It’s no wonder peace lilies (Spathiphyllum) have been called the perfect houseplant. They don’t require any special care, are rarely infected with pests and diseases, and are tolerant of low light levels. They produce lovely white flower structures in spring, and can go for years without the need to be repotted.
When it’s time to repot a peace lily, you might consider propagating it. After all, if one spathiphyllum is good, more is even better! Peace lilies are easy to propagate by division. This is the best way to make new baby peace lily plants.
Spathiphyllums do not self pollinate. Pollination occurs between individual plants, with insects like flies and beetles moving the pollen from plant to plant. If you are growing spathiphyllum outdoors, and are growing more than one plant, you might have a chance of a plant being pollinated and seeds developing. When grown as a houseplant, a peace lily will not produce viable seeds.
Spathiphyllums won’t grow from stem cuttings either. The best, and really, only, way to propagate these plants is by division.
Division is just what it sounds like. The plant is removed from its container and sections are identified where the plant can be cut into clumps. Some houseplant gardeners will cut the root ball in half to make 2 plants, others may want to make many plants depending on how many separations can be seen. You want to be sure each section has several healthy leaves and lots of roots.
What You Will Need
Gather your material before you begin. It’s best to water your plant thoroughly a day or two before you begin this project.
- New pots. These pots should be smaller than your spathe’s original pot. Small divisions need a smaller soil volume to avoid root rot. It’s okay to reuse old pots, but wash and sanitize them first. A dip in a 1:10 solution of bleach water will guarantee your old pots aren’t harboring any diseases.
- Good potting mix. Spathiphyllums grow best in a moist well-draining soil. Soil from the backyard will be too heavy and poor-draining, so use a good all-purpose potting mix or you can make your own. Here is a recipe we like:
- 2 parts fine compost
- 1 part vermiculite
- 1 part perlite
- 2 parts peat moss or coir (be sure to moisten the peat or coir before you mix it with the other ingredients)
- A clean sharp knife, for cutting the sections of the root ball.
- A measuring cup or a trowel for transferring the potting mix.
- Gloves to protect your hands and perhaps a dust mask. Some potting mixes contain microbes that can be harmful if ingested.
- Newspaper or plastic to protect your work surface if necessary.
How to Divide Peace Lilies
- Remove the plant from the pot. Place the pot on its side, then grasp the plant at the crown (where the roots meet the stems) and gently tug. If it is very root bound, you can run an old butter knife between the side of the pot and the root ball to help loosen it. Pounding the pot with the side of your fist can also help loosen the root ball, as can wiggling the plant a bit as you tug. Plastic pots can be cut away if all else fails.
- Lay the plant on its side. Identify what sections you want to separate. If in doubt, it’s better to make fewer divisions. This way you can be sure each division has enough root and leaf structures to survive.
- Gently remove enough soil from the root ball to reveal the roots of each clump.
- Sections can be teased apart with your hands, or cut with a knife. A few roots will get damaged during this process, but they will grow back. Trim off any broken roots.
- Once the divisions have been made, repot each section in fresh soil. Make sure the divisions are planted at the same depth as they had been before.
- It’s not necessary or recommended to add pebbles at the bottom of the pot. You might have heard that doing this improves drainage, but that is not the case.
- Water well, and place your new baby plant out of direct sunlight. Do not fertilize for about 6 months.
- Sometimes, peace lilies will wilt after being divided and repotted. This is a normal response to stress, and the plant may need a few days to recover. The wilting is not caused by a need for water.