Arrowhead plant or Syngonium is a popular trailing tropical plant with beautiful spade-shaped leaves. Arrowhead plants are low maintenance and will thrive in suitable living conditions. If you are a beginner, it is an ideal houseplant for you to start with.
Arrowhead plants require moderate to bright indirect sunlight, warm temperatures between 60-85°F and humidity levels not lower than 40-50%. You should water this species only when the soil is 50-75% dry and fertilize it with a diluted liquid fertilizer during its growing season.
You need to consider multiple factors while taking care of your arrowhead plant. Otherwise, the plant will develop different problems.
In this article, I will take you through all the requirements of an arrowhead plant, some care tips, and some common problems.
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Arrowhead Plant Overview
Arrowhead plants come from tropical and subtropical regions of America.
They are known for their spade-shaped variegated and non-variegated foliage.
Arrowhead plants have different names, such as Syngonium, arrowhead vines, goosefoot plant, etc.
These plants turn into vines as they mature and grow up to 6 feet indoors.
Let’s look at some common indoor varieties:
|Painted arrow||This popular variety produces green leaves with white variegation.|
|Green gold||This variety produces yellow leaves with green margins. These are best grown as vines.|
|Erythrophyllum||This species produces beautiful dark-colored leaves. It is a slow-growing species that takes time to grow thick stems.|
|Emerald Gem||This arrowhead variety produces dark green spade-shaped leaves with light green veins.|
|Pixie||This is a compact arrowhead variety with green leaves with light green veins.|
|Pink allusion||This compact variety produces green and pink leaves with green margins.|
|Albolineatum||This tall arrowhead variety has light green leaves with white variegation.|
Are arrowhead plants easy to grow?
Arrowhead plants are recommended to beginners because they are easy to grow.
Arrowhead plants do not require excess care or attention and can thrive with low maintenance.
However, you must still understand the plant’s requirements and provide the ideal living and growing conditions.
Is arrowhead indoor or outdoor?
Based on the basic needs of the arrowhead plant, it can be considered an indoor plant.
Although all plants come from outdoor environments, the conditions of their natural environment might be very different from your outdoor conditions.
Arrowhead plants prefer warm conditions with average temperatures and high humidity levels.
They can neither tolerate direct sunlight nor low temperatures.
If you live in USDA zones 10 and 11, your arrowhead might survive outside, but you will need to Bring It inside during winter when the temperatures go low.
Therefore, it is best to grow arrowhead plants indoors.
Arrowhead plant care
It is easy to care for an arrowhead plant or Syngonium.
Arrowhead plants can survive in various conditions, but if you want to see them thrive, you must provide the ideal conditions and proper care.
If you are not aware of the ways to care for an arrowhead plant or its basic needs, you are at the right place.
Let’s start with the basic requirements.
Arrowhead plant light requirements
Arrowhead plants thrive in bright indirect sunlight.
If you have a variegated species of arrowhead, you should expose it to bright and indirect light.
But you can keep a non-variegated variety in a spot with medium light.
Arrowhead plants can even survive in low-light conditions, but it is not ideal.
Therefore, you should try to find a bright spot when deciding your arrowhead’s placement.
You must remember that arrowhead plants cannot tolerate direct sunlight.
If you expose the Syngonium to direct sunlight, you will notice scorched leaves, compact soil, and a dehydrated plant.
If your arrowhead is getting direct sunlight, you can move it 5-7 feet away from the window or put on blinds or curtains to filter the light.
If you want to take your arrowhead outside, find a shady spot with indirect light.
If you think your Syngonium is not getting enough light, you can use artificial lights.
You must also rotate the plant at regular intervals to provide even light distribution on all sides.
Arrowhead plant water requirements
Arrowhead plants require water only when the soil is 50-75% dry.
To ensure that, you must check the moisture level of the soil.
You can use a moisture meter if you are new to this.
If the moisture meter shows 2 or 3 moisture levels, you can provide water to your arrowhead.
Avoid following any watering schedule blindly, as it can lead to overwatering and root rot.
On the other hand, don’t forget to check up on your arrowhead as that will lead to an underwatered and dehydrated plant.
You can set up a schedule to check the soil’s moisture and water accordingly.
In general, arrowhead plants require watering once a week in the growing season and once in 2-3 weeks in the winter season.
However, keep in mind that it will depend on external conditions such as temperature, light, humidity, etc.
If you are growing your arrowhead in water, you don’t need to provide water to it separately.
You should change the water whenever the existing water looks dirty, and you might need to add water when the water level goes down due to evaporation.
Arrowhead plant soil requirements
Arrowhead plants or Syngonium prefer fertile and well-drained soil.
We should consider these main characteristics, but we must also ensure that the soil holds the required moisture.
If you use a heavy potting mix, it will cause an overwatering situation and damage the roots.
On the other hand, soil that drains the water too fast will fail to provide sufficient moisture to the plant.
Therefore, you should prepare a potting mix that fulfills the required criteria: it holds enough moisture, drains excess water, and is fertile.
The soil’s pH level should be slightly acidic, between 6.5-7.5.
You can prepare the ideal potting mix with:
Arrowhead plant fertilizer needs
If you want your arrowhead plant to grow fast and thrive, you need to give fertilize it at the right time.
While fertilizing, it is best to dilute the dose with water to avoid overfertilization.
You can feed the arrowhead once a month during the spring and summer months.
However, always read the instructions carefully to avoid overfertilizing the plant and damaging its roots.
If you don’t want to opt for commercial fertilizers, you can choose organic fertilizers such as aquarium water, banana peels, or eggshells.
Reduce fertilizing with the arrival of the fall season and stop fertilizing entirely in winter.
Since winter is the dormant period for arrowhead plants, they don’t focus on growth, so fertilizers will build upon the soil and damage the plant.
Stop fertilizing in winter and resume it when the growing season arrives.
Arrowhead plant temperature tolerance
Arrowhead plants are native to tropical and subtropical regions of America
which provides a warm environment to these plants.
When you bring it home as a houseplant, it will prefer the same warm temperatures to thrive.
You must try to provide temperatures between 60-85°F to your Syngonium.
During winter, the temperatures go lower than the ideal range, so you need to protect your arrowhead from it.
Arrowhead plants will not tolerate freezing temperatures, frost, or cold drafts, so you must not expose the plant to such conditions.
Arrowhead plant humidity requirements
Coming from tropical regions where the humidity levels are high, arrowhead plants also demand high humidity levels as houseplants.
If you want your arrowhead plant to thrive, do not let the humidity levels drop below 40-50%.
If the humidity levels drop below 40%, your Syngonium will find it hard to survive.
If you are wondering how to maintain humidity levels above 50%, try these methods:
- Install a humidifier or keep the Syngonium near it if you already have one.
- Group your arrowhead with other humidity-loving plants but ensure that they get enough airflow.
- Relocate the arrowhead to the kitchen, bathroom, or basement. These rooms can increase the humidity levels by 10-15%.
- Keep your arrowhead plant near an aquarium if you have one. The water of the aquarium will evaporate and add moisture to that area.
- You can prepare a pebble tray. Take a tray, add some pebbles, and pour water into it. Place the potted arrowhead on the pebbles. As the water evaporates from the tray, it will increase the humidity around the plant.
- You can mist your arrowhead occasionally to increase the humidity.
Arrowhead plant or Syngonium requires regular pruning for healthy and faster growth.
Arrowheads can become leggy and unhealthy without proper pruning.
You can prune your arrowhead 2-3 times a year during the growing season.
Avoid pruning the plant in winter.
Before pruning your Syngonium, keep these in mind:
- Disinfect the pruners before and after use to avoid spreading infections and diseases.
- Always use sharp tools for pruning the arrowhead.
- Wear gloves while pruning your arrowhead as it is toxic.
- Always make the cuts above the node to encourage new and faster growth.
- Avoid pruning more than 25% of the plant at once.
Repotting arrowhead plant
Arrowhead plants growing in pots will require repotting once in 2-5 years.
The arrowheads grow extensive roots, and not repotting them on time can make them rootbound.
A rootbound plant means it has roots that are longer compared to the pot.
Since the roots don’t get enough space for growth, they start taking up a lot of space and start coming out of the drainage holes and displacing the soil.
To save your arrowhead from such a condition or prevent it, you must repot the plant.
You need to repot your arrowhead in other conditions such as root rot.
In root rot, the roots get affected by overwatering and start decaying.
You must prune these roots and repot the plant to prevent further damage.
Avoid fertilizing your arrowhead till it recovers the root rot condition.
If your arrowhead is growing in water, it will not require repotting, but you might need to change the water when it’s dirty.
Early spring is the ideal time to repot an arrowhead plant as it can recover the stress and grow faster due to the favorable growing conditions.
It is best to avoid repotting in winter as the conditions are unfavorable for the growth of the arrowhead plants, which can put excess stress on the plant.
Water the plant after repotting to reduce the repotting stress.
Arrowhead plant propagation
Arrowhead plant propagation is an easy and economical way of getting new plants.
If your arrowhead plant is dying, propagation is a great way of giving the plant another chance.
One of the best things is you can propagate an arrowhead both in soil and water.
Here are a few things to keep in mind during propagating your arrowhead plant:
- Choose a mature plant for propagation.
- Choose healthy cuttings for successful propagation.
- Take a sharp and sterilized pruner and make clean cuts.
- The cutting should include a node from where it can grow roots.
- If you want to try soil propagation, take a small pot and fill it with peat-based potting mix and plant your arrowhead in it.
- If you want to try water propagation, take a glass jar, fill it with water, and add the cutting.
- Wait for some for the roots to come out. You should see root growth within 4 weeks.
- Once the roots come out, let them grow a little longer and then repot your young arrowhead plant in a bigger pot or let it grow in water.
- Always use disinfected pruners to prevent the spread of infections or diseases.
Arrowhead plant in water
Arrowheads can easily be propagated and grown in water.
Growing an arrowhead in water is easier than growing it in soil.
You can take the stem cuttings and put them in a glass jar.
You can use a moss pole to support the plant as arrowhead plants are climbing varieties.
Since you are growing your arrowhead in water, you will not need to repot it or water it separately.
However, you will need to change the water whenever it gets dirty, and you will need to add more water when the water level goes down due to evaporation.
You can add a drop of fertilizer to the water to boost the plant’s growth whenever you change it.
And you can mist the leaves occasionally and clean its leaves.
You must provide suitable conditions to help your arrowhead thrive in water.
Arrowhead plants are toxic to cats and dogs, and if you have these pets at home, you must prevent them from getting to your arrowhead.
These are also toxic to humans and children.
On the scale of toxicity, arrowhead plants rate a three.
All parts of the arrowhead plant contain calcium oxalate crystals responsible for its toxicity.
These crystals are present in the plant’s sap which flows in all parts, making the entire plant toxic.
If the sap comes in touch with the skin, it can cause skin irritation, and if consumed, it can cause oral irritation and pain, and intestinal issues.
If your pet ingests any part, you should take it to the vet and start the treatment.
But to avoid all these, you must place your arrowhead plant in a spot that is inaccessible for your pets and children.
You should also use gloves whenever you touch the plant.
Arrowhead plant pests
A healthy arrowhead plant will never attract pests, but if you fail to provide favorable conditions and proper care, the plant will become healthy and vulnerable to pest infestations.
Pests like mealybugs, scales, aphids, and spider mites tend to attack your arrowhead plant.
Pests feed on the sap of the arrowhead plants and absorb all the nutrients, leaving the plant weak and unhealthy.
Removing these pests is crucial as they can damage the entire plant if you don’t take action on time.
Pests like mealybugs and scales attack your arrowhead plant if you have overwatered and kept it in waterlogged soil.
These pests prefer moist conditions.
On the other hand, pests such as spider mites get attracted to your arrowhead plant when you don’t provide enough water or humidity.
To remove the pests from your Syngonium, you must:
- Give the plant a good shower to remove as many pests as possible.
- Wipe the leaves with rubbing alcohol.
- Spray a neem oil solution all over your arrowhead plant and do this for 2 weeks.
- If it doesn’t work still, you can use a pesticide.
Arrowhead plant problems
Arrowhead plants can survive different conditions and thrive with low maintenance, but that doesn’t mean they will never have any problems.
If you are starting with an arrowhead plant, you might overwater it or underwater it if you don’t understand its requirements, which can further cause different problems.
Let’s take a look at some common problems that arrowhead plants face.
Arrowhead leaves turning yellow
Yellow leaves are the initial signs of different problems in houseplants.
If you notice yellow leaves on your arrowhead plant, you must recheck your watering schedule or determine whether it is getting the correct lighting or enough nutrients.
Some yellow leaves are caused due to aging, and you should not be worried about them.
You must prune the yellow leaves and find out how to stop them from coming back.
You must stop watering your arrowhead and allow it to recover from the stress.
You must water the arrowhead plant only when the soil is 50-75% dry since overwatering is usually the primary cause of yellow leaves.
Both direct and low light can also cause yellow leaves on your arrowhead.
To address this, you must find a suitable spot for your arrowhead that neither gets direct sunlight nor low light.
You can place the arrowhead 5-6 feet away from the window to provide bright indirect sunlight to it.
Arrowhead plant leaves turning brown
The primary reasons behind the leaves of the arrowhead plant turning brown are direct sun exposure, underwatering, low humidity, or overfertilization.
Overwatering can also cause brown leaves at an advanced stage where the plant has already reached the root rot stage.
You must remove the brown leaves from your arrowhead plant like the yellow leaves.
Avoid fertilizing too frequently or with a strong dose.
You must always dilute the dose to half-strength to avoid overfertilization and prevent brown leaves.
If your arrowhead is receiving direct sunlight, move it to a spot with less intense light, and if it isn’t receiving enough light, you must shift it to a brighter spot or use artificial lights.
If humidity levels are low, use a humidifier or a pebble tray.
You can also group your arrowhead with other humidity-loving plants.
Arrowhead leaves curling
The primary reasons behind the curling of leaves in arrowhead plants are nutrient deficiency, extreme temperatures, and low humidity.
Arrowhead plants require proper fertilization for growth, and without fertilizer, the soil alone will fail to provide the required nutrients to the arrowhead.
Therefore, if you are not fertilizing your arrowhead, start doing it. Use a 10:10:10 or 20:20:20 NPK fertilizer during the growing season to fertilize your arrowhead.
Arrowheads are tropical plants that prefer high humidity levels.
If they don’t get enough humidity, the leaves start curling to retain the remaining moisture in them.
Therefore, you must not expose your arrowhead to low humidity levels below 40-50%.
Extreme temperatures will stress your arrowhead and affect the leaves.
Arrowhead plants can’t tolerate lower temperatures, especially during the winter season.
If you don’t protect the plant from such temperatures, the leaves will curl.
Similarly, exposing the plant to extreme heat can make the leaves curl to protect the moisture.
You must protect the plant from both hot and cold drafts, frost, heating sources, and the direct air of the AC.
Arrowhead plant leaves are drooping
If your arrowhead plant is drooping, the reason might be overwatering or underwatering.
Overwatering causes different problems, and one of its signs is drooping leaves.
Since overwatering affect the roots and makes them decay, they can’t function properly, weakening the plant.
The leaves fail to hold their structure and start drooping.
When you don’t give enough water to your arrowhead plant, the leaves don’t get the hydration or nutrients to remain upright and start drooping.
Ideally, an arrowhead plant requires watering once a week during the growing months and once in 2-3 weeks during the dormant period.
Water when the soil is 50-75% dry to avoid overwatering and underwatering.
Low light and excess sunlight can also make the arrowhead droop.
Therefore, avoid placing your arrowhead in unfavorable lighting conditions.
Arrowhead leaves falling off
It is natural for your arrowhead plant to lose old leaves, but if it is losing young leaves or a lot of leaves, the plant is experiencing some problems.
Arrowhead plants lose leaves when they are exposed to unfavorable conditions.
Pest infestations, improper lighting, and incorrect watering techniques can make your arrowhead lose leaves.
If your arrowhead has pests, isolate the plant and prune the heavily affected parts.
Use a neem oil spray on your arrowhead to eliminate the pests.
Direct sunlight dehydrates the arrowhead plant, due to which the leaves become dry and fall off.
Keeping your arrowhead in low-light conditions for too long will also encourage loss of leaves.
Try to provide bright and indirect light to your arrowhead plant and avoid exposing it to direct sunlight or low light for too long.
Overwatering the arrowhead plant can cause root rot which starts by affecting the roots and then harms the entire plant, due to which they lose leaves.
Underwatering causes leaf loss by making the plant dehydrated and too weak to function properly.
Also read: Arrowhead Plant Sunburn: Signs, Causes & Fix
Root rot in arrowhead plant
I have mentioned overwatering many times already because it is a common mistake that people make with their houseplants.
Overwatering is the main reason behind the deadly root rot disease.
Sometimes, you might be watering your arrowhead correctly, but it will still experience overwatering due to a poor drainage system.
If the soil doesn’t drain the excess water or the pot doesn’t have proper drainage holes, your arrowhead will get overwatered and develop root rot.
If your arrowhead has root rot, you will notice mushy and brown roots after taking the plant out of its pot.
You should prune the affected roots, spray fungicide and repot the arrowhead in fresh potting mix and a pot with drainage holes.
You must allow the plant to recover and avoid watering till then.
Place it in a bright spot with indirect light to help it recover faster.
Leggy arrowhead plant
Arrowhead plants tend to become leggy if it doesn’t get proper pruning, enough light, or due to improper fertilization.
When your arrowhead becomes leggy, the stems grow longer than average, with very few leaves on them.
If your arrowhead gets leggy, you should prune the unhealthy stems.
Lack of light can also make the arrowhead leggy so try to place it in a spot where it will get bright indirect light.
Don’t fertilize the arrowhead in the winter season but don’t avoid fertilizing it in the summer and spring months with a balanced liquid fertilizer.
My arrowhead is falling over
Your arrowhead plant might be falling over due to low light, insufficient nutrients, and improper watering.
Arrowhead plants are climbing plants, and they need some support as they mature because they cannot support themselves.
But if you don’t provide proper light, the plant will not have the energy to grow properly and fall over due to lack of energy.
Insufficient fertilization can also affect your arrowhead and make it lean.
If you don’t water your arrowhead and keep it thirsty for too long or water it so much that the soil remains soggy most of the time, the plant will fall over due to the unfavorable conditions.
Therefore, proper lighting, watering, and fertilization are necessary to prevent your arrowhead plant from falling over.
Arrowhead plant has white spots
The reasons behind white spots on arrowhead plants are pest infestations, low light, powdery mildew, etc.
Pests like mealybugs attack the arrowhead, feed on the sap, and excrete a white sticky substance called honeydew.
If your arrowhead has pests, you should spray a neem oil solution on it for at least 2 weeks to remove the pests.
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that causes white spots on leaves that eventually spread and turn them entirely white.
You can treat powdery mildew with neem oil also.
Also read: Arrowhead Plant Has White Spots (Why+Cure)
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Tips for caring for the arrowhead plant
Here are the basic tips you should keep in mind while caring for your arrowhead plant or Syngonium.
|Light||Arrowhead plants require bright indirect sunlight. The variegated species cannot tolerate lower light conditions, but the more non-variegated ones can survive medium light conditions. But you must always protect the plant from direct sunlight.|
|Water||Water your arrowhead plant once a week during its growing season, only if the soil is 50-75% dry. You can reduce the watering to once in 2-3 weeks in winter.|
|Soil||Plant your arrowhead in a fertile and well-drained potting mix. You can prepare this by mixing regular potting mix, coco coir, and perlite or pumice.|
|Fertilizer||Fertilize your arrowhead plant with a well-balanced 10:10:10 or 20:20:20 NPK liquid fertilizer.
Dilute the dose to half-strength to present overfertilization.
Avoid fertilizing in winter.
|Temperature||Maintain temperatures between 60 to 85°F for your Syngonium.|
|Humidity||Don’t let the humidity levels drop below 40-50% if you want your arrowhead plant to remain healthy. Using a humidifier is the best way to increase the humidity levels around your plant.|
|Repotting||Repot your arrowhead plant once in 2-5 years.
Don’t repot the plant too frequently as it can cause stress.
Consider reporting in early spring and avoid reporting in winter unless urgent.
|Pruning||Pruning is a crucial part of the arrowhead care routine. You can prune your arrowhead plant 2-3 times a year during its growing season. This will prevent the arrowhead from growing leggy and also encourage new growth. You must rule the dead and damaged parts of the plant but never soon more than 25% at once.|
|Propagation||If you want more arrowhead plants or want to save a dying arrowhead plant, you can propagate it. You can forget an arrowhead plant in both water and soil. You can even grow an arrowhead plant permanently in water.|
Also read: 12 Care Tips For Arrowhead Plant