Why Isn’t My Spathiphyllum Getting Bigger?

Spathiphyllum ‘Sensation’ in the foreground with smaller spathiphyllums behind it. Photo: Janet Melconian,

Question: My friend has a beautiful huge peace lily that takes up nearly a quarter of her dining room with huge sail-like flowers and leaves the size of banana leaves. She’s had it for over a decade and it’s really impressive. I bought a baby peace lily so I could have the same effect, but mine seems stalled at a much smaller size. It blooms, but the flowers are not much bigger than a soup spoon, and the leaves are narrow and none too impressive. I’ve tried fertilizing more and giving it more light, but no luck. What am I doing wrong?

A Curious Reader

Answer: Nothing! You simply bought the wrong peace lily! 

The peace lily or Spathiphyllum is a popular indoor plant and comes in dozens of cultivars (varieties), each with its own natural size range. Some are only 8 inches (20 cm) high at full maturity with short, narrow leaves and while others are up to 6 feet (180 cm) tall with huge broad leaves 20 inches (50 cm) or more in length. Most cultivars are somewhere in-between.

I suspect your friend has Spathiphyllum ‘Sensation’, the biggest one commercially available. It’s the one that reaches 6 feet (180 cm) in height.

So, your problem is that you didn’t buy a baby peace lily, you bought a dwarf one. It will never get much taller than when you bought it, although it will likely broaden over time, as spathiphyllums produce offsets, filling in their pot. 

Ask your garden center to order a ‘Sensation’ peace lily for you. It will already be huge when you get it and will thicken over time.

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

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