The Spatifillo: Everything You Need To Know

The Spatifillo: Everything You Need To Know

The spathiphyllum, known by the common name of spatifillo, spatafillo or even spoonful plant, is one of the most common indoor plants.

It is a perennial herbaceous plant native to tropical areas, which belongs to the genus Spathiphylleae and the Araceae family.

Its particularity is the total lack of stem: the leaves grow directly from an underground rhizome.

The leaves are dark green, lanceolate, long and shiny.

It produces a particular flower called “spathe”, actually formed by a bract, that is, a modified white leaf, which wraps a panicle of white inflorescences.

The flowers persist for several weeks, becoming green before withering completely.

It is from this particular shape of the flowers that derives the other common name of the spatifillo, that is, spoon plant. The scientific name, on the contrary, comes from the Greek “spathe = sword” and “phyllon = leaf”, always due to the characteristic structure of its leaves.

Still, in the language of the flowers, the spatifillo means: “I will defend you”, symbolism tied to the shape of the inflorescences, wrapped and protected by the spathe.

The most cultivated species is the Spathiphyllum wallisii, native to Colombia and Venezuela, which has an abundant flowering from spring to autumn, with yellow or creamy white inflorescences.

However, there are also other equally particular varieties, such as the Spathiphyllum blandum, with conical leaves and pale green flower; the Spathiphyllum cannaefolium, whose spathe has a green and a white face; the Spathiphyllum x Mauna Loa, which produces flowers even of 15 cm.

If you also love this beautiful and elegant plant, add also that a NASA research has shown that the plants of the genus Spathipyllum purify the air of the house from benzene and formaldehyde.

Spatiphyll Care

The spatifillus is an easy-to-cultivate indoor plant.

It wants climatic conditions similar to those of its land of origin and does not like night temperatures below 15 °. For this reason it is mainly used as an indoor plant, or at least to be withdrawn in the winter months and is kept only in pots.


In order to grow luxuriantly, the spatifillo needs an averagely warm environment, but with a good humidity, and a luminous exposition, but not to the direct light of the sun, which would burn its leaves. Furthermore, it does not tolerate draughts and air currents.

Its ideal position, therefore, is close to a window, maybe shielded by a clear curtain and, in any case, far away from radiators or air conditioners.

It is good also in the bedroom, if there is an adequate exchange of air and a natural illumination.

Make sure that the spatIfillo grows faster in the part most exposed to light. You should therefore rotate the spatula about every two weeks for even growth.

During the warmer months, you can move the plant outside, perhaps by placing it in the shade of a pergola or under a deciduous tree.

But in autumn and winter you have to keep the spatIfillo at home, because, like all tropical plants, it does not stand the temperature changes and would not survive in cold temperatures.


As far as the watering of the spatiphyll is concerned, a small clarification is necessary.

If we are used to moving the spatifillo outside in summer, paradoxically it does not need more watering.

This is because it is able to exploit the natural atmospheric humidity of the air.

If, in winter, our houses are very warm and the radiators are always on, the plant is to be watered regularly and, if the environment is very dry, the top is to be nebulized with non calcareous water.

You will also be surprised to know that the main cause of dehydration of a plant is not the sun but the wind.

In general, however, watering should be regular and the soil should never be too dry. And, however, waterlogging should be avoided. An unusual but functional system would be to insert the finger into the ground. If you feel it damp, wait for watering.

In short, you need to have some common sense and evaluate the condition of the plant.

An excellent method is to immerse the plant in a container full of water for 10 minutes. Then let the excess water drain and put the spatiphyll back in its usual place.

Spatifillus Diseases

What are the diseases that affect the spatiphyll and with what symptoms do they occur?

Does Your Spatifillus Have Yellow Leaves?

It means that it has a nitrogen deficiency, because its roots do not have enough space to feed properly. So it needs fertilisation and good repotting.

If you don’t act now, your plant may lose all its leaves.

The spatifillus needs to be repotted every 2-3 years. Place it in a larger container and add fresh, fertile soil.

Then fertilize your plant using a nitrogen fertilizer.

Do The Leaves Of Your Spatifillo Have Dry Tips?

It means that it suffers from a lack of water.

There are two possible causes.

If the pot is small and the soil is small, the roots cannot absorb the water well. Then, even in this case, you can make a transfer into a larger container.

Or, it could be that the spatifillo is placed in the sun or near a heater, in a room with the air too dry. Move it to a shady area or a room with a constant ambient temperature.

Water the plant frequently and always with the same amount of water. Spray the leaves to ensure a good degree of humidity.

Does The Spatifillo Have Brown Spots On The Leaves?

Beware, it has probably been attacked by parasites.

Move the affected plants, so as not to risk an infection.

Cut the diseased leaves and treat with copper-based fungicides.

During the treatment period, water the plant a little, because the fungi proliferate with moisture.

If you like natural remedies, water the spatifillus with a tea compost, which is a natural fungicide, to kill the spores left in the soil.

Doesn’t The Spatiphyll Make Flowers?

Here, the causes may be a generalized discomfort. The spatifillus, in fact, deprives itself of the blooming if it feels any suffering.

Then, it examines well all the conditions of the plant.

  1. Is it placed in a suitable place? Let’s repeat: the spatifillo wants a moderately humid environment, not directly exposed to sunlight, poorly ventilated. If not, move it to a bright room with a constant temperature of about 20° and avoid thermal shocks.
  2. Is it watered regularly and according to your needs? If the soil seems a bit sterile to you, add some universal granular fertilizer to the potting soil.
  3. How long have you not been repotting? The spatifillo needs to be repotted every 2-3 years.

But don’t worry if your plant doesn’t bloom after a late repotting, done in late spring or early summer. The spatiphyll only needs to be adapted to the new substrate.

If you follow these little tricks, you will see that you can enjoy a magnificent and lush spatiphyll in your apartment.

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