Bushy peace lilies are stunning. The thick foliage and blooms will make any room stand out and are most likely why the peace lily is such a popular indoor plant. If your peace lily is thin, there are several things you can do to make it bushy.
Here are ten steps to make your peace lily bushy:
- Water your peace lily regularly.
- Use filtered water instead of tap water.
- Fertilize your plant in spring and summer.
- Provide adequate light.
- Remove old, yellow leaves.
- Prune old stalks that already flowered.
- Cut off leggy stems.
- Mist the leaves regularly.
- Change the soil if it has been in use for years.
- Repot your overgrown potted plants.
When conditions are right, peace lilies will grow and thrive. They will become thick and produce lots of blooms. I’ll discuss conditions that affect the growth of Peace lilies and how you can make yours bushy.
1. Water Your Peace Lily Regularly
If your peace lily isn’t growing more stems and leaves to make it thicker, you might not be watering the plant enough. Peace lilies thrive in moist soil, but you should ensure you don’t overwater them.
Too little or too much moisture is harmful to peace lilies and will affect their growth:
|Signs of overwatering||Signs of underwatering|
|Widespread wilting, yellowing leaves||Curled, shriveled, and wrinkled leaves|
|Brown, mushy roots||Dry, brittle roots|
|Brown and dry leaf tips||Dry, brown spots|
|Soggy soil with mold on the surface||The top 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) are dry|
|Leaf spot with a yellow halo||Stunted growth|
|Foul odor from the roots||Falling leaves and flowers|
Excess water suffocates the roots, so the plant will not access the oxygen it needs to thrive. Likewise, inadequate water deprives the peace lily of the nutrients and moisture it needs. There will be no new growth in both cases, and the existing foliage and blooms will suffer.
If your peace lily is showing signs that it has been overwatered, you should;
- Stop watering your peace lily immediately.
- Move the peace lily to a sunny spot, but don’t expose it to direct sunlight.
- Check the roots for signs of damage.
- Cut off infected roots and use activated charcoal to disinfect the roots.
- Treat the roots with a fungicide or potassium permanganate.
- Repot the peace lily using fresh soil.
If your peace lily is showing signs of underwatering, you should give your peace lily a good drink. If you opt to water from the top, water slowly and evenly until you see water flowing out of the drainage holes. Drain the water that collects in the pot saucer.
If you’re watering from the bottom, place the pot with the peace lily in a water basin half-filled with water and allow it to absorb enough moisture.
Check the moisture by digging 1-2 knuckles deep into the soil after 10 minutes. If the soil is moist, remove the pot from the basin.
Otherwise, wait for 20 minutes longer while checking every few minutes. Don’t let your pot sit in the water longer than 30 minutes. If it takes too long to absorb moisture, there might be a problem with your soil texture.
After the peace lily recovers, only water it when the top 2-3 inches (5-7.6 cm) of soil feels dry. You should also water your peace lily when it shows signs of thirst, which usually begins with drooping leaves.
2. Use Filtered Water Instead of Tap Water
You may be watering your peace lily as you should, but it isn’t growing well. Chances are, the peace lily is sensitive to the chemicals in the water. For example, if the water has too much fluoride or chlorine, the leaves will get brown tips.
Avoid using tap water every time you water your peace lilies. Depending on your region, tap water may contain higher concentrations of chlorine or chloramine than your peace lilies can handle.
To avoid such risks, use safer water sources, such as rainwater and distilled water. If you have a home water filter, it’s even better, as filtered water is readily available and more economical.
This video analyzes some of the reasons why peace lilies fail to grow and why they are not blooming:
3. Fertilize Your Plant in Spring and Summer
Peace lilies are not nutrient-hungry, but you should fertilize them during the growing season. The lilies grow actively in spring and summer, and then they go into dormancy in winter.
Use medium-strength fertilizer once or twice a month.
If the peace lily needs more foliage, you should choose a fertilizer with higher nitrogen levels. If you would like more blooms or if the blooms are frail, choose a fertilizer with more phosphorus.
4. Provide Adequate Light
Peace lilies need bright to medium indirect light to thrive.
If the light is insufficient, the peace lily will become leggy, and the entire plant will lose its fullness. If the plant is in a spot with direct sunlight, the leaves will burn. The plant will also lose moisture quickly, which will naturally affect its growth.
Place the plant in a location with bright but indirect light. With adequate light, your plant will get more foliage and blooms.
Moreover, it’s also crucial to rotate your plant by 90° every time you water it to ensure even growth on all sides. If your pot remains unturned for several weeks to months, the area exposed to light will grow fuller while the parts without light will become leggy.
5. Remove Dry Leaves and Damaged Stems
Like other plants, the peace lily will use its energy to heal damaged leaves and stems, even when they are beyond saving. The energy the plant wastes in hopeless cases, such as dry leaves and damaged stalks, would have been utilized to grow new foliage.
You can help your peace lily by cutting the dead leaves and damaged stems. This way, the plant will use its energy to support new growth, resulting in bushy growth.
Always use sterile shears when pruning your plant to avoid microbial infections that can compromise its health.
This video is a guide on how to remove dead leaves and blooms from a peace lily:
6. Prune Old Stalks That Already Flowered
Pruning peace lilies is one way to encourage more growth, making them bushy. Besides pruning damaged stalks and dry leaves, you should cut off stalks that have already flowered. Ensure you cut them from the base to create space for new growth.
Pruning allows the remaining parts of the plant to thrive. It will also help keep pests and diseases away since you would have removed weak, vulnerable parts of the plant.
7. Cut Off Leggy Stems
Peace lilies get leggy when they don’t get sufficient sunlight.
This is one of the reasons why they appear thin and the stalks leggy. When you identify a better spot with bright, indirect sunlight, move the plant and cut off the leggy stem. The peace lily will have new, thick growth that will quickly fill up.
After removing the leggy stems, make it a habit to rotate your pot by 90° every time you water it so you don’t forget. This will ensure all sides of the plant receive adequate light and grow evenly bushy.
8. Mist the Leaves Regularly
Humidity is essential to peace lilies. When exposed to dry air, they lose moisture, and the leaves’ tips tend to turn brown. When the leaves turn brown, the plant will attempt to heal, which will affect its ability to grow more leaves.
Peace lilies benefit immensely from high humidity levels. Unfortunately, air-conditioned and heated rooms don’t have the humidity that peace lilies need to be healthy.
Fortunately, you can increase humidity in multiple ways:
- Use a plant humidifier.
- Manually mist your peace lily.
- Place the pot with the peace lily over a tray of pebbles or gravel with water. Ensure the bottom of the pot isn’t touching the water because it will encourage root rot.
If you mist your peace lily at least twice a week, it will be happy and will no doubt keep producing more foliage.
9. Change the Soil if It Has Been in Use for Years
If your peace lily has been in the same pot for years, maybe it is time to change the soil. Even if your peace lily is not ready for repotting, the soil may have become compact, or the plant may have exhausted the nutrients in the soil.
Either way, peace lilies need to be repotted when they’ve outgrown their pots, typically every 2-3 years. You’ll notice it’s time to repot your plant when you see roots poking out the soil’s surface or out of the drainage holes.
The best time to change the soil is in spring, just as the peace lily is about to grow after months of winter dormancy. Be sure to get a high-quality potting mix that drains well while holding enough moisture.
10. Repot Your Overgrown Potted Plants
Your peace lily may not be growing because it needs a bigger pot. The peace lily likes to be rootbound, so you shouldn’t rush to repot it unless the plant is ready for it. Fortunately, your peace lily will let you know when to repot it.
Signs that your peace lily is ready for a bigger pot include:
- Drooping leaves less than a week after watering
- Crowded, deformed leaves
- Roots poking out of the soil
Ensure that the new pot is not more than 2 inches (5 cm) bigger in diameter than your current pot.
When trying to establish why your peace lily is not growing, you will need to check all factors affecting it to ensure you get the right solution.
Sometimes, there can be multiple causes, and you need to solve all the problems. Otherwise, any changes you make will offer only a temporary fix that will not result in a bushy peace lily.