Arrowhead Plant Care: How to Grow a Syngonium Podophyllum


The Arrowhead plant or Syngonium Podophyllum is in a class of its own because its appearance and growth habit change as it matures. It is recognized by its dark-green spade-shaped leaves with variegation ranging from white to lime, and sometimes shades of pink that will give your indoor a glorious spectacle. It is an easy-to-care plant that will survive despite a degree of neglect but will bloom into a splendid garden once you provide the right conditions.

To care for an Arrowhead Plant, consider the following:

  • Keep the soil constantly moist but well-drained in spring and summer. Reduce watering in winter, and if you live in cold areas.
  • It prefers temperatures between 60ºF(15.5ºC) and 75ºF(24ºC) while maintaining high humidity.
  • Indirect bright light works best for this species.
  • Use rich loamy soil with adequate drainage to pot it.

This plant is a brilliant choice for plant lovers who want a greener living space without daily care. It appears to have a magical life where the shape and color of the leaves change with age, alongside its growth habit.

Let’s take a look at the conditions you must provide if you want to see a fascinating Arrowhead Plant in your home, office, or garden.

Basic Care Requirements

Watering

The Arrowhead plant requires watering once a week or at most twice in ten days. Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and ensure that the top one inch of the pot is dry before watering again. The amount of water will depend on the prevailing temperature and soil drainage.

Newly propagated arrowheads require moist soil at all times to promote root growth. With the top layer of the pot exposed at a young age, your plant will require more frequent watering. Because the plant is delicate at a young age, the pot used must guarantee adequate drainage.

At the youthful phase, the arrowhead plant is a robust grower. It requires a lot of water to sustain the demanding foliage. Water the plant once a week while always checking the top layer to see that it is dry before resuming watering.

Reduce watering in winter and autumn because the plant is dormant, plus the temperatures are lower. However, if you have the plant at an enclosed space where air heating helps keep the temperatures high, more watering will be required. Humidity and wind conditions also affect watering requirements such that humid areas without wind call for reduced watering while low humidity and intense wind demand more watering. Keep the plant away from AC ducts and vents because they interfere with humidity and soil moisture.

If possible, use aged, filtered, distilled, or rainwater that is free of chemicals. Fluoride or chlorine in water damages the soil and will interfere with the optimal growth of your arrowhead plant. Overall, the soil, drainage of the pot, humidity, and prevailing temperatures will determine the required watering.

Humidity

The Arrowhead plant is a native of the humidity Central and Southern American jungle from Mexico to Bolivia. It thrives in humidity levels above 50%, like the inside of the Amazon forest canopies. It will require constant misting to keep the leaves plush, variegated, and extensive for a beautiful foliage spectacle.

The arrowhead plant will tolerate regular indoor humidity, though it prefers more moisture in the air. Sprinkle the leaves every other day during the morning to keep the air around the leaves moist. This task should also be done even in winter if you use indoor heating to keep the temperatures high. 

A pebble tray with water at the bottom of the plant will also provide the required humidity levels through evaporation. It will take a while before the water drains from your tray, meaning you do not have to cater to your plant daily. This option tends to give you peace of mind that the plant will be okay even when you are gone for days or weeks. It is a hands-off approach to humidifying.

The Arrowhead plant loves tapping humidity by grouping with other plants. If you can mix it with high growing tree plants like palms, it will enjoy the shade and trap its humidity. Still, since it is a robust grower, it can create its grouping environment without depending on other houseplant varieties.

In case humidifying and placing a pebble tray by the plant are proving to be difficult, you have the option of installing a humidifier. It mists your plant automatically as long as it is connected to power. You only set the required humidity levels and leave the gadget to run on its own, whether you are at home or away.

Keep in mind that low humidity results in dull leaves, stunted growth, and the plant’s wilting. Too much humidity, on the other hand, will expose the plant to bacterial and fungal attacks. You must use clean water free of chemicals to prevent fluoride or chlorine damaging both the leaves and the soil.

Soil

This plant prefers soil rich in organic matter, well-draining, and adequately aerated. The soil should be acidic and less prone to water-logging. A peat-based medium will be a perfect choice because it drains well and will hold sufficient nutrients to support the robust growing arrowhead plant.

The arrowhead plant can be considered to be slightly root-bound and will prefer a lot of rich soil. Rich soil also supports the robust growing foliage that will give you a spectacular green spot indoors. African violet mix captures the perfect conditions that this vine prefers for growth and thrives.

The soil should be slightly acidic with rich organic nutrients. You will achieve better results by adding organic compost because it releases the nutrients slowly with the residue materials to improve both aeration and drainage. Such soil will also be less prone to chemical buildup.

Upon potting your plant, you must continually care for the soil. Too much watering will result in soggy soil and root rot attack, permanently damaging the soil. If you have to use chemical fertilizer, go for liquid fertilizer that is easy to absorb and does not leave chemical residue in your soil. 

Flush the soil every three months, especially in spring and summer because of heavy feeding, to clear any chemicals built-up in the soil.

Light

In general, the Arrowhead plant prefers bright light and will respond with lush variegation. Place your plant near the window but away from direct mid-day and noon sunlight that can scorch the leaves. 

On the other hand, dim light results in a leggy plant with small leaves and stunted growth. Continuously rotate the pot so that leaves on all sides can enjoy the sunshine.

The general light requirement for the arrowhead plant is bright lighting but not direct sun. Allow your plant to enjoy the morning and evening sun. In the hot spring and summer sun, provide shade if you are growing the plant outside.

Lighting needs for the arrow plant will also depend on leave variegation. Arrowhead plant varieties with dark-green leaves prefer low to medium light. It is best suited for corners or basements where light can even be provided using florescent bulbs.

Variegated arrowhead plant varieties thrive in medium to bright light. The light brings out their burgundy, light-green, and pink shades better. However, too much light will leave you with ugly, bleached, and gray-green leaves.

Temperature

The arrowhead plant prefers warm temperatures between 60ºF(15.5ºC) and 75ºF(24ºC). The warm temperatures encourage general robust growth, which translates into a bushy plant with larger leaves. In low temperatures, your plant shrinks and grows slowly. It will also be leggy, lacking the graceful growth associated with arrowhead plants.

Arrowhead plant is a bit tolerant and will still survive in higher temperatures up to 95ºF(35ºC). It tolerates direct sun if it is grown in such an area since propagation. The rise in temperature must not be drastic and should be balanced with increased humidity and more watering. If an area is too hot, the leaves will be gray-green and scorched, leading to eventual wilting.

Temperatures below 35ºF(1.5ºC) will negatively impact your plant. Bring the plant in or turn on the AC if temperatures get to such low levels. They freeze both the leaves and roots. It will result in stunted growth and eventual death of the plant.

Advanced Care

The arrowhead plant has sensitive areas that, when touched, will transform it into a greenery spectacle. Minor acts that you would ordinarily ignore, like repotting or fertilization, will make a massive difference in the arrowhead’s growth and vibrancy.

Here are sensitive care points when growing the arrowhead plant.

Fertilization

Arrowhead plant prefers soil that has been organically enriched. As a result, add compost fertilizer during potting or repotting, and in spring and summer when the plant is experiencing robust growth. Compost or organic fertilizer provides the necessary nutrients while at the same time enhancing aeration, improving drainage, and supporting robust foliage growth.

Commercial fertilizer will also result in robust growth within a short time. Half-strength liquid fertilizer is the ideal measure for your arrowhead plant and is applied once a month. Too much fertilizer may damage the soil and interfere with the normal growth of your arrowhead plant.

Pruning

This fast-growing houseplant will require frequent pruning based on intentions. You may prune the arrowhead to control its growth, mainly to prevent it from colonizing your garden. In a peculiar case, the arrowhead begins to develop climbing vines at a particular age. Pruning will, therefore, help you to keep the shoots below the age and, in the process, stop the climbing vines from emerging.

Pruning can be done at any time because the fast-growing plant will quickly recover. Use a sharp knife or scalpel to minimize damage. You may also use the exercise to improve aeration around the plant and control pests and diseases by eliminating affected leaves.

Repotting

The Arrowhead plant gets slightly root-bound and will be disturbed by repotting. However, it will be necessary if the plant outgrows the current container. Repot when the weather is warm to facilitate quick recovery. Repotting will also be necessary if the soil is damaged by chemical accumulation or root rot from flooding.

Prepare a fresh potting mix and ensure that it provides sufficient drainage. Remove the plant from the old soil and dip it in water to shed the soil clinging onto the roots. Then place the wet plant in the middle of the container and fill it with loose soil. Add water at room temperature and place the newly potted plant at a warm corner. The plant appears to wilt but will recover within two weeks.

Propagation

Arrowhead plant is propagated in water or soil using either a leaf or a stem. When using water for propagation, cut a leaf at the base or stem at the node and put it in a half-full glass of water. In warm temperatures, white roots will begin to emerge in a week or two. You may allow it to grow on water or transfer it to a container, after which you pour in soil.

Propagating arrowheads in the soil is also simple because it uses a leaf or stem. The leaf is cut at the base while the stem is sliced at the node. Push it in moist soil and stay in a warm environment for two to three weeks. New buds will begin to emerge from the nodes when using a stem or the soil when using a leaf. Henceforth, your arrowhead grows very fast.

Pest Prevention

Spider mites do the most damage on arrowhead plants, but you also have to watch out for mealybugs and aphids. The mites suck sap from the leaves, causing them to turn brown and eventually killing the plant. The right temperature, humidity, and aeration will protect your plant from these pests.

Flowering

Arrowhead plants rarely flower indoors unless the conditions are optimal. In ideal conditions, it will produce three white petals accompanies by either flattened pistils that ripen into achenes or yellow pollen-bearing stamens. You must provide fantastic conditions to get this reward of flowers.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Why is my arrowhead drooping?

You have denied the plant enough water. Water your arrowhead plant and allow it three to four days to recover. If the damage was extensive, recovery could mean growing new vines.

How do I make my arrowhead bushy?

Add more organic fertilizer because it will not scorch the roots yet will promote robust growth. Reduce pruning while also monitoring water, humidity, and temperature. A bushy arrowhead will only emerge from a plant grown under optimum conditions.

Are arrowhead plants toxic?

Arrowhead plants only cause mild irritation to cats, dogs, and children if they come into contact with the sap. It becomes more irritating when the sap gets to the eyes. It may cause vomiting if ingested in large quantities.

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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