The peace lily, with its dark green oval leaves and beautiful white flowers, is a popular and easy-to-grow houseplant. Known by the botanical names Spathiphyllum wallisii or Spathiphyllum cochlearispathum, the peace lily is an excellent choice for brightening office spaces.
What makes the peace lily stand out is its ability to thrive in low light conditions, which makes it perfect for the dimly-lit corners of an office. Unlike most flowering plants, it can tolerate some neglect in watering and will rebound quickly when cared for properly. The peace lily also helps purify indoor air by removing toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide.
Common and Scientific Names
The peace lily goes by several common names including white sail plant, spathe flower, and white flag. Its genus name Spathiphyllum refers to the flower’s spathe shape, while the species names wallisii and cochlearispathum describe its origin and leaf shapes. Knowing both the common and scientific names helps provide a more thorough introduction to this easy yet beneficial houseplant.
Detailed Description of Peace Lily
The peace lily is a popular and attractive indoor plant known for its lush green leaves and beautiful white flowers. Its botanical name is Spathiphyllum, and it belongs to the Araceae family.
The peace lily has broad, glossy dark green leaves that emerge directly from the soil. The leaves are oval-shaped and come to a point at the tip. They can grow quite large, up to 65 cm long and 30 cm wide. The foliage is the main feature of the plant for most of the year. Periodically, the peace lily will send up an inflorescence (flower stalk) topped with a spray of gorgeous white flowers. Each flower has a spadix (center spike) surrounded by a white spathe (modified leaf). The flowers resemble calla lilies and can be up to 20 cm tall. They emit a gentle, sweet fragrance. As the flowers age, the spathes will fade to a pale green color.
The peace lily grows from a rhizome with long, white branching roots. It has an upright habit, with new leaves unfurling as previous ones age and turn yellow. The plant can grow quite large under ideal conditions, reaching up to 1 meter tall. It’s happy growing in the same pot for years, as long as it has room for the rhizome to expand. One distinctive feature of the peace lily is that it sags noticeably when it needs a drink, then perks back up when watered. This makes it easy to determine its water needs. It also does well in low light conditions, unlike many houseplants.
Optimal Care Guide
Providing the right care is crucial for keeping your peace lily healthy and encouraging it to produce its beautiful white flowers. Here are some key tips on meeting its needs:
Peace lilies thrive in bright, indirect light. An east, west, or north facing window is ideal. Direct sunlight will scorch the leaves, so filtration through a sheer curtain works well. If light levels are too low, you may see fewer flowers.
Water a peace lily whenever the top inch of soil is dry. Use room temperature filtered or distilled water to prevent leaf browning. Allow excess water to drain freely from the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot to prevent soggy soil.
Temperature & Humidity
Peace lilies enjoy warm conditions between 16-21°C. Cooler temperatures can damage the leaves. High humidity is also appreciated – aim for 40-60% relative humidity. Group plants together, use a humidifier, or mist regularly to increase moisture in the air.
Soil & Potting
Use a well-draining potting mix formulated for tropical plants. Amend it with perlite or orchid bark to improve drainage. Re-pot in the spring only when root bound. Select a pot that is 2 inches wider than the current container.
By tailoring your care to meet its preferences for bright, indirect light, frequent watering, warmth, and high humidity, your peace lily will thrive indoors.
Benefits of Peace Lily in the Office
The peace lily is an excellent choice for an office plant due to its ability to purify indoor air. Studies have shown that peace lilies effectively remove harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene from the air. By filtering out these pollutants, peace lilies can help improve indoor air quality and reduce allergy and asthma symptoms for office workers.
Peace lilies are one of the best plants for air purification. Their large, green leaves and white flowers give them an exceptionally high transpiration rate, allowing them to absorb airborne toxins and release clean, moist air. Just one peace lily can cleanse the air in an 6-8 m2 area, making a noticeable difference in indoor air quality.
In addition to removing pollutants, peace lilies release calming phytoncides into the air which have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels in humans. Studies demonstrate that simply having a view of plants in an office environment can lower blood pressure and put employees in a more positive mood.
With their stress-reducing abilities and air-purifying properties, peace lilies in the office can actually boost productivity. Employees who work in spaces with plants report higher job satisfaction, greater work engagement, and overall improved cognitive function. By creating a healthier and more peaceful environment, peace lilies allow workers to focus better and be more productive.
So by adding these attractive, low-maintenance plants to an office, employers can potentially see noticeable gains in employee health, happiness, and work performance.
Troubleshooting Common Issues
Even a relatively easy houseplant like the peace lily can run into problems now and then. By familiarizing yourself with some of the most common peace lily issues, you can catch them early and get your plant back to good health.
If you notice the leaves of your peace lily wilting, curling under, turning brown or yellow, the main culprit is usually improper watering. Peace lilies like to be kept evenly moist but not soggy, so both under and overwatering can cause foliage distress. Other common leaf problems include:
- Leaf tip burn – Usually from too much fertilizer or salty water
- Leaf spots/fungus – Can arise from overwatering or high humidity
- Insect infestations – Check undersides of leaves for signs of pests
Preventing and Treating Root Rot
Overwatering is the most common cause of root rot in peace lilies. To prevent it:
- Water only when the top inch of soil is dry
- Ensure pot has drainage holes at the bottom
- Use a well-draining potting mix
If you do notice soggy soil, brown roots, or foul odors, repot the plant in fresh mix after removing all damaged roots. Water sparingly while it recovers.
It’s normal for peace lily blooms to last up to 8 weeks before browning and needing removal. But rapid flower browning can happen from:
- Temperature extremes – Keep between 16-21°F
- Overexposure to direct sun
- Underfeeding – Apply balanced fertilizer monthly in spring/summer
Fun Facts and Trivia about Peace Lily
The peace lily has an interesting history behind its name. It was given the moniker “peace lily” because of its white flowers, which symbolize peace, purity, and healing. There’s even a legend that the peace lily sprouted where Mahatma Gandhi’s blood spilled when he was assassinated.
In many cultures, the peace lily is associated with good luck and prosperity. In China, it’s known as “fortune plant” and often given as a housewarming gift. Ancient Mayans believed the peace lily had mystical powers to protect their homes.
Air Purifying Properties
One of the most fascinating facts about the peace lily is its ability to purify indoor air. The plant breaks down and neutralizes toxic gases like formaldehyde, benzene, and ammonia. Just one plant can cleanse the air in an 18-square foot room.
Other Unique Traits
- Peace lilies can thrive in low light conditions that would kill most plants.
- Their white flowers emit a lovely fragrance when they bloom.
- The peace lily is one of the easiest houseplants to care for, making it great for beginners.
- It can live for over 40 years with proper care.
With its air purifying abilities and low maintenance needs, the peace lily makes an excellent addition to any home or office.
As discussed, the Peace Lily is an excellent choice for purifying indoor air. With its ability to remove toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, and acetone from the air, it can create a healthier environment in homes and offices. The Peace Lily also helps increase humidity, which is especially useful in dry office settings. Proper humidity levels can boost productivity and cognitive function. And the lush green leaves and elegant white flowers simply enhance any decor.
Caring for Your Peace Lily
To keep your Peace Lily thriving, be sure to give it bright, indirect light. Water when the top inch of soil is dry, and mist occasionally to supplement humidity. Use a well-draining potting mix and choose a pot with drainage holes. Watch for signs of problems like brown leaves or root rot, and address issues promptly.
Add Some Peace to Your Office
With all these benefits, it’s easy to see why the Peace Lily deserves a spot in your office. The purifying abilities lead to cleaner air, the humidity boosts comfort, and the sight of lovely greenery can lift moods. Contact Aztec Plants if you’d like to incorporate Peace Lilies through an office plant hire service. Our team of experts can help select the right plants and containers to complement your office design.