The Peace Lily, or Spathiphyllum, is one of the most popular indoor plants due to its signature white flowers and dark green leaves. But it holds some pretty interesting characteristics other than its looks.
The Spathiphyllum genus has 47 species of colorful plants that are known for their ability to help eliminate heavy metals, such as mercury and arsenic, from the soil. It was even named a “top 10 air-purifying house plant” by NASA!
Another appealing feature of this plant is its intricate rooting system which many cultivars prefer to showcase in a transparent vase of water. In fact, Peace Lily plants naturally occur in areas with humid climates, making them the perfect houseplants to grow in water.
Read on further to find out how to grow Peace Lilies in water. We also provide you with some easy care tips so that you can get the best results from your hydroponic experience.
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Peace Lily Overview
|Botanical Name||Spathiphyllum wallisii|
|Common Name||Peace Lily|
|Origin||Tropical regions of South America and Southeastern Asia|
|Size and Dimensions (Mature)||1 to 4 feet tall|
|Distinguishing Features||Glossy, dark green, oval leaves with large, white spathe flowers|
|In-Home Placement||Indirect sunlight|
Why Peace Lilies Make Great Hydroponic Plants
The Peace Lily or Spathiphyllum is not a true lily even though their white flowers resemble those of true lilies. Instead, these flowering plants form part of the Araceae family, which includes other plants such as Elephant Ears.
This beautiful plant is native to the tropical humid conditions of the Americas and Southeastern Asia, making its home in the moist soil on the forest floor where there is not much sunlight.
Its preference for low-light conditions even crowned it the title of “closet plant.”
These plants produce linen-white spathe flowers in the early summer months and continue to bloom in the correct growing conditions – which are not as strict as one would think for such a coveted flower.
The best part?
Peace Lilies are not restricted to the traditional method of growing plants in soil.
In fact, they can be grown in several alternative growing media, such as clay pellets, coco coir, coco peat, or liquid – otherwise known…. as hydroponics.
Fun Fact: Peace Lilies are considered good luck inside homes and offices, and make great alternatives to bad luck plants like figs and philodendrons.
How Fast Do Peace Lilies Grow in Hydroponics Systems?
Peace Lilies are slow-to-moderate growing evergreen plants that grow faster in the spring and slower in the late winter months. In their natural habitat, they can grow between 1 – 6 inches per year, reaching maturity within three to five years, depending on the species.
But would hydroponics help speed up the process?
One of the advantages of growing plants in hydroponic systems is that they will generally grow faster and healthier than if they were traditionally grown in soil. Unfortunately, this isn’t particularly true for the Peace Lily, as their growth rate is considerably slower in water compared to soil.
The reason for this slower growth rate can be traced back to the Peace Lily’s natural environment from which it hails. The Peace Lily thrives on the forest floors amongst the organic debris and tree bark.
While true soil can be rather dense, the soil on the forest floor is porous and allows for air to flow easily amongst the plant’s roots.
Due to the Peace Lilies’ affinity for this unique terrain, these plants tend to grow faster in soil. That being said, a number of hydroponic systems are well-suited for growing Peace Lilies.
Top 3 Peace Lily Hydroponic Systems
1. Deep Water Culture (DWC)
The most common and easiest hydroponic method of growing Peace Lilies is in a deep water culture system. Advantageously, there isn’t much equipment needed in order to grow Peace Lilies in this system.
All that is required is a glass container (or 5-gallon Bucket), hydroponic liquid fertilizer, an air pump (optional), and a hydroponic pot.
The 3 major components involved in this system are water, oxygen, and nutrients. The setup of the system involves the roots of the plant being submerged in a nutrient rich water solution, all the while being supplied with oxygen from an air pump.
2. Wicking System
The wicking system is one of the preferred hydroponic systems for growing Peace Lilies. Plants are rooted in a hydroponic pot or container with a growing medium, such as clay pellets. A wick, which is a soft piece of fabric or string, is placed at the base of the plant’s roots.
This wick supplies the plant with a steady supply of a nutrient-rich water solution.
The wick absorbs water and nutrients from a reservoir below and transports it to the plant’s roots. This hydroponic system keeps the roots of a Peace Lily moist while there is still a sufficient air supply for the roots to breathe.
3. Ebb and Flow
The Ebb and Flow (flood and drain) hydroponic system periodically floods the plants growing media with a nutrient rich water solution and then drains the excess into a reservoir system. The plant’s roots are then allowed to dry out and absorb oxygen before the process is repeated.
Hydroponic Peace Lily Care and Growing Conditions
Although Peace Lilies are known to be relatively hardy and, therefore a great addition to a new home, they aren’t as forgiving when grown in water.
Below are some of the ideal conditions for growing Peace Lilies in freshwater.
Water, in a hydroponic system, is the medium through which the plant will receive its nutrients (dissolved in it) and its oxygen supply (transported by the water). Hydroponic systems have been found to use considerably less water than traditional watering methods.
The water used in a hydroponic system must be distilled or spring water with a pH balance of 5.8 – 6.5.
When replenishing the water level in a hydroponic container, it is important to refrain from using tap water due to the harmful chemicals added to it.
Native to the tropics, Peace Lilies prefer to grow in moderate to warmer temperatures ranging from 65°F – 85°F during the growing season.
Try to avoid exposing your plants to colder temperatures below 60°F as the cold air will damage their dark green foliage. It’s recommended to grow these plants indoors, sheltered from any cold breezes.
Peace Lilies prefer to grow in bright, indirect sunlight and typically grow well under fluorescent grow lights.
Interestingly, these tropical plants are sometimes referred to as “Closet plants” because they can even grow in a dark room with little light. However, it is recommended that Peace Lilies are placed in a brighter location and receive between 6 – 8 hours of light per day in order to flower.
Peace Lily leaves are a good indicator as to whether there is too much or not enough light. Peace Lilies will start to develop yellow leaves when the source of light is too strong, while brown leaf tips are caused from the plant being exposed to direct sunlight.
Growing tropical plant species indoors can become a challenge as indoor air is often drier. This is why Peace Lilies are the perfect plant to grow in a hydroponic system, as the water tends to create high humidity levels.
The ideal humidity level for growing Peace Lilies is above 75% humidity.
Peace Lilies aren’t heavy feeders and don’t require much fertilizer in their water. It is, however, a good idea to add a few drops of liquid fertilizer to your fresh water; an all-round balanced liquid fertilizer such as 10-10-10 is recommended.
How to Grow Peace Lilies In Water (Step-By-Step Guide)
Growing Peace Lilies in water is a simple process that can be achieved by following these few easy steps:
1. Prepare a Container
The first step is to find a glass container that can be used to house the Peace Lily. Many people opt for a small glass vase or fish tank, but even a tall drinking-glass would be suitable for growing Peace Lilies in water. Try to avoid using a glass container with a thin neck, as it can be a challenge to remove the plants without damaging them.
Fill the container up with spring or distilled water, taking care not to overfill the container; add just enough water to cover the roots.
2. Remove the Potted Plant / Use Uprooted Plant
Ideally, it’s best to use a Peace Lily that has already been uprooted. Otherwise, you will have to remove a potted Peace Lily. The roots of the plant may be tightly compacted in the soil if it has been growing in the container for a while.
A few firm taps on the base of the plant’s pot should help to loosen the plant from the pot. Gently uproot the plant from the soil or potting mix and remove any remaining debris from the roots. Rinse the roots off with spring or distilled water.
3. Examine the Plant
Take several minutes to examine the root system of the Peace Lily and cut off any damaged roots with a sharp knife. The plant only needs ⅔ of its roots to survive, so it is safe to remove damaged roots.
4. Submerge Roots in Water
Submerge only the roots of the Peace Lily in the new pot or glass of prepared water, not the stems. Raise the plant to prevent the stems from being submerged by adding some glass pebbles or a plastic stopper (that has drainage holes) to the bottom of the container.
A hydroponic pot can also be used to suspend the plant in the water while still only submerging the roots.
5. Find a Bright Area
Place the plant under an artificial fluorescent grow light or in an area that receives bright, indirect light. Keep the new plants away from direct sunlight as they are vulnerable to sunburn at this stage.
It’s normal for Peace Lilies to initially have droopy leaves (due to stress) as they adjust to growing in water.
6. Use Liquid Fertilizer
After a couple of weeks, new growth will be evident. It’s time to add some essential nutrients to the water. Feed your Peace Lilies a balanced nutrient solution of liquid fertilizer on a regular basis (biweekly schedule).
However, Peace Lilies’ leaves may burn and produce brown tips if they are overfertilized.
7. Change the Water
The water in a hydroponic system needs to be changed every two weeks to keep the water oxygenated. Remove the existing plant from the container and rinse out the growing container, removing any algae or scum that has formed.
Place the plant back in the clean container and refill the container with filtered water, making sure to keep the water line below the stems of the Peace Lilly. Too much water can restrict respiration.
Common Problems With Hydroponic Peace Lilies
Gardening is never smooth sailing as it seems there are always one or two hiccups along the way. That being said, here are some of the common problems associated with growing Peace Lilies.
Root rot is one of the most prevalent diseases that occurs in a hydroponic system. This disease is caused by a lack of oxygen in the water and the growth of a fungus that infects the plants roots. Root rot is easily identified by the foul smell that emanates from the water and the yellowing leaves of the plant.
Root rot sets in very fast and is almost impossible to reverse unless it’s caught at the beginning stages, making it the main reason for the death of a hydroponic plant. Regular water changes and well-oxygenated water can prevent root rot, as well as regular checks and quick removal of infected roots.
An advantage of hydroponic systems is the reduction in pest infestations on the plants. However, there are some insects that may still manage to cause damage to a Peace Lily, particularly mealy bugs. These pests are white, unarmored scale insects that target the undersides of a plant’s leaves.
They can easily be removed by spraying the Peace Lilies leaves with insecticidal soap or freshwater.
Spider mites are possibly the most common garden pests, but they are tiny and often hard to identify. Spider mites cause yellow and brown spots to appear on the foliage of plants, including Peace Lilies.
Spider mites can be removed by dampening a cloth with rubbing alcohol and wiping down the stems and leaves of the plant.
Unique Peace Lily Varieties for Hydroponics
Sensation Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Sensation’)
The Spathiphyllum Sensation is one of the larger evergreen perennial species from the Araceae family. This shade-loving plant has stunning green, ribbed leaves and can reach a staggering height of 2 meters.
Sonia Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Sonia’)
Spathiphyllum Sonia is a larger species of Peace Lily and can stretch to a height of 6 feet. These beautiful houseplants stand out from other Peace Lilies with their white flowers and dark green leaves.
White Stripe Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum ‘White stripe’)
The White Stripe Peace Lily gets its name from the eye-catching white or silver stripe that runs down the center of their thick, light green leaves. These plants are low maintenance and are tolerant of low light.
Flamingo Lily (Anthurium Andraeanum)
The flamingo lily is prized for its richly colored flowers, and just like peace lilies, they grow well in a hydroponic system. Like other hydroponic lilies, you should expect a slower growth rate and smaller blooms.
Domino Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Domino’)
The Domino Peace Lily is a variegated, easy-to-grow plant that anyone who doesn’t have much luck keeping plants should consider owning. This Spathiphyllum species has variegated patterns on its green leaves that are complemented by its snowy white flowers.
Other Useful Information About Peace Lilies
Is Peace Lily Toxic to Dogs?
Yes. The flowers, stems, and leaves of the Peace Lily contain small amounts of calcium oxalate crystals that will cause intense swelling and irritation if they are ingested by dogs.
Are Peace Lilies Poisonous to Children?
Yes. Peace Lilies form part of the Araceae family, which have mild toxins that will cause pain, burning of the mouth, and swelling of the throat if ingested. Keep these plants out of reach of small children.
Do Peace Lilies Help Air Quality?
Yes. A Nasa study included the Peace Lily species in its top ten list of “Household Air Cleaning Plants” due to its ability to cleanse the air that humans breathe.
Can You Grow Peace Lilies With Betta Fish?
Yes. Betta fish are able to coexist with Peace Lilies in an aquarium or fish tank. The plant will not harm the fish unless the fish begin to feed on the toxic sap from the roots.
Do Peace Lilies Live Better in Soil or Water?
Peace Lilies naturally grow in the soil and grow well as houseplants in soil with good drainage. The roots of a Peace Lily are capable of growing in water provided that there is a regular supply of oxygen and nutrients in the water, as well as regular water changes.
However, the life expectancy of a Peace Lily grown in water is far shorter compared to one that is grown in soil.