Good to Grow: Peace lily lives up to its name

The peace lily, it might be the world’s easiest-to-grow houseplant. Maybe that’s why I have three at home and one rescue at the office.

Originally a tropical plant that grows on the forest floor, where it gets consistent moisture and not too much sunlight, this plant has become a go-to for low-light environments.

I am not one to name things. My sister gives names to the car, the couch and so on — but me, not so much. Except for my original peace lily named Mrs. Carpenter.

Long ago, as much as 35 years ago, I inherited this plant from a neighbor. I have such fond memories of her and how she doted on me as child. I still think of her every time I see a jar of homemade rock candy.

Her garden was fabulous. She didn’t like grass, or mowing, so her front yard was my first exposure to interesting ground covers and the idea of gardening without borders. I’m smiling now just thinking about her.

Mrs. Carpenter the peace lily lives in my dining room on an antique plant stand. Although showing her age, she is happy there and has continued to honor me with beautiful long, green, oblong leaves and blooms for years. As with all peace lilies, she tells me when to water with a slight drop of her leaves.

Peace lilies will shoot stems that produce a single white bloom. It is said the plant got its name because the bloom looks like it is waving a peace flag. I like to think it is because they are peaceful plants that don’t cause the caregiver to worry about how to keep it alive.

My others came as gifts over the years. They, too, are quite old. They live in front of windows in different parts of the house. They have been transplanted over the years and are fairly large — one is about 30 inches wide and equally tall. I do have one that is struggling, but, to be honest, it receives very little natural light. I placed it on the deck during the summer and it perked up, but although this plant doesn’t need much light, back inside it needs more than it is getting in its current location.

If you get a few yellow leaves on your peace lily, don’t worry. That happens, prune them and the plant will be just fine. If you miss the drooping leaves as a signal to water, you may notice the tips of the leaves turning brown. When this happens adjust your watering schedule to be more frequent.

Why do I have so many peace lilies? Here’s a cool fact. NASA (yes, that NASA) placed it on the list of top 10 household air cleaning plants. Easy to care for and good for my environment!

Another fun fact: The peace lily can be grown hydroponically. I would suggest a little research before going without soil, but it should be easy for smaller starts. After washing off any potting soil, gently divide the plants at the roots, then place them in containers with enough distilled water to generously cover the roots. Keep the water fresh by changing it every 10 days or so, and in about three weeks you should begin to see new growth.

Here’s a crazy idea: It can even be grown in an aquarium with betta fish swimming in the bottom. I’m not sure why, but this idea blows my mind. My ancient mature peace lilies have relatives living in aquariums with fish.

Yes, the peace lily is a common houseplant, but don’t forget it will grow just about anywhere and tell you when to give it water — all while cleaning the air and looking beautiful. That’s what I call a peaceful plant.

Jane Powell is a longtime West Virginia Extension Service Master Gardener through the Kanawha County chapter and has a garden with sunny spots and shady beds where she grows perennials, vegetables and herbs. She is also the author of “Gardening in Pearls,” a blog that combines her love of gardens, fashion and design. By day, Jane is the communications director for a community foundation and a volunteer with several nonprofits in the community. Find her blog at gardeninginpearls.com/. Reach Jane at janeellenpowell@aol.com.

Funerals for Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Antill, Norman - 6 p.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.

Arbaugh, Jennings - Noon, Bartlett-Nichols Funeral Home, St. Albans.

Doss, Mark - 11 a.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Gillispie, Glen - 11 a.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Hoover, Evelyn - 1. p.m., Cunningham-Parker-Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Linton, Anna - 1 p.m., Pennington Smith Funeral Home, Gauley Bridge.

Mace, T. Opal - 2 p.m., Starcher Cemetery, Arnoldsburg.

Nelson, Kenneth - Noon, Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.