A Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum) with small leaves and flowers has a story. Small leaves are often the result of poor care or unmet needs.
It’s also possible that you’re doing everything correctly and that the plant knows something about its age or variety. Whatever the case, there is always a reason why that otherwise beautiful plant is underperforming.
Peace Lilies require consistent light and water to grow their distinctive long leaves and elegant flowers.
Unfortunately, the Peace Lily will be stunted due to nutrient deficiencies, pest damage, and a crowded pot. Smaller varieties and younger plants grow more compactly as well.
How Big Can a Peace Lily Get?
Most Peace Lilly varieties are small, with leaves that grow to be about two feet (60cm) tall.
If you were given a new Lily or purchased one without a cultivar name, it will most likely grow to be around two feet tall.
They may develop a little taller if you spoil them with great light, good water, and that perfect soil. They will become smaller if they do not receive what they require.
Reasons Why Peace Lilies Have Tiny Leaves and Flowers
Your Peace Lily Plant is Young
Peace Lilies will only flower when fully mature, usually around five years. Until then, it will focus on growing its leaves. So even if you purchased one with large leaves, these would be smaller than average.
Synthetic hormones are frequently used in commercial nurseries to promote faster growth and earlier flowering, and Peace Lilies are no exception.
However, when you bring home a plant covered in large, lush flowers, you may be disappointed to find that the subsequent flowers are much smaller and more delicate.
All you have to do to fix this is wait. The leaves will grow larger over time as the plant matures, and once fully developed, you will see those lovely flowers.
You’re Hiding It in the Shadows
Peace lilies are often touted as a good choice for shady spaces, but they require relatively bright indirect light to thrive.
Peace lilies can “survive” in dim rooms, but that’s the operative word. They require bright indirect light (between moderate levels) to thrive.
This is especially true for flowers with small spathes, and only some of them tell us that the Lily needs more light.
Transfer the Peace Lily to a brighter part of your growing area. A room with a southern or southeastern orientation is ideal. However, keep the Lily from direct sunlight; stray sunbeams will scorch the leaves.
You Water It Too Infrequently
People often say that a Peace Lily will wilt dramatically if it needs water, which is true but wrong advice.
When a Peace Lily begins to wilt, it is already severely dehydrated. The water providing structural support inside the foliage is no longer present, having been pressed into service to keep the plant alive.
Repeated wilting causes crisp leaf tips and edges and affect plant growth. It spends too much time in recovery mode and produces smaller leaves and flowers.
Water your Peace Lily before it starts to droop. They prefer moist, but not saturated, soils. Watering frequency is determined by the season, your Lily’s size, and the growing environment’s temperature.
For example, in the summer, you may only need to water once or twice a week, whereas in the winter, once a month is sufficient.
Checking in on the plant once a week is the simplest way to manage the soil moisture of a Peace Lily.
When the top layer of soil on my Lily is dehydrated, I water it. If you want to be specific, use a moisture meter to test the levels beneath the ground.
The Peace Lily is Too Wet
Both are not getting enough water, and having too much water around the roots can make it hard for a Peace Lily to grow big leaves.
Understanding the role of roots is crucial to making sense of this apparent contradiction.
Also, conditions that are always wet are good for fungus growth, which leads to root rot. As a result, the rotten rot on the plant cannot take in any food or water.
First, the Peace Lily should only get water when the soil is dry. Repotting Lily could be an option if this doesn’t solve the issue.
Soil that keeps and holds too much water will do the damage from even a tiny amount of extra water worse. Peace lilies need a potting mix full of organic matter that drains well. Here is how to make your peace lily soil.
Pests and diseases Weaken Plants
Peace Lilies are generally pest and disease-resistant, but even the toughest plant can fall victim to infestation or infection.
Insect pests are easy to identify. Look for tiny bugs clustered under leaves and along stems, particularly in nooks and crannies where the leaf emerges from the branch.
The usual suspects of fluffy white mealy bugs, smooth dark scales,s, and bright red spider mites prefer to hide.
The disease is more difficult to detect. Keep an eye out for irregular brown or yellow spots on the leaves and soft areas of the stem.
Root diseases are the most difficult to detect because they cause rot beneath the soil.
Pythium and Phytophthora are two of the most common causes of unexplained dieback and poor performance and are most visible at the roots. You have a problem if they are brown, black, rotting, or smelly.
If you catch them early enough, you can get rid of pests by physically moving them. I like to put my poor, infested plants under the showerhead or spray them with a garden hose.
An alternative is rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab to remove them. Heavy infestations can be eliminated with a neem oil spray.
Diseases are harder to treat. The fungus often causes spots on leaves, and the only thing that you can do is to cut back the leaves that are sick.
Fungicides containing copper are effective against fungi, particularly those found in the roots. Always read the label and wear safety gear like gloves when using strong chemicals.
Your Pot is too Small
Even though Peace Lilies don’t mind being slightly rootbound, their new leaves will be stunted if they aren’t given enough room to expand.
In addition, the soil is the only source of nutrients and materials for their leaves, so they will have no leaves if the soil is depleted.
It is time to repot if the plant’s roots are beginning to show through the drainage holes or the soil itself.
You should repot the Lily into a pot no more than two inches wider than the old one. By doing so, the plant can take advantage of the new soil and nutrients it contains.
The Peace Lily has a Nutrient Deficiency
Growing leaves and flowers is a very energy-intensive process that necessitates light, suitable soil, and a specific group of minerals.
Small, weak leaves are one sign that there are problems with nutrients. Yellowing of the leaf tissue, especially between the veins, is another symptom of magnesium deficiency.
A small amount of Epsom salts will help correct magnesium deficiencies. First, dilute two tablespoons of Epsom salts in one gallon of warm water.
When the solution has cooled, spray directly onto the plant’s leaves to deliver the magnesium where it’s needed.
Avoid further issues by using a high-quality organic fertilizer low in nitrogen. Too much nitrogen will result in lush foliage but no blossoms.
I like seaweed emulsion (Amazon link) the best for delivering micronutrients. It does much of what most commercial fertilizers don’t, but it doesn’t put too much nitrogen in the soil.
Flower Size Varies by Variety
The size of your flowers will be heavily influenced by the age of the plant and its genes. Some varieties can grow quite large, with massive but infrequent blooms. Others are much smaller.
The cultivar ‘Spathiphyllum Clevelandii Merry’ is a well-known older variety. It grows to just over a foot (30cm) in height, with smaller, more compact flowers that average around 6 inches (15cm) in length.
With proper care, ‘Mauna Loa Supreme’ can grow to two to three feet (60-90cm). Flowers range from 4 to 12 inches (10-30cm).
Consider the ‘Little Angel’ cultivar if you want a compact Lily. It grows to about a foot in height and blooms more profusely than almost all dwarf varieties yearly. Their flowers are usually about 4 inches long (10cm).
Spathiphyllum wallisii is another dependable dwarf variety, with leaves that measure 8 to 10 inches (20-22cm) in length and dainty blooms that measure 3 to 5 inches (8-13cm).
The spathiphyllum Sensation variety is the largest of the Peace Lily family. It can reach a height of six feet two meters.
This Peace Lily has spectacular, ribbed leaves grown for foliage rather than flowers, but their rare blooms can be more than a foot (30cm) long.