Arrowhead Plant Care

Arrowhead (Syngonium podophyllum) Plant Care

Arrowhead Plant Care or Syngonium podophyllum are mostly cared for indoors. Phodophyllum means “with stout-stalked leaves”.  The arrowhead plant goes by many names and is called the American evergreen, African evergreen, arrowhead philodendron, arrowhead vine, Nephthytis triphyll, Nephthytis podophyllum and goosefoot among others. There are more than 30 different species of arrowhead plants and there are a lot of variants with striking variegation. The arrowhead vines belong to the Araceae family and are thus aroid plants.

When more mature, the arrowhead plant develops a vining habit and is, therefore, best placed in a hanging pot. As with most vining plants it can be also trained to climb a pole or trellis. Arrowhead plants are said to be  pest-resistant which is untrue as mealy bugs, scale and aphids will try their luck. Specifically, it’s dense grow habit creates the best hiding place and habitat for multiple pests such as mealybugs.  To add on that, the arrowhead vine is not resistant to root rot and bacterial infection as well as to mosaic virus.

The arrowhead care is easy and the typical mantras such as let it dry out between waterings and make use of a well-draining potting soil apply to avoid root rot.

 

 

Arrowhead Plant Care Sheet

Soil: Rich well-draining potting mix is best to care for your arrowhead plant. Any regular potting soil specifically for houseplants will do. Syngonium podophyllum prefers acidic soil.

Light: Arrowhead plants do best in bright indirect sunlight. The more variegation is on your arrowhead plant the more sunlight is needed and can be tolerated. Too much sunlight or direct sunlight might burn the leaves. Greener varieties can tolerate more shade.

Watering: Keep the soil moist but never soggy in spring and winter and reduce watering in autumn and winter. The arrowhead vine has medium watering needs but needs to be watered up to 2 to 3 times a week in summer.

Temperature: The best temperature range for the arrowhead plant is between 60 to 75°F (15 – 24°C).  However, it tolerates a wide range of temperatures. Temperatures lower than 50°F  (10°C) for extended periods may kill your goosefoot plant.

Humidity: Arrowhead plants are humidity loving houseplants. They are native to the rainforests of South America. Use a pebble tray or mist your plant daily with a spray bottle. Avoid warm dry air from radiators in winter.

Fertilizer: Fertilize monthly all year round. As the plant is an active grower, missing out on fertilizing your arrowhead plant can lead to stunted growth. Some growers recommend to hold back on fertilizing your plant in the winter months.

Propagation: Propagation of arrowhead plants is considered easy and can be done by using stem cuttings and by division. Do this in spring (best season to propagate) or summer for the best success rates and growth. 

Growth: The growth habit of the arrowhead plant is quite interesting as the leaves are changing when the plant becomes more mature. They start off arrowhead-shaped, hence the name, and then develop into a five-finger shape, where leaves become divided.

The roots structure of arrowhead plants is impressive as they grow vast root systems. Furthermore, arrowhead plants are vigorous growers when kept under the right conditions as described here.

Potting: These plants are vigorous growers and strongly vining plants so repotting has to be done frequently. We report our arrowhead plants every year into a pot 1-2 sizes bigger. This way the vines will grow bigger. If you decide to not repot your plant, make sure to exchange the potting medium at least yearly to ensure the soil stays nutrient-rich.

 

Propagation of the Arrowhead Plant

As already mentioned, arrowhead plants can be propagated by stem cuttings. The more roots these stem cuttings already have, the faster will the propagation process by and the chance of success are higher.

 

Arrowhead plant: Propagation from stem cuttings

 

This is the step by step instruction on how to propagate an arrowhead plant from a stem cutting:

 

  1. Get a sharp knife or scissors. They need to be as sharp as possible to ensure a clean cut.
  2. Clean your tool of choice with rubbing alcohol and hold it in a flame (eg. a lighter will do) for a few seconds. This way you can ensure that the blade is pathogen-free.
  3. Find a suitable stem and look for visible roots or air-roots.
  4. Cut below a node as a node is needed to successfully propagate an arrowhead plant. If you cut off just a leaf itself, it will never grow into a full plant.
  5. Once you cut off a stem with a node and a leaf and hopefully some roots already (not necessary but beneficial), let the cutting dry out for at least 30min.
  6. At this step, we recommend to out some cinnamon on the wound of the main plant as well as on the cutting as this will enhance the rooting process and prevent rot.
  7. You can now put the cutting into your medium of choice for propagation
  8. Our propagation media of choice for arrowhead plants are either straight water or sphagnum moss or even placing the cutting directly into moist soil.
  9. If you are using water make sure that it has room-temperature and is neither too cold or too warm. Make sure that the node is submerged in water and prevent the leaf from touching any liquid as it will rot away
  10. If you are using sphagnum moss, soak it in water and press it out as much as you can multiple times so it is just slightly humid and not soaking wet. Put the sphagnum moss into a container of your choice and stick your cutting into it gently.
  11. Place your cutting in a bright spot where it gets bright indirect light and make sure that is is also rather warm as this encourages root growth.
  12. If you are serious about propagating your cutting, place a heat mat underneath as this will make your cutting root much faster.
  13. Wait for several weeks to 1-3 months depending on the season and the conditions. Voila, you have just cloned your arrowhead plant.

 

Arrowhead plants: Propagation by division

This method is even easier than taking stem cuttings as the only thing that needs to be done is that you are dividing your arrowhead plant. The section you divided will have roots and leaves and is a whole plant already. You can plant it in a new pot using well-draining potting soil.  This way you create two or even multiple plants from one if your arrowhead vine plant is big and bushy enough.

 

 

Arrowhead Plants Care Tips

 

These are the most important arrowhead plant care tips:

 

  • Never let your arrowhead plant dry out completely
  • Keep the plant away from cats and dogs
  • Use stem propagation and division as an easy way to increase the density and bushiness of your plant
  • Provide a trellis or moss pole so your arrowhead plant can climb and increase in size

 

 

What Does the Arrowhead Plant look like?

There are different cultivars that are variegated to varying degrees. Variegation in arrowhead vines usually means different levels and shades of white, pink or yellow. Leaves can be entirely green, white, pink or yellow.

 

The Origin of the Arrowhead Plant

 

Arrowhead vines are found in Latin America as well as the West Indies and can also be found in Hawaii, Florida and Texas as well as in other regions of the world. It is found in tropical rain forests and got its name due to its spade-like shaped leaves. 

 

Common Arrowhead plant problems 

 

Yellowing leaves

 

Yellowing leaves on arrowhead plants are generally caused by overwatering or underwatering. That is usually not a big help since now you don’t know if you should give your plant more or less water. It is therefore important to check other aspects of your houseplant as well if yellow leaves are present. It is also important to know that more houseplants are killed by overwatering although most people think it is underwatering.

So you have a yellow leaf on your arrowhead plant. What now?

 

Brown leaf tips

 

Browning leaf tips can be a sign of underwatering and long periods of drought. It could also indicate that the humidity levels around the arrowhead plant are too low. So spraying your arrowhead vine with water daily might help to counter the crispy tips. If the soil is dry to the touch, give your plant a good soak.

 

Bacterial leaf spots

 

An indicator is small water-soaked leaf spots. They look angular and are circled by leaf veins. The best remedy to counter fungal leaf spots on arrowhead plants is sulfur sprays and copper-based fungicides.  Be aware that bacterial leaf spots are highly contagious and that moist and warm conditions help to spread the disease.

 

Pale leaves

 

The cause of fading leaf colour and pale leaves is too much sunlight or artificial light. Make therefore sure that you increase the distance between the light source and the arrowhead plant.

 

Wilting leaves

Wilting leaves are a common sight when taking care for peace lilies. The reason is underwatering and it is not different for arrowhead plants. These plants need a lot of water in summer and skipping on watering might cause leaves to wilt. The arrowhead plant will quickly recover once you have watered thoroughly.

 

Arrowhead Plant Care Questions

 

Is the arrowhead plant toxic?

 

The short answer is yes. According to the ASPCA website, the arrowhead vine is toxic to cats, dogs and even horses. It can lead to oral irritation and swelling and pain of the mouth. It can further make it difficult to swallow and might cause vomiting. The plant sap contains oxalic acid and can lead to skin burn.

 

Does the arrowhead plant clean the air?

 

Yes, it does. A general rule is that plants that have medium to higher watering needs are generally also well suited to purify the air. The same applies to the arrowhead plant. It is on the list of the Top 50 houseplants that clean the air based on a NASA study

 

How to care for an arrowhead plant?

 

General arrowhead plant care is easy. It has medium watering requirements and needs bright indirect light. They love humidity and the soil should be kept humid but not soaking wet.

 

How can I make arrowhead plants bushier?

 

The easiest way to get bushier plants is to propagate your arrowhead plant and put the stem cuttings back into the soil with the original plants. This way your arrowhead vine will grow bushier and bushier as you can repeat this process many times. Also once the arrowhead plant produces vines you can cut them back. This will save more energy that your plant can invest into getting bushier as well.

 

Are all arrowhead plants green?

 

There are multiple cultivars ranging from green to white to pink and even yellow. So not all arrowhead plants are green.

 

Are arrowhead plants prone to diseases?

 

Yes. Due to their compact size, plant pests can hide and thrive on arrowhead plants. They are not extremely prone to diseases but mealybugs are not a rarity.

 

Are arrowhead plants expensive?

 

Arrowhead plants are not very expensive plants and can be found from $10 dollars upwards. Generally the rarer the cultivar the higher the price. Heavily variegated plants tend to be more expensive than their green counterparts.

 

Does the arrowhead plant get root bound?

 

Syngonium podophyllum or arrowhead plant is a fast-growing aroid that needs repotting yearly and tends to get root bound more often than your regular houseplant.

 

How much water does the arrowhead plant need?

 

Arrowhead plants need frequent watering and have moderate watering needs. Although they are quite drought resistant, watering you arrowhead plant regularly will lead to better growth. Dropping leaves on your plant are a clear indicator that it needs more water.

 

Final words

 

To summarize what we said about the arrowhead plant, we want to leave you with the confirmation that arrowhead plants make great leafy friends and are well suited to be kept as houseplants. If you live in Hardiness zones 10 and 11 you can even grow arrowhead plants outdoors. How cool is that! The best thing about arrowhead plants apart from being an aroid is that they are extremely easy to care for and are available in multiple colours.