! Have you found the right place for your peace lily? Somewhere with plenty of light but not direct light? Not near a window or door, where the temperature changes so fast and often?

Have you checked that the soil is humus based, or peat based potting compost and that it is very loose and well drained?

Excellent, now it is time to get to know your peace lily in person.

Yes, because peace lilies “talk to you”. They don’t use words, so we are not going to learn Spathiphyllum grammar, but they use their leaves and posture to tell you if they need water…

If you haven’t had a peace lily before, you will likely reach a point when the leaves have drooped and you will think, “My peace lily is dying!” It happens to most pele but the reality is that it is just talking to you. Unless you ignore it for a long time, it will not die.

How To Tell If Your Peace Lily Need Watering

Peace lily leaves start sagging as a way of signaling that they are thirsty.

As long as you understand this and water your plant promptly, the leaves will perk up very quickly and it will look as if nothing had happened. But… Take this as a lesson, and make the best of this event…

  • As a tip, when you first take home your peace lily, count how many days it tales for your Spathiphyllum to droop the tips of its leaves.

You see, the plant will work out how long it will take to the next watering in the precise conditions it is in. Don’t worry; it will “calculate” the humidity, light, temperature, quality of the soil etc. And how can you use this?

  • Use this time to calculate your watering routine. Just make sure that you water it one day before the time you have calculated. So, for example, if your peace lily sags on the 4th day from watering, give it some water on the 3rd… 

Peace Lily Leaf Drooping

Is it bad for a peace lily to become sagging and start drooping its leaves? This is an important point. There are two aspects of this phenomenon:

  • If you act promptly, your peace lily will not suffer any immediate permanent damage after sagging. This is also if you wait a day or even a few days (if it’s not too hot and dry) before you water it.
  • Nevertheless, this is a sign that your peace lily is suffering. Your houseplant is stressed, and stress can have very serious consequences in a plant’s health in the long term. The idea is that you should not panic if this happens, but also that you should not let it happen too often.

Water Your Peace Lily Regularly

Once you have established how often your peace lily needs watering in your home, you should stick to this timing as rigidly as possible.

So, if it is very hot and dry it may well be every two days. In more humid and milder places, this can be less often, every four or five days usually. 

But it is very important that you keep this routine and do not water your peace lily randomly. 

Be ready to adapt the watering times if the weather changes though. Most people find that in winter they need to reduce their watering routine. That’s perfectly natural. But

  •  Change your watering routine in small steps. Don’t jump from two days to a week! Do it gradually and your peace lily will not receive stress and even shocks.

Even with such a simple act as watering, remember that peace lilies love kindness and a delicate, caring touch.

How To Know If You’re Overwatering?

“But how do I know if my peace lily wants less water,” you may be wondering? I can see your dilemma. If you underwater it, it will drop the tips of its leaves… But how about if you are watering it and it is not thirsty yet?

There’s an old trick of the trade you can use to understand if your peace lily still has enough moisture:

Put the tip of your finger into the top soil; if it is wet in the first inch (2.5 cm), your peace lily does not need watering

You can use this technique to work out if you need to reduce your watering routine. Let’s see it with an example…

Let’s imagine you water your peace lily every 4 days and for the whole of summer this has been perfectly fine. But the weather is changing, days are getting colder, air humidity is rising… The typical continental fall…. 

“Ok, maybe my peace lily needs less watering,” you rightfully think. Ok, then, instead of watering your plant you can fist check the top soil. If it still is moist, then wait for a day and check again…

Use Good Quality Water For Your Peace Lily

Use Good Quality Water For Your Peace Lily

Can you use tap water? Sometimes yes, and sometimes you can’t… you see, peace lilies are very sensitive to chemicals in water. Tap water very often has too much chlorine and your peace lily will suffer of chlorine toxicity.

There is a problem with peace lilies and excessive chlorine… We have known for a long time that it is bad for them, but they also tend to give few or no symptoms of chlorine toxicity till the advanced stages. 

What happens is then that the whole plant looks tired and in clear decay, with leaves turning brown and dry.

You may have seen peace lilies with “burnt leaves”; they are fairly common. Well, in many cases, it is not the heat that has caused it, but chlorinated water.

  • If your tap water has high levels of chlorine, use dechlorinated water, or even rain water instead.

How To Water Your Peace Lily

There are different watering methods; you can drip water, water from the leaves, from the base of the plant or soak water (when you put the whole pot I. water and let it soak).

Peace lilies love plenty of water, but there is no need to soak water them. The best way to water your peace lily is to follow these steps.

How To Water Your Peace Lily
  • Pour about ½ liter (a pint) of water in a jug or watering tank. This is usually enough for an average adult peace lily.
  • Let it rest for at least 20 minutes. Why? This has two important effects: it brings the water to room temperature and it reduces the chlorine in the water. Chlorine evaporates very fast if in contact with the air, fortunately. Peace lilies are delicate plants, and they do not like the change of temperature that cold water gives them. It literally stresses them.
  • Pour the water at the base of the plant. At this stage, make sure that all the soil has soaked through, being wet but not waterlogged. It’s a simple process, but you need to follow it responsibly.

What Happens If You Overwater Your Peace Lily?

Overwatering is one of the most common causes of plant decay and even death, and peace lilies are no exception. So, look out for early warnings.

  • The leaves of your peace lily are turning yellow. If it is not “dry yellow”, but they are soft and “full” but yellow, this is overwatering.
  • The leaves of your peace lily lose texture and turgidity. This means that overwatering has gone a bit too far, and your plant is actually starting to die.

How To Save A Peace Lily From Overwatering

How To Save A Peace Lily From Overwatering

Here’s the good news! If the roots are still healthy, you cam save your peace lily! And here is how:

  • Disinfect a sharp blade and cut all the damaged leaves, from the base of the stem. That tissue is actually rotting, and rotting fosters bacteria, that then spread it to the rest of the plant. At this stage, be cruel to be kind.
  • Take your peace lily out of the pot and remove all the soil. The soil may be infected by bacteria. 
  • Check the roots of your peace lily. 
  • With a sterile blade, cut all the roots with signs of rot. They will be orange yellowish, unhealthy looking, soft, and at advanced stages they will be brown.
  • Sprinkle some sulphur powder on the wounds to the roots. This will kill all bacteria on the wounds and stop then from spreading.
  • Repot your peace lily in new soil.

Should you stop watering it? Not at tall! You should just water it regularly, but be careful, if you have reached this stage, it means you need to cut down on the water you give it.

Underwatered Peace Lily

Underwatered Peace Lily

Let’s look at the opposite problem. What happens if you underwater your peace lily? Will it survive? What will happen to it? These too are all questions we need to address.

To start with, if you underwater your peace lily it’s because you have not followed the guidelines in this article. But fine, maybe you already have a Spathiphyllum at home and it looks a bit thirsty… 

But is it serious? 

  • In most cases, your peace lily will survive moderate underwatering. If you leave it for weeks without water, it will die. But till the leaves are green, no matter how much they are drooping, it means that the plant is alive. Suffering, but alive…
  • You can measure the extent of the underwatering by how far the leaves have drooped. They will start at the tips, then all the leaf will sag, then the whole stem will literally go flat, horizontal, as if it had fainted. Even at this stage, you can save your peace lily!
  • If the leaves start developing dry yellow patches, that leaf is dying. That is really the last stage.

Peace Lily Leaves Turning Yellow: Underwatering Or Overwatering?

So, first of all, what’s the difference between yellowing for overwatering and yellowing for underwatering?

  • If the peace lily leaves are yellowing because of overwatering, the texture of the leaf will be soft; the yellowing will be in large uniform patches; the yellow color will be on the dark, rich, warm, even ochre side.
  • If the yellowing is due to underwatering, the peace lily leaf will be thin and dry to the touch; the yellow will come slowly and in small patches that spread like sprinkling paint; the yellow shade will be pale and lacking pigmentation, not full, not saturated, not bright.

Saving An Underwatered Peace Lily

We said that in most cases you can save your underwatered peace lily, and now we are going to see how.

  • Do not be tempted to overwater it! Your plant is already stressed and you could cause more harm than good by giving it excessive water. 
  • Most importantly, after you have watered it, resume your regular watering routine. Don’t water it more frequently than necessary.
  • You may give it a quick soak in room temperature water to revive it. But don’t soak it more than 15 minutes or the roots will start suffocating.
  • You can cut the yellow and dry leaves. This is not a necessary operation for your plant’s health, like with overwatered plants. Dry leaves are not infectious, and they will just die off naturally. However, it will help the plant focus on the healthy leaves and your peace lily will look better.

Simple, isn’t it?

Mist Your Peace Lily Regularly To Replicate The Humid Air Of The Tropics

Watering Tips: How And When to Water Your Peace Lily 1

Get a spray bottle and keep it ready to give your peace lily a bit of misting every now and then. Peace lilies love high humidity and they will show you how grateful they are with glossier leaves and freshers spathes! Especially on hot summer days, spraying your Spathiphyllum is more of a need than a treat to your plant.

They love humid atmosphere and all their metabolism depends on having enough humidity in the air.

It actually makes it easier for them both to breathe, absorb nutrients and circulate the water from the roots to the leaves…One thing though… don’t do it when the peace lily is near a source of light.

Ok, they should never be exposed to direct light, but sometimes they are, maybe for a short time every day. Unfortunately, the droplets of water on the leaves will ruin them.

Why? They act like lenses and concentrate sunlight onto the leaf, and this ends up burning them.Do it first thing in the morning and in the evenings, instead.

Mix Fertilizer With The Water

Approximately every two weeks during the growing season, and once a month or even less when it is dormant mix good organic fertilizer to the water. Peace lilies like water, but also food…

But use a light organic fertilizer with NPK ratio of 3:1:2 (3 parts of nitrogen, one of phosphorus and 2 of potash).

Do not overdo it, as peace lilies suffer if feeding is excessive, or, as botanists call it, they suffer from nutrient toxicity (which is not exactly indigestion… it can change the growth, health color of your plant and even kill it!)

A Water Loving Plant

Now you know absolutely everything you need to know to water your peace lily correctly.

Just make sure you follow these guidelines with care and you will have a happy, healthy and long lasting peace lily!

Amber Noyes

Written By

Amber Noyes

Amber Noyes was born and raised in a suburban California town, San Mateo. She holds a master’s degree in horticulture from the University of California as well as a BS in Biology from the University of San Francisco. With experience working on an organic farm, water conservation research, farmers’ markets, and plant nursery, she understands what makes plants thrive and how we can better understand the connection between microclimate and plant health. When she’s not on the land, Amber loves informing people of new ideas/things related to gardening, especially organic gardening, houseplants, and growing plants in a small space.

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