Any healthy Peace Lily is beautiful, but the variegated ones have a special kind of appeal. Their creamy speckles create a brilliant contrast with the deep green spots, mirroring the vivid white of their blooms. But where can you get one? Is it hard to find a variegated Peace Lily? And do they require special care?
Variegated Peace Lilies are less common than solid-colored ones, but some varieties are readily available online or at plant nurseries. Spathiphyllum Domino is the most common, but you may also be able to find a Picasso or White Stripe. Always look for whole plants – variegation can’t spread through seeds.
Raising a variegated Peace Lily takes a bit more skill and luck than you need for an ordinary Spathiphyllum. We’ll give you some tips on how to care for them and introduce you to some of the better-known types. And we’ll tell you the best places for an interested buyer to look.
What is a Variegated Peace Lily?
A variegated plant has variations in the colors of its leaves. This usually comes from a mutation limiting the production of chlorophyll – the pigment that makes leaves green – in some cells. Sometimes this causes only a slight change, resulting in spots of paler-than-normal green. More dramatic variegation can create yellow, white, or even pink zones.
Variegation can appear in a variety of patterns. Sometimes it’s distributed at random, creating speckles and dots all over the plant. Other times it follows the leaf veins, giving rise to streaks and highlights that fade out toward the edges. In some plants, entire leaves or leaf segments may appear in different colors.
Collectors are often most interested in plants with chimeric variegation, meaning that the plant has a random blend of normal and mutated cells.
Peace Lilies don’t have genes for red pigment, so their variegation is never pink. Instead, it appears in varying shades of green, or in some cases, creamy white. Are you seeing something that looks like a Peace Lily with pink coloration? It’s probably a Philodendron, which has somewhat similar leaves, or an Anthurium, which has blooms that look a lot like Peace Lily flowers.
How Rare Are Variegated Peace Lilies?
Some plants, like Calatheas and Chinese Evergreens, have natural, reliable variegation. Not Peace Lilies. They only ever produce chimeric variegation, which used to be very rare. It relies on an unpredictable, unstable mutation.
But modern techniques like tissue culture have made it easier for commercial growers to reproduce variegated plants. And the recent trendiness of houseplants gives them a financial incentive. There are oodles of people willing to pay a higher price for foliage that will look extra-stunning on Instagram.
These factors have driven a surge in the production of variegated plants – especially popular types like Peace Lilies. There are now a few variegated Spathiphyllum cultivars that are fairly easy to track down. Here are some of the best-known types of variegated Peace Lily:
This is by far the easiest variegated Spathiphyllum to locate. The Domino has a striking, chaotic spray of variegation all across its foliage. The dark green color of the leaves is broken up by thin streaks of white and minty green splaying out from the midribs. The leaves often have a slightly rumpled appearance that emphasizes their wild patterning.
Also called the “Silver Streak”, it’s easy to see where this Peace Lily gets its name. It’s marked by a narrow blaze of white running down the center of each leaf. The White Stripe can be hard to find, but you can likely locate one if you’re persistent.
The Picasso might be the most dramatic of all the variegated Peace Lilies. Huge, solid patches of its leaves are covered with bright white. The foliage also tends toward long, narrow shapes that make the plant look like it’s bursting out of the pot. Spathiphyllum Picasso is often a bit more expensive than other variegated Peace Lilies.
The Platinum Mist is more common than many of the other plants on this list, and also more subtle. The veins of this Peace Lily are highlighted in a lemon-lime color, accented by darker green in between. It makes them appear oddly textured, almost like the skin of a reptile. Some specimens have a more silvery-gray sheen, which is likely where the cultivar gets its name.
How to Care For a Variegated Peace Lily
Most of a Peace Lily’s care requirements are the same no matter how many colors its leaves have:
- Damp roots. Peace Lily roots should be kept slightly moist but not soaking wet. Check the soil every 2-4 days, watering when the top inch is dry to the touch. Soak the soil completely with each watering.
- Aerated soil. All types of Peace Lily prefer a potting mix with good drainage. At least half the soil volume should be coarse, rigid ingredients like bark chips or pumice.
- Light fertilizer. A weak dose of fertilizer every 6-8 weeks is enough for most Peace Lilies.
- Moderate temperature and humidity. Peace Lilies don’t like to get colder than 55 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer than 85. They do best when the humidity is above 50%.
The main concern with variegated Peace Lilies is light. Ordinary Peace Lilies can often get by in shady spaces, but variegation tends to fade without lots of sun. Try to let yours get bright, indirect light through most of the daylight hours. However, don’t expose it to more than 2 hours of direct sun per day. For more detail, see our post on how to find the right lighting for your Peace Lily.
Be aware that sometimes, despite your best efforts, a Peace Lily will stop producing variegation. Every new leaf is a roll of the genetic dice. The mutated foliage may disappear for years at a time. On the flip side, sometimes a plant that’s had all-green leaves for years will surprise you with a fresh burst of variegation.
Where to Buy a Variegated Peace Lily
The internet is the easiest place to find a variegated Peace Lily. That’s especially true if you’re looking for one specific cultivar.
Steer clear of eBay, which is notorious for hosting unreliable houseplant sellers. Even if they’re not trying to scam you, many eBay vendors don’t take enough care when prepping their plants for transport. Variegated plants can easily die during shipping if the sender isn’t careful.
Amazon is a mixed bag. There are some well-established sellers, like Costa Farms or American Plant exchange, but their selection of variegated Peace Lilies is pretty limited.
Etsy is a much better bet. It’s full of dedicated houseplant enthusiasts offering clones of variegated species. Always take a few minutes to read the reviews of the Etsy store before buying. You should be able to tell which ones are trustworthy.
Buying local is often an even better option, because you don’t have to worry about shipping issues. You can also see the specific plant you’re buying, while online sellers may only offer a photo of the species. Check out the independent plant nurseries in your area. They’re more likely to have interesting varieties than big retailers like Home Depot.
You should only buy variegated Peace Lilies if you can purchase a full plant – roots, leaves, and all. Peace Lilies can’t reproduce from cuttings. And the seeds from a variegated plant will usually just produce ordinary offspring. The mutation for variegation doesn’t get passed down.
The only way to propagate variegated Peace Lilies is by splitting them at the roots. Anyone offering seeds or cuttings of a variegated Peace Lily is either ignorant or looking to scam you.
Can You Make a Variegated Peace Lily?
Sadly, there’s no good way to force variegation to appear in a Peace Lily. It’s the result of random genetics. That’s why it usually shows up in commercial nurseries breeding hundreds of plants at a time. Some viruses can trigger variegation, but making your plant sick in hopes of making it prettier is a bad idea.
If you’ve already got a variegated Peace Lily and you want to share the love, you can multiply it. The only dependable way to do this is to divide up the roots at the junctions between crowns of foliage. Then you simply repot and grow the smaller plants. We have instructions on this process here.
Variegated Peace Lilies are rare, but not so rare that you can’t find one with a little internet legwork. If you do get one, make sure to give it a good amount of light.
And remember that there’s still no guarantee that it will always produce multicolored leaves. Don’t think of your Peace Lily’s variegation as something to control. Think of it as a rare and precious gift.