Plant of the Month - May

Plant of the Month - May

Published: 1st May 2020

The story of Spathiphyllum
You may know Spathiphyllum as the Peace Lily due to it’s white flowers than stand tall, above the foliage like white flags.  The name “Spathiphyllum” derived from the Green words for spathe and leaf. 
  This plant has been the subject of extra interest for a while now, thanks for the NASA Clean Air Study.  This study was designed to research clean air in space stations and the Spathiphyllum stood out for its above-average air purifying qualities.
 All plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen; NASA therefore recommends having 15 – 18 large plants in a 160m house.The amount of soil is also important, because microorganisms in the soil absorb small quantities of air pollutants.

Origin

The peace lily originates from the 

tropical rainforests of Colombia and Venezuela. It’s a real shade plant that likes a warm, damp environment. The plant was introduced into Europe in 1870, and has enjoyed a rapid development since then. While there were only a few varieties derived from the walisii species in the 1980s, there are now a large number of cultivars. 

Assortment 
There are over 50 different peace lily cultivars, whereby the difference lies mainly in the size of the plant, leaves and flowers. The plant can almost be considered a foliage plant because of the attractive dark green leaves. There is one variegated variety.  The flowers are almost always white flowers or sometimes slightly green, whilst recent cultivars have more or larger flowers. The number of flowers and size of the flower must always be in proportion to the plant’s foliage.

Care Tips

  • The plant requires a light position, out of bright sunlight at around 18-22 °C. 
  • Regularly give the plant tepid water. If the leaves are drooping, the soil has dried out. 
  • The plant enjoys regular spraying with tepid water, and also appreciate plant food. 
  • Remove wilted flowers when you notice them.
  • A winter rest period is required in order to get the flower to bloom for several years. The plant should then be placed in a light spot at a temperature of 15 °C for 6 to 8 weeks, after which it will flower vigorously again. 
  • The plant can also be placed in the garden or on the patio in the summer, but beware of bright sunlight.

Images courtesy of the Joy of Plants.
Text courtesy of the Flower Council.