Chinese evergreen and peace lily are two popular houseplants known for their stunning foliage and ability to thrive in indoor environments. Both plants offer a touch of elegance to any space, but they each have distinct characteristics and care requirements that set them apart. In this article, we’ll compare these two houseplant favorites to help you decide which is best suited for your home.
The Chinese evergreen, or Aglaonema, is widely appreciated for its easy care and beautiful, patterned leaves. This slow-growing plant matures to about three feet tall and wide, which makes it versatile enough to transition from a tabletop decoration to a floor plant as it grows. On the other hand, the peace lily, or Spathiphyllum, demands more attention with its frequent watering needs and its preference for moist soil. The peace lily’s stunning white flowers also make it a visually appealing addition to any room.
Considering the differences in their care needs and appearance, it’s essential to know which plant suits your lifestyle and preferences better. In the following sections, we’ll explore in-depth the specific care requirements, ideal growing conditions, and other considerations for both Chinese evergreen and peace lily plants. By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to make an informed decision on which plant is perfect for your space.
Chinese Evergreen Overview
Origins and History
Chinese evergreen, also known as Aglaonema, is a popular indoor plant that originally hails from Southeast Asia. The plant has a long history of cultivation, as it has been grown and nurtured for its attractive foliage for centuries in countries like China, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Today, Chinese evergreens have become increasingly popular in homes and offices around the world due to their low-maintenance nature and ability to thrive in low light conditions.
Aglaonema plants exhibit a range of stunning and colorful foliage. They typically have large, lush, green leaves with interesting patterns and markings that vary depending on the species and variety. Some have mostly green leaves with silver or white markings, while others display vibrant red or pink hues in their foliage. The plants usually grow to a height of two to three feet, making them suitable for both tabletop displays when young and as floor plants when mature. Although Chinese evergreen is a flowering plant, its small, peace lily-like flowers are not particularly showy and are often overshadowed by the attractive leaves.
Caring for a Chinese evergreen is relatively simple, as they are adaptable plants that can tolerate various conditions. Here are some key care guidelines:
- Light: Chinese evergreen plants prefer low to medium, indirect light; however, they can endure low light conditions, making them suitable for shaded areas and offices.
- Temperature: These plants thrive in average room temperatures, between 65 and 80°F during the day and slightly cooler at night.
- Water: Water your Chinese evergreen when the top inch of soil feels dry, as they prefer to stay evenly moist but not soggy. Overwatering can lead to root rot.
- Humidity: Maintain moderate humidity levels, as dry air may cause browning of the leaf tips.
- Soil: Use a high-quality, well-draining potting mix that is rich in organic matter and slightly acidic.
- Fertilization: Apply a balanced, liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half its strength every six to eight weeks during growing season.
To keep your Chinese evergreen looking its best, be sure to remove any yellow or damaged leaves, and periodically clean the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust. Following these care guidelines will help your Chinese evergreen maintain its health and vigor, making it a beautiful addition to any indoor space.
Peace Lily Overview
Origins and History
The Peace Lily, with its scientific name Spathiphyllum, is a member of the Arum family. These tropical, evergreen plants are native to Central and South America, where they thrive on the forest floor beneath the canopy. They enjoy dappled sunlight and consistent moisture and humidity.
A common feature among the various types of Peace Lilies is the presence of large, glossy, oval leaves. These plants are known for their tropical appearance and beautiful flowers. The flowers, often mistakenly referred to as petals, are actually bracts (modified leaves) surrounding the true flowers which are small and often clustered together on a spadix.
Caring for Peace Lilies is relatively easy, making them a popular choice among indoor plant enthusiasts. Their ideal temperature range is 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, so it is crucial to protect them from drafts and drastic temperature changes. Place them in an area away from direct exposure to cold winter air, such as near an entrance door.
Here’s a quick overview of some key care requirements for Peace Lilies:
- Light: They prefer indirect sunlight or dappled shade, which mimics their natural habitat on the forest floor.
- Water: Peace Lilies usually require more frequent watering than Chinese Evergreen, as they prefer consistently moist soil.
- Fertilizer: Use an organic houseplant fertilizer during the spring and summer months to encourage blooming.
- Pruning: Regular pruning may be necessary to help maintain the plant’s shape and remove any yellowing leaves or wilting flowers.
By keeping these care guidelines in mind, you can help your Peace Lily thrive and enjoy its lush, exotic appearance in your indoor space.
Comparing Chinese Evergreen and Peace Lily
Chinese Evergreens are known for their beautiful leaves, which can be plain or multi-patterned, exhibiting various shades of green, white, red, and pink. Their flowers occasionally resemble small peace lily flowers, though they are not as showy. On the other hand, Peace Lilies are predominantly recognized for their striking, glossy green leaves and white, spade-shaped flowers. They can grow in various sizes, depending on the specific variety.
Chinese Evergreens grow slowly, and their rate of growth is determined by several factors, including lighting conditions and the specific variety. In general, these plants can reach heights of around 1-3 feet. Peace Lilies, similarly, are slow-growers, with some varieties reaching 3-4 feet in height.
Light and Water Preferences
Both plants require different levels of light and water preferences. Chinese Evergreens prefer drier soil and can tolerate longer periods without watering. They can grow well in low to medium light conditions. Peace Lilies, conversely, need more frequent watering and thrive in moist soil. They are shade-loving plants in their native habitats but require more filtered light indoors, with east-facing windows being ideal.
Air Purifying Qualities
Chinese Evergreens and Peace Lilies are both known for their air-purifying properties. They can help remove common indoor air pollutants, such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene, improving overall air quality. However, Peace Lilies are slightly more effective at removing ammonia from the air compared to Chinese Evergreens.
Choosing the Right Plant for Your Space
When deciding between Chinese Evergreen and Peace Lily for your space, consider their natural habitats and environmental requirements. Both plants come from tropical and subtropical regions, which means they prefer warm and humid conditions.
Chinese Evergreens thrive in temperatures between 60°F to 85°F (15°C to 29°C). They can tolerate low light conditions, making them suitable for spaces with limited natural light.
On the other hand, Peace Lilies require slightly more moisture and do well in moderate light conditions. Keep in mind that providing the right environment is crucial for the health of your chosen plant.
Maintenance and Care
Taking care of these two plants differs in terms of their watering and soil preferences. Peace Lilies enjoy moist soil and require frequent watering, while Chinese Evergreens can go longer without water and prefer drier soil. Keeping their specific needs in mind will ensure a healthy and happy indoor plant.
Here’s a quick comparison table to help you understand their care requirements:
|Factor||Chinese Evergreen||Peace Lily|
|Watering Frequency||Less Frequent||More Frequent|
|Preferred Soil||Drier Soil||Moist Soil|
|Light Requirements||Low to Moderate||Moderate|
The appearance of the Chinese Evergreen and Peace Lily also varies. Chinese Evergreens are known for their beautiful leaves, which come in many patterns and shades of green, white, red, and pink. They can produce small, non-showy flowers resembling Peace Lily flowers, but it’s the foliage that makes them stand out as a stunning centerpiece.
Peace Lilies, in contrast, have broad, dark green leaves and produce eye-catching creamy white flowers with yellow centers. These elegant flowers contribute to the plant’s overall appeal and can make a statement in your space.
In summary, when choosing between a Chinese Evergreen and a Peace Lily for your space, consider the environmental conditions, your ability to meet their maintenance requirements, and the desired aesthetic for your indoor environment. By understanding these factors, you’ll be able to make an informed decision and enjoy a beautiful, thriving plant in your space.
Both Peace Lily and Chinese Evergreen offer numerous benefits as indoor plants. Peace Lilies excel at removing toxins like formaldehyde and benzene from the air, while Chinese Evergreens are effective at removing pollutants like xylene and toluene. As attractive houseplants, they can each contribute to a well-designed interior space.
In terms of size, Peace Lily has a dwarf and compact variety called Piccolino, with shiny dark green leaves and pure white blooms. In contrast, the Chinese Evergreen offers a range of 48 stunning varieties with different leaf patterns and colors, such as the pink-splashed leaves of the Pink Dalmatian variety, and the light green and white-spotted foliage of the Emerald Beauty.
When it comes to care, Peace Lilies need regular watering – about once a week – and spritzing their leaves throughout the summer is recommended to keep them hydrated. Letting water stand overnight helps reduce the potential harm from chlorine-heavy water. On the other hand, Chinese Evergreens can also be propagated easily by rooting new plants from six-inch stem cuttings taken in spring or early summer.
Although both plants are generally safe for pets, it’s important to note that Peace Lilies can be toxic if ingested. Owners should take care to keep these plants out of reach from animals that may be curious about their taste.
In summary, you can’t go wrong with either a Peace Lily or Chinese Evergreen as an indoor plant. Depending on your aesthetic preferences, personal space constraints, and desired level of care, one may be a better fit for your home than the other. Choose the plant that best suits your lifestyle and enjoy the multitude of benefits it will bring to your indoor environment.
My name is Daniel Elrod, and I have been houseplant love ever since I was 17. I love how much joy they bring to any room in the home. I’ve always been amazed at how a few pots of flowing leaves can turn a drab and sterile office into an inviting place where people love to work at.