Growing peace lily in water | What you need to know!

Peace lilies in water are a total houseplant classic! This aroid species grows very well with its roots submerged semi-permanently, and many indoor gardeners prefer the look over a potted plant. Being able to see the root system in a translucent vase is pretty rad. Some also swear they can only keep their Spathiphyllums alive in water and that these plants are just too finicky in soil.

Whatever your reasons for switching to hydroponic growing, let’s go into everything you need to know about growing peace lily in water!

Rooted peace lily in water

First off, some clarification. If you’ve got a rooted peace lily, like if you separated different clumps while propagating peace lily, obviously there’s no real need to grow it in water. After all, you’ve basically obtained brand new plants; all you have to do is choose the proper soil and planter and you’ll be good to go. You can find everything you need to know about growing these plants the ‘normal’ way in the full peace lily care guide.

This article is just for the folks who actually prefer growing their plant in water. It does have some advantages and it looks very nice.

Peace lily houseplants (Spathiphyllum) growing in water.

Making the move

If you’re interested in growing a peace lily in water, you’ll be glad to know that it really is very easy. Here’s how you set things up:

  • Select a container you like and fill it up. Remember: you may not be able to remove your plant from a thin-necked vase at a later stage without damaging its root system.
  • If you don’t have an uprooted peace lily ready, go ahead and take the plant out of its pot now. Shake off as much soil as you can.
  • Give your plant’s roots a good clean to remove any soil bits, as they increase the risk of rot.
  • Fill the vase or glass you selected with water. Distilled or rainwater is usually preferable, as long as you plan on using fertilizer. Peace lilies can be sensitive to the minerals in tap water, after all, responding with brown leaf tips.
  • Pop the plant into its new container. Only the roots should be submerged, not the stems! You can use some glass marbles or pebbles to raise the plant, or even get or make a special insert for the vase.
  • Find it a nice and light spot, but not one that gets direct sun. Direct light can cause overheated water and algae growth. Artificial light is absolutely fine as well.
  • Sit back and enjoy. Your peace lily can lose some leaves or look a bit cranky as a result of the change, but it should adapt to its new life in water soon enough.
Spathiphyllum (peace lily) houseplant roots.
Peace lily (Spathiphyllum) houseplant roots after cleaning.

Hydroponic peace lily care & fertilizing

One of the reasons so many indoor gardeners like to have their peace lilies and other plants in water is because it’s such a hands-off growing method. You can’t make watering mistakes if you don’t have to water your plants! Given the fact that these guys can be totally finicky and problems with peace lily are almost always related to either over- or underwatering, not having to worry about this can be a relief.

Still, your Spathiphyllum will need a little bit of attention once in a while. Change the water regularly, at least every other week. You’ll also have to add a little fertilizer once in a while. Your peace lily will unfortunately very slowly wither without it.

The way to go in terms of fertilizing is to use a brand meant specifically for growing plants hydroponically. Just follow the instructions on the bottle, which will probably tell you to dilute the fertilizer in water and use this every time you change it.

Did you know? Peace lilies can also be grown in LECA or hydro balls. This is referred to as ‘semi-hydroponic’ growing, kind of a middle ground type option.

Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum) growing in water.

Unrooted peace lily in water

If you’re trying to propagate a peace lily and you obtained a clump that doesn’t have any roots, worry not. It’s perfectly possible to coax some roots out of it and have it grow into a thriving new plant.

Let me preface this by saying that, again, you don’t have to grow an unrooted peace lily in water. They will also root in soil with the right care. It’s just a fun method that can speed things up, allows you to see the root progress and looks pretty darn decorative on your windowsill.

Rooting peace lily in water is done by following the steps described in the section on moving your plant to water above. Just make sure you only submerge the part that was previously under the soil, or you risk the cutting rotting. That’s truly all there is to it.

Set everything up? All you have to do now is change the water regularly and keep an eye on things to see how the roots progress. You can pot the plant in soil once the roots are an inch or two (~5 cm) long, but you can also leave it in water indefinitely.

Tip: Want to know more about dividing and propagating peace lily? Have a look at the peace lily propagation guide!

Close-up of peace lily (Spathiphyllum) houseplant roots in water.

Peace lily in the aquarium?

I’ve seen photos of peace lilies in water with a Betta fish (Betta splendens). Bettas are one of the most popular freshwater fish species out there, mainly due to their diminutive size and beautiful colors. They can be kept in small aquariums, but let me be clear here. They can NOT be kept in a vase. A Betta WILL suffer and eventually die if you try to keep it this way. Have a look at this Betta fish housing guide to find out what your fish will need to thrive.

Okay, so no peace lilies in vases with Betta fish. But what about an actual aquarium? Yep, your peace lily will love having its feet in a fish tank. Fish poop water is a houseplant’s definition of heaven:

  • The water will have some nitrates and phosphates, which your plant can use to sustain itself. That means no fertilizer will be needed.
  • The above also means that your peace lily can actually help to keep aquarium water quality high.
  • The water movement means there is plenty of oxygen in the water, more than in a stagnant vase.

You can buy special inserts that allow you to suspend a plant over the aquarium in such a way that its roots are submerged but its leaves aren’t. If you can’t find any, you could also do some DIY magic with coarse mesh. You can even try asking a friend with a 3D printer!

The only caveat is that since an aquarium’s lamps tend to point directly downward at the water column, your peace lily may not receive enough light. They don’t need much to thrive, but it can be handy to install some extra lighting if the plant begins to look a bit too spindly.


Any more questions about growing peace lily in water or if you’d like to share your own experiences with these beautiful blooming houseplants? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

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