Spreading the Peace Lily: Divide and Transplant

A peace lily.
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 20-50
What You'll Need
New pot
Potting soil
What You'll Need
New pot
Potting soil

Peace lily plants or Spathiphyllum get their name from the white leaf at the top that resembles a white flag. Giving peace lilies are a sign of goodwill, and dividing and transplanting them allows you to give someone a gift you’ve treated with love, care, and respect.

Peace lilies are great for offices and other low-light environments. They are one of the top plants listed by NASA as air cleaners. This makes them ideal gifts to give to your coworkers, or even family and friends who need an indoor house plant or a desk plant.

Step 1 - Identify When To Divide

Divide your peace lily when the pot becomes overcrowded. These plants prefer to be crowded, so it can be hard to tell when comfortably crowded becomes overcrowded. Let the colors and development of the leaves be your guide. Are the ends of the leaves in good shape? Are they healthy? Do they still have their green shine? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, it’s time to divide and transplant.

    Step 2 - Get Your Pot Ready

    Put some of your potting soil in your pots, about halfway up. Make a little well in the middle of the soil, and set it aside.

      Step 3 - Remove The Plant

      Tip your peace lily container on its side. Gently and slowly remove the plant by grasping the thickest part at the ends. Slide it out of the container, and look at the roots. Are there any pot shards or rocks tangled in them? Remove them by very tenderly unwinding the roots from the shards. Don’t break the roots, as this can stunt the growth of the plant.

        Step 4 - Clean Up Roots

        Gently shake out the tangled roots, and then rinse them gently with tepid running water. This should remove most of the old dirt still wound up in the roots, and also help to loosen them so you won't need to pull at the roots or break them. If your kitchen sink has a sprayer nozzle, use the pressure for rinsing. Gently shake out the roots again, just to make sure they’re clean.

          Step 5 - Divide

          Grasp your plant at the center, near the roots. Gently pull it apart, taking care not to split or break roots. If this happens with smaller roots during division, they may just need a little bit of fertilizer or growth hormone (maybe even both) to repair the damage. Once your plants are split, begin potting the first one.

            Step 6 - Plant Your Lilies

            One-half of your plants can go back into its old pot, which you should prepare the same way as the new pot. Fill it about halfway up with soil and make a well in the center, so the plant has somewhere to go.

            Once you have both pots ready, put the plants into them. Pour more soil over the roots, gently patting it down to help anchor the plant. Repeat this process to plant the other half into its original pot.

              You now have two healthy peace lilies that will thrive. Put one on display in your home, and give your other to a friend or relative.