Peace Lily Pruning ( In 6 Steps )

The peace lily (Spathiphyllum) is a favored indoor plant known for its large, glossy, dark green leaves, as well as its pale green and white blooms. It has an upright growth habit. Interestingly, what may appear to be its “flowers” are actually leaf bracts known as spathes. These spathes produce appealing, oval-shaped white leaves with distinct spiky stamens, often in white, yellow, or pale green hues. Peace lilies are exceptionally low-maintenance but benefit from routine pruning. These stems only produce one bract, so once they fade, they can be trimmed away. Thankfully, pruning a peace lily is a straightforward process that doesn’t require any specialized skills or tools.

When you prune the leaves of your peace lily, you are essentially removing that particular leaf from the root rhizome, and that specific cut leaf will not regrow. However, the plant will generate new growth. Trimming the plant encourages robust regeneration, benefiting both the above-ground and below-ground portions of the plant.

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Peace Lily Pruning

The frequency of pruning your peace lily depends on its age and growth rate. You don’t need to wait until the plant exhibits signs of yellowing or fading to trim the leaves. A suitable occasion for leaf pruning aligns with when you’re deadheading the spent leaf bracts. Engaging in routine maintenance tasks such as deadheading or pruning also provides an opportunity to inspect your peace lily for any signs of pests or diseases. Pruning additionally promotes the development of new growth. Typically, pruning every six months should suffice, but you can adjust the frequency as required. If you have a Domino Peace Lily then check out my recent article Domino Peace Lily ( Variegated Peace Lily Care ).

When To Prune Peace Lilies

Peace Lilies, as tropical plants, don’t undergo a true winter dormancy cycle as plants from colder climates do. While their growth tends to slow down or pause when daylight hours shorten, their leaves don’t necessarily die back. Consequently, there isn’t a specific time of year that is best for pruning them. You can trim a Peace Lily as needed.

When it comes to removing old flowers, do so when the blooms start to wrinkle and droop. The “petal” of a Peace Lily, technically known as a spathe (a specialized leaf), will transition from white to green as it begins to wither. This color change serves as an indicator that the flower is past its prime. It’s advisable to remove the flower at this stage before it deteriorates into an unattractive brown.

Regarding the leaves, you can trim them when they begin to fade to yellow. If your Peace Lily exhibits brown leaf tips, you can also prune those, but keep in mind that this could signal root-related issues such as overcrowding, excessive fertilization, or irregular watering – so it’s important to address the underlying cause. If the leaves of your peace lilies are not unfurling then check out my recent article Peace Lily Leaves Not Unfurling ( Top 8 Reasons ).

Deadhead Before Pruning

Deadheading is a crucial practice for maintaining the tidy appearance of plants, whether they are outdoor perennials or indoor houseplants. When the white “flowers” of your peace lily begin to wilt or display discoloration, typically occurring about a month after their initial emergence, you can deadhead them to preserve the plant’s neat appearance. To do this, utilize bypass pruners (ensure they are clean first) and trim the stem back to its base, allowing the plant space to produce new bracts.

Clean The Leaves

Occasionally, the leaves of your peace lily might appear somewhat lackluster and dusty, but they may not require pruning. Instead, a cleaning might be in order to rejuvenate their appearance. You can delicately wipe down the leaves with a softly dampened cotton cloth and gently polish them using a circular motion. This process restores the sheen that is one of the most appealing attributes of this plant’s appearance. If the leaves of your peace lilies are small then check out my recent article Why Are My Peace Lily Leaves So Small? ( Top 7 Reasons ).

Pruning The Leaves

To trim the leaves of your peace lily effectively, start at the base of the plant. Cutting as close to the bottom as possible allows room for new growth to emerge. Use a pair of sharp pruning shears (ensure they are clean to prevent the potential spread of bacterial or fungal diseases). With a gentle yet firm hand, trim any leaves that appear faded or damaged. It’s advisable to cut at an angle rather than straight across. If your plant is becoming overly dense, you can prune the growth all around to facilitate the emergence of fresh new leaves.

Consider Repotting

If, after completing the pruning of your peace lily, the plant still appears somewhat oversized, or if you observe signs of it being rootbound, contemplate transferring your peace lily to a larger pot to provide it with additional room. You can gently loosen the roots using a gardening knife. Ensure to shake off any excess soil and replace the old soil with fresh potting mix.

Trim The Roots ( Optional )

Pruning can effectively control the size of a Peace Lily, but it’s essential to remember that its growth occurs both below and above the soil’s surface. If you continually trim the foliage without repotting the plant into a larger container, its root system may eventually outgrow the available space. This can result in health issues as the entangled roots hinder neighboring roots from absorbing sufficient water and nutrients.

Occasional root trimming offers a solution that allows you to avoid repotting your Peace Lily while simultaneously curbing the expansion of its foliage.

Pruning Peace Lilies To Keep Them Small

Is your peace lily outgrowing its pot? If you prefer not to repot the entire plant into a larger container, consider dividing it into smaller clumps instead of attempting extensive pruning. This way, you can obtain two or more “new” plants to incorporate into your indoor decor. Just make sure that each division retains healthy root portions.

As previously mentioned, focus on trimming away dead or unhealthy material rather than cutting into the healthy growth. If you do decide to remove a few green leaves, perhaps due to excessive legginess, always cut them from the base. However, it’s advisable to keep this to a minimum, as removing too many leaves may potentially “shock” the plant and hinder its growth, as noted by Aaditya Bhatta, the editor and founder of Plantscraze. To prevent legginess in the future, ensure your peace lily receives adequate light and rotate it regularly to promote even growth.

Why Prune Peace Lilies

To Encourage Growth: As your plant generates new leaves and stems, the older ones will eventually wither and fall off. During this waiting period, the plant continues to allocate some of its energy to maintaining these aging parts. By removing withering leaves promptly, your Peace Lily can redirect its resources toward producing fresh growth, resulting in a fuller and more vigorous plant.

To Promote Flowering: Similar to the effect of trimming old stems, eliminating faded blossoms can stimulate your Peace Lily to initiate new flowering. While it’s not a guaranteed method, generally, proactive removal of spent blossoms increases the likelihood of getting more blooms.

To Reduce Clutter: Neglecting to remove older leaves can lead to their eventual descent into the pot, where they start to decay. Excessive decaying organic matter in the soil can attract fungus gnats. While these pests aren’t typically harmful to your Peace Lily, they can be both bothersome and unsightly.

To Maintain Size: Not everyone desires a massive, sprawling houseplant. Sometimes, you may prefer to keep your Peace Lily at a more compact, tabletop size. Trimming the stems, and occasionally the roots, can help achieve this.

To Enhance Aesthetics: Your plants are an integral part of your interior decor, so it’s only natural to want to keep them as visually appealing as possible. Yellowing leaves, wilted flowers, and unruly stems may not align with your vision for your Peace Lily. Don’t hesitate to remove them to maintain its beauty.

Will The Peace Lily Grow Back After Pruning?

When planning your pruning routine, it’s beneficial to comprehend the growth pattern of your Peace Lily. Unlike the branches and twigs of a tree, the stems of a Spathiphyllum resemble delicate stalks that connect each leaf to the branch it originates from.

The true “stem” of a Peace Lily is concealed underground. These plants sprout from robust, tuber-like root structures known as rhizomes. This unique feature allows them to spread beneath the soil’s surface, enabling a single plant to extend its presence over a wide area and send up shoots in various locations. This strategy serves both survival and reproduction purposes, ensuring that a Peace Lily can thrive in one location even if it perishes elsewhere.

Every leaf and flower produced by a Peace Lily emerges from a distinct stem that ultimately traces back to the rhizome. These stalks do not regenerate when trimmed; instead, new leaves gradually emerge from the soil.

Conversely, even if you happen to be quite aggressive with your pruning, the plant can recover from the roots and rhizomes alone. As long as the subterranean portion of the plant remains viable and the growing conditions are favorable, your Peace Lily should endure the loss of any amount of foliage. However, it’s worth noting that these are slow-growing plants, so don’t expect rapid recovery.


When should I prune my Peace Lily?

Peace Lilies generally don’t require frequent pruning, but periodic removal of spent blossoms and aged or damaged leaves contributes to your plant’s well-being. When a blossom begins to wither, trim the entire stalk beneath it. Apply the same technique for yellow or brown leaves resulting from aging or injury. Make your cuts at a 45-degree angle near the soil level.

Why is my peace lily so leggy?

If your peace lily’s leaves are experiencing sunburn, it’s a sign that the plant is receiving excessive light. If your peace lily appears to be growing leggy, with elongated stems and a stretched-out appearance, consider relocating it to a spot with slightly brighter light. Leggy growth occurs as the plant stretches to access more light.

How long can you keep a peace lily alive?

The lifespan of a peace lily is influenced by its care and surroundings. Typically, people regard three to five years as an average life expectancy for a peace lily. Nevertheless, indoor peace lilies have been documented to thrive for two decades or even longer. For repotting and propagating peace lilies, late winter or early spring is the most suitable time.