How Much and How Often to Water Peace Lilies

How to water peace lilies

Peace lilies require the soil to be evenly moist so water regularly with a generous soak. Typically watering once per week meets the moisture requirements of a peace lily to avoid the plant drooping or developing root rot. Mist the leaves with water to increase humidity.

Keep reading to learn how often and how much to water and mist your peace lily and for important watering best practices to keep your peace lily healthy and prevent drooping or root rot…

How Often to Water Peace Lilies

Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum) are tropical plants that grow in rainforest conditions in their native Columbia and are adapted to living in moist soil with high levels of humidity in bright indirect light or dappled shade (rather than direct sun).

As peace lilies are adapted to tropical conditions with consistent moisture, they are very susceptible to wilting in our homes because of dryer air and underwatering.

They can also wilt and turn yellow as a response to overwatering or more often when the roots are sitting in stagnant water.

To grow peace lilies in your home successfully it is important to replicate the watering conditions of its native environment.

Peace lilies require the soil to be evenly moist so should be watered typically, around once per week with a generous soak. The surface of the soil should start to feel somewhat dry between bouts of watering to ensure the soil is not saturated and to achieve the optimal balance of moisture.

It is important to emphasize that whilst peace lilies grow very well in houses at room temperatures of 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 23°C) during the day and at least 50°F (10°C) at night, the air in our homes is often too dry for peace lilies.

Dry air can be exacerbated by air conditioning, forced air, and convection currents from sources of heat which sap moisture from the leaves and dry out pots quickly.

The solution to this is to mist the leaves of your peace lily at least once per week if not more often, to create a humid micro-climate that replicates the humid conditions of its native rainforest environment.

The mist increases the humidity and reduces water loss from the leaves so that your peace lily does not dry out.

In very dry homes the edges of the leaves can turn brown and the peace lily droops if the peace lily is not sprayed occasionally

There are some other factors to take into consideration when it comes to watering peace lilies:

  • The temperature and natural humidity levels of your climate.
  • The size of your pot (smaller pots can dry out much quicker).
  • The airflow around your home (draughts, open windows, air conditioning can all sap moisture from leaves).
  • The capacity of the soil to retain moisture.

To establish how often to water your peace lily according to your specific conditions, feel the soil to an inch depth.

The perfect time for watering is when the top inch of the soil still feels moist but the surface of the soil feels somewhat dry to the touch.

In most cases once per week is optimal but adjust how often your water peace lilies to suit your individual conditions to prevent the leaves from turning yellow and wilting from drought and overwatering.

(Read my article, how to save peace lilies with yellow leaves).

How to Tell Whether Your Peace Lily is Underwatered or Overwatered

Rather confusingly, the symptoms of both an underwatered or drought-stressed peace lily and an overwatered peace lily are largely the same:

  • Drooping leaves are the most pronounced effect of drought stress and overwatering.
  • The leaves can turn brown or even yellow.
  • The leaf edges tend to turn brown if the humidity is too low.

The way to definitively tell whether your peace lily is suffering due to underwatering or overwatering is to feel the soil at the bottom of the pot through the drainage hole.

If the soil is boggy or damp then overwatering is the problem, but if the soil is relatively dry then it is safe to say underwatering and drought stress is the cause.

Increase or decrease your watering accordingly and the peace lily is likely to recover as it is a surprisingly resilient plant however overwatering usually causes more harm than under watering. (Read my article on how to revive a dying peace lily for more information and for the solutions).

Important Peace Lily Watering Tips

The peace lily is a tropical plant that thrives in warm conditions. The rain in its native Columbia is typically much warmer than the tap water in your home.

Peace lily can suffer some mild shock when it is watered with cold water as the roots in particular are sensitive to low temperatures.

The best practice is to leave the water in its container till it reaches approximately room temperature before watering.

Peace lilies can also be sensitive to fluoride and chlorine in the water which can cause the tips of the leaves to turn brown and crispy. Chlorine evaporates if the water is left out overnight before watering your peace lily.

Fluoride can build up and harm the peace lily but using filtered water or rainwater occasionally to water your peace lily can mitigate these effects.

(Read my article, on how to fix peace lilies with brown leaf tips).

How Often to Water a Peace Lily in Winter

Peace lilies do not go dormant in Winter and can actively grow all year round.

However, growth does tend to slow down during Winter because of the reduced hours of light and reduced intensity of light (peace lilies should grow in bright indirect light).

This can lower the demand for water as can cooler average temperatures which reduces evaporation and water loss from the leaves.

However the temperature indoors can fluctuate more in Winter due to artificial sources of heat which can dry the plant out much quicker then normal.

Therefore you may have to water and mist spray the peace lily more often in Winter to counteract the drying effects of indoor heat from forced air and radiators.

Feel the top inch of the soil to monitor the moisture and increase your watering if you notice the peace lily drying out too quickly.

If the peace lily is too dry the leaves let you know by drooping. A generous soak of water helps to revive the plant after a bout of drought stress and dry soil.

How Much to Water a Peace Lily

Knowing how much to water your peace lily is essential.

Many variables can affect how often to water your peace lily but how much water you should use remains the same.

Water your peace lily with a generous soak so that excess water trickles out the base of the pot.

This ensures that the water has infiltrated the soil and reached the roots of your peace lily and that the soil is evenly moist.

Watering generously also encourages good root development.

Watering too lightly results in only the top inch or so becoming moistened and the rest of the potting soil remains relatively dry causing your peace lily to droop.

A good soaking so that the soil is moist helps to replicate the conditions of the peace lily’s native environment.

(Read my article, How to Grow and Care for Peace Lilies).

Water Peace Lilies in Pots with Drainage Holes in the Base

Whilst peace lilies require evenly moist soil, they do not tolerate their roots being in boggy saturated soil so they must be planted in pots with drainage holes in the base to allow excess water to escape.

Watering so that excess water trickles out the base of the pot is a good way to ensure that the peace lily has been sufficiently watered.

If your peace lily is planted in a pot without drainage holes then excess water pools around the roots and the plant show signs of stress due to overwatering such as drooping and turning yellow. Saturated soil can cause root rot and can be difficult to revive the plant.

Excess water can still pool around the roots if:

  • The drainage holes become blocked with compacted soil or roots. If you notice water draining slowly check the drainage holes in the base to ensure water can drain freely.
  • Saucers, trays, and decorative outer pots can prevent water from escaping. Saucers, trays, and sometimes decorative outer pots are used to prevent water from spilling in the home. Ensure that they are emptied regularly to prevent water from pooling around the roots and causing root rot.

(Read my article, why is my peace lily not flowering?).

Key Takeaways:

  • Typically watering peace lilies once per week meets their watering requirements to keep the plant hydrated. Water with a generous soak each time to ensure the soil is evenly moist. Mist the leaves with water to increase humidity and prevent the peace lily from drying out.
  • Plant peace lilies in pots with drainage holes in the base to allow excess water to drain freely.
  • The symptoms of both underwatering and overwatering are a drooping appearance with the tips of the leaves turning brown or yellow.
  • Mist the leaves with water to increase humidity and emulate the conditions of the peace lily’s native rainforest environment.

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