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What Do I Do If My Arrowhead Has Root Rot? (Signs, Causes & Fix)

Syngonium or arrowhead plants are beautiful tropical plants with spade-shaped leaves that start climbing with maturity. Like all the other houseplants, if you overwater your potted arrowhead plant, it will experience the root rot disease.

So, in this article, we shall learn how to deal with root rot in arrowhead plants.

To fix root rot in the arrowhead plant, take it out of its pot and inspect the roots. Prune any decaying roots, spray a fungicide after pruning the damaged roots, and make sure you don’t cause any damage to the healthy ones. Then, repot the plant in a new pot with a fresh potting mix.

In this article, we will look at the different signs of root rot on your arrowhead plant along with their causes and treatment.


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How to tell if the arrowhead plant has root rot?

Plants give out signs whenever they don’t do well.

When your arrowhead plant has root rot, it will show you signs like yellow leaves or stunted growth.

Identifying the problem might be difficult as these signs might indicate other problems too.

If you can identify the signs early, you can treat your arrowhead plant and save it from root rot before it reaches a stage where you can’t recover the plant.

Here are some possible signs of root rot on your Syngonium.

Discolored leaves

Arrowhead Plant turning yellow

A healthy arrowhead plant will have green or variegated leaves depending on its variety.

But unless the leaves are old, yellow or brown leaves are signs of something wrong with the plant.

While yellow leaves might be an initial sign of root rot, brown leaves indicate that the root rot is advancing.

You may also notice black leaves on your arrowhead plant, but that means you have neglected the initial signs.

Also read: Why Is My Arrowhead Plant Turning Yellow? (Problems+How To Fix)

Wilting leaves

When your arrowhead plant experiences root rot, the roots don’t function properly, due to which the plant doesn’t receive sufficient nutrients or water.

Due to this lack of nutrients and water, the leaves start wilting to save the remaining moisture and nutrients.

Although wilting leaves are not an initial sign of root rot, it can occur if the plant is experiencing root rot for a while.

You must take your arrowhead plant out of its pot and inspect the roots if you notice this.

Also read: Why Is My Arrowhead Plant Drooping? (Causes+How To Fix)

The soil emits a foul smell.

Since the roots start decaying in root rot, they give out a foul smell.

When your plant experiences root rot, the soil remains soggy and blocks oxygen flow within the roots.

The roots start rotting and smelling foul due to a lack of oxygen.

If you get a stale smell from the soil, you should take the Syngonium out of the pot and check the roots.



Stunted growth

Arrowhead Plant too big pot

When your arrowhead plant experiences root rot, you can’t expect growth from the plant.

Due to root rot, the roots get weak and fail to function.

They fail to absorb the water and nutrients the plant needs from the soil.

All these make the plant weak, due to which they fail to grow.

However, don’t confuse this with the dormant period of the plant.

Arrowhead plants remain dormant during the winter season, and you might not notice any growth during that time which is completely natural.

Also read: Can Arrowhead Plants Grow Outside? (Outdoor Care+Bringing Them In)

Decaying roots

When a plant is healthy, its roots remain healthy and have a white and crisp texture.

But if your arrowhead plant is experiencing root rot, its roots will start decaying.

Decaying or rotting roots will not look healthy and turn brown and soft.

These roots break easily with the slightest pull as they become weak.

Therefore, if you come across any of the above signs of root rot, you must check the roots of your Syngonium.

What causes root rot in arrowhead plants?

The main reason behind root rot in arrowhead plants is overwatering, but there can be other reasons also.

Let’s understand all the possible reasons behind root rot in detail.

Overwatering

Arrowhead Plant overwatered

Arrowhead plants can’t tolerate soggy soil.

But when you give too much water to your arrowhead plant, the soil becomes soggy.

I always recommend checking the soil’s moisture before watering the Syngonium.

You need to water your arrowhead plant only when 50-75% dry soil.

If you don’t follow this, you’ll end up overwatering the plant, due to which the soil will remain soggy and affect the roots of the plant.

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

A poor drainage system

Arrowhead Plant small pot

It is not always overwatering that causes root rot.

When the arrowhead plant doesn’t have a proper drainage system, it sits in water even when you don’t give it excess water.

A good drainage system indicates well-drained soil and a pot with drainage holes.

If the soil is too heavy, it will retain excess water, due to which it will remain waterlogged most of the time.

And if the pot doesn’t have drainage holes, the water will not have any way of leaving the soil.

In both these cases, your arrowhead plant can eventually experience root rot.

Also read: What Kind Of Soil For Arrowhead Plant? (+Best Soil Mix)

Low light

Arrowhead Plant low light

Arrowhead plants prefer moderate to bright indirect light.

Some species of arrowhead plants can tolerate low light conditions, but keeping the plant in low light for too long can cause various problems.

When your Syngonium doesn’t get enough light, the soil takes a lot longer to get dry.

The soil remains wet for too long, which leads to root rot.

This situation will also be ideal for pest infestations and fungal infections.

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

Low temperatures

Arrowhead Plant temperature

Arrowhead plants can’t tolerate low temperatures.

These plants require warm temperatures between 60-85°F. 

But if you expose the plant to low temperatures, the soil will take a long time to dry.

This can happen especially in the winter season when the temperatures drop below the average temperatures.

When the temperatures fall, you must reduce the watering, or else the plant will get overwatered and experience root rot.

Also read: Do Arrowhead Plants Go Dormant? (Winter Dormancy+Care)

A large pot

Arrowhead Plant dry soil

You might think that a large pot will provide enough space for your Syngonium, and you won’t need to repot it for a long time.

But a large pot can cause harm to your arrowhead.

A larger pot will hold more soil than the plant needs.

Excess soil will hold excess water, which will take a lot longer to drain out of the pot.

This can easily cause an overwatering situation where the soil will remain wet for longer, affecting the roots and causing root rot.

Therefore, you must always choose a pot that is 1-2 sizes larger than the plant.

Also read: Do Arrowhead Plants Like To Be Root Bound? (+Signs & When To Repot)

How do you fix root rot in arrowhead plants?

If your Syngonium is experiencing root rot, repotting is the only way to treat it.

Root rot is a deadly condition that damages the roots completely, and the plant fails to function.

If not treated on time, root rot will kill your arrowhead plant.

You must treat your arrowhead plant as soon as you suspect and confirm that the plant has root rot.

Now let’s check the steps of fixing an arrowhead plant experiencing root rot.

  1. Take it out of its pot when you notice the signs of root rot on your Syngonium. You can hold the base of your arrowhead plant and pull it gently out of the pot. You can turn the pot upside down while taking the plant out to get some help from gravity.
  2. If the plant doesn’t come out, you can tap the sides or run a knife along the sides of the pot to loosen the soil.
  3. To remove the soil from the roots, you can place the roots under running water and gently remove the soil with your hands.
  4. Once you spot the brown and soft roots, you must take a sharp and sterilized pruner and prune them.
  5. Be careful not to damage the healthy ones.
  6. After removing the damaged roots, you can spray a fungicide on the healthy roots to prevent further infection.
  7. Along with the roots, consider pruning some foliage and stems to reduce some stress of the plant.
  8. You can leave the roots in a well-aerated spot to allow them to dry. 
  9. Next, you need to get a new pot for the plant. If you want to use the old pot, wash it thoroughly with bleach water.
  10. You must discard the previous potting mix and prepare a new one for repotting.
  11. Fill the pot with the fresh potting mix.
  12. Hold the plant and the middle of the pot and add soil from all sides.
  13. You can tap the soil gently with your palm and give it some water to help it settle.
  14. Provide bright indirect light to the repotted arrowhead plant.
  15. Avoid fertilizing the plant until you notice new growth.

How to prevent root rot in arrowhead plants?

A Doctor's Guide to Root Rot - How To Manage and Treat (With Secret Step #4) | Ep 14

You can prevent root rot in your arrowhead plant by taking care of its basic requirements.

I have added these points that will help you prevent root rot on your Syngonium.

  • If you have bought a new plant home, avoid placing it with other plants immediately. Place it in an isolated spot for a few days and move it with the other houseplants after a few days when you are sure that the plant doesn’t have pests or fungal infections.
  • Never water your arrowhead plant without checking the soil.
  • Water the arrowhead plant only when the soil is 50-75% dry, or you should wait for a few days to let it dry.
  • Use a well-drained potting mix that doesn’t retain excess moisture.
  • Don’t use a large pot. Keep the plant in the correct-sized pot.
  • Avoid overfertilizing the Syngonium as it can affect the roots.
  • Don’t leave your arrowhead plant in low light as it will not allow the soil to dry out.
  • Provide warm temperatures and high humidity levels that are the ideal conditions for your Syngonium.
  • Don’t use pruners with disinfecting them as that can cause infections and diseases to your arrowhead plant.

Keep all these in mind to prevent root rot and other fungal diseases on your arrowhead plant.


Looking for a readymade indoor plant soil mix that you can open and pour? Check out rePotme. They offer a wide range of readymade soil premixes for all your indoor plants.


Tips for a thriving arrowhead plant

If you want your arrowhead plant to thrive, follow these basic care tips.

Factor Care Tips
Light Keep your arrowhead plant in a bright, well-lit spot, away from direct sunlight.
Water Water your arrowhead plant only when the soil goes 50-75% dry.
Fertilizer Fertilize with a diluted dose of a balanced 10:10:10 or 20:20:20 fertilizer.
Soil Use a well-drained and fertile potting mix.
Temperature Don’t keep the plant too close to heating sources like radiators or fireplaces.
Protect the Syngonium from frost and low temperatures during winter.
Try to maintain 60-85 degrees temperature around your Syngonium.
Humidity Use a humidifier or group the arrowhead with other moisture-loving plants to provide sufficient humidity to it.
Keep the arrowhead away from hot or cold drafts.
Don’t let the humidity levels drop below 50%.
Repotting Repot the plant if it gets rootbound or experiences diseases like root rot.
Don’t repot too often as it can stress the plant.
An arrowhead plant generally needs repotting once every 3-5 years.
Pruning Prune the arrowhead plant with disinfected and sharp pruners or scissors.
This table provides the basic care requirements of the arrowhead plant.

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