Peace Lily: Piece of Cake
One plant that can get you the 'inner peace' and balance your 'Chi'? Peace Lily. As the name suggests, the peace lily is a quiet little plant that minds its own business in the corner, with a little love from you. It doesn’t demand attention. It commands it. Scientifically named Spathiphyllum, it is a low-maintenance high-sustenance plant that adds elegance and tranquillity to your living space. The spade like leafy and stolid bloom is one of the best greens that can clean and purify the air you breath. It can adorn the indoors, such as homes, bedrooms, office spaces, corridors and hallways; as well as outdoor spaces like playgrounds, gardens, and pools, with its placid white blossoms..
Peace lilies do not require excessive light, and can thrive in light intensities ranging from well-lit outdoors, to shady places or dark rooms. They thrive in slightly shadier environments. Too much of light can cause yellowing of leaves, while extremely direct sunlight can cause its leaves to develop a pale brown colour or streaks. If this occurs, move the plant to a darker spot, and observe. Peace lilies are exceptionally resilient plants, and recover from any kind of impact within a short period of time. Peace lilies flower in response to the duration of exposure to light, a phenomenon called photoperiodism. Peace lilies are short day plants, which means that they require less light and more periods of darkness in a day, for a consecutive number of days, in order to flower. This makes them flower ideally in spring, or during the onset of summer. In fact, the white spathes that form the hood like feature of the plant, though often mistaken to be, do not constitute the flower of the plant. Peace lilies can withstand a wide range of temperatures too, ranging from 18 °C to 30 °C, and do well in humid climates. However, colder habitats may be unsuitable, hence it is wise to keep them away from air conditioners, winter winds, and any other heating appliance in general due to the unpredictable temperature fluctuations. When watering a peace lily, ensure that you do not make the soil soaking wet, leaving it just moist enough for the plant to comfortably absorb through its roots. The peace lily indicates its water needs through a sagging of its leaves, so water it periodically, as it sags. The plant will straighten up once its water needs are satisfied. It is highly advisable to monitor the soil, and water the plant as and when the soil gets dry and solid. Once the soil dries up, it is best to pour till it drains out through to the bottom of the pot. Peace lilies are fine with tap water, however, depending on the area and supply, you could ask around for the kind of minerals the water contains, and let the water settle for one or two days to allow dissipation of residual and potentially harmful minerals. Chemicals like fluoride, hard water minerals, and chlorine can cause the plant to become unhealthily brown and damaged, a condition called necrosis. Similarly, peace lilies can be sensitive to chlorine too. Peace lilies are not amongst those plants easily prone to infestations by pests or disease, but are, by virtue of being living things after all, prone to insect inhabitation. Mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids, are a few of the most common insects attracted to peace lilies. A few other insects may be present in the soil that the peace lily sits in. While these are often times harmless, watching out for the activities of these little creepy-crawlies can help keep their numbers in control, and maintain a healthy and problem-free plant. Washing the plant regularly, or spraying the plant with appropriate insecticide, pesticide, or horticultural oils, can successfully keep any problems that they may cause, at bay. Root rot diseases caused by Cylindrocladium spathiphylli and Phytophthora parasitica are also a distinct possibility in peace lilies. Cylindrocladium spathiphylli may be transferred by infected water, while Phytophthora parasitica might be a result of infected soil. These diseases may cause the plant to wilt, and a browning of leaves, accompanied by rotting of the roots. It helps to repot the plant by cleaning the roots and replacing the soil. If the problem persists, or is quite severe, a mild hydrogen peroxide solution might be ideal to use, as it will eliminate the fungi responsible for the disease, and act as an anti-bacterial solution too. You can expect the peace lily to recover and regain its former glory within a couple of days, and reenergise your surroundings as before. A peace lily can be indeed a bliss to have around. It is a perfect addition to your space due to the benefits it provides, namely, cleaning the air, removing mold spores and preventing mildew formation (especially in kitchens and bathrooms), and beautify the ambience. Handling a peace lily can be a piece of cake too..