Avoid this common mistake when watering your peace lily

Experts advise that water straight from the tap can be bad for these elegant and air-purifying house plants

watering a peace lily
(Image credit: Liudmila Chernetska/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

If you're looking for a low-maintenance indoor plant, a peace lily is a good choice. But when it comes to watering them, there's a top tip to bear in mind.

If you want to keep your peace lily happy and healthy, avoid using tap water when this stunning houseplant needs hydration, as Suzie Woolley, head of product at Serenata Flowers (opens in new tab), tells the Express (opens in new tab).

Whenever possible, it's best to use filtered water for peace lilies (Spathiphyllum genus), as tap water can contain fluoride which the plant is sensitive to, she says.

Water is essential

Watering plants is essential for peace lilies because they originate from tropical South America, where they thrive in damp, moist conditions. If you have no choice but to use heavily-chlorinated tap water, a good tip is to allow it to sit out in a jug or container overnight first, to allow the chemicals to evaporate.

peace lily

These tropical plants need water to thrive

(Image credit: Grigory Pil/Alamy Stock Photo)

Let the water reach room temperature

As the weather grows colder, don’t use any kind of cold water on peace lilies as the shock can be damaging to their delicate root systems, adds Suzie. 

'When heading into winter, bring the water to room temperature before watering as water that is too cold can shock the plants,' she warns.

If you’re worried about very extreme temperatures causing damage, just keep making sure that the leaves are gently misted instead.

misting peace lily

You can mist peace lilies to keep them hydrated

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What damage can tap water cause?

Diane Blazek, Executive Director at the US National Garden Bureau (opens in new tab), says that damage from using tainted water on peace lilies appears as brown tips on the edge of the leaves. She recommends using distilled water, reverse osmosis water (which is water with contaminants removed), or untreated well water.

Sarah Squire, chairman of Squire’s Garden Centres (opens in new tab), says she kept a peace lily in her childhood bedroom at home for years and puts it high on her chart of best indoor plants that are easy to grow. 'It only ever received a dose of "Thames tap", but thrived wonderfully,' she admits. 

Sarah thinks whatever kind of water you choose to care for your peace lily, 'overwatering is probably more of an issue. So, water as the plant needs it rather than by a timetable, keeping the compost moist and not waterlogged.'

peace lily

You can help keep your peace lily happy and healthy with the right watering techniques

(Image credit: perfectlab/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)
Jayne Dowle
Freelance writer

Jayne Dowle is an award-winning gardening, homes and property writer who writes for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. She was awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021.