How to Prune a Peace Lily: The Complete Guide

By: Matt Slaymaker
January 11, 2024
How to Prune a Peace Lily
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Peace lilies make great indoor plants. They are aesthetically appealing and the perfect addition to any interior space. With proper care for your peace lily, you can enjoy its gorgeous white blooms and shiny green foliage fo a long time. But if there’s one thing that you might find challenging about this plant’s maintenance, it’s keeping it well-trimmed. 

Like every other plant, peace lilies should be pruned to foster new growth and maintain good health. Whether you’re a dealing with an overgrown and too bushy plant or with its blooms turning brown, knowing how to prune your peace lily is an essential skill.

So, read on and find out in this guide everything about maintaining your green beauty top shape. 

Do I Need to Prune My Peace Lily Plant?

Yes, you should prune your peace lily plant. Trimming it will maintain its overall health and aesthetics, besides encouraging new growth. In addition, trimming any  yellow or damaged leaves prevents energy waste and directs nutrients to the healthy parts of the plant.

When Should I Prune a Peace Lily?

Do I Need to Prune My Peace Lily Plant
Source: Picture This

The best time to prune your peace lily is early spring or summer before it blooms. Consider it a golden window for ensuring your plant's maximum potential to grow, bloom and flourish. 

Still, it would help to stay watchful for some specific tell-tale signs that your plant needs pruning in the rest of the year, too.

Related: Peace Lily Meaning & Symbolism

How to Know That Your Peace Lily Needs Pruning?  

Look out for these cues to know whether your peace lily needs pruning: 

  • Slow or stunted growth is the first sign of something wrong with your plant, which pruning might solve. 
  • Your plant is too big and bushy, and cannot absorb sufficient sunlight or moisture from the soil mix. 
  • You can notice some yellow, brown, damaged, and dried leaves on your peace lily, as well as damaged stalks and brown, spent blooms.
  • The plant has grown too tall and is almost toppling over. 

Overall, regular pruning is always in the interest of your peace lily, as it promotes continuous and healthy blooming.

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Tools You Need to Prune a Peace Lily

Gather the following tools and materials to get started with your peace lily’s trimming: 

  • Hand pruning shears
  • Gloves
  • Cotton cloth
  • Ethanol or isopropyl alcohol (for sterilization)

Important: You need to properly clean and sterilize your pruning tools with ethanol or isopropyl alcohol to prevent the potential spread of diseases through the fresh cuts. Furthermore, always wear gloves when trimming your peace lily, as it can be mildly toxic to touch.

How Do You Prune a Potted Peace Lily?

How Do You Prune a Potted Peace Lily

You can prune your peace lily easily in a few steps. Just make sure you handle the plant gently to avoid damaging any healthy leaves, stems and blooms. 

Deadhead the Spent Flowers

The first step in pruning your peace lily is to deadhead the wilted, faded, brown or dried flowers. Use your sterilized shears to cut and remove them. This will not only make your peace lily plant look neat but it will also promote the developments of new flowers. 

Trim Old & Damaged Leaves

If the leaves and stalks on your peace lily appear weak and damaged, yellow or with brown tips, remove them to keep your plant fresh and healthy. Old outer leaves should also be trimmed. Again, to avoid spreading any potential pathogens, ensure to wipe your shears with a cloth dipped in alcohol. Also, it's a good idea to wear gloves for your own safety, as the sap can be irritating to the skin.

Clean the Leaves

Gently wipe down the leaves with a damp cotton cloth to remove accumulated dust and restore their shine and luster. This facilitates photosynthesis and promotes your plant’s overall well-being. Mineral oil will also work, but apply a small amount of it about once or twice a year. If you suspect insect issues, wipe the leaves with a cloth and a topical insecticide.

Prune an Oversized Peace Lily

You can also prune the leaves of your peace lily if it’s grown too big and bushy. Starting from the plant's base, cut the stalks of larger leaves that may prevent sufficient light exposure to younger shoots and blooms, using a pair of sharp pruning shears. Don’t forget to clean and sterilize your pruner’s blades after each use. 

Pro Tip: Cutting at an angle works best instead of straight across. 

Note that trimming an oversized and possibly rootbound plant is only one way to revitalize it. You may actually need to repot your peace lily into a larger pot. Or you can decide to divide it into smaller plants and transplant them into individual pots - the most successful peace lily propagation technique.

Can You Cut a Peace Lily All the Way Back?

Yes, it’s absolutely fine to cut your peace lily all the way back. Your plant will still be able to grow back full. 

However, it’s recommended to do this as a last resort. You can keep a few stalks and leaves in place to help your plant recover more quickly and to encourage faster regrowth.

How to Care for Your Peace Lily Post-Pruning?

Take care of your newly pruned peace lily with these expert tips: 

  • To meet your peace lily’s light requirements, post-pruning, keep the plant in partial shade to prevent shock from overexposure to light. 
  • You can protect the fresh cuts from getting infected by coating them with a thin layer of horticultural pruning seal. 
  • Don’t water your freshly trimmed plant immediately. Instead, wait for a couple days, before watering your peace lily, to let it recover. 
  • Ensure consistent temperature and humidity around your plant, allowing it to rest well. 
  • Fertilize the plant sparingly. 

Following these care tips will help your peace lily resume its normal and healthy growth in a few days after trimming it. 

Will a Peace Lily Grow Back If You Cut It?

Yes, your peace lily is a resilient and easy-going plant, so it will definitely grow back. However, the speed, at which it will recover will depends on what you cut and how much. 

  • If you cut off all the leaves, your peace lily will grow back, but slowly. 
  • If you cut off a stem, it won’t grow back. 
  • If you accidentally cut the rhizomes (when dividing the plant), it’s unlikely that this part of your peace lily plant will survive. 

Peace Lily Pruning: Common Issues

Peace Lilies Pruning Common Issues

Avoid these common pruning mistakes to help your peace lily generate new growth: 

Over-pruning

Don’t over-prune your peace lily, and remove only what’s necessary - yellow leaves, leaves with brown tips, and spent flowers. Try to keep your plant as natural as possible. 

Pruning at the Wrong Time

The best time for peace lily pruning is when it’s less active, typically after flowering. Pruning at the wrong time not only puts the plant under stress but also slows down its recovery. 

Overwatering

Avoid watering your peace lily too often or too much post-pruning. Otherwise, this may lead to root rot and infections. 

Using Non-Sterilized Tools

Don’t forget to sterilize your tools with ethanol or isopropyl alcohol after each use to prevent the spread of pests and and diseases. 

Ignoring Post-pruning Inspection 

Last but not least, your job isn’t done with pruning alone. You should inspect your peace lily for infections caused by pathogens in the fresh cuts. Regular monitoring of your plant will keep any pest infestations or other diseases at bay. Remember, early detection means easier management. 

Related: Are Peace Lilies Dangerous to Pets? What Cat and Dog Owners Should Know

How to Prune a Peace Lily: FAQs

Q: How do I make my peace lily bushy?

A: You can make your peace lily bushy by ensuring it gets enough indirect sunlight, the right amount of moisture, medium to high humidity, and regular pruning. Being a tropical plant, peace lilies thrive best in temperatures between 65°F and 75°F (or 18°C to 23°C) during the day and about 10° cooler at night. 

Q: Should I cut the brown tips off my peace lily?

A: Yes, it’s highly recommended to cut the brown tips off your peace lily. These are generally dead tissue, trimming the affected laves enhances your plant's appearance and prevents the potential spread of disease. 

Q: Can you cut a peace lily in half?

A: Yes, you can cut a peace lily in half for propagation purposes to expand your indoor garden or to create a thoughtful plant gift for a loved one.  

Q: Do peace lilies multiply?

A: Yes, peace lilies can multiply! They do this naturally in the wild. You can expand your plant collection at home by dividing your large peace lily into smaller plants. 

Conclusion

Pruning your peace lily is a simple yet essential task to stimulate its overall health and encourage new growth. 

By removing dead or damaged leaves, maintaining a tidy appearance, and periodically dividing the plant, you can guarantee a vibrant and flourishing peace lily in your indoor or outdoor space. 

Want some more air-purifying companion plants for your peace lily? Enhance the tranquility of your space with a variety of snake plants, a Golden pothos, or an amazing spider plant.