The Arrowhead plant, or Syngonium, is a tropical plant with beautiful spade-shaped foliage. You must be careful of its soil when you grow it as a houseplant. Without the correct soil mix, your arrowhead plant will not thrive. Let’s find out what kind of soil is best for arrowhead plants.
Generally, Arrowhead plants prefer a well-drained and fertile soil mix. An ideal mix would be 50% potting soil, 30% coco coir, and 20% pumice. Also, Arrowhead plants prefer acidic soil, so the ideal soil pH should be between 5.5 to 6.5.
The potting mix will retain the moisture needed, while the coco coir will aerate the soil and improve the soil structure. And pumice will prevent root rot. Let us dive into further details regarding the type of soil, the ideal mix, and other factors to consider while creating a well-balanced soil mix for arrowhead plants.
Table Of Contents
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Arrowhead Plant Overview
The Arrowhead plant, or Syngonium Podophyllum, is an easy-to-grow houseplant with few demands and issues.
The name comes from their arrow-shaped leaves when they are still young.
I have always been a fan of indoor plants, and Syngonium is one of my personal favorites because of its shape.
I have grown them for years and am now well-acquainted with their care tips.
The houseplant is perfect for beginner gardeners who want to enjoy some indoor greenery.
Arrowhead plants are native to the tropical rainforest areas.
That’s why they prefer warm weather with a humid environment.
The soil in the native land is well-drained and nutrient-rich.
At the same time, the soil is not dense or compact.
The best type of soil for Arrowhead plants is the soil that drains excess moisture and retains enough moisture without waterlogging.
The Importance of Soil for Arrowhead Plants
Every plant will benefit from the correct soil type, and Arrowhead plants are no exception.
The right type of soil plays a very significant role in the growth and development of these plants.
Here are some key reasons why soil is essential for Arrowhead plants:
- The plant will receive all its necessary nutrients from the soil that helps in the plant’s growth and development.
- Moisture is vital for the Arrowhead plants. Soil acts as a reservoir of water. When you provide water, the right soil type will retain it and then send it to the other plant parts through the roots, maintaining hydration.
- Along with retention, drainage is equally important. The right soil type will drain the excess moisture and prevent waterlogging and root rot.
- The structure of the soil is essential for growing Arrowhead plants. Sufficient aeration prevents suffocation and waterlogging while promoting root respiration.
- Soil provides a stable anchor for the plant and prevents falling over.
- Beneficial microorganisms in the soil decompose organic matter to facilitate plant nutrient uptake.
- The soil texture and structure can improve the root development, improving the plant’s overall health and development.
What Kind Of Soil Do Arrowhead Plants Like?
It is essential to understand the preferences of your Arrowhead plant before you can choose the ideal potting mix for it.
When I was a beginner, I used a regular potting mix.
While the plant was living, it wasn’t thriving.
So, I thought of delving more into the soil requirements of the plant.
Arrowhead has some specific preferences.
They are relatively easy to fulfill; you must maintain them while choosing the soil type.
Before heading to the market to buy the ideal soil mix for your Syngonium, consider the following factors to decide the ideal soil mix and how you can attain that.
The soil should be fertile
Arrowhead plants originate from tropical rainforests, where the soil has enough nutrients.
These are smaller plants that grow under big trees.
The dried and dead leaves that fall off big trees add nutrients to the soil, making it fertile.
But as a houseplant, it will not experience such circumstances.
Soil is the primary nutrient source, and you should prepare fertile soil containing enough nutrients for the plant.
If the soil is infertile, the plant will lack nutrients.
For this, you might not notice much growth.
While preparing the soil, add ingredients that make the soil nutrient-rich.
Composting is an excellent way of adding nutrients to the soil.
You must also fertilize because regular watering can deplete the nutrients over time.
Fertilization can add the missing nutrients and keep the houseplant healthy.
The soil should be well-drained
Drainage is a crucial factor, especially for Arrowhead plants.
Syngonium is prone to root rot and, therefore, requires light and well-drained soil that will allow excess moisture to drain out of the soil.
Compost can also increase drainage as it improves the overall quality of the soil.
The soil should retain enough moisture
Arrowhead plants don’t prefer dry soil.
They require soil that can remain moist and not bone dry.
Although it depends on the watering to some extent, it also depends on the type of soil you use.
These plants thrive in moist soil, so while preparing the soil, you must ensure it holds enough moisture to keep the plant happy.
Using a regular potting mix can help the soil retain the required moisture.
If you think the soil mix is not retaining enough moisture, add compost to improve the retention capacity of the soil.
You can also mulch the soil to improve retention.
Mulch traps the moisture and prevents it from evaporating.
Another benefit of adding mulch is it can break down over time and add necessary nutrients to the soil.
The soil should be well-aerated
Many people overlook this, but keeping the soil well-aerated is essential for the root health of the plants.
The soil must remain well-aerated to allow the roots to breathe, water to drain, and prevent fungal and bacterial growth.
You must not prepare a heavy soil mix that gets compact but a lightweight soil mix that allows the roots to breathe.
Additionally, you can aerate the soil gently using a fork or stick without hurting the roots.
The soil should be slightly acidic with proper pH levels
Every plant has a specific pH level, which is vital for a reason.
When the soil pH doesn’t match the plant’s preferred pH levels, it will develop various problems, for example, imbalance in the nutrient levels.
The ideal pH for Arrowhead plants is between 5.5 to 6.5.
Signs of using the wrong soil mix for Arrowhead plant
You can endanger your Arrowhead plant if you don’t use an appropriate soil mix.
Some common signs that your Arrowhead plant might give out if you put it in the wrong soil kind of mix are:
Wilting leaves can indicate both overwatering and underwatering.
Soil can become compact when it dries.
The roots get strangulated and dry, failing to pass the moisture to the other plant parts.
For this, the leaves wilt when they don’t get enough water.
Similarly, overwatering can suffocate the roots and rot them over time.
Here also, the leaves can wilt.
So, you should use soil that can drain excess and retain enough moisture.
You will spot brown leaves if the soil mix is too light or heavy for your Arrowhead plant.
If the soil mix retains excess water, it will keep the roots wet for a long time and give birth to the root rot disease.
Brown leaves are a sign of this root rot disease.
On the other hand, the plant will get dehydrated if the soil mix is so light that it can’t even hold the required water.
The leaves will lose all moisture and turn brown and dry.
Leaf margins turning brown indicates mineral buildup caused by poor drainage.
Soil is responsible for providing water and nutrients to the plants.
When the soil is too heavy, it holds water for too long and doesn’t allow the roots to function.
Due to this, the plant doesn’t receive enough nutrients or water.
But if the soil gets dry too fast, the roots fail to absorb enough water or nutrients from the soil.
Both these conditions cause slow growth in your Arrowhead plant.
A wrong soil mix will affect the overall health of your arrowhead plant, and the leaves are one of the first to show signs.
But if you don’t identify the initial signs or don’t do anything about them, the leaves will start falling off the plant.
A foul smell coming from the soil
This occurs when your soil mix is too heavy for the Arrowhead plant.
It retains water for too long and cuts the oxygen supply to the roots.
Due to this, the roots start decaying, and as a result, the soil starts giving out a foul smell.
Commercial vs. Homemade Potting Mixes for Arrowhead Plant
While both soil types are suitable for Arrowhead houseplants, it depends on your preferences and plant requirements.
Whatever your choice, the soil must be well-drained, well-aerated, retain sufficient moisture, and nutrient-rich, precisely like its native land.
Here are some common differences between homemade and commercial mixes:
- Commercial potting mixes are easy to deal with, but homemade mixes take some time.
- The commercial mixes already have the right ingredients. But with the homemade soil, you have to buy the ingredients separately, measure and mix them correctly to make it ideal for the Arrowhead plant.
- Some ingredients are cheaper than commercial mixes; for example, organic compost, coarse sand, and coconut coir are locally available at a cheaper cost.
- Most commercial soil mixes are sterilized, which may not be the case with homemade potting mixes.
- By homemade mixes, you’re helping the environment. You will reduce packaging waste and carbon footprint by avoiding store-bought mixes.
- You can customize and make your own potting mixes to improve retention and drainage, which is cheaper than buying commercial mixes. Even with commercial mixes, adding ingredients like orchid bark and perlite may be necessary. For example, Miracle Gro or Espoma may require perlite for better drainage. It’s unnecessary to spend extra money on commercial products.
One ideal commercial mix is Rainforest Soil Blend from Oh Happy Plants.
The blend contains coco coir and coco chips and no coco peat.
It is filled with organic matter ideal for the Arrowhead plants.
It also contains several seed meals and glacier rock dust, providing sufficient nutrition.
Another option is to use the African Violet commercial potting mixes.
They need nearly the same type of soil.
Both commercial and homemade works well for Arrowhead plants.
You can choose anyone based on your preferences, budget, and willingness to customize.
Ideal Soil Recipes for Arrowhead Plant
Now, let’s look at some soil recipes and compositions that will be ideal for your arrowhead plant.
You can use the one that suits you the best.
If you have a regular potting mix, you can add some other ingredients to it in the following proportion:
Now, let’s understand the significance of each ingredient.
Potting soil: If potting soil is high in nutrients, your Syngonium will get all the nutrients it needs. Potting soil will also allow the water to drain fast.
Charcoal: It absorbs all the odor the soil might give out and improves its drainage capacity.
Coco coir: Coco coir makes the soil well-aerated and improves the retention capacity of the soil. It has a neutral pH value, so it doesn’t alter the soil’s pH level.
Another recipe that works well for the Syngonium is:
This lightweight formula drains water fast and retains only the required moisture.
I have already mentioned the ingredients’ significance in the previous recipe.
If you want to use even fewer ingredients, add these two and make a soil mix for your Syngonium.
Here is another soil recipe for your arrowhead plant. Mix these ingredients and plant your Syngonium in them.
Peat moss: This is ideal for making the soil nutrient-rich. It also increases the water retention capacity of the soil.
Orchid bark: It balances the soil’s retention and drainage capacity.
Preparing Soil for Arrowhead Plant
Now that you know the suitable commercial mixes and the recipes to make an ideal soil mix, prepare the soil to plant the plant.
Preparing the soil includes mixing all the ingredients with the right amount and planting the plant.
If you use pre-mix commercial soil, you still have to add more ingredients to balance the drainage and retention.
You can follow our shared recipes for the best results.
You can also use your known recipes. Properly adjust the drainage, retention, aeration, and pH levels.
Choose the soil mix and gather all the supplies. You will need:
- The soil ingredients (consult the soil recipes)
- An ideal pot size
- The plant
- A newspaper to keep the soil mixture
To prepare the soil:
- Wear gloves, gather all soil ingredients in the right amount, and mix them well.
- Break the soil lumps and improve the soil quality. It should not be too light and runny or too heavy and compact.
- Add some perlite or coarse sand to improve drainage or compost to improve retention.
- For better confirmation, take some soil and try making a ball. After that, poke and break it. The soil is perfect if the soil makes a good ball and breaks nicely.
- Take the pot and fill half of it with the soil mixture. Ensure that the pot is clean and contains drainage holes. Plant the plant at the center and fill the pot with the remaining soil.
- Tap the soil around the plant gently and then water the plant thoroughly. Once the excess starts draining out, stop watering. Take care of the plant, and start fertilizing after a few weeks.
- Repot the plant to a slightly larger pot when the roots come out of the drainage holes, and the plant overgrows.
- Consider preparing the soil outside the house to avoid the soil mess.
Maintaining Soil Health: Best Practices for Good Soil
Maintaining the soil health of the Arrowhead plants is one of the best ways to maintain the plant’s overall health and development.
It will also prevent the plant from suffering soil-related issues like wilting, slow growth, or root rot.
Let’s see how we can maintain a healthy soil:
- Choosing the right soil mix is essential. Arrowhead requires well-drained, well-retained, nutrient-rich soil to perform at its best. You can choose anyone from our provided recipes.
- An ideal pot size will hold the right amount of soil, and a pot with drainage holes will help drain the excess water. It will keep the soil healthy and ideal for the houseplant.
- Consistently moist soil is what Syngonium needs. Proper watering prevents soil erosion and compaction maintains the soil structure, and makes nutrient availability and uptake easier. Watering will reduce the salt buildup caused by regular fertilization by leaching the soil.
- Fertilization adds nutrients to the soil, which the plants take up. If the soil is healthy and fertile, the plant stays healthy in the long run.
- Over time, the soil can deplete. To keep the soil healthy, rejuvenate the top few inches of the soil by adding new soil. Repotting also helps here because you will use an entirely new, healthy soil mix filled with nutrients.
- Adequate humidity will improve your soil’s retention qualities and keep your plant from drying out. 40-60% of humidity levels would be OK.
- Add mulch to the soil. Mulch traps moisture prevents evaporation, and, over time, adds necessary nutrients to the soil after breaking down.
- Sometimes, consider aerating the soil. It will avoid compaction and keep the soil healthy for the plant.
Choosing the Right Container for Arrowhead Plants
As I mentioned, Arrowhead plants are susceptible to root rot and require a proper drainage system to function at their optimum levels.
Besides using a well-drained soil mix, you must plant your Syngonium in a suitable pot.
The right type of pot plays a significant role in the plant’s well-being.
Planting the Arrowhead plant in a clay or unglazed terracotta pot will work best as these are porous materials that support proper airflow, allow the soil and the roots to breathe, and wick away the moisture fast.
Root rot is less likely in such pots than in plastic or ceramic pots.
However, you can still plant your Syngonium in these materials.
You need to keep the plant from sitting in soggy soil.
Water when 50-75% of the soil is dry.
Get a moisture meter to check the soil’s moisture level before watering.
Whichever material you choose, you must ensure that the pot has drainage holes to drain the excess water out of the system.
Without drainage holes, the soil will remain waterlogged and cause overwatering and root rot.
Repotting Arrowhead Plants
Arrowhead plants like to remain slightly rootbound, but you should not keep them in that state for too long.
Your Arrowhead plant might be rootbound once every 2-3 years, so the idea is to repot it whenever it shows signs of the rootbound state.
I recommend replacing the soil every 2 years.
You must repot your arrowhead plant when you notice the following signs:
- Roots coming out of drainage holes
- Roots showing over the soil
- Slow growth
- Water drains out of the drainage holes as soon as you water the plant.
- Swelling pot
The ideal time to repot your arrowhead plant is during spring or summer.
Avoid repotting in winter, as the weather conditions are not ideal.
Since the plant stays dormant, it won’t use its energy to return healthy.
There are exceptions.
You might need to repot your arrowhead plant in case of heavy pest infestations or fungal infections such as root rot.
In that case, you must take good care of the plants and provide them with all their requirements: bright indirect sunlight, evenly moist and well-drained soil, warm room temperatures, and high humidity.
This will help the plant to stay fine, even during the winter.
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Are you 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.
Understanding the soil requirement might be tricky for Arrowhead plants. Once you understand, you’ll know that arrowhead plants or Syngoniums require lightweight, well-drained, well-retained, well-aerated, and fertile soil.
Repot your arrowhead plant after it becomes root-bound and shows the signs. Always prepare a fresh, fertile, and well-drained soil mix while repotting the plant.
How often do I need to water the Arrowhead plant?
Arrowhead plants need consistently moist soil. Since they are prone to root rot, you should be careful. Let around 50-75% of the soil dry before you water. Check it by inserting your finger into the soil.
Can I use garden soil for the Arrowhead plants?
Garden soil can be compact and contain pests, weed seeds, and diseases. It is better to avoid it.