How to Grow and Care for Arrowhead Plants (Syngonium podophyllum)

Arrowhead plants (Syngonium podophyllum) are easy to care for houseplants with large leaves and trailing forms. Their leaves come in a wide variety of colors and patterns and may reach up to a foot long. Since they’re native to tropical Latin America, they prefer an environment that mimics their natural home. Here we’ll take you through the key fundamental Arrowhead plant care considerations at home including potting, soil, light, watering, feeding, pruning, and propagating.


Syngonium podophyllum Plant Care Essentials:

Soil:Well-draining, coarse potting mix.
Light:Bright indirect light throughout the majority of the day.
Temperature:Syngonium podophyllum prefers temperatures between 65-85ºF.
Humidity:Moderate to high humidity.
Watering:Water when the top inch of soil is dry, about once a week in the summer and every two weeks in the winter.
Fertilizing:Balanced liquid fertilizer applied once a month in spring through summer only.

About Arrowhead Plants (Syngonium podophyllum

About Arrowhead Plants (Syngonium podophyllum)

Arrowhead plants belong to the Araceae family. Their genus is Syngonium and their species is podophyllum. The scientific name roughly translates to leaves with stout stalks. 

Before scientists listed the plant as a member of the Syngonium genus, it belonged in the Nephthytis genus. That’s why you’ll sometimes hear people refer to this plant as both Nephthytis and Syngonium. 

Botanical Characteristics:

As their name suggests, arrowhead plants’ leaves resemble arrowheads. While all cultivars of Syngonium podophyllum have similarly shaped leaves, the colors and patterns vary. Common colors combinations include green, white, red, and pink. 

The leaves emerge from adventitious roots, which sets Syngonium apart from the similar-looking Caladium plants. 

When arrowhead plants are young, they appear short and bushy in structure. As they grow older, they develop more of a climbing form. 

These plants come in a variety of shades of green, white, and pink hues. Below are some of the most popular varieties. 

  • Strawberry Cream: sharply pointed light pink leaves. 
  • Painted Arrow: green leaves speckled with cream. 
  • Holly: white leaves with dark green edges. 
  • Pink Allusion: pale pink leaves with hints of light green. 

Syngonium podophyllum Plant Benefits and Uses: 

Like all plants, arrowhead plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. They can also remove small amounts of harmful toxins from the air. 

People around the world use arrowhead plants as ornamental plants both indoors and outdoors.

Arrowhead Plant Meaning & Symbolism 

Syngonium plants don’t have any strong symbolism, but they are sometimes used as Feng Shui plants. Some people say that these plants represent the five Feng Shui elements of earth, wood, fire, metal, and water. 


How to Grow Syngonium podophyllum Plants at Home 

How to Grow Syngonium podophyllum Plants at Home

Are Syngonium podophyllum Plants Considered Easy to Grow at Home? 

Syngonium plants are generally easy to grow at home. They will thrive in most homes with minimal care. 

How Long Will Syngonium podophyllum Plants Typically Live? 

Syngonium plants can thrive for over ten years if properly cared for. 

Are Syngonium podophyllum Toxic to Humans and/or Pets? 

Yes! Arrowhead plants are toxic to cars, dogs, horses, and humans due to calcium oxalate crystals. 

According to the ASPCA, ingesting the plant can cause swelling, vomiting, drooling, and difficulty swallowing. If anyone ingests the plant, it’s best to contact a poison control center or hospital. 

Since it’s toxic, it’s best to keep the plant out of the reach of children and pets. 

Syngonium podophyllum Growth Expectations 

Syngonium podophyllum Growth Expectations

Arrowhead plants start as small plants, but they quickly grow into a trailing vine. Plants can grow over a foot each year. 

The vines can grow over six feet tall, but they will max out at about two feet wide. 

What to Do Before Planting 

The first step in planting your arrowhead plant is finding an appropriate container. Make sure your pot has drainage holes and is large enough to hold the plant’s root ball. 

Next, you’ll need to find a suitable location for your plant. The most important thing is to make sure your plant doesn’t receive any direct sunlight. 

If you want to trellis your plant, you’ll need to make sure you have a large enough area. 

What’s the Best Soil Mix? 

How Soil Affects Plant Health and Growth + Why It's Important to Use the Right Type

Arrowhead plants don’t like sitting in moisture, so you need a well-draining soil mix. However, the mix should also hold in a bit of moisture to prevent the plant from drying out.

If you want to use store-bought potting soil, mix two parts standard potting mix with one part perlite. Additionally, you can use a potting mix labeled for African violets

Alternatively, you can make your own potting soil by combining the following: 

  • Two parts peat moss or coco coir 
  • One part pine bark fines 
  • One part perlite 

How to Plant 

After you find a container, fill it with a suitable soil mix. Next, add your plant so the bottoms of the stems are level with the soil surface. Gently pack the potting soil around the roots, and water well. 

Light Preferences 

Light Preferences

Syngonium plants can tolerate a wide variety of light conditions, as long as they don’t receive direct light. 

They can thrive in low-light conditions, such as a dimly lit hallway or a bathroom with a small window. Arrowhead plants will also be happy with bright light found near south-facing or west-facing windows. 

The main thing to remember is that these plants dislike direct light. Bright rays can burn the plant tissue. 

Temperature and Humidity Preferences 

Syngonium plants prefer air temperatures between 65-85ºF. If the temperature falls below 60ºF, the plants may suffer. 

You should also avoid placing the plants near hot or cold drafts. 

Arrowhead plants prefer high humidity, but they will be okay with moderate humidity. If your air is very dry, mist your plants or use a humidifier. 


How to Care for Syngonium podophyllum Plants at Home 

How to Care for Syngonium podophyllum Plants at Home

When and How to Water Syngonium Plants 

Syngonium plants like soil that is moist but not saturated. The goal is to find a happy balance between wet and dry. 

The frequency you’ll need to water depends on the time of year, temperature, humidity, and light. Generally, you’ll need to water about once a week in the summer and once every two to three weeks in the winter. 

When you’re trying to determine if you need to water your arrowhead plant, feel the soil. If the top inch of soil is dry, it’s time to water. If the soil is still moist, wait to water.

Each time you water, you want to thoroughly drench the soil. This ensures water reaches the bottom of the soil as well as the top. 

How, When, and Why to Fertilize 

How, When, and Why to Fertilize

Arrowhead plants will benefit from regular fertilization to provide necessary nutrients. Choose a balanced liquid fertilizer that is labeled for houseplants. 

Dilute the fertilizer to half strength and apply once a month during the spring and summer. You don’t need to fertilize in the fall or winter. 

Pruning Arrowhead Plants 

Arrowhead plants naturally take on a trailing form. However, you can prune them so they remain bushy and compact. 

The trick to a bushy plant is removing the tips so the plant grows out rather than up. When your plant is getting too tall, use a sharp pair of pruning shears to remove the top one to two leaves of each stem. 

No matter what shaped plant you want, you should always prune out diseased leaves. 

Trellising Arrowhead Plants 

If you don’t prune your arrowhead plant, it will eventually grow into a vine. This vine will trail down and out unless you provide a trellis. 

If you’d like your arrowhead plant to grow upwards, you need to provide something it can cling to. Some suitable options include a piece of bamboo or a wire fence. 

Syngonium plants will naturally climb up a trellis as they grow. However, you can use twine to tie stems to parts of the trellis. 

Propagating Arrowhead Plants 

Propagating Arrowhead Plants

Arrowhead plants are easy to propagate by stem cuttings. While you can attempt to propagate any time of the year, spring and summer are the best options. 

To propagate a new plant by stem cutting, follow these steps. 

  1. Use a sharp and clean knife or pair of shears to take a stem cutting. Ensure the cutting contains at least one leaf node. 
  2. Place the cutting in water so the bottom one to two inches of stem are in the water. Ensure that none of the foliage is in contact with the water. 
  3. Place the cutting in a warm area out of direct sunlight. 
  4. Wait until roots form, about two to three weeks. 
  5. Once roots are at least half an inch long, pot the plant in soil.

Repotting Arrowhead Plants 

Arrowhead plants grow quickly, so they need to be repotted every one to two years. 

When it’s time to repot, choose a container that is a few inches larger than the current pot. Fill the bottom few inches of the pot with potting soil. 

Remove the plant from its current pot, shake off any excess dirt, and place the plant in the new container. Place potting soil around the roots, pack lightly, and water well. 


Common Syngonium podophyllum Problems and How to Treat Them 

Common Syngonium podophyllum Problems and How to Treat Them

Fortunately, arrowhead plants don’t experience too many pests or diseases. However, they are susceptible to problems due to an improper environment or care. 

Yellow Leaves 

If you notice your arrowhead plant’s leaves are turning yellow, several factors could be to blame. 

One common cause is too much moisture which can prevent your plants from taking up water and oxygen. This can be caused by overwatering or a poorly-draining soil mix. 

First, ensure your pot has drainage holes that allow excess water to escape. Next, make sure the potting mix is well-draining. Finally, make sure to only water when the top inch of soil is dry. 

Another common cause of yellow leaves is underwatering. If the soil dries out too much, the plant will not be able to take up enough water. 

The number one way to keep your leaves looking healthy is watering just the right amount. 

Brown Leaf Tips 

If your plant’s leaves look healthy but you notice brown tips, you’ll want to investigate a few things. 

First, take a look at the humidity. If the air is very dry, the leaf tips may brown. 

A humidifier is the best way to increase the humidity. However, you can also mist your plant to increase the humidity a bit. 

Another thing to check is fertilizer. A large dose of fertilizer can lead to tip burn. Make sure to properly dilute the fertilizer and only apply once a month.

Spider Mites 

One pest to look out for on your arrowhead plant is spider mites. These tiny arachnids live on the underside of plants and suck out the sap, leading to a stippled appearance. Even if you don’t see the mites themselves, you may see their webs. 

Spider mites can quickly multiply, so you must deal with them right away. 

If you notice a small number of spider mites, you can remove them with a rag coated in soap. If you have larger populations, spray your plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil. 


Essential Tools 

Essential House Plant Tools
  • Rich, well-draining potting mix
  • Well-draining container
  • Moisture meter or soil probe
  • Balanced liquid fertilizer
  • Pruning shears or sharp scissors

Wrapping Up 

Now that you know how to care for an arrowhead plant, it’s time to choose your favorite colors and patterns. By providing basic care, you’ll enjoy this fast-growing houseplant for years to come. 


Arrowhead Plant (Syngonium podophyllum) FAQs 

Arrowhead plants need at least four hours of light each day. They can tolerate both low and medium light.

Yes, the arrowhead plant is toxic if consumed by humans, dogs, and cats. Therefore, you should keep these plants out of reach of pets and children.

In general, you’ll need to water your Syngonium plant every one to three weeks. 

You will need to water more often in the summer than you will in the winter. High temperatures and low humidity will also increase the amount you’ll need to water. 

They aren’t considered lucky, but they are not considered bad luck either.

Syngonium plants can remove small amounts of toxins from the air. They also absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen.


Author

Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.

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