Peace Lily Growing: The Story of My Peace Lily Houseplant

By Mary Ellen Ellis | January 4, 2021
by Mary Ellen Ellis
January 4, 2021

I have a huge peace lily in a large container that graces my more formal living space in the house. It sits by the window, catching early morning light. This plant is nearly 20 years old and has survived both neglect and destructive kittens. 

How My Peace Lily Plant Survived So Long

My grandma passed away when I was in college. I couldn’t go to the funeral because I had exams that I couldn’t miss. My parents assured me it was okay and that she would understand. What I got, though, was this little peace lily plant from the church decorations. It has been with me ever since, a reminder of my grandma. 

When I got the plant, I was far from a green thumb at gardening. I didn’t have my own house or yard yet, and I had killed some houseplants before. I had one sad spider plant barely hanging on and didn’t have high hopes for the peace lily growing. 

One thing going in my favor is the fact that this is a very forgiving species. Not only do peace lilies tolerate the soil going dry, but they prefer it. I have to admit I let it wilt a time or two, which is not ideal, but letting the soil dry out and then giving it a good soaking was just my style of plant care. 

Fortunately for me, peace lily also likes being pot bound. It neither wants nor needs too much space to grow. Years ago, I put it in a large container, let it fill it out, and have since then kept it in the same pot. It seems happy there. 

Another struggle my plant has faced over the years is cats. Our first two cats decided to turn the large pot into a litter box, so we added stones to the top of the soil. The next two kittens who came along were particularly destructive, chewing on leaves, breaking stems, and generally using the plant as a personal jungle gym. 

Keeping a kitten out of the peace lily is a game of distraction, but fortunately, this tough plant recovers well. It is already regrowing and with a few broken leaves trimmed off, it looks a little smaller but neater. 
To keep the peace lily flowering, I give it a very occasional fertilizing. It doesn’t like too much. I reduce the concentration with a basic houseplant fertilizer and only use it every few months. I plan to keep it for another 20 years, at least. 

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  • Marti Masters
    Comment added October 27, 2022Reply

    Thank you, everyone, for your posts. There's a peace lily on sale that I'm thinking about, but I wondered how long the lifespan is. The first page I looked at (after Google search) said "20 years or more". Then came a bunch of plages "3 to 5 years" and they all looked like they had cut & pasted the same text. I've seen so much misinformation flood the internet during the pandemic that now I double check everything.

    Thanks to all of you here on this blog because if that peace lily is still on sale, I'll rescue it. There's a local store here that gets real nice plants, and then puts the leftovers on sale before a new batch arrives. The sale plants are often neglected and the main problem is lack of water. So, I always give them water when I see them too dry. Recently, I rescued a Calathea Medallion and now it's really flourishing at home. The peace lily can have a place - they would look good together.

    And who knows? Maybe 20 years from now, they will be growing old together ;)

  • Lori
    Comment added April 2, 2022Reply

    My brother, Mark died in 2005. He was also my best friend. I have a peace plant from his funeral. It’s 17 years old. I treat it with kit gloves. I would have a fit if something happened to it. It’s HUGE. I also have horses and they give me presents all day. My plant LOVES what they give. So hoping that will help it live a long time :)

  • Mysti
    Comment added January 10, 2022Reply

    My peace lily is 22 and a half years old, well that’s how long I have had it. It quit blooming for around 15 years. If it keeps on, next month it will have been blooming for 3 solid years. Not sure why it’s doing this but I’m happy. I fear it’s going to die after it has bloomed for so long. It still looks very healthy. The ones I have are in a north east window. They get full sun and love the window. I don’t do anything special to them.

  • John Gilbert
    Comment added January 3, 2022Reply

    I am so glad I found this page. My grandfather died in 1994, I still have a peace lilly from his funeral. I Googled how long peace lillies live and found this page. I'm not the only one who has an ancient peace lily. So I guess mine is 28 years old. WOW,I didn't realize that long.

  • Kati-Kate
    Comment added December 27, 2021Reply

    I felt like I was reading my own Peace Liky story ? In 2006, I took home my plant from the church at my Grandma's funeral. In 2017, I split the plant in two and gave one half to my sister. They are both still alive and thriving today, and it's s almost 2022 ? Thank you for sharing this lovely story. I found your post looking up the lifespan of these plants and we are doing something right.

  • Andy Marsden
    Comment added July 1, 2021Reply

    I've had my peace lilly for 26 years now. My mum bought it me when I moved into my own place. 5 moves later it's still going strong. Amazing when I keep reading that they live between 3 to 5 years !

  • Rudy Saenz Jr
    Comment added June 16, 2021Reply

    My sister Angelita Nicole was still born 21 years ago, and my parent's were given a peace lily. Today that plant is going strong and all us siblings and other family members have taken cuts so that we could all have her with us.

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