How To Propagate A Peace Lily – A Step By Step Guide

I know of many gardeners who consider the peace lily (Spathiphyllum spp.) to be a finicky yet rewarding houseplant. Meanwhile, my past experiences with this plant have always been incredibly hands-off and fuss-free.

I can’t guarantee that your peaceful lily-growing experiences will be as painless as my own. But I can teach you how to propagate a peace lily to create a practically endless supply. Keep reading for my beginner-friendly breakdown of peace lily propagation and aftercare.

Peace Lily Propagation

You can easily propagate a peace lily via division. Peace lilies naturally produce offshoots as they grow and expand. These offshoots can be gently removed from the mother plant to create a whole new lily with its own leaf and root tissue.

Plants created through vegetative propagation — a category that includes division — are clones of the parent plants. If you have a unique cultivar in your possession, the division will allow you to copy and paste those traits onto new peace lilies.

Peace lily plants can also be propagated from seeds. While this is a fun project for the passionate gardener to try their hands at, keep in mind that seed-grown peace lilies take several years to flower for the first time. A peace lily grown from seed will not be an exact clone of the parent plant.

Tools And Equipment Needed

In my experience, taking a division is the easiest form of propagation for any plant with a rootball suited to splitting. Not only is the entire process short and simple, but success is almost guaranteed with the plant already having an established root system. You also need minimal tools and supplies, other than new pots and potting mix.

Before attempting to propagate your peace lily, I recommend having the following items on hand:

  • Mature peace lily plant — You should only propagate divisions from a mature, healthy peace lily. Do not take divisions from plants that are ill, diseased, or actively infested with pests.
  • Small pots — I recommend using pots between 4 and 6 inches in diameter for new peace lily divisions. Make sure you have enough containers to accommodate the number of divisions you plan to propagate.
  • Knife or blade — Your chosen gardening blade should be sharpened and freshly disinfected to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Potting mix — Use rich, lightweight potting soil. I prefer to use the same soil mixture as the mother plant is planted in for the best results.

Propagating Peace Lilies By Division In 5 Steps

The division process is nearly identical from one plant species to another. If you’ve ever propagated a plant via division, you’re already well-equipped for this project.

Rest assured, however, that past experience isn’t required to successfully propagate a peace lily. All you need to do is follow the simple steps below to transform one peace lily plant into several:

1. Inspect the Mother Plant

Before you can begin the actual propagation process, I strongly recommend giving your original peace lily a once-over. Only mature, healthy plants should be used for propagation. Any signs of disease, pest activity, or generalized stress should be fully addressed before continuing.

I have one exception to this rule: Vegetative propagation may be used to “copy” a mother plant that is unlikely to recover from stress or illness. Note that this strategy requires at least one healthy crown (offshoot) to work.

2. Remove From Pot

Start by removing your existing peace lily from its container. I like to water plants a couple of days before propagation. This loosens the soil slightly, especially if the peace lily is slightly rootbound.

3. Brush Away Soil To Reveal the Crown and Roots

You will probably need to brush away some soil from your peace lily’s root system to gain a better view. Do so gently to avoid damaging the finer roots. I recommend working over a surface covered with a tarp, cardboard sheets, or newspaper to minimize mess and make it easy to return loose soil to your planters.

Remove just enough soil so that you can identify the primary plant and any crowns. Identifying viable crowns is the secret to propagating a peace lily. Crowns are smaller offshoots containing at least 3 leaves. Peace lily crowns tend to develop around the perimeter of the mother plant.

4. Splitting Peace Lilies 

Your peace lily might have several crowns depending on its size. You can take any number of available crowns during a single propagation session as long as the mother plant remains intact. When selecting which crowns to divide, I recommend prioritizing the largest, outermost ones.

Some crowns will break free on their own but I recommend cutting the roots to minimize damage. You can find the connection point between the crown and the mother plant by following the crown’s root system. Use a sharp, clean blade to sever the connecting root(s).

5. Repotting

The only thing left to do is report your propagated peace lilies. I recommend preparing the necessary containers and potting mix in advance to minimize the amount of time your plants’ roots are exposed to the air.

Peace lily divisions do best in containers that are 6 inches across or smaller. Plant one division per container. 

You can typically return the parent plant to its original pot. Take advantage of this opportunity to check for issues like compacted soil that may affect drainage. If you took a considerable size off of the original plant, it may do better in a slightly smaller container. If the plant is close to outgrowing its current pot, now is a good time to upgrade its living situation. 

New propagations are susceptible to transplant shock just like mature plants. You can reduce the stress of transplanting by filling all new containers with the parent plant’s original potting mix. I also recommend placing propagated offshoots in the same location as the parent plant until they adjust. 

Caring For Peace Lilies After Propagation

Peace lilies require the same care after propagation as they do at any other time. If your original peace lily has been happy and healthy up to this point, there’s no reason to change your approach going forward.

One thing to keep in mind is that propagation by division is inherently stressful. Don’t be surprised if your peace lily plants lag a little bit immediately after repotting. Continue providing the proper care outlined below and they should bounce back in a relatively short time.

Light Requirement

Peace lilies are shade-loving plants in their natural environments. When grown as houseplants, however, they need more light than you might realize. 

Select a location that receives bright, filtered sunlight for the best results. I recommend placing peace lilies in any well-lit window that isn’t subject to direct sun rays. For example, my happiest peace lily has lived in a partially-shaded, east-facing window for several years. 

Temperature & Humidity

Peace lilies hail from tropical climates and prefer growing conditions that mirror these environments. Peace lilies will tolerate average household conditions but grow best when temperatures and humidity are moderately high.

According to Clemson University, peace lilies thrive when daytime temperatures are between 68 and 85°F. Nighttime temperatures about 10°F colder are appropriate. Prolonged exposure to temperatures below 60 or 55°F is likely to cause damage.

The ideal ambient humidity for a peace lily is at least 50%. If your peace lily shows signs of stress from dry air, I recommend setting up a humidifier nearby.

Keep in mind that peace lilies are easily damaged by concentrated sources of hot or cold air. Avoid placing these plants near radiators, air conditioners, HVAC vents, and drafty windows.

Soil

Peace lily soil should be loose, lightweight, and well-draining. The best potting mix will contain a large amount of organic matter, which mimics the type of soil found in tropical rainforests.

Many peace lily houseplants fare perfectly fine in all-purpose potting soil. However, I tend to see the best results when using a custom mix of aged compost, coarse sand, and orchid bark. If you’re interested in creating your own peace lily potting mix, there are several high-quality recipes out there to choose from.

Watering 

Root rot is a common problem in peace lilies. It’s best to let the soil dry out slightly between waterings. Your peace lily’s soil should never be soggy. Peace lilies naturally require less water in the winter.

Peace lilies are somewhat sensitive to chemicals found in tap water. If you notice brown leaves, especially around the margins, or other symptoms of toxicity, I recommend switching to using only filtered or distilled water.

Fertilizing

You can fertilize peace lilies in the spring and summer to encourage maximum growth. If your peace lily is planted in rich potting soil, however, supplemental feeding may not be necessary. According to South Dakota State University, the most common symptom of nutrient deficiencies is the appearance of yellow lower leaves.

I recommend using a balanced or high-nitrogen houseplant fertilizer diluted to at least half its normal strength. Liquid formulas can be applied every 4 to 8 weeks. Slow-release granules should only be applied once or twice per year.

FAQ How To Propagate Peace Lily Plants

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Ben's horticultural interest grew when graduating from Hertfordshire University in 1997. Having contributed to numerous publications including Better Homes & Gardens, Garden Design Magazine, and The English Garden. He is also the author of Propagating Houseplants Made Easy.