Arrowhead plant or Syngonium is a popular houseplant due to its spade-shaped foliage and easy care routine. But these beautiful spade-like leaves can lose their shape and curl for various reasons.
Arrowhead plants might curl due to insufficient nutrients in the soil, wrong watering methods, extreme temperatures, and lack of moisture. To prevent the syngonium leaves from losing their shape, you should check the soil’s quality before using it and provide adequate moisture to the plant.
This article will discuss the reasons behind leaves curling in your arrowhead plant.
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Why Are My Arrowhead Plant Leaves Curling?
The leaves of an arrowhead plant can curl due to different reasons:
- Lack of nutrients
- Wrong watering techniques
- Extreme temperatures
- Poor water quality
- Rootbound plant
An arrowhead has a unique spade-like shape, influencing many houseplant owners worldwide to grow them.
But it is quite disheartening for anyone to see their plant losing its health.
Before buying or mixing soil for arrowhead, one should always check its quality, nutritional values, and whether or not the requirements are appropriate for the plant.
Let’s discuss all the possible reasons for curled leaves on your Syngonium in detail.
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Lack of nutrients and minerals in the soil mix
Lack of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, Sulphur, etc., in the soil, hinders plant growth.
Generally, if a plant doesn’t get the required nutrition, its leaves start to shrink.
The plant’s natural response is to cope with the situation by reducing surface area.
The soil used in the pot of your arrowhead plant might lack nutrients.
Soil from your household garden, old plants, or using the wrong soil mix lacks the required amount of nutrients and minerals.
The soil in the household gardens is old.
It can have minerals but not the ones arrowhead plants specifically need.
Whereas soil taken from any pot of an old plant is already used.
The previous plant has already used up the nutrients of that soil.
Arrowhead plants thrive best in fertile, well-drained potting soil.
Not adding fertilizers to the soil can also make the soil nutrient-deficient.
There are almost twenty mineral elements that soil should have for proper plant health.
Among them, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium are vital.
These nutrients are generally found in commercially sold fertilizers.
Nitrates stimulate the overall growth of the plant and especially its leaves.
To prevent your Syngonium from curling, you should feed the arrowhead plant with a balanced 10:10:10 or 20:20:20 fertilizer.
You should feed an arrowhead plant in the spring, summer, and early fall with liquid fertilizers.
When you choose the soil for your Syngonium, make sure it is suitable for the plant and contains all the required nutrients.
An ideal soil mix for your arrowhead plant would be a mix of:
- 50% potting soil
- 30% coco coir
- 20% perlite or pumice
The soil will lose all its nutrients over time, and it is best to repot your Syngonium with a fresh potting mix once in 2-5 years to replenish it with nutrients.
Also read: What Kind Of Soil For Arrowhead Plant? (+Best Soil Mix)
Overfertilization is a common reason that can cause curling in your arrowhead plant.
The excessive salt in fertilizers makes the soil toxic, burning the roots.
This phenomenon can cause dehydration, and the foliage curls to save the plant from losing the remaining moisture.
A smaller surface area will need lesser moisture and nutrients. That is why the plant curls its leaves.
To differentiate overfertilization from other reasons, you can check the color of the leaves.
An overfertilized plant often has sparse growth with dehydrated brown leaves.
You should start treating the damage due to over-fertilization early, as excess damage can kill your plant.
Rolled-up leaves don’t go back to their normal shape in most cases.
There are a few steps by which one can stop a plant from having more curled leaves.
Trim the wilted and rolled up leaves, as they don’t return to normal.
If the plant is damaged due to the overuse of fertilizers, I recommend immediate soil transfer.
Take your arrowhead plant carefully out of its pot and shake it to remove the previous soil.
Be careful with the plant, so you don’t damage the roots.
Then, wash the roots for further cleaning.
Fill the pot with fresh potting mix and plant your Syngonium in it.
Water it thoroughly, and don’t use fertilizer for a few months.
Also read: How Often Should You Fertilize Arrowhead Plant? (Best Fertilizer For Arrowhead)
Incorrect watering techniques
If you don’t water your arrowhead plant correctly, it will either get overwatered or get dehydrated.
Due to dehydration, most plants have curling leaves, and the arrowhead plant is no exception.
Generally, when the atmosphere is hot, and you leave your plant without watering during the summer season, it gets dehydrated.
During summer, the transpiration rate is high, and water from the leaf cells evaporates fast.
It causes dehydration in the plant leaves and absorbs water from the soil.
The leaves turn brown, wilt, and curly if the soil lacks moisture.
It is a plant’s natural response to reduce the surface area by shedding leaves or curling them.
This process helps the plant focus on keeping it alive, which is essential.
There are a few steps to revive a dehydrated plant.
I have mentioned them in detail here.
First, check the plant if it’s dehydrated or needs some watering.
A dehydrated plant will have a weak stem with dry leaves, brittle and brown with curls.
Water the arrowhead plant till it runs through the drainage holes to revive it.
You can try the bottom watering method by taking the Syngonium out of its pot and placing it in a container filled with water.
This will allow the roots to absorb moisture thoroughly from the soil.
Create a reminder on your calendar or phone to remind you to check on your Syngonium, so you don’t keep it thirsty for too long.
Also read: How To Water Arrowhead Plant? (How Often+Summer & Winter)
Overwatering is a very common issue in indoor plants.
Often new indoor gardeners water too frequently and never don’t allow the soil to get ready for watering.
They mistakenly soak the roots in water, which starts rotting due to a lack of oxygen between them.
With overwatering, another severe problem shows up, which is root-rot.
Improper drainage of a plant can also cause waterlogging in the soil.
Wilted leaves falling and curling downwards from the stem to its tip are generally the first signs of overwatering.
And always look for the initial signs of damage, as they help a lot in reviving the plant faster.
If it reaches an extent where it has received too much damage, the outcome can be death.
Curing an overwatered plant is a bit more difficult than underwatered ones.
But early identification of the issue helps a lot in treating it.
The most important first is letting the plant dry out completely before watering it again.
The common mistakes house gardeners make is not determining the soil’s moisture content before watering.
Even a moisture-loving plant can’t withstand so much moisture for a prolonged period.
During summer or daytime, keep the plant in a spot with bright light to increase the rate of transpiration.
Choose organic pots like clay or terracotta with proper drainage holes.
Clay or terracotta pots have tiny, breathable holes, but containers made of glass, plastic, metal, or cement don’t allow air passage or absorption.
Extreme heat or cold temperatures
For an arrowhead plant, neither too hot nor too cold is suitable.
Since they are native to tropical and subtropical environments, they are sensitive to temperatures below 50 degrees.
Even when you keep it indoors during winters and the temperatures fall, they show signs of damage.
The dry winter season is very tough for your beautiful arrowhead plant.
Arrowhead plants prefer temperatures between 60-85°F, but temperatures lower than 50°F or higher than 90°F can shock the plant and make the leaves curl.
Temperature fluctuations might also be responsible for the curling leaves on your Syngonium.
When exposed to extreme temperatures, leaves of the arrowhead plant curl inwards from stem to its tip.
It may take several weeks or even months for the plant to recover from hot or cold shocks.
If the leaves’ cells are severely damaged, it is permanent and trimming off those leaves is the only option.
It gets very cold during winters in some regions, often below 50°F indoors.
To keep the plant warm and revive it from cold shocks, you can try a few methods.
One of the easiest and most convenient ways to provide external warmth to the arrowhead is by wrapping bubble wrap around it.
The temperature will still fluctuate, but this will comfort the plant and reduce the cold shock.
For the best method of warming a plant and even humans, consider installing heaters or radiators indoors.
They are controllable machines, and some can automatically change according to their surrounding.
However, avoid placing your arrowhead plant too close to the heater or radiator, as that can cause more shock to the plant.
To avoid warming up the whole room and using plastic wrap, you can use heat lamps.
They are easily available online and offline and are very effective in the long run.
It will provide comfortable heat and also act as an artificial sun.
Instead of warming a plant from the top or sides, one can try heat mats.
These are easily available in the market and are generally electric.
The installation process is easy.
You need to keep the plant pot over a heat mat to warm up the plant from below.
For treating a plant that has experienced heat shocks, keep it in a cooler spot.
Keep it under a shade or away from exposure to heat and dry conditions.
Sometimes indoor plants are also affected due to heaters.
Uncontrollable heat temperatures from the heater dry up the plant’s moisture.
Moreover, as it is chemical heat, it is more harmful.
For a moist experience, wrap a damp cloth around it.
Water it properly and also spray some water on the leaves.
Heatwaves are very dangerous, so protect arrowheads from them.
House gardeners tend to chop off branches and stem for lateral growth and indirectly reduce plant health.
But unknowingly, they also chop off the protective layers.
Also read: Can Arrowhead Plants Grow Outside? (Outdoor Care+Bringing Them In)
Poor water quality
Arrowhead plants are usually not very sensitive to water quality.
But if the water has too many hard minerals, it can damage the leaves, due to which they will curl.
Avoid using regular tap water while watering your Syngonium.
Instead, use rainwater, filtered water, or distilled water to water the plant.
If you don’t have those options, you can collect tap water in a bucket or container and leave it outside for a few hours.
This will reduce the hard minerals in the water, after which you can use it on your Syngonium.
Also, avoid using too cold or hot water as that can shock the arrowhead plant.
Use room-temperature water while watering your plants.
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A rootbound plant can lead to different problems.
A plant can remain rootbound only for a short period, but the roots will require more space for growth after a while.
Without enough space, the roots will eventually start displacing the soil, and the plant will not get enough water or nutrients from the roots.
This will lead to curly leaves on your arrowhead plant.
You can fix a rootbound plant by repotting it.
You can take the arrowhead plant out of its pot and repot it in a bigger pot with fresh potting mix.
You can prune the excess roots and some foliage and keep it in the same pot if you don’t want it to become bigger than its current size.
Also read: Do Arrowhead Plants Like To Be Root Bound? (+Signs & When To Repot)
The arrowhead plants are easy to grow as they are not too demanding. But anything wrong with their care routine or if the plant doesn’t get the required living conditions, it will experience problems such as curling leaves.
If you don’t want to see curling leaves on your arrowhead plant:
- Avoid keeping it thirsty for too long and water it whenever 50-75% of the soil goes dry.
- Use a fertile and well-drained soil mix for the Syngonium, which provides all the required nutrients and water.
- Fertilize with a diluted and well-balanced liquid fertilizer during the growing season but don’t overdo it.
- Don’t expose your arrowhead plant to extreme conditions and keep it in a controlled and warm environment.
- Avoid using tap water as it might contain hard minerals that can damage the leaves and make them curl.
- If your arrowhead plant is rootbound, repot it in fresh potting mix and a bigger pot.
Reference: CABI, Britannica, United States Department of Agriculture, Wikipedia, Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service, Missouri Botanical Garden.
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