Picasso Peace Lily: Care Guide
The Picasso spathiphyllum peace lily is a very rare gem in the plant world and a beautiful alternative to its regular spathiphyllum counterparts. Picasso’s are very hard to find in the U.S, but look no further, these are the real deal! The Picasso has beautiful tricolor variegation throughout its leaves and each one is unique. With the right care, your variegated peace lily will thrive in its new home, and are a must have in your rare plant collection.
They are that type of plant where "caring too much" is usually the only problem you could run into.
Read on to see what makes them thrive and why we love them so much!
Being highly variegated as they are, keeping them in a bright-indirect south facing window is preferred, but any bright window will do just fine. However, being a spathiphyllum, they can tolerate lower levels of light and do just fine. Although, this can cause the white variegation to temporarily revert to green to try soak up as much sun as possible. As long as they have bright light they will thrive. The more light the Picasso receives the more variegation it will throw. Try to avoid keeping them in direct sunlight as this can burn the leaves.
If you're fortunate enough to have a bathroom with a window, they make great bathroom plants and will appreciate the extra humidity!
If using grow-lights, we use white LEDs. We tried the purple ones and they are a little too strong for what Picassos tend to like. Keep the lights no less than 12 inches away from the leaves. They can burn easily if the lights are too close. Below is an example:
Having a grow-light in general is a fantastic way to supplement all your houseplants during long winters!
We found that Picasso's really like to have a routine when it comes to watering (like they do in nature), so consistency really helps balance them out and keep them low-maintenance. They like to have moist soil at all times and never soggy (waterlogged). Allowing them to dry out in-between waterings can cause their leaves to get limp and droopy until they get watered. Their leaves will perk up in a few hours after that.
They can be a little dramatic at times, but who doesn't like a plant with personality?
Tap Water or Distilled Water? -
Spathiphyllum's in particular are known to be sensitive to fluoride and chlorine in water. Over time they can burn the roots and leaves. If possible, use distilled water but it’s not required. Even using a Brita at home works just as well.
Best Soil To Grow In?
We have grown the variegated Picasso lilies in leca, perlite, sphagnum moss, peat moss and coco coir. All did great! As long as they don’t get over-watered or dry out completely they can tolerate a wide range of medias. Picasso's are very flexible. Keep in mind you want a fast-draining soil with moderate water-holding capabilities. A good rule of thumb is to find a mixture that feels chunky and won't compact when you squeeze it in your hands.
We have also experimented growing only in Leca (which can be very expensive) so we tried a perlite/sphagnum moss mix which was way more affordable. The mixture was 80 % perlite & 20% sphagnum moss chopped up. To chop the moss I took scissors and grabbed a handful at a time and began to carefully cut sections off. After a few months of observation, they thrived in that too. They are very adaptable which is the beauty of the picasso peace lilies.
Growing In Water:
I experimented with placing a Picasso in an aquarium for a 4 weeks to see if they would grow hydroponically. What happened was the roots grew within days, perky growth and sturdy stems. New growth was emerging at a decent rate and no drooping.
I think a big reason for it being happy in water (aquarium) was the fact there was a constant supply of nutrients and water circulation due to the fish tank filter. If you decide to grow them in water I suggest changing the water at least once a week to prevent algae and rotting from happening. Another option is growing them in an aquarium!
We have found that keeping them above 60 degrees (F) year round keeps them growing and looking their best. Anything below that can cause slow growth and limp leaves. Their roots are especially sensitive to cold temperatures, so making sure they are not next to a cold draft in the winter is important. Once their roots get damaged from the cold, it's hard for them to come back from that. Ideally, keeping the room temperature around 70 is best, however it's not required.
The Picasso is a humidity lover which is around 70-80%, the more the better, so if you live in a dry climate they appreciate an occasional light misting (with distilled water) twice a day. You can also place it in a humid room, like a bathroom, or use a pebble tray under their pot. If you are a little more advanced and have an indoor greenhouse you can easily raise the humidity and keep it in. Spathiphyllum's are known for their adaptability, so a slightly-dry environment is usually tolerated. We are located in Spokane Washington so our humidity is around 45% indoors and ours are still thriving.
In nature peace lilies grow on the rainforest floor, where the heavy rainfall washes away nutrients in the soil, leaving hardly any. This means they are technically nutrient deprived. This translates to them being sensitive to certain chemicals in fertilizers and not being as tolerant to nutrients as other houseplants. We don't recommend heavily fertilizing a peace lily, as they usually don't need or want extra nutrients.
If you do fertilize, we highly suggest using a diluted water soluble mix and fertilizing every other month or so. This will prevent you from over feeding them and promoting faster lusher growth.
We repot our Peace Lilies yearly, and the fresh soil mixture supplies enough slow-release nutrients to last until the next year.
Our Advanced Growing Parameters:
We are sharing with you what we do to grow our peace lilies. Please understand that we use professional growing techniques that are not as realistic to copy at home. The care instructions above are just as successful.
What we do is use an indoor greenhouse with LED grow lights, a fan, digital thermometer and digital humidity tracker. The thermometer is also connected to an app that we can see the fluctuations of temperature and humidity 24/7. Followed by a misting in the morning, afternoon and right before the lights get turned off.
Lighting Hours: We use a timer that we plug into the wall that allows us to program the amount of daylight hours we want. Our grow-lights turn on at 7 AM and then turn off at 10 PM, which is a total of 15 hours of light they receive.
Our Temps: We keep the Picasso peace lilies at 75-80 degrees (F) during the day then at night, dropping the temperature to 65-70 degrees (F). We do this by venting the greenhouse and leaving it open for 30 min or so. We can track the temperature with a digital thermometer.
Our Humidity: During the day we keep the humidity between 75-80% during the morning and afternoon. At night we drop the humidity to 70% humidity by venting the greenhouses.
Occasionally, you'll need to remove older, yellowing leaves (which is totally normal, don't worry). Besides that, sizing up the pot when it outgrows it is also recommended.
The Picasso peace lily tends to be a hearty and pest-resistant houseplant. As with all plants, chronic under-watering or ultra-low humidity can lead to crispy leaves, which can invite in pests. Likewise, overwatering can cause root rot, or drown your plant altogether (although it could only take one time!).
Example of low humidity & drying out too much.
We shouldn't really say "common", but dry or dead leaves can host spider mites or thrips. Be sure to remove any dead foliage, and look for signs of water stress like leaves developing brown, crispy edges and up your misting or watering frequency.
If a number of leaves suddenly turn yellow, black and/or brown, especially if they are newer leaves near the top of the plant, then that could be signaling a lack of oxygen to the roots or the resulting fungal or bacterial infection. This is especially true if you just watered, your pot doesn't have drainage holes in the bottom, and the soil mix is easily waterlogged. Although it is often too late to save the plant by this point, you can try immediately repotting the plant into a new pot with fresh soil (that is not waterlogged). Just be sure to cut off any roots that look dead or mushy.
Another option is to water again, ironically, but this time it's with diluted hydrogen peroxide (1 part hydrogen peroxide to 3 parts water). The hydrogen peroxide decomposes into oxygen and water, which supplies much needed oxygen to the roots in addition to its antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Now that you have read the care needed to be successful with your new Picasso let us know what you think in the comments below. We love hearing from you all.