Arrowhead or Syngonium is a well-known houseplant and is mostly popular for its beautiful spade-shaped foliage. But if you notice that the Syngonium grows lengthy with less foliage, it means your arrowhead is leggy.
The primary reason arrowheads become leggy is lack of pruning and insufficient light. Other reasons for a leggy plant include excessive fertilization, improper watering, and a root-bound plant. You can fix this problem by providing the plant with an ideal growing condition and regular pruning.
This article will help you understand the possible reasons behind the leggy arrowhead plant and make the plant healthy again.
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Why is my arrowhead plant leggy?
A plant with an excessively long stem with fewer leaves is considered a leggy plant.
If you notice this problem in your arrowhead, you should immediately try to find out and fix it to make the plant healthy again.
There are many reasons behind a leggy arrowhead plant that this article will get to.
Let’s discuss the reasons along with the solutions.
Lack of light
Arrowheads thrive in bright indirect sunlight.
If you keep your Syngonium in the dark where it doesn’t receive sufficient light, you should immediately change its location.
The plant needs light for performing photosynthesis.
If there is a lack of light, photosynthesis reduces, and the plant fails to get the necessary energy and nutrients for functioning.
Due to low light, the plant starts stretching itself to reach the light to get the nutrients and energy.
This affects the entire growth of arrowheads, and they become long, leggy, and weak.
Also read: Arrowhead Plant Light Needs: What Type, How Much & More
Irregular pruning of arrowhead
Pruning is necessary for your arrowhead to encourage new and healthy growth.
You should always prune arrowhead during the growing season in summer and spring to promote new growth.
Lack of pruning doesn’t let the plant grow further and gives an uneven shape to it.
The arrowhead plant turns leggy because of weak stems and irregular trimming.
If you don’t trim your arrowhead on time, the unnecessary leaves will take up all the nutrients, energy, and moisture from the soil that stems and roots need.
Due to this reason, the stem and roots become weak, and the plant turns leggy.
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Not watering your arrowhead properly
Arrowhead needs proper watering on time.
They thrive on moist soil but hate being in soggy soil.
Both underwatering and overwatering can cause leggy growth on arrowheads.
How? Let’s understand.
If you don’t water your arrowhead on time, the plant will not get any moisture or nutrients from the soil, making the stems fragile.
Due to weak stems and low energy, the leaves start falling, causing unequal growth on arrowheads.
Like water deficiency causes trouble to arrowheads, excess watering can also cause harm.
Don’t water your arrowhead too frequently, as too much watering can also cause leggy growth.
When arrowhead stays in the water for an extended period, various fungal diseases and bacteria grow.
All these diseases and bacteria damage plant cells and make them extremely weak.
Due to this reason, the arrowhead doesn’t leave with any energy for regulating healthy growths and starts to turn leggy.
Also read: How To Water Arrowhead Plant? (How Often+Summer & Winter)
Overuse of fertilizers
Arrowhead needs fertilizer once a month.
Frequent fertilizing with stronger doses can harm their growth.
You are extremely wrong if you think that providing the plant with too many fertilizers will encourage faster and healthy growth.
You are simply harming your plant by feeding excessively with heavy doses.
Overfertilizing your arrowhead will increase the growth at an unusual rate that causes weakness.
Constant over-fertilizing of your arrowheads will make the stems grow thinner and taller with weaker stems.
Due to weakness, the leaves start to fall from the bottom of the plant, and they stop growing back.
This indicates that your arrowhead is leggy.
Even if you are not over fertilizing, using a fertilizer higher in nitrogen can also cause the same harm.
Nitrogen helps promote growth, so when the nitrogen ratio is high in fertilizers, the plant will continue to grow taller, making them completely weak.
Don’t ever overfeed your arrowhead with fertilizers to avoid this problem.
Also read: How Often Should You Fertilize Arrowhead Plant? (Best Fertilizer For Arrowhead)
The best ideal temperature for arrowhead is 60-80 degrees.
Arrowheads prefer warm temperatures to thrive as they are tropical plants.
They can’t tolerate cold temperatures and can cause several issues to your arrowheads.
When the temperatures go extremely below or extremely high, then it becomes difficult for arrowheads to survive in such conditions.
Sudden extreme temperature fluctuations can interrupt the plant’s respiration, transpiration, and photosynthesis processes.
Such disturbance in the plant’s processes can stress your arrowhead as they can’t adjust to such unfavorable surroundings and causes leggy growth.
If you don’t want to stress your Syngonium, try to maintain a suitable temperature for arrowheads and protect them from extreme temperatures.
Also read: Do Arrowhead Plants Go Dormant? (Winter Dormancy+Care)
When there is no place for the roots to grow inside the pot, the plant can become root-bound.
During root-bound, the soil content becomes less inside the pot as the roots start displacing the soil, and because of this reason, the arrowhead fails to receive proper water and nutrients.
It happens when you don’t repot your arrowhead on time.
Not repotting your plant can make them weak due to nutrient deficiency, and the plant turns leggy.
Also read: Do Arrowhead Plants Like To Be Root Bound? (+Signs & When To Repot)
How to fix my leggy arrowhead plant?
After knowing about all the reasons behind the leggy arrowhead, let us discuss how you can fix this problem.
Recovering a leggy arrowhead is not at all difficult.
You just have to take immediate action without ignoring the signs of legginess.
There are 6 causes which we have already discussed.
Now let us see the solution of each cause.
- Provide your arrowhead with sufficient indirect sunlight.
- Prune from time to time without delay.
- Check the moisture frequently and water your plant adequately but don’t overdo it.
- Don’t fertilize your plant frequently with heavy doses.
- Maintain the proper temperature.
- Repot your arrowhead on time to prevent them from being root-bound.
Now let us discuss each solution in detail.
Place your arrowhead bright indirect light.
Not providing your arrowhead with proper light will make them leggy and weak.
Arrowhead requires 6-8 hours of bright indirect sunlight but not direct.
This will help the arrowhead to function properly.
Place your arrowhead near a window or door where it will get bright indirect sunlight.
But avoid giving them direct sunlight and provide them with shade to avoid sunburn.
Don’t keep the plant near a dark place where the light is very low.
Otherwise, the plant will turn leggy.
South or east-facing windows or doors are the best spots for your arrowhead if you want to provide them with 8-10 hours of indirect light.
Rotate your arrowhead frequently to provide light in every corner of the plant.
If your plant is still not getting sufficient natural light, you can also provide them with artificial lights.
This also works the same as natural light, and you also get it easily from the stores.
Also read: Arrowhead Plant Sunburn: Signs, Causes & Fix
Try to maintain the proper temperature for your arrowhead.
Constant temperature fluctuations can stress your arrowheads.
Due to sudden changes, the plant will use all of its energy to adjust itself.
This will cause weakness to the plant, and also, it will make them leggy.
Try to keep arrowheads away from cold drafts, frost, air conditioners, and heating objects like heaters, radiators, and incinerators.
If you keep your Syngonium near a window during a cold climate, try to cover the plant with curtains to protect them.
Arrowhead loves to stay in humid conditions, so try to provide them humidity by frequently misting, keeping the plant in the bathroom for some hours, or grouping the plants.
You can also simply use a humidifier device to maintain humidity inside the house.
Use a thermometer to check the temperature frequently inside your house and maintain it accordingly.
Prune your arrowhead properly
Pruning your plant on time encourages new growth to them and helps to keep the arrowheads clean, tidy, and healthy.
When all the infected and damaged leaves are pruned off, it can no longer infect other remaining leaves and gives space for new leaf development.
The best time to prune your arrowhead is during summer and spring when they grow at their best.
The things to remember for pruning your plant properly are:
- The tools for pruning should be sharp and sterilized.
- You should cut the parts carefully without doing any physical damage.
- Prune all the unnecessary leaves and leggy stems.
- If a dormant bud does not let your arrowhead grow properly, trim it off.
Fertilizing your arrowhead too much will make the plant abnormally tall with no development of the leaves.
First, eliminate all the unnecessary, damaged leaves, stem tips, and branches to fix your arrowhead.
Cutting stem tips will stop the uneven growth and promote new and healthy growth.
You can simply change the current soil with the fresh one by re-potting to reduce the fertilizers.
Before repotting, you should remove the infected roots and then continue further.
The best soil mix for arrowhead is the mixture of perlite, peat moss, and organic compost. So choose it accordingly.
Don’t fertilize arrowheads while they recover, and take good care of them after repotting.
Treat your arrowhead by watering them properly.
Both overwatering and underwatering can cause leggy growth to your arrowheads. So, let’s understand how you can easily fix both problems.
First, you have to remove all the infected, damaged leaves, dormant buds, and branches to keep the plant healthy.
To treat overwatering:
- If you notice that the soil is soggy, stop watering your arrowhead for some days.
- You can add compost to the soil to absorb the excess water quickly.
- Place the plant where they will receive bright indirect sunlight. This increases the evaporation process and helps the plant recover soon.
- If your arrowhead has root rot, repot the plant by eliminating the damaged roots. Make sure you don’t use the previous soil while re-potting.
- Choose the pot with proper drainage so that the excess water will drain out easily.
To treat underwatering:
- Water your arrowhead regularly until you see the soil is completely moist and brown.
- You can also apply the pebble tray method to provide constant water to the plant.
- You should keep misting your arrowhead to keep the atmosphere moist and healthy.
- Arrowhead should be watered 2 to 3 times a week to prevent underwatering.
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Repot the plant
Rootbound can cause severe damage to the plant, so from time to time, repotting is necessary.
Normally, arrowheads need to be re-potted every 12 to 14 months.
Otherwise, the plant can be root-bound.
To fix rootbound, you should simply repot your plant.
For repotting, you should choose a pot 2 inches larger than the old one with a good amount of drainage holes.
Choose a suitable potting mix for arrowhead that has good moisture retention and proper drainage.
Re-potting should be done gently without causing any injury.
You should be careful while removing the arrowhead from the container and placing them in the new one.
Even small damage can cause serious harm to your arrowhead, and it can get leggy.
You should place the plant in the middle of the container and then put the soil in it.
After you are done, water it and take good care of the plant.
You don’t have to worry if your arrowhead is getting leggy. Every problem has a solution, so your leggy arrowhead can also be fixed once you identify the problem.
There are six causes of a leggy plant that has already been mentioned in this article above. Try to identify the problem and fix it accordingly.
Let’s summarize everything about how you can prevent leggy growth on the arrowhead plants.
- Provide indirect sunlight to your Syngonium but not direct. If natural light is not sufficient, you can use artificial lights.
- Fertilize your arrowhead only in their growing season with a liquid fertilizer. Avoid frequent fertilizing.
- Try to maintain a temperature between 60-85 degrees. Unsuitable temperature can make arrowhead leggy.
- Make a proper watering schedule for the arrowhead and maintain it correctly.
- Prune your plant frequently to promote new and healthy growth.
- Repot your plant every 12-14 months to avoid the rootbound problem.
All these points can be considered as both prevention and fixation.
Reference: CABI, Britannica, United States Department of Agriculture, Wikipedia, Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service, Missouri Botanical Garden.
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