Arrowhead plants are tropical plants with thick roots and spade-shaped leaves. If you have a potted arrowhead plant or Syngonium in the house, it will get root bound at some point.
So it is crucial to find out if the arrowhead plant likes being rootbound.
Arrowhead plants enjoy being slightly rootbound as it allows them to hold the soil and absorb water well. However, they won’t enjoy being root-bound for too long and requires repotting at one point. You must repot your Syngonium once every 2-5 years when it starts showing signs of rootbound.
This article will explain more about the rootbound condition in arrowhead plants, along with the signs and the remedy.
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What is rootbound?
When you have a potted plant, the roots grow inside the pot.
But as the roots grow, they require more space, and that is when the plant becomes root bound as the roots lack space for growth and functioning.
When the roots grow bigger than the pot, they come out of the drainage holes and displace the soil.
Therefore, you should repot when your Syngonium starts showing the signs so that it doesn’t get so root bound that it starts affecting its health and growth.
Does the arrowhead plant mind being root bound?
Arrowhead plants grow at a moderate to fast speed, and therefore, the roots require more space for growth at one point.
Usually, the arrowhead plant can take between 2-5 years to get root bound, depending on its growth rate and variety.
An arrowhead plant doesn’t mind being slightly root bound as it helps them absorb the water better and prevent overwatering.
It also allows them to hold the soil better and remain upright.
But, when the roots start displacing the soil or coming out of the drainage holes, the plant calls for more space and wants to get out of the root-bound state.
So, your Syngonium will not enjoy being in the root-bound state for too long and require repotting.
How do you know your arrowhead plant is root bound?
When your Syngonium remains root bound for too long, it becomes weak.
The roots fail to function properly due to a lack of space, and the plant doesn’t get enough nutrients or water.
You might notice stunted growth, yellow leaves, underdeveloped leaves, lack of soil, and stunted growth in a rootbound plant.
Some signs of a root-bound arrowhead plant are:
- Roots come out of the drainage holes
- Roots show up over the soil surface
- Roots start growing in a circular motion inside the pot
To confirm this, you must check the plant by taking it out of the pot:
- If the soil feels wet, allow it to dry out so you can check the roots.
- Tap the pot to loosen the soil if your Syngonium is in a clay or terracotta pot, and gently squeeze the pot if the arrowhead is in a plastic pot.
- Now bring the pot to the right location. Place a paper or cardboard on the floor, and take the plant out of its pot for checking the roots.
Once you check the roots, you can determine if your arrowhead plant is highly rootbound and requires repotting.
Also read: How Fast Do Arrowhead Plants Grow? (Arrowhead Plant Growth Rate)
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When should I repot my arrowhead plant?
Arrowhead plant or Syngonium is a medium to fast-growing plant that grows bushy and requires frequent pruning.
However, in terms of its roots, the Syngonium requires repotting once in 2-5 years based on its growth rate.
You should repot your arrowhead plant once you find the rootbound signs.
The ideal time to repot your arrowhead plant is in early spring.
The Syngonium grows actively and can adjust well to the new repotting condition during this period.
Some signs that tell you that your arrowhead plant requires repotting are:
- Roots come out of the drainage holes.
- You notice a reduction in the quantity of the soil.
- The growth rate of the arrowhead plant slows down.
- The soil dries out faster and requires frequent watering.
- The pot starts forming breaks or bulges out due to the pressure from the roots.
- The roots become tangled inside the pot and grow in a circular motion.
These indicate that your Syngonium is rootbound.
What are the stages of a rootbound arrowhead plant?
Every rootbound plant has different stages, so let’s take a look at the different stages of a rootbound arrowhead plant.
First stage: In this condition, the roots start getting twisted around each other, and you can easily fix this by detangling the roots.
Second stage: The roots start growing in a circular movement around the root ball, and this is the stage where you should consider repotting your arrowhead plant.
If you repot the plant in a bigger pot, it will fix the rootbound condition and allow your plant and its roots to grow freely again.
Third stage: This is the final stage where you must repot your Syngonium immediately.
The roots start forming clusters, putting pressure on the pot, and displacing the soil for space.
You can fix this by taking a new and bigger pot, preparing a fresh potting mix, and repotting your arrowhead plant in it.
Before you learn about repotting your Syngonium, let’s find out the suitable pot and potting mix for these plants.
Best pot and soil for arrowhead plants
Getting the correct sized pot is essential for the health and growth of arrowhead plants.
While a small pot leads to a rootbound plant, a big pot can cause overwatering.
|Oversized pot||Small pot|
|More root growth than foliage growth|
Bacterial and fungal diseases
Therefore, always select a pot 2″ larger than your arrowhead plant to avoid these issues.
While repotting, you should get a pot that is one size larger than the former pot.
When it comes to the material of the pot, you can select any provided you know how to take care of the plant living in that material.
For example, an arrowhead plant living in a plastic pot will require less frequent watering than one living in a terracotta pot.
I recommend clay or terracotta pot as they are porous and allow proper airflow around the roots.
You should always choose a well-drained soil and fertile potting mix for your arrowhead plant, as it will not make the soil soggy and provide sufficient nutrients to the plant.
You can achieve an ideal soil mix for your Syngonium by mixing:
- 2 parts potting soil
- 1 part charcoal and pumice
- 1 part coco coir
This soil mix will provide enough nutrients, drain the excess water, retain the required moisture, and allow proper air circulation to the roots.
Also read: What Kind Of Soil For Arrowhead Plant? (+Best Soil Mix)
How to save a rootbound arrowhead plant?
You can save your rootbound arrowhead plant or Syngonium by repotting it to a bigger pot.
Here are the steps of repotting a rootbound arrowhead plant:
Take the plant out of its pot.
The first step is to take your Syngonium out of its current pot.
To make it easy, water the plant the day before you plan to repot it.
It will keep the soil moist and allow the plant to come out easily.
If you still face difficulty taking the plant out, tap the sides of the pot to loosen the soil.
You can use a knife and run it along the border of the pot to loosen the soil.
Hold the base of your Syngonium and gently pull it to take it out of the pot. You can tilt the pot or hold it upside down to make it easier.
Detangle the roots
If the roots seem clustered, massage them gently and try to loosen them up.
Detangling the roots will grow freely and effectively in the new pot.
If you notice solid clusters, you can take a pruner and prune some of the roots.
Also, prune the damaged or dead foliage.
Prepare the new pot and soil.
Select a planter that is one size bigger than the former one and fill it halfway with a suitable potting mix for your arrowhead plant.
Repot the plant
Now, place the arrowhead plant in the pot and add soil from all sides.
Tap the soil gently and add more if required. Water the soil after repotting to let the plant settle in.
Provide bright indirect sunlight and take good care of your arrowhead plant after repotting it.
If you don’t want to repot your arrowhead plant, you can opt for either of these:
- Prune the extra roots
- Divide the plant
Prune the overgrown roots of your arrowhead plant
If you want to keep your Syngonium in the same pot without keeping it root bound, you can prune the extra roots and keep only the primary ones on the plant.
Along with pruning the roots, prune some foliage to prevent stressing the plant.
Once you are done with the pruning, repot the plant in its old pot but consider using a fresh potting mix if you didn’t change it for long.
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Divide the plant
Dividing your arrowhead plant is also a great way of saving it from the rootbound condition.
You can divide your Syngonium into as many plants as you would like, but you must not damage any of them while dividing, or else it will not survive.
Dividing the plant will reduce stress and allow each plant to grow. Ensure to take the right care of all the plants.
Arrowhead plants won’t enjoy being rootbound for too long as it will restrict their growth, affect their functioning and stop them from staying healthy.
If you have a rootbound arrowhead plant, you can repot it, prune the roots, keep it in the same pot, or divide the plant to save it from stressful conditions.
Depending on when it gets rootbound, you should repot your arrowhead plant once in 2-5 years.
Don’t neglect a plant that shows signs of the rootbound condition and try to fix it as soon as possible.
Reference: CABI, Britannica, United States Department of Agriculture, Wikipedia, Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service, Missouri Botanical Garden.
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