The peace lily or by its scientific name Spathiphyllum is a floral plant that belongs to the Araceae family. Although there are several species (around 36), they are all very similar and need the same care. Since it does not need much light to develop and produce its beautiful flowers, it is the perfect houseplant. This time we will dedicate an article about the use of fertilizer for peace lily, how to apply it and in what season of the year. In addition, we will take a moment to study the most important care that must be carried out in this plant.
1. What do the three numbers mean on the label of a fertilizer?
If you ever had to go buy a fertilizer in a nursery and you don’t have much experience, you may have been confused when choosing between one package or another. Perhaps the only notable variation that existed between one package and another was three numbers separated by a hyphen.
If you didn’t ask the seller what exactly those three numbers are, you may still have doubts. Well it’s your lucky day, here we will answer that question.
The three numbers in a fertilizer package are what are known as NPK values, and each letter represents one of the three most important micronutrients for plant development.
- N: represents nitrogen, which is the most important nutrient for leaf development, and is also the main chemical involved in photosynthesis.
- P: represents phosphorus, being responsible for the development of roots, stems, flowers and fruits in a more vigorous plant.
- K: this last letter represents potassium, nutrient responsible for giving more strength to the plant. Contributing to a better initial growth, giving greater resistance to diseases, reducing possible stress and improving the quality of the fruits.
So these NPK numbers represent the percentage of the total of each nutrient. Explaining in one example, in a 1 kg fertilizer package of a 10-5-15 mix, 10% is nitrogen (i.e. 100 g of the total), 5% is occupied by phosphorus (50 g) and the 15% potassium (150 g)
As you may have noticed, it is a fairly simple concept. With this already learned, we can continue with our article on peace lilies.
2. How to grow peace lily
Although fertilization is a care that is generally quite important in a houseplant like this, it is far from the only care you need to develop healthy and strong. It is for this reason that before diving into everything related to fertilization, we will briefly see the most important care that must be carried out.
- Location: We have already said that you do not need large amounts of sunlight, so the interior of your home can be ideal. Despite this, it can develop perfectly in well-lit environments, always taking care that it does not receive direct exposure to gusts of very cold or very hot air, or many hours of sunlight. All this can damage its leaves.
- Temperature: As it originates from the tropical areas of America and the Caribbean, it does not resist frost at all. That is why it should always be indoors, at least in winter.
- Irrigation: the indicator by which we must know that our peace lily needs irrigation is when the soil at its base is not wet. Depending on the time of year, the necessary watering is usually twice a week. If it is summer and the humidity is low, you can spray water on the leaves to increase the humidity.
- Transplant: When spring comes, we should consider transplanting. If we see that the plant needs a bigger pot for its size, now is the time to make the change. Always check that the new pot has good drainage, we do not want the roots to rot due to excess water.
- Symptoms of problems: all the problems of this plant can be observed in the state of its leaves. If its leaves are withered, it is a symptom of lack of water. The spots on the back of its leaves can become a symptom of mealybug. Yellowish or brown colored leaves may be due to a red spider pest.
- Pruning: In general, it is not necessary to prune, although it is always good to cut the withered leaves and all those attacked by a pest or disease.
- Fertilization: Given the nature of this publication, we could not forget fertilization in the care of your peace lily. In the following sections we will go into this topic.
3. Best fertilizer for peace lily
When fertilizing any houseplant, you can choose a large number of types of fertilizers, but regardless of the type you use, any one of them can be classified as organic or inorganic fertilizer.
In general, most gardeners recommend mixed fertilization for their peace lilies. This means that a fertilization program is organized in which organic and inorganic fertilizers are used. Let’s see below which are the best of each of them to be used in these lilies.
If you are reading this post, you will probably be interested in learning about fertilizing these other plants.
3.1 Inorganic fertilizer
In general, when looking for inorganic fertilizers in houseplants, the most recommended, due to their ease of application, are those in liquid form. On the other hand, in the case of peace lilies, what should be sought is that of a balanced mix between its nutrients.
As when we started this post we already studied what NPK numbers are, you can imagine what I mean when I say balanced mix. This is that the three numbers that make up the NPK values are equal.
Among inorganic fertilizers, the most used in these plants is the 20-20-20 liquid. Since it is one of the most common, you will have no problem getting it in any flower shop or nursery that you have close to home.
3.2 Organic fertilizer
In the case of organic fertilizers we already have much more variety, with dozens of types that can be used. Here we will cover the most used.
Unlike the inorganic in the organic, we do not know exactly its composition. In other words, dose control is somewhat more complicated. Given this, you must remember that when it comes to fertilizers, less is more. It is preferable to be short than to exceed.
Knowing the latest, let’s move on to the list:
- Home compost: it is generally made with all the organic remains of the houses. They can be food scraps, clippings of plants or grass, leaves, etc. Given its high degree of heterogeneity, it is very difficult to quantify the proportions of each nutrient, although in general it always provides something of the three most important.
- Fish Tank Fertilizer: In case you have a fish tank at home with some fish, this is a good opportunity to get some organic fertilizer. The most common thing is to save the water from the fish tank that is left every time you clean it. In general, it is very good at providing nitrogen.
- Vinegar fertilizer: who doesn’t have vinegar at home? Did you know that you can use it to make fertilizers? Then we will see how to do it and apply it.
- Milk Fertilizer: Like vinegar, milk is something we all have at home. When used as a fertilizer, it contributes the three main nutrients, nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous.
We have named four although we left many, surely you know several more.
4. How and when to fertilize peace lilies
We have already seen the most important care for cultivation, we analyze what the NPK values are and we study what are the best fertilizers to be used in your peace lilies. It is time to see how and when to fertilize.
To simplify this section, we will separate the methods of applying inorganic and organic fertilizers. Always keep in mind that it is good to make a combined use, taking advantage of both.
4.1 Using liquid fertilizer
If we use commercial liquid fertilizers, its application is quite simple. First of all, you should buy a suitable fertilizer, as we saw in the previous section, a 20-20-20 liquid is a good option.
Once you have it, the first thing you should do is read the instructions, any good fertilizer has complete instructions for its application.
In general, these should be applied diluted in water (see instructions), with two or three applications in the growing season will suffice. After fertilizing your peace lily, be sure to water well. This will help the fertilizer spread evenly across all roots.
4.2 Using homemade fertilizer
You can choose to replace some of the 20-20-20 liquid fertilizers by using some organic fertilizer, or in case you want to do without any commercial fertilizer. Let’s see how to apply some of the homemade fertilizers.
In case you are going to make homemade compost, keep in mind that there are several methods to do it. The traditional one generally takes, depending on many factors, between three and nine months. When you are ready, you will see that it is an easily crumbly and almost odorless dark matter. It is widely used when we perform the transplant, or applying a couple of tablespoons every two or three months, especially in spring and summer.
If you want to use the waste from cleaning your fish tank, start by saving the remaining cleaning water. Try to shake it well before applying it to the base of your lily. The application can be done once a month, replacing some of the risks.
To fertilize with vinegar, mix 1 tablespoon of white vinegar with one gallon of water. Then shake this mixture well, being able to apply it every three months alternating with some other fertilization. This will slightly increase the acidity of the soil.
Finally, there is the option of using milk to supply nitrogen. You can simply rinse the milk container at the base of your peace lily or make a more controlled mix of water and milk. In general, a mixture of 10% milk and 90% water is suitable for this type of plant.
The application of any type of fertilizers is always necessary in the months of greatest development and flowering. This is during spring and summer.
5. Fertilizer for indoor peace lily (Video)
To end the article, and as usual in this blog, we have selected a video (Tenney Plants channel). This will help you understand much more graphically what we have explained so far.
We have finished the article, I hope you have understood everything that we explain here, and have no doubts about applying fertilizers to your peace lily.