Variegated peace lily care is about the same as caring for a regular peace lily, but variegation give this classic houseplant a bit more visual interest. Learn all about it in this post!
How do you take care of a variegated peace lily plant?
Would you accept it if I told you I’ve never owned a peace lily? I know, I know…it’s a classic plant, but there is just something about it that doesn’t particularly interest me. But when I saw a variegated peace lily…I loved it! I didn’t even realize there was a variegated peace lily—I’d never seen one.
My plant is pretty small, but I’ve been enjoying watching it grow. Really hoping it takes off this summer with more light and rising temperatures! But it makes a great desktop plant right now. So let’s talk about variegated peace lily care.
Variegated domino peace lily origins
So where do variegated peace lilies come from? “Peace lily” generally refers to some species within the spathiphyllum genus, so you’ll often just hear “spathiphyllum” and “peace lily” used interchangeably. Much like monstera, philodendron, and hoya are each their own genus, spathiphyllum is a genus.
Within the spathiphyllum are nearly 50 species of evergreen flowering plants native to tropical regions of the Americas (mostly South America). And speaking of flowers, they are really cool.
The flowers on spathiphyllum plants are not difficult to get, even while growing the plant indoors. This is a nice bonus considering flowering on houseplants can often be difficult to achieve. The flowers remind me a lot of alocasia (elephant ear) flowers, emerging from a spadix.
When the flowers open, they kind of look like one of those tiny corn on the cobs at the bottom-center of a single leaf. Really cool looking—have a peek below.
The variegated peace lily is a hybrid plant derived from the classic peace lily. I have seen it referred to as a domino peace lily, a spathiphyllum hybrid, a spathiphyllum domino, and a spathiphyllum diamond. Whatever you call it, its green leaves have splashy patches, stripes, and speckles of white.
The variegated on a domino peace lily actually reminds me a lot of the sought-after variegation on a Monstera Deliciosa Albo Variegata. So if you can’t get your hands on an albo monstera, maybe grab a variegated peace lily 🙂
Is a variegated peace lily rare?
I hadn’t seen one before, but that doesn’t mean it’s rare! It also doesn’t mean I hadn’t walked right by it on a mission to find something else. Like I said, peace lilies were not always on my radar as a plant I wanted to add to my collection.
Rarity is a funny concept, though…I do think that variegated peace lilies are harder to find than the classic solid green peace lilies. You can find a classic peace lily pretty much whenever you want at any local garden center.
Variegated peace lilies are slightly harder to find, but I wouldn’t call them rare. I got mine for $15 at a local nursery, and they had plenty. Also, if you live in an area without access to a lot of plants, you can order them online for very reasonable prices.
Do variegated peace lilies need more light?
Yes. While variegated peace lily care is not challenging, there are a few things to keep in mind with its care. Especially if you’re used to taking care of the ever-hardy classic peace lily.
Variegation in any plant means that the leaves have less chlorophyll. And chlorophyll is a necessary part of the photosynthesis process—aka the process through which the plant absorbs energy and lives. Because the leaves have less chlorophyll, this plant needs more light than a solid green peace lily.
Give your variegated peace lily plenty of bright indirect light to ensure it grows well. Some dappled direct sun is fine—like through slats under a covered patio or in weaker morning sun—but too much direct light can burn the plant’s foliage.
The leaves are quite thin, and although they seem slightly more rugged than the classic peace lily’s leaves with the raised and mottled variegation, they will scorch! Avoid this, because you can’t fix a burnt leave. Gotta cut it off.
Domino peace lilies will also do just fine in medium light levels, but keep an eye on the variegation in the new growth. If the plant is showing less variegation or even reverting to leaves that are all green, it needs more light.
Variegated plants will often revert to solid green leaves as a last ditch effort to not die. The more green on the plant’s leaves, the more chlorophyll. And the more chlorophyll, the easier it is to undergo photosynthesis. Plenty of bright indirect light will prevent this.
Watering a variegated peace lily
Watering your variegated peace lily is simple. Give it a thorough drink when the top several inches of soil are dry. I often see people say an inch or two, but I like to push plants in this family (aroids) a bit longer to avoid fungus gnats.
I find that they typically tolerate this just fine. It usually evens out to once every two weeks in the winter and once a week in the summer. Spring and fall can be more challenging as the temperature and light levels change—just check your soil instead of sticking to a rigid watering schedule.
Overwatering will kill your peace lily, variegated or not. It will lead to root rot and suffocate the plant from the bottom up. You can avoid this by thoroughly watering the plant and letting all of the excess water drain from the pot’s drainage holes.
Then make sure you let the top several inches of soil dry out before watering the plant again. Oh—and I like to give the tops and bottoms of the foliage a good rinse when watering the plant, too. This helps keep the leaves looking their best and also keeps the plant inhospitable to pests.
Choosing the right soil is a critical part of ensuring your watering routine doesn’t get thrown off. Any potting soil labeled “indoor” or “houseplant” will work just fine. These soils come pre-mixed with things to help facilitate drainage and aeration like perlite.
If your soil is too heavy, the plant’s roots will suffocate. The soil will retain too much water, and no oxygen will be able to get to the roots.
Temperature & humidity needs
Your domino peace lily is not terribly picky about temperature and humidity. It will do well in a variety of normal household temperature and humidity levels. That said, it likes warmth and humidity. Shoot for between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, with the upper end of that window being best.
If you have your domino peace lily outside for the spring and summer, monitor the plant to ensure the higher temperatures aren’t evaporating the water too quickly. You might need to water the plant more outdoors.
Variegated peace lilies—and classic peace lilies—are not cold or frost hardy. So if you do have the plant outdoors and temperatures dip down into the 50s at night where you are, pull the plant inside. I’ve found that most aroids can withstand a few nighttime cold snaps down into the 50s, but the plant might show signs of stress if this goes on for too long.
If you can give your plant more humidity, that’s great. If not, don’t worry. Unless your plant is showing signs of stress like crispy leaves, it’s likely just fine with your home’s normal humidity.
If you do need to boost humidity, you can put the plant in something like a glass greenhouse cabinet or add a humidifier. I don’t find that pebble trays do much to help raise ambient humidity levels (unless it’s in an enclosed space). And misting the foliage is a temporary fix.
Fertilizing, growth rate, & repotting
I am not a fertilizer nut and think that peace lilies and simlar plants do just fine if they are potted in a high-quality soil. That said, since the variegated peace lily is somewhat of a slower grower than its classic all-green relative, you may not need to repot the plant often.
I will not repot mine until the roots are totally busting out of the pot’s drainage holes. And this means that, after a while, the nutrients in my fresh soil could be depleted. When this occurs, I generally add in some worm castings to the top layer of the soil using a fork.
I buy bags of them, I don’t farm the worm poop myself (maybe one day!). These are incredibly nutrient dense and do a GREAT job of feeding you plant. I also started using concentrated Liqui-Dirt fertilizer this year.
I like using Liqui-Dirt because it is not a chemical fertilizer, and there isn’t a risk of burning your plants. Yes—too much fertilizer can burn the roots, leading to unhealthy foliage. I have done this to a pothos plant before, and it definitely spooked me.
Chemical fertilizers are totally fine if you want to use them, though! Just make sure to dilute it, and don’t use it every time you water the plant. Flushing the soil can also help rinse out buildup—just deeply water the plant several times in a row when it needs water, letting all of the excess water drain out.
How big do variegated peace lilies get?
As I mentioned earlier, there are many different types of spathiphyllum plants, and they are often just referred to as “peace lilies.” To be honest, I don’t know enough about the different varieties to speak on them more than that—maybe I’ll add a peace lily post to the list so I can research it!
That said, I do know that variegated peace lilies do not generally get as large as some of the classic peace lily varieties you are used to seeing. While many larger peace lilies can grow to be many feel tall, the domino peace lily tops out at around one or two feet tall.
How to propagate a variegated peace lily
You can propagate a variegated peace lily through division. The best time to do this is during spring repotting. Peace lilies grow from rhizome structures under the soil line.
When you remove your plant from its pot, gently remove the soil to expose the rhizomes and roots. Look for clumps of stems that emerge from a single rhizome. Break this rhizome off of the main plant, taking all of the stems and roots with it.
You can now plant this separated peace lily into fresh well-draining soil. Water the plant after you transplant it, but know that it might need a few weeks to get acclimated and perk back up.
Variegated peace lily issues & solutions
As a final section, let’s talk through some of the issues you might encounter with your variegated peace lily and how to resolve them.
1. Yellowing, wilting leaves and wet soil
If your variegated peace lily has yellow, wilting leaves and wet soil, check to make sure you are not overwatering the plant. Water after the top several inches of soil have dried out, and make sure you’re using a well-draining soil.
2. Yellowing, wilting leaves and soil that is caked
Yellowing leaves can also be a sign of underwatering. So if you’ve been neglecting your plant and see that the soil is caked, shrinking away from the sides of the pot, it’s probably underwatering 🙂
3. Leaves with brown tips or spots
If your variegated peace lily has brown tips on its leaves or brown spots, it could be a lack of humidity. Try adding a humidifier or regularly misting the plant to see if it helps. Larger brown spots on the leaves could also be a sign of root rot if the soil is too wet.
4. Fungus gnats
All plant parents will battle fungus gnats at some point! Fungus gnats lay eggs in the top later of a plant’s soil, and they only like moist soil. So a fungus gnat infestation is probably a sign that you’re overwatering your plant. See my post on How to Get Rid of Gnats in Houseplants for more.
5. Loss of variegation
Is new foliage reverting to green? Or maybe the variegation isn’t as striking as it was in older leaves? Your plant may need more light. Bright, indirect light is best to help your peace lily maintain its lovely variegation.
6. Cotton-looking clusters on the leaves and stems
These are mealybugs, and they are a common houseplant pest. They lay eggs in nests clustered around where the leaves meet the stems, usually. And on the undersides of leaves. See my post about Mealybugs on Houseplants for more—but a houseplant insecticide spray will help!
7. Sticky brown residue on or around the plant
This is from an insect called scale. They leave that sticky sap as they feed on plants. The best way to rid your plant of scale is by using a houseplant insecticide spray.