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How long will a peace lily live?

Updated February 21, 2017

The peace lily, or Spathiphyllum, is a tropical plant from the rainforests of South America. It is an attractive plant with glossy leaves that bears a white flower that turns to pale green and last for over a month. Peace lilies are often given as gifts and can live for quite a while with proper care.

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About peace lilies

The peace lily has dark-green leaves that can reach one foot long and will bear white flowers with spathes, or surrounding leaf. Flowering can be irregular, depending on environmental conditions. Mealybugs are the only plant pest known to trouble peace lilies, and they are generally managed with insecticidal soap.

Growing indoors

The peace lily is often grown indoors as a houseplant and is even found on work desks in office cubicles. The peace lily is easy to grow and has the special ability to clean the air in the area in which it is grown. It was named one of the top 10 clean-air plants sited in a NASA study, able to clean toxic chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide out of the air. Peace lilies can grow in low-light conditions, making them a popular choice for office areas without windows and corners of homes that get little sunlight. They prefer an evenly moist soil, with watering at least once a week, depending on light and temperature. Do not allow soil to remain soggy or let plants sit in water. Apply a 20-20-20 fertiliser diluted to ¼ strength. Wipe down the leaves of the plant to remove dust. The white flowers of peace lilies last for several weeks, but plants may go into a "rest period' and not bloom for some time, up to eight to 12 weeks. With regular care, peace lilies can last for many years, and having them survive for 11 or more years is not unusual.

Growing outdoors

People in warm climates like Florida can plant peace lilies outdoors for enjoyment year-round. They are tropical plants, however, and cannot survive temperatures below 13 degrees Celsius without protection. They prefer a shady area similar to their natural environment, the rainforest. They require soil rich in organic matter. Peace lilies will last for many years outdoors with little maintenance. Problems with blooming generally indicate insufficient light.

Special considerations

The leaves of the peace lily are known to be poisonous to pets and will cause severe burning of the lips, mouth and tongue, according to North Carolina State University. Keep these plants out of the reach of pets and children.

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