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Arrowhead Plant Sunburn: Signs, Causes & Fix

The arrowhead plant or Syngonium is one of the most beautiful houseplants with spade-shaped leaves and eye-catching variegation. Many diseases and reasons are responsible for a dull and damaged plant; sunburn is one.

So, in this article, we shall learn all about the signs of a sunburned arrowhead plant and how to fix the same.

Sunburn is a common problem that leads to brown and wilting leaves in arrowhead plants. Sudden exposure to intense sunlight or exposure for long hours can lead to sunburn in the arrowhead plant. Common signs include brown and dry leaves. Keep the plant in dappled sunlight to prevent the same.

If you have a sunburned arrowhead plant, I have the solutions for you. I will also discuss some preventive measures to save your arrowhead plant from sunburn.

Arrowhead Plant sunburn

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Signs that indicate Sunburn in Arrowhead Plants

If you have arrowhead plants in the house, you need to understand their needs.

Thorough knowledge of Syngonium is essential because it can help you identify the primary reasons: white patches and the lime yellow color of arrowhead leaves.

In the initial stages treating the plant is easier.

But once it reaches the severe stage of damage due to constant negligence and other reasons, reviving it becomes difficult, and in some cases, it also leads to the death of the plant.

  • The stage before severe sunburn shows yellow leaves, which gradually turn into brown spots.
  • With approaching time and further damage, leaves turn brown and brittle.
  • The brown edges often curl inwards from the stem to the tip of an arrowhead plant.
  • When you notice that leaves are falling before they need to, curling from edges, they have turned dry, brown, and crisp, understand that they need immediate care.

If not treated immediately, it can result in the wilting of that plant.

After thorough research, we have identified the probable causes of sunburn and the solutions.

Causes behind sunburn in Arrowhead Plants

Arrowhead plants are flexible and can grow under tough circumstances.

But like other indoor plants, they also have some preferences and need appropriate conditions for growth.

If you don’t follow those, your arrowhead plant will show signs of damage.


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Prolonged exposure to direct sun rays during the summer.

The most common reason for sunburn in Syngonium is prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.

Generally, any houseplant (except a few) is sensitive to direct sun or heat.

That’s why too much exposure can cause sunburn.

Arrowhead plants are native to tropical and subtropical rainforests, where they grow with the support of bigger trees that protect them from direct sunlight.

Due to their natural habitat, the cuticle of their leaves is thinner than the ones grown under sunlight.

The thinner a plant’s cuticle, the more open the plant is to damage due to sun or heat.

Plants like arrowheads that grow with dappled sunlight are prone to scorch and sunburn.

They generally crave bright indirect light, but intense direct light can damage the cells of the leaves.

Plants need sunlight to produce energy through photosynthesis.

But excessive sunlight damages the chlorophyll, changing the color of the leaves to white, yellow or brown.

The pigments necessary for photosynthesis are damaged, so it causes health issues too.

During the growing season, arrowheads are more prone to such damages.

Sudden exposure to light

Arrowhead Plant light needs

Plants generally adapt themselves according to their surroundings.

If a plant is growing in low or moderate light conditions, sudden exposure to excessive sunlight can cause shock to the plant and damage the leaves.

Plant shock and stress deteriorate its health, and severe damage can even lead to the death of that plant.

Over days or months, an individual plant adjusts its cells, tissue, and other integral parts according to its surrounding.

In nurseries or even inside our house, a comfortable environment is created for the arrowhead plant to grow.

Some nurseries use artificial lights with proper intensities to replicate the exact growing conditions.

When we shift an arrowhead plant from a shadier spot to a more bright spot or one that gets direct sunlight, they get sunburned.

Frequent shifting of places results in shock and stress.

Stress deteriorates the health of your Syngonium because plants fail to function properly under pressure.

Sudden exposure to intense sun rays can dry up a plant to such an extent that it will lack the minimum quantity of water needed to function normally.

Also read: Arrowhead Plant Light Needs: What Type, How Much & More

Poor water quality

Arrowhead Plant watering

Your arrowhead plant might get harmed due to the use of tap water.

Most gardeners prefer tap water due to its easy availability.

Tap water has a higher concentration of chlorine, iron, sodium, or other minerals and sometimes chemicals, which can potentially damage the cells of a leaf.

The higher concentration of some minerals creates an imbalance, and thus, sometimes it drains out water to balance the concentration.

Tap water is generally referred to as hard water due to this high concentration of various minerals.

Over time, normal tap water, even filtered tap water, can deposit a layer of minerals and salts on your plant.

This can be identified as a thin, pale white crust above the soil.

We have also seen house gardeners sometimes use processed drinking water or filtered water to water their plants.

But it is always the worst water source for any plant because drinking water generally has low nitrogen levels.

Nitrogen is the leading mineral that contributes to a plant’s growth.

Moreover, using bottled water is illogical and unnecessarily expensive.

Due to the application of wrong quality water, plants become weak.

Weak plants are prone to damage easily.

If a plant has weak leaves, it will weaken the cuticle, and direct sunlight will affect them first.

Also read: How To Water Arrowhead Plant? (How Often+Summer & Winter)

How to fix a sunburned arrowhead plant?

When arrowhead plants are exposed to excessive direct sunlight during growing months after staying in a more shaded place for a long time, they get sunburned.

We should know that there is no absolute remedy for a severe case of sunburned Syngonium; there are only primary care and solutions.

If you immediately adopt proper habits and methods, it will help save your arrowhead plant from irreversible damage or death due to sunburn.

  • Pruning off the damaged leaves is a smart move as they will not grow back healthier and green again. They will only hamper the beauty of that plant by showing a very dull and unhealthy look.
  • Relocate your arrowhead plant in a darker and shadier spot to prevent further damage.
  • When it recovers, move it back to where it will receive indirect bright light.
  • The best way to make your arrowhead plant get accustomed to sunlight is to expose them gradually to it. Take it outside or under direct sunlight for one to two hours each week. Over the next weeks, increase the exposure time until it can tolerate a specific level.
  • You should reduce watering to some extent if the Syngonium has lost leaves due to sunburn. An unhealthy plant with few leaves doesn’t need as much water as before. As new leaves begin to grow and develop, increase the frequency of watering to meet the need for new growing leaves.
  • If you keep watering less, even the arrowhead plant has recovered, it will experience underwatering issues.
  • If the plant has been damaged due to sunburn in the growing season, reduce fertilizers. You can maintain the same schedule as earlier but reduce the quantity of the fertilizer. Once your arrowhead plant has restored its health, it’s time to provide the same frequency and amount of fertilizer again. 


How to prevent sunburn on arrowhead plants?

Arrowhead Plant humidifier

Once a plant gets damaged due to sunburn, it isn’t that easy to bring it to its normal state.

But preventing your plant from getting sunburned is easier.

There are only a few simple ways to prevent this problem easily.

  • Place the plant in a proper spot
  • Use sunblock
  • Provide an artificial shade to the plant

Let’s discuss these in detail.

Placing the plant in a proper spot

Arrowhead plants thrive under indirect bright light.

They can also grow in moderate light.

But direct sunlight and heatwaves inside the house, i.e., from the room heater, furnace, and chimney, will make the leaves dry and have a burning effect on them.

  • To ensure less damage from household devices, try to place the arrowhead plant where the temperature fluctuation is not much.
  • The plant can receive gentle morning sun rays but not harsh afternoon ones. Ensure that the place you are keeping your arrowhead plant receives some shade throughout the day.
  • To ensure that the plant will receive indirect bright light, place it near an eastern and northern window.
  • Use filters or curtains to filter the direct sunlight.
  • To prevent sunburn, you can place your Syngonium 5-7 feet away from the window.

Also read: Where To Place Arrowhead Plant? (Ideal Placement+Tips)

Use sunblock

If providing a proper shade and requirement for your plant is not possible, then use another popular method, “sun-blocking,” to keep them insulated and maintain a good amount of moisture in the soil.

Try using mulch as a sunblock.

It will prevent the moisture from escaping through evaporation from the soil during the summer season.

Another advantage of mulch is that it can absorb sunlight before it hits the soil.

Sometimes few fertilizers also serve the same purpose.

Although this is more popular for outdoor plants, you can try this for your indoor arrowhead plants.

Provide an artificial shade to the arrowhead plant

If your arrowhead plant is placed in your garden or patio, it will surely need some protection.

Provide your Syngonium with a netting kind of shade or any other tent-like shade to cover it.

Specific tent for protecting plants is available in the market, or you can easily make one at home with medium-sized fabric, hoops, spikes, and frames.

Ensure that your setup is breathable and has enough place to avoid any damage.

A strong shade can protect your arrowhead plant from hot and cold drafts.

The best way to prevent sunburn in arrowheads is by keeping them indoors, away from machines that emit harmful heat waves, and giving proper water to them.


Reference: CABIBritannicaUnited States Department of AgricultureWikipediaChildren’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health ServiceMissouri Botanical Garden.