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Keyword: ‘peace lily’

Spathiphyllum wallisii

Common name: Peace Lily, White Sails, Spathe Flower

Family: Araceae

Spathiphyllum wallisii

Spathiphyllum wallisii

Distribution and habitat: Spathiphyllum wallisii is one of approximately 40 species in a genus of tropical evergreens. It is growing wild in tropical regions of Central America, usually found in wet habitats. Its natural habitat are the rainforests, in the shade of larger trees, where Spathiphyllum wallisii receive very little direct sunlight and have adapted to live in low-light conditions. Their native environment stays between 21 and 32°C (70-90°F) year round and receives as much as 10000mm (400 inch) of rain annually.

Decsription: Spathiphyllum wallisii are almost stemless, evergreen, perennial plants with short underground rhizomes that send up clusters of lance-shaped or elliptic, dark green leaves on sheathed leaf-stalk. These plants are grown for their glossy leaves, brilliant spathes and scented flowers. Its leaves, on 15cm (6 inch) long stalks, are 15cm (6 inch) long and 8cm (3 inch) wide and strongly veined, arching away from the base of the plant, making this an attractive foliage plant even when not in bloom.
Flower heads arising from centres of leaf clusters are produced mainly in spring and often again in late summer on 20-25cm (8-10 inch) long stalks that tower above the foliage. Each flower head consist of a large white spathe surrounding an erect, 5-7cm (2-2.5 inch) long spadix cream coloured. The spathe is pointed-oval, 7-10cm (2.5-4 inch) long and 5-7cm (2-2.5 inch) wide. The usually fragrant flower head keeps its original colour for only about a week. The spathe gradually change from white to light green and remains attractive for a further five to six weeks. It then begins to become unsightly and is best removed.
Spathiphyllum wallisii is the only true species commonly grown indoors, rarely grows more than 30cm (12 inch) high.

Houseplant care: The plants can naturally withstand abuse since they must live through the dry season in their native habitat which at times requires them to survive when little water is available but they do have limitations and cannot withstand perpetual abuse and neglect in a home.
Growth rates of Spathiphyllum wallisii are slow to medium.

When flowers start to fade, cut off the flower stalks as close to the base as possible.

Light: Grow Spathiphyllum wallisii is medium light. Direct sunlight will burn the leaves. This plant will tolerate low light, but may bloom poorly.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures are suitable for these plants (18-24°C (64-75°F)). Minimum tolerable temperature is 10°C (50°F).
In temperatures of 18°C (64°F) and above there is unlikely to be a noticeable rest period. Growth may slow down during the winter, however.
Humidity: Spathiphyllum wallisii are particularly sensitive to dry air and should be kept on trays of moist pebbles throughout the year. The leaves should also be mist-sprayed frequently. It needs a relative humidity of 40% or higher.

Watering: Water moderately, enough at each watering to make the potting mixture moist throughout but allowing the top centimetre (0.4 inch) or so of the potting mixture to dry out before watering again. If the temperatures falls below 15°C (59°F) for more than a day or two, reduce the quantity of water, making the potting mixture barely moist.
It is important never to let the potting mixture dry out completely.

Feeding: Apply standard liquid fertiliser every two weeks from early spring to late autumn (when Spathiphyllum wallisii grow most actively). Continue feeding throughout the year for plants that are actively growing in peat-based mixture.

Potting and repotting: Use either a peat-based potting mixture or an equal-parts combination of soil-based mixture, leaf mould and coarse sand or perlite. Move plants into pots one size larger every spring until the maximum convenient pot size (probably 15-20cm (6-8 inch)) has been reached. Thereafter, it will be enough to top dress plants annually with fresh potting mixture.
This plant likes to be slightly pot-bound. Divide it every 5 years or when necessary.

Gardening: Spathiphyllum wallisii are intolerant of full sun or elevated salinity levels. Avoid drying winds, exposure to salty water and direct sun. Plant it into the ground only within its hardiness zones, otherwise use potted plants or transplant them into the pots in autumn when the temperatures drop below 10°C (50°F).

Location: Use this plant in a partially or fully shaded location in the landscape, protected from high wind.
This plant can be used as a ground cover in completely shady areas of the landscape.

Soil: Outdoors Spathiphyllum wallisii plants should be grown in fertile acidic to neutral loamy organic soils with a steady but well drained moisture supply.

Irrigation: Water thoroughly, but do not allow the soil to get soggy.
In dry areas, provide copious amounts of water or place the plant near a pond to keep the humidity high. A low spot that is naturally damp but still has adequate drainage is an ideal location for Spathiphyllum wallisii.

Fertilise: Fertilise this plant regularly during the growing season to maintain a dark green foliage color. Use a liquid fertiliser once a month.

Propagation: Propagate the Spathiphyllum wallisii in spring by dividing overcrowded clusters of leaves. Pull rhizomes apart gently, making sure that each piece has at least two or three leaves attached. Plant individual pieces in 8cm (3 inch) pots of either of the recommended potting mixture, burying each piece at the same depth as the entire rhizome was planted.
Do not apply any fertiliser to the newly potted rhizome sections for three months. Otherwise, treat them as mature Spathiphyllum wallisii.

Red spider mites will attack Spathiphyllum wallisii if the humidity is low. Mist-spray the foliage at least once a week, concentrating on leaf-undersides, which is where these mites collect.

Plants will deteriorate rapidly if the minimum temperature is not maintained.

Brown leaf tips are likely caused by overwatering. It could also be caused by direct sun.
Treatment: Move the plant to a shadier spot and be careful not to overwater.

A plant is likely to be overfertilised if the leaves end up with brown spots on them.
Treatment: Stop fertilising the plant. Flush the potting mixture with plenty of water to wash salt deposited on the roots taking care to drain the excess water from the drip tray.

If the leaves become shriveled and dry, the humidity is too low.
Treatment: Increase humidity by misting the plant or placing it on a tray of wet pebbles.

Spathiphyllum wallisii plants that fail to bloom usually are not getting enough sunlight.
Treatment: Move the plant to a brighter location, but keep it out of direct sun which can scorch leaves. Also, when old plant which has not been divided in several years and refuse to bloom, divide it in spring. This is one of the few plants that blooms better after dividing it.

Recommended varieties:
Spathiphyllum wallisii ‘Domino’ is a medium growing Spathiphyllum wallisii with beautiful variegate foliage. Spathiphyllum ‘Domino’ has contrasting bright white and dark green leaves. It has a bushy habit of growth.

Spathiphyllum wallisii ‘Mauna Loa’ is an hybrid that can grow 60cm (24 inch) high with larger spathes and oblong lanceolate leaves. Flowers appear at almost any time throughout the year and last up to several months on plant, changing their colour from green to white to green.

Toxicity: Spathiphyllum wallisii is reported to be toxic to humans, cats and dogs as most tissues contain calcium oxalates; the sap of some taxa is also a skin irritant. Keep it away from children and pets who may play with or chew on it and wash hands thoroughly after handling it.

Uses and display: One of most reliable interior-scape plants, Spathiphyllum wallisii are outstanding as houseplants, conservatory or interior-scape plants, but are also a common component of tropical outdoor landscapes where they often serve as groundcovers, shade borders, or shade accents. Spathiphyllum wallisii make excellent container plants for shaded patios or can be used as a summer accent in shaded annual beds. Potted plants are suitable tabletops, plant stands and as floor specimens or dish garden.

This is one of the best plants for improving air quality indoors. Spathiphyllum species are known for removing benzene, a common household chemical and known carcinogen. It is also said to remove mold spores in the air, making it great for bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms; purifying the air of trichloroethylene, a chemical found in cleaners and solvents; and removing alcohols, acetone, and formaldehyde.


Foliage – green
Features – flowers, fragrance
Shape – upright
Height: 22-30cm (9-12 inch)

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – plentifully
Light – medium
Temperature in rest period – min 13oC max 16oC (55-61oF)
Temperature in active growth period – min 16oC max 24oC (61-75oF)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 10b-11

Spathiphyllum wallisii DominoSpathiphyllum wallisii Mauna LoaSpathiphyllum wallisii flowerSpathiphyllum wallisiiSpathiphyllum wallisii - flower budSpathiphyllum wallisii

Evergreen, Flowering Plants, Garden Plants, Indoor Plants, Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants , , , , ,

Indoor plants create clean air

Research has shown that indoor air pollution is now becoming one of the major threats to our health. These health issue include: asthma, allergies, chemical hyper-sensitivity and cancer.

NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America studied houseplants as a way to purify the air in space facilities. They found several plants that filter out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Lucky for us the plants can also help clean indoor air on Earth, which is typically far more polluted than outdoor air. Houseplants were able to remove up to 87% of air toxins in 24 hours.
Other studies have since been published in the Journal of American Society of Horticultural Science further proving the science.

Google Office - plants display

Google Office – plants display

Indoor plants improve air quality

We all know that plants are the lungs of Mother Earth and they are a very simple and effective way of treating and recycling air and water used by NASA to improve astronauts’ life quality when spending months in a small space station, surrounded by synthetic materials that constantly emit chemicals into the cabin. Astonishing, however, was the discovery that plants can remove many of the more than 300 chemicals found in the air of a spacecraft.

Plants and chemical pollution

The NASA study has proven that plants can remove airborne chemicals to some extent. But where do these chemicals go? Scientists of the German National Research Centre for Environment and Health exposed popular indoor plants to formaldehyde, one of the most common indoor air pollutant. They reported that enzymes in the plant leaves break down the toxic chemical into non-toxic components that can be used by the plant. This process is similar to the way a human liver rids the body from toxins. Research also shows that chemicals are translocated into the root system and the adjoining soil, where soil micro-organisms can break down the substances even further.

Plants as dust removal

Airborne chemicals aren’t the only health hazards indoors. Scientists of the Washington State University conclude that foliage plants can reduce indoor dust levels by up to 20%. And you don’t have to plant a jungle either. The plants they added to an office room occupied only around 5% of the volume.

Do plants promote biological pollution?

A concern could be the growth of fungi in the soil and on decaying plant matter. As long as the plant is healthy, however, this is not the case. The plant has its own defences against micro-organisms. It releases small amounts of its own disinfectant essential oils to control or destroy bacteria and fungi that invade the space between the leaves. We make use of this ourselves whenever we use disinfectants or room deodorizers that contain natural plant oils from, for example, citrus or pine trees. Experiments have shown that plants significantly reduce the number of microbes in indoor air. For example, when pots of citrus trees were added to a room, the air became almost sterile.

Do plants contribute to high humidity?

Another point of concern is the increase in humidity levels. Yes, plants transpire and increase the amount of water vapour in the air. The good news is that the increase depends very much on the humidity level that is in the room in the first place. On humid days, the rate of evaporation is very low and the humidity increase is only marginal. On dry days the plant ‘sweats’ significantly. This is to our benefit, because the indoor air is very often below the comfortable humidity level, as during the heating period. Cooling a room with an air conditioner also reduces the humidity significantly. Besides dehydration, dry air promotes cracked skin and lips, the drying of the mucus in airways and sinuses, and is a recognized trigger for asthma attacks. Allergens, bacteria and viruses can get easily past the dried-up defense mechanism. There is evidence that cases of the common cold are more frequent when the humidity is low.

The best indoor plants to improve air quality

By adding house plats to your living / work space, you improve the air quality and greatly enhance the health of your and your family. Many houseplants will purify the air in your home, but some more than others. Here is a list of some of the best plants and very popular for your house or office:

  • Aloe (Aloe vera)
  • Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • Gerber daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
  • Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)
  • Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures)
  • Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium)
  • Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
  • Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)
  • Azalea (Rhododendron simsii)
  • English ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Warneck dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’)
  • Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema Crispum ‘Deborah’)
  • Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii)
  • Heart leaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium)
  • Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)



houseplants for improving indoor air quality

The list can continue on and on again. The rate at which the plants metabolizes the substances depends on the growing conditions, such as the available light, the temperature, the humidity, and the nutrients that are available to the plant. Please be aware, however, that plants don’t remove the chemicals completely and different plants have different capabilities. A particular plant may be very good in removing formaldehyde, while another is better in destroying benzene.

Studies show that Americans spend ninety percent of their lives indoors, which means that good indoor air quality is vital for good health. Indoor plants will help reduce pollutants and purify the air in your home or office. The more plants you have, the better you will feel! By having plants in your home or office, you create your own micro-climate – the indoor weather.

Recommend number of plant: at least 15-18 good-sized plants (203mm (six- to eight-inch ) pot diameter) for a house or apartment of 167 square meters (1800 square feet).
According to the NASA study, the plants listed below proved effective in removing certain indoor air pollutants.

Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants

Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants

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