When I saw my Arrowhead Plant hanging in the greenhouse at Green Things I wondered, “should I get it?” I grew one successfully in Santa Barbara for years but Tucson (where I now live) is a tougher climate for tropical houseplants. I’ve had it for almost a year and so far so good. Follow along, because I’m sharing Arrowhead Plant care and growing tips along with other things I’ve learned about this popular houseplant.
Arrowhead Plant has the genus Syngonium and also goes by Arrowhead Vine and Nephthytis.
Arrowhead Plants are native to the tropical rainforests where they climb up plants and grow along the ground. They prefer as much humidity as they can get. I live in the dry Sonoran Desert where the humidity averages around 25% so I have a couple of horticultural tricks up my sleeve which you’ll find below. If you like videos, there’s 1 waiting for you towards the end.
- Arrowhead Plant Care & Growing Tips
- Syngonium Plant Quick Growing Guide:
- Syngonium Podophyllum Care Requirements:
- Interesting Varieties and Cultivars Of Nephthytis Plants
- Companion Planting
- Is Syngonium Invasive?
- Add Interest To Your Indoor Garden With Arrowhead Syngonium
- How Often To Water An Arrowhead Plant
- Does An Arrowhead Plant Require Humid Conditions?
- What’s The Best Indoor Temperature For An Arrowhead Plant?
- Does An Arrowhead Plant Require Fertilizer?
- What soil pH Does An Arrowhead Plant Need?
- Can I Make My Own Potting Mix For Growing An Arrowhead Plant?
- How Much Light Does An Arrowhead Plant Need?
- What Are Some Problems If The Lighting Is Too Low?
- How Often Should I Repot An Arrowhead Plant?
- What Type Of Container Is Best To Grow An Arrowhead Plant?
- Does An Arrowhead Plant Need Help Climbing On A Moss Stick Or Other Structure?
- Can My Arrowhead Plant Attach To My Indoor Walls?
- What To Do If Your Arrowhead Plant Is Leggy
- Do Indoor Arrowhead Plants Need Pruning?
- How Can I Make My Arrowhead Plant Grow Bushier?
- My Arrowhead Plant Is Drooping
- Why Are My Arrowhead Plant Leaves Turning Yellow?
- What Causes My Arrowhead Plant’s Leaf Tips To Turn Brown?
- Why Are The Leaf Veins On My Arrowhead Plant Turning Yellow?
- Why Is My Arrowhead Plant Not Growing?
- The Base Of my Arrowhead Plant Is Turning Black And Mushy
- Arrowhead Plant Diseases
- Mealy Bugs On Arrowhead Plants
- Why Are The Leaves On My Arrowhead Plant Looking Wet And Water-Soaked?
- What’s Causing Some Of My Arrowhead Plant’s Leaves To Have Water-Soaked Spots With Holes In The Center?
- Is Arrowhead Plant Poisonous To Pets And People?
- Arrowhead Plant Varieties
- How To Propagate Arrowhead Plant
- Will My Arrowhead Plant Bloom Indoors?
- Does My Arrowhead Plant Produce Fruit?
- Steps to repotting Arrowhead plants:
- Care after repotting:
- A couple more tips:
- Arrowhead Plant
- Arrowhead Plant Care Tips
- Arrowhead Plant Care: Growing Arrowhead Plants
- Arrowhead Plant Care
- Arrowhead Plant Root Structure
Arrowhead Plants are used on tabletops, as hangers & in dish gardens. My variety is “Bold Allusion” which stays on the compact side. I have it on the floor because it’s too full to go on any of my tables & I like to look down on the beautiful foliage.
My dad grew the old standby Syngonium podophyllum up a moss pole in our greenhouse. That 1 gets a bit leggy so it’s great to grow up a small trellis, bamboo hoops or a pole.
They’re sold in 4″, 6″, 8″ & 10″ grow pots. Some Syngoniums trail more than others & some stay more compact. Mine is “Bold Allusion”. It’s currently 20″ tall x 22″ wide. I don’t think it’ll get much taller but it will get wider.
Mine is in a bright location & grows fast in the warm, sunny months. It’s currently putting out a ton of new growth. In general I’d say they’re moderate to fast growers. Like any houseplants, they grow slowly if at all in the winter months. And, in low light conditions, the growth will also be slower.
The relatives (left to right, top to bottom): anthurium, monstera, pothos, aglaonema, syngonium. What a stunning family!
I’m adding these in for fun because I also have them growing in my home. They’re in the same plant family as the anthurium & are popular houseplants: pothos, monstera (care post coming on this plant soon), arrowhead plant & peace lily. Another common name for the anthurium besides Flamingo Flower is Red Peace Lily.
Arrowhead Plant Care & Growing Tips
Like most tropical houseplants, Syngoniums like bright light but no direct hot sun. Mine is growing in medium light & gets a lot of indirect morning sun near an east facing bay window.
It’s about 8′ away from the window in the summer months & I move it a little closer in the winter months. You too may have to move your houseplants so they get more light in the colder months with less sunlight.
Syngoniums with darker foliage & less variegation tolerate lower light levels. Those with color (like mine with pink/light green new foliage) do much better in medium or moderate light.
Mine gets thoroughly once a week in the warmer months. I take it outside to a shady spot, soak the soil & pour water over it to wet the foliage. This is my way of giving it an extra humidity boost. And yes, I’m a crazy plant person!
I never let my Arrowhead Plant go bone dry. The best way I can describe it is that this plant likes to be evenly moist or “regular” watering. Even though this plant doesn’t like to dry out, it doesn’t like to stay sopping wet or sit in a saucer of water.
In the winter months, I water it less often – every 10 to 14 days. Houseplants like to rest at this time so cutting back on the watering frequency is necessary.
Your syngonium might need more or less – this guide to watering indoor plants & houseplant watering 101 post will help you out. Basically, the more light & warmth, the more often yours will need watering.
My Arrowhead Plant where it sits on the floor. I like to look down on the beautiful foliage.
If your home is comfortable for you, it’ll be so for your houseplants too. Syngoniums like it on the warmer side in the growing months & cooler in the winter when it’s their rest time. Just be sure to keep them away from any cold drafts as well as air conditioning or heating vents.
I keep my house at 79-80 in the summer months (77-78 at night) & mine does just fine.
Arrowhead Plants love it. I live in a dry climate so besides wetting the foliage every time I water the plant, it sits in a saucer filled with small rock & water. The rock keeps the roots from submerging in the water.
I also put in out in the rain a few times a year for some extra moisture.
You can also mist yours a couple of times a week if your home is dry & you think it needs it. Just be aware this plant is subject to bacterial leaf spot (it grows very densely) if the foliage stays wets for too long.
I give most of my houseplants a light application of worm compost with a light layer of compost over that every spring. Easy does it – 1/4 to 1/2″ layer of each for a larger sized houseplant. Read about my worm compost/compost feeding right here.
I give my Syngonium a watering with Eleanor’s vf-11 in late spring, mid-summer & at the end of summer. We have a long growing season here. Once or twice a year might do it for your plant.
Don’t over fertilize your Arrowhead Plant because salts build up & can burn the roots of the plant. This will show up as brown spots on the leaves. Avoid fertilizing a houseplant which is stressed, ie. bone dry or soaking wet.
You don’t want to fertilize houseplants in late fall or winter because that’s their time for rest.
This is the old school Syngonium podophyllum which trails as it ages. You can see why this plant gets the common name “Arrowhead Plant”.
I’ve done a post and video that focuses on repotting an Arrowhead Plant along with the best time to do it, steps to take and the soil mix to use. You can get all the details here.
I occasionally prune a yellow leaf off of my Arrowhead Plant. It grows so densely that the outer foliage crowds out the inner foliage & it eventually turns yellow.
You would also need to prune it for propagation & to keep it more compact if you have one which tends to grow on the leggy side.
An Arrowhead Plant is a snap to propagate. Roots are visible coming out of the nodes on the stems. You may have to look deep inside the plant if you have a dense variety like I do.
Cut off the stem or stems making sure your pruners are clean & sharp. They can then easily be propagated in water or a light mix.
Another method of propagating an Arrowhead Plant is by division.
I’m pointing at the roots emerging out of an inner stem node.
The Arrowhead Plant can be susceptible to pests because it grows so densely. They love to hide sheltered inside all that dense foliage.
Keep your eyes open for mealybugs, especially deep inside the new growth. These white, cotton-like pests like to hang out in the nodes & under the leaves. I simply blast them off (lightly!) in the kitchen sink with the spray or outside with the hose & that does the trick.
Also keep your eye out for aphids & spider mites.
It’s best to take action as soon as you see any pest because they multiply like crazy. Pests can travel from houseplant to houseplant fast so make you get them under control pronto.
Toxic To Pets
Arrowhead Plants are considered to be toxic to pets. I consult the ASPCA website for my info on this subject & see in what way the plant is toxic. Here’s more info on this for you.
Most houseplants are toxic to pets in some way & I want to share my thoughts with you regarding this topic.
Don’t expect a big show if at all! They can flower when growing indoors as they age but it’s not a guarantee.
Good To Know
Clean the foliage as needed. Plants breath through their leaves so they like like them to be clean. Plus, they’ll look much better! Arrowhead Plants don’t need any kind of leaf shine. It blocks their pores & hinders the respiration process. I hose my off outside or in my kitchen sink. A nice, gentle shower works too.
Speaking of the foliage, it’s the main draw. Arrowhead Plants are available in so many leaf colors, shapes & sizes now. Check out a few available on the market from Costa Farms – just scroll down on the page & you’ll see them.
Some Syngoniums trail & some not as much. The trailing comes with age. Mine is Syngonium “Bold Allusion”, which is a more compact variety. I don’t think it’ll trail but it will get wider. So, if you want 1 which trails, make sure to get a variety or species which does.
Find that happy medium when it comes to watering this plant. You don’t want it to go bone dry but you don’t want to keep it constantly moist. This, like all houseplants, is subject to root rot. Even though the top 1/4 to 1/2 portion of the soil may be dry, the bottom may still be very wet.
Oh that foliage!
Caring for Arrowhead Plants
Arrowhead Plants are easy care houseplants with gorgeous foliage. They do best in bright light with no direct sun although some tolerate low light. Water it on a regularly but don’t let it stay wet.
My Syngonium podophyllum “Bold Allusion” makes me smile. It has such striking foliage which changes in size, shape and color as it ages. Even if you’re a beginning gardener, give an Arrowhead Plant a try. You won’t be disappointed!
Additional plant care and growing tips:
Houseplant Repotting: Arrowhead Plant
Anthurium: Care & Growing Tips
Pothos Care & Growing Tips
Peace Lily Care & Growing Tips
Chinese Evergreen Care & Growing Tips
10 Easy Care Houseplants For Low Light
15 Easy To Grow Houseplants
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You may have heard of Syngonium podophyllum without realizing it. This semi-tropical plant (hailing from Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Mexico) commonly known as the Arrowhead vine or plant.
This low-maintenance houseplant is interesting and versatile. It is available in a range of colors, and the attractive foliage changes in shape as the individual leaves change from juvenile to mature.
The hardy evergreen arrowhead vine is an enthusiastic climber but can be pruned to create a compact tabletop plant.
When left unpruned, its vines can grow to be about six feet long and are lovely when trained to climb or allowed to cascade over the sides of a hanging basket or pot.
In this article, we will discuss the growing, use and arrowhead plant care (Syngonium). Read on to learn more.
Syngonium Plant Quick Growing Guide:
Origin: Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Mexico
Common Names: Arrowhead vine or plant, Tri-Leaf Wonder, Nephthytis, African Evergreen, Green-Gold Nephthytis, Goosefoot Plant, Five Fingers
Uses: The arrowhead plants are easy to grow and do well growing indoors in a low-to-medium light as a trailing, climbing or hanging vine. It can also be kept pruned for a more bushy appearance. With many varieties, cultivars and colors to choose from, these foliage plants coordinate well with any decor and adds interest in variegated shades of green and white, silver, cream, pink or even purple.
Height or Length: 3′ – 6′ feet tall
Spread: 1′ – 2′ feet wide
USDA Hardiness Zones: 10 to 12 These plants are only winter hardy in Florida in the US, but they grow well as houseplants in every state.
Flowers: It is unusual for the plant to produce flowers indoors. When flowers do appear the greenish/white blooms look something like Peace lily blooms with a thicker spadex (the central shaft that bears the individual flowers and berries). The tiny flowers develop into brownish-black or red berries.
Foliage: Leaves vary in color depending upon the plant variety. On all varieties, leaves transform from small ovate leaves too long, lobed leaves. Color and markings also change throughout the lifespan of the leaf.
When leaves first emerge, they are relatively heart-shaped and often display silvery variegation.
When they become mature, they attain the arrowhead shape that gives them their common name. As the leaves further mature, they grow from about five inches long to about fourteen inches long.
Colors: Leaves are usually heavily variegated when young. The variegation tends to fade as the leaves mature. Leaves come in attractive shades of green and white, silver, cream, pink and even purple.
Syngonium Podophyllum Care Requirements:
Light: These plants do well in low-to-medium light settings and thrive in bright, indirect light. They do not like exposure to direct sunlight. If you are only able to provide low-to-medium light conditions, you may do better with one of the deeper green cultivars. These tend to do better in shaded conditions.
Water: The soil should be kept lightly moist during spring and summer and slightly drier during the fall and winter months. Don’t let it become completely dry. The plant is undemanding when it comes to watering, but does prefer high humidity, so it’s a good idea to place container plants on a bed of wet pebbles. Mist hanging baskets frequently. Water moderately throughout the growing season and reduce watering during cooler months.
Temperature: As a semi-tropical vine, arrowhead plants prefer warm, humid conditions. Try not to allow temperatures to drop below 60° degrees Fahrenheit.
Soil: Use a rich potting mix that offers superior draining and aerating capabilities.
Fertilizer: Feed using a balanced liquid houseplant food on a regular basis during the spring and summer. Follow package directions closely.
Problems: These hardy plants have no pests or disease problems when cared for properly. Maintain a moderate watering schedule and provide the right type of substrate to prevent:
- Rotting of plant roots
- Bacterial leaf spot
- Colonies of Spider mites
- Scale on plants
- Aphids –> Ways to kill Aphids here
- Sap sucking Mealybugs
All of these can be problematic on over watered plants, but should not plague healthy plants.
Pruning: If you want to keep your plant compact and bushy, pinch of new growth on a regular basis. Wear gloves when pinching as the plants’ sap can cause skin irritation.
Propagation: It is easy to root Syngonium from a cutting during the growing season. Cut sections of stem containing root nodes and place them in clean water to grow roots. If you see that your plant has developed aerial roots on the stem, you can be certain that stem section will root easily.
Taking Cuttings From Arrowhead Plants
The plant also spreads rapidly in the soil, so it is a simple matter to divide one plant into two or more whenever you repot.
Repotting: Generally, you should refresh the potting soil in the springtime and repot every other year; however, because these plants are fast-growers you may need to repot annually. Frequent repotting will result in even faster growth!
In their natural habitat, these plants are vigorous climbers that start out as under-story forest plants and grow up into the leaves and branches of the tropical forest to get more sun and fresh air.
As with most living things, you will get the best results from these plants when you take steps to replicate their natural circumstances.
Provide a tropical forest environment by keeping your plants in a warm, humid setting with the kind of bright, indirect sunlight you would find in a jungle.
Try providing your plant with a branch or moss covered pole to climb.
Interesting Varieties and Cultivars Of Nephthytis Plants
In its natural habitat, there are over thirty species of Syngonium. The one we see most often in cultivation is Syngonium podophyllum type, which comes in an impressive number of varieties. Here is a collection of the 10 most popular and attractive of these:
Berry Allusion Nephthytis: This plant features light green leaves with tinges of pink and cream. It grows very well in a low-light setting.
Bold Allusion Nephthytis: The leaves of this plant are creamy green with pink veins. This is a slow-growing plant so may be better for smaller spaces.
Cream Allusion Nephthytis: This is a very compact variety that features mid-sized, creamy green leaves infused with traces of pink.
Strawberry Cream: This plant does best and looks best in bright, indirect light. The leaves are an attractive shade of pink that is especially attractive on new growth.
Pink Allusion: This is a compact plant. The leaves are pale green with pink veins and dark green edging.
Julia Allusion Nephthytis Plant: The leaves of this plant are pale green with a flush of coppery pink coloration.
Exotic Allusion Nephthytis: The leaves of this plant are very pale green with tinges of creamy white.
White Butterfly Plant: The leaves of this very popular plant are greenish-white with dark green edging.
Holly Nephthytis: This dramatic plant has white leaves with green veins and green edging.
Painted Arrow Head Plant: The creamy green leaves of this plant sport spatters of light green.
There are many types of indoor house plants that have similar requirements and look great when planted alongside these pretty plants. Here are three good examples:
Red Aglaonema is a colorful, compact houseplant that can work well as a thick, bushy base surrounding a trellis filled with climbing Arrowhead Vine.
Golden and Marble Queen Pothos Plants are classic houseplants that is easy to come by and adds variety and interest to climbing, hanging or trailing Arrowhead vines.
Philodendron is another pretty, climbing or trailing tropical house plant that does very well when planted with Syngonium. Its pretty green and yellow variegated, heart-shaped leaves add contrast and interest to your planting.
Is Syngonium Invasive?
The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC) has declared this plant to be a Category 1 Invasive species. This means that its vigorous growth habits allow it to displace native plant and animal species and alter the structure of native plant communities. It may also be capable of hybridizing with native plants. All of this is very problematic for the health and well-being of local flora and fauna.
If you live in the state of Florida or a similar climate, do not keep these plants outside. You should not plant stems or put a cutting directly into the ground. If you notice that Syngonium has naturalized on your property, you should take steps to eradicate it.
This can be a real challenge and will take a combination of pulling and use of herbicides. Pulled plants should be burned or disposed of in carefully sealed black plastic bags. The idea is that heat will build up in the bags and kill the plants so that they will not be able to take up residence in your local landfill.
Remember to wear gloves, long sleeves, and eye protection to prevent irritation from plant sap.
Toxicity: While you may have heard of “anti-inflammatory properties of Arrowhead plant” it is most likely that this was a reference to Sagittaria cuneata, which is an entirely different plant that also goes by the common name “Arrowhead Plant”. This plant is a native to the northern US and has been used extensively by Native Americans for medicinal and food purposes.
It is very important to note that Syngonium ‘arrowhead vine’ is not the benign “Arrowhead Plant” used for medicinal purposes. According to the ASPCA, Syngonium podophyllum is toxic to dogs, cats, horses, and people.
The plant contains insoluble calcium oxalates that cause painful swelling of the lips, tongue, and mouth. When ingested, it causes difficulty swallowing, gastric distress, excessive drooling and (in cats, dogs, and humans) vomiting. Equines (horses and their relatives) are not able to regurgitate, so the results of ingesting this plant are even more dire for them.
The sap of the plant is an irritant, so gardeners should wear gloves when handling and pruning. Be advised that every part of the Syngonium plant is toxic or poisonous. If you have house pets, take care to keep the plant out of reach. The plant tends to drop leaves, so be vigilant about keeping shed leaves picked up.
If you think that your pet may have eaten Syngonium leaves, contact your vet or call the ASPCA’s poison line: APCC (888) 426-4435.
Add Interest To Your Indoor Garden With Arrowhead Syngonium
If you are seeking a houseplant that grows quickly and is very easy to care for, you can’t go wrong with Syngonium podophyllum.
These plants make good gifts, and they are the perfect choice for inexperienced gardeners. They do very well in most indoor settings, and can also do nicely as container plants on a protected porch or balcony.
Arrowhead Plant, also called African Evergreen and Nephthytis, is an easy to care for houseplant with few problems. It’s perfect for the beginner or black-thumb gardener who desires indoor greenery without having to fuss too much over its care. Before I go into detail, here’s a quick summary.
How to care for an arrowhead plant: Arrowhead plants should be planted in well draining, acidic soil, and kept in humid conditions at temperatures of 60°F to 85°F. Water infrequently but thoroughly once the top inch of soil is dry, and fertilize monthly through the growing season.
How Often To Water An Arrowhead Plant
The Arrowhead Plant has a moderate drought-tolerance, but prefers regular water applications. However, it will forgive you if you miss watering it a couple of times, but for the best growth and performance, regular irrigations are best.
During the spring and summer while the plant is actively growing, water when the top inch of soil is dry to the touch. If you stick your finger in the top inch of soil and it feels dry, it’s time to water, which will probably be once weekly. Always irrigate until water starts running out of the bottom drain holes.
However, Arrowhead Plant goes into dormancy (growth slows) during the cold months of winter, which means you won’t be watering quite as frequently. However, don’t allow the soil to completely dry, so feel it and if the top inch is dry, apply water. You can plan to water approximately every two weeks.
Does An Arrowhead Plant Require Humid Conditions?
Native to humid regions of South and Central America, an indoor grown Arrowhead Plant requires you to create humidity so they grow properly without problems. Creating a humid environment for the plant is as easy as misting the foliage with water two to three times weekly.
Additionally, you can set the container on a stone-filled tray that catches the irrigated water, as well as misting.
Don’t place the Arrowhead Plant in an indoor location where the air is especially dry, such as near a heating system or vents.
What’s The Best Indoor Temperature For An Arrowhead Plant?
Since Arrowhead Plant is native to subtropical and tropical environments, it’s sensitive to temperatures below 50 °F (10°C), even indoors. Indoor temperatures that are too cold can result in damage or even plant death. For the best growth, maintain indoor temperatures in the range of 60°F to 85°F (15°C to 29°C).
Does An Arrowhead Plant Require Fertilizer?
Don’t stress if your Arrowhead Plant looks great and you haven’t fertilized it – it’s not a big feeder and grows well if it’s properly cared for. However, during the growing season of spring through summer, you can fertilize it monthly. There’s no need to fertilize in fall or winter, as the plant is dormant and stops growing.
Use an all-purpose, houseplant blend diluted to half-strength. Apply the fertilizer when you water. You can also use slow-release granules applied in spring, following package directions for amounts.
What soil pH Does An Arrowhead Plant Need?
Well-drained, fertile soils with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5 work well for growing all types of Arrowhead plants.
Can I Make My Own Potting Mix For Growing An Arrowhead Plant?
Arrowhead Plant grows best and with few problems grown in an acidic soil rich in organic nutrients but drains well. You can make your own soil mix by mixing equal parts of a commercial potting mix with a peat-based medium. Use a potting mix over potting soil, as potting soil is generally too heavy and retains too much moisture.
How Much Light Does An Arrowhead Plant Need?
Arrowhead Plant is very versatile when it comes to its lighting needs and what it tolerates. Plants perform well situated in bright to moderately low light conditions, although, it puts on the best growth when situated in an indoor location receiving bright light.
What Are Some Problems If The Lighting Is Too Low?
When situated indoors in an area with very low light, Arrowhead Plant’s growth is negatively affected. Plants have a tendency to become straggly, foliage loses its color and becomes lighter, and the leaves are spaced further apart.
If you notice your Arrowhead Plant starting to develop any of these symptoms, move it to a location that is slightly brighter than the original. It’s best to increase gradually the plant’s light exposure so you don’t burn the leaves.
How Often Should I Repot An Arrowhead Plant?
When grown indoors, Arrowhead Plant has a slow growth-rate, so you probably won’t have to worry about repotting other than every other year. If it’s outgrown the present pot, you can split off a section of the plant and reuse the same container with fresh soil, or repot the entire Arrowhead Plant into a container that is slightly larger.
What Type Of Container Is Best To Grow An Arrowhead Plant?
Arrowhead plants have multiple indoor uses and grow well planted in hanging baskets allowing the stems to cascade over the side, in regular pots, or used with a moss stick or indoor trellis system allowing the stems to crawl upward. Just make sure the container has bottom drain holes so the soil doesn’t remain too soggy.
Does An Arrowhead Plant Need Help Climbing On A Moss Stick Or Other Structure?
Arrowhead plants climb naturally by way of wire-like, aerial rootlets that form at the nodes along the stems. You may need to guide the developing stem towards and onto the moss stick of trellis-like structure, but after the first rootlets take hold, the Arrowhead Plant will climb on its own.
Can My Arrowhead Plant Attach To My Indoor Walls?
When grown outdoors in warm areas like Florida, Arrowhead Plant is considered highly invasive, quickly taking over walls and trees. If left unchecked, and situated close to an indoor wall, whether in a pot or hanging basket, Arrowhead Plant can attach to your walls, clinging in place with rootlets along its stem.
The clinging rootlets, if left in place, can damage the wall’s paint and finish. However, and the good news is, Arrowhead Plant grows much slower when grown as an indoor plant and pruning controls any wayward stems.
What To Do If Your Arrowhead Plant Is Leggy
Grown outdoors in its preferred environment, Arrowhead Plant stems can grow over 100 feet long. Even indoors, if left unpruned, the plant’s stems can grow several feet in length.
However, if the plant looks scraggly and leggy, and it’s situated in a location where there’s low light, it might not be getting an adequate amount. Gradually move it to brighter conditions and the new growth should be bushier.
Do Indoor Arrowhead Plants Need Pruning?
During the growing season of spring throughout summer, you can prune the Arrowhead Plant to control its shape or size. It’s best to do any trimming while the plant is actively growing and not during winter while it’s dormant, unless you are removing damaged leaves or stems.
Use sanitized pruning tool blades to make your cuts, as you don’t want to transfer any diseases to the plant and trim off a stem right above a node. Cleaning your pruning tool blades is as easy as wiping them off with rubbing alcohol. You can also use the cuttings to propagate new plantings.
How Can I Make My Arrowhead Plant Grow Bushier?
If you want your Arrowhead Plant to grow bushier with a robust appearance and not produce such long stems, you can solve the problem through corrective pruning. While it’s actively growing in spring through summer, trim all or the majority of the stems back to the desired length.
Maintaining the stems’ preferred length is easy. Pinch off any new growth at the tips as it appears. This keeps the Arrowhead’s growth in check.
My Arrowhead Plant Is Drooping
The most common problem causing an otherwise properly cared for Arrowhead Plant to droop is lack of water and overly dry soil conditions. Check the soil with your finger and if more than top inch feels dry, the plant is suffering from drought.
Resume a normal watering schedule and make sure to irrigate when the top inch of soil becomes dry to the touch.
Why Are My Arrowhead Plant Leaves Turning Yellow?
If your Arrowhead Plant’s foliage starts yellowing, the most probable cause is it’s not getting enough water. Additionally, too much water and soggy soil causes yellow leaves. If irrigation isn’t the problem, the plant might be suffering a nitrogen deficiency, especially if the mature foliage is turning yellow. Apply an all-purpose, houseplant fertilizer at half-strength.
It is easy to diagnose whether you are underwatering or overwatering by sticking your finger into the potting mix. If the soil is dry below an inch, conditions are too dry. In addition, if the soil is soggy feeling, it’s staying too wet.
If the soil is too dry, resume regular applications of water. If the soil is soggy, allow it to dry before resuming a regular watering schedule.
What Causes My Arrowhead Plant’s Leaf Tips To Turn Brown?
The prime reason an Arrowhead Plant’s foliage has brown leaf tips is too dry air. Move the plant to a different location indoors, if it’s situated near a heating unit or vent. You also need to create more humidity by frequently misting the plant with water.
Misting every few days should correct the problem on newly developing foliage, although, the damaged foliage won’t correct itself and the browning remains. For aesthetic reasons and improve the plant’s overall looks, you can trim off the brown edges.
Why Are The Leaf Veins On My Arrowhead Plant Turning Yellow?
If you notice the leaf veins (margins) on your Arrowhead Plant turning yellowish-brown to brown and seeming to die, lack of water and low humidity are more than likely the culprits.
Irrigate the soil and resume a regular watering schedule of watering when the top inch of soil becomes dry. Increase humidity by misting the entire plant with water every few days.
Why Is My Arrowhead Plant Not Growing?
There’s no reason to be concerned if it’s fall and winter and your Arrowhead Plant isn’t putting on new growth. During this time of year, the plant goes dormant and stops growing until the temperatures warm in spring.
However, if it’s during the growing season and your Arrowhead Plant’s growth seems like it’s stopped, make sure you are giving it the proper care it requires. Soil without any nutrients, lack of fertilizer and too low light all reduce the plant’s rate of growth.
You can amend the situation by repotting with fresh, organically rich soil, feeding it monthly during spring through summer, or moving it to a brighter location indoors.
The Base Of my Arrowhead Plant Is Turning Black And Mushy
If you notice the base of your Arrowhead Plant’s stems and leaves turning black and getting mushy and the condition is overtaking the plant, it has developed root rot due to too wet soil and overwatering. Cutting back on water at this point typically won’t save the plant from dying, as the rot is too severe.
However, if the Arrowhead has longer stems that haven’t been affected by the rot, you can prune off a healthy cutting and root it in potting mix.
Discard the old, infected soil and use fresh to repot a cutting or new Arrowhead Plant. Sanitize the pot before reusing it by washing it in bleach.
Prevent the rot problems by using a potting mix that drains well and irrigating only when the top inch of soil becomes dry.
Arrowhead Plant Diseases
If you notice small white, fly-like bugs flying around your Arrowhead Plant when you disturb it, you’ve got yourself an infestation of spider mites. The mites are a common insect affecting Arrowheads grown indoors and usually are the result of a low humidity problem.
It’s important to treat a spider mite problem quickly, as the mite sucks the juices from the plant and can quickly weaken it to the point of death, if left untreated. They can also travel to your other indoor plants, infesting them too.
Correct future problems by increasing humidity through misting the Arrowhead Plant several times weekly. You can kill the spider mites by spraying the Arrowhead with an insecticidal soap spray, following product directions on the frequency of its use.
Mealy Bugs On Arrowhead Plants
Another pest that can be a common nuisance for Arrowhead plants grown indoors, especially when humidity is low are mealy bugs. Mealy bugs are similar to scale insects in that they suck the sap from the Arrowhead Plant weakening it, especially if left untreated.
The insects mass together along the stems and leaves, especially on newly developed growth. A severe infestation causes the foliage to yellow and the Arrowhead Plant’s growth to become stunted. If left untreated, the mealy bugs can infest other plants you have growing indoors, creating an even bigger problem. Therefore, you’ll need to treat the pests sooner rather than later.
Control future problems through increasing humidity by misting the Arrowhead Plant several times each week. Treat the mealy bugs by using an insecticidal soap, following product directions on frequency and amounts.
Why Are The Leaves On My Arrowhead Plant Looking Wet And Water-Soaked?
This problem occurs when the plant is warm, but the soil is too cold. Prevent the condition by maintaining an indoor temperature of at least 65°F (18.3°C) and raising the temperature gradually.
What’s Causing Some Of My Arrowhead Plant’s Leaves To Have Water-Soaked Spots With Holes In The Center?
This condition occurs during winter when the water you are using to irrigate is too cold. Allow the water to come to room temperature before using it to water.
Is Arrowhead Plant Poisonous To Pets And People?
All parts of the Arrowhead Plant are poisonous to humans, dogs, cats and horses, when ingested. Broken stems exude a milky sap that some people find irritating to their skin. The toxic substance contained in the plant is calcium oxalate crystals.
When ingested, it causes severe mouth pain, irritation and swelling of the tongue, throat, and mouth, difficulty swallowing, vomiting and excessive drooling.
Therefore, it’s best to play it safe when growing an Arrowhead Plant indoors and situating it where it’s out of the reach of children and pets.
Arrowhead Plant Varieties
Numerous cultivars (varieties) are available with a host of different colored leaves. If you cannot find them locally, you may have to order through an online plant catalog. Some examples include:
- ‘Confetti’ has lighter green leaves covered in pink splotches and with pinkish-white leaf veins.
- ‘Neon’ produces pink leaves.
- ‘Robusta’ produces green leaves with white leaf veins and doesn’t readily vine.
- ‘Holly M’ produces white leaves with small green speckles on the leaf margins.
- ‘Maria Allusion’ produces compact green leaves tinged with reddish-bronze, and leaf veins that are dark pink.
How To Propagate Arrowhead Plant
Arrowhead Plant cuttings easily and quickly root in a draining container filled with a rich, well-drained potting mix. Bury the cutting by an inch or two, water the soil, keeping it moist but not soggy, and place the cutting in an area with a medium level of light.
Will My Arrowhead Plant Bloom Indoors?
Only mature Arrowhead plants bloom in summer, producing greenish-white, insignificant spathes. Due to pruning and indoor conditions, they typically don’t bloom grown as indoor houseplants.
Does My Arrowhead Plant Produce Fruit?
Since Arrowhead plants need to bloom to produce their fruits, they typically won’t be productive grown indoors. However, the fruits form on the spathe changing from greenish-white to red when mature.
White Butterfly Arrowhead Plant
White Butterfly Arrowhead Plant
(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)
Height: 24 inches
Spread: 24 inches
Hardiness Zone: 10b
Other Names: Syngonium podophyllum
An easy to care for indoor climbing vine, featuring arrow shaped leaves of cream edged in dark green; pinch stems to keep bushy and avoid climbing; a great tabletop accent, or a showy climber for indoor trellises; thrives well in low or medium light areas
Features & Attributes
White Butterfly Arrowhead Plant’s attractive pointy leaves emerge chartreuse, turning creamy white in color with distinctive dark green edges throughout the year. The flowers are not ornamentally significant.
This is an herbaceous houseplant with a spreading, ground-hugging habit of growth. This plant can be pruned at any time to keep it looking its best.
Planting & Growing
When grown indoors, White Butterfly Arrowhead Plant can be expected to grow to be about 24 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 24 inches. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years. This houseplant performs well in both bright or indirect sunlight and strong artificial light, and can therefore be situated in almost any well-lit room or location. It prefers to grow in average to moist soil. The surface of the soil shouldn’t be allowed to dry out completely, and so you should expect to water this plant once and possibly even twice each week. Be aware that your particular watering schedule may vary depending on its location in the room, the pot size, plant size and other conditions; if in doubt, ask one of our experts in the store for advice. It is not particular as to soil type or pH; an average potting soil should work just fine.
There are many factors that will affect the ultimate height, spread and overall performance of a plant when grown indoors; among them, the size of the pot it’s growing in, the amount of light it receives, watering frequency, the pruning regimen and repotting schedule. Use the information described here as a guideline only; individual performance can and will vary. Please contact the store to speak with one of our experts if you are interested in further details concerning recommendations on pot size, watering, pruning, repotting, etc.
— THIS IS A HOUSEPLANT AND IS NOT MEANT TO SURVIVE THE WINTER OUTDOORS IN OUR CLIMATE —
The Arrowhead Plant is aptly named because it has arrowhead shaped leaves. I think the variety that I have is Bold Allusion, whose lovely light green leaves which are veined with pink. It came unlabeled so it could be Cream Illusion or Exotic Illusion. Either way, it was getting tight in its pot so a round of Arrowhead Plant repotting was in order.
You may also know this plant by the names Nephthyis or Syngonium. They stay round and fairly compact when young but most will climb or trail over time. Hence yet another name – Arrowhead Vine. Whatever variety or form of this lovely houseplant you have, this method for repotting and the mix to use applies to them all.
Arrowhead Plants have thick, robust roots. In their native environments they grow along the forest floor and those strong roots also help them climb up trees. I’ve seen a few of them growing at nurseries with broken grow pots. Yes, the roots are that vigorous!
Even though my Arrowhead Plant is fairly small, you can see thick those roots are & how bunched up they are at the bottom.
They actually do well when growing slightly tight in their pots. That being said, you don’t want to let them get too pot bound because they’ll have a harder time taking in water and the roots will run out of space to grow. Plus, transplanting your houseplants and giving them fresh new soil every 2-5 years is a good idea.
Best time to repot an Arrowhead Plant
Like all houseplants, spring & summer are the ideal times. If you live in a climate with temperate winters like me, early fall is fine. In a nutshell, you want to get it done at least 6 weeks before the colder weather sets in. Houseplants prefer not to be disturbed in the winter months & the roots can settle in much better in the warmer months.
I repotted this Arrowhead Plant at the very end of March.
Pot size you’ll need
That depends on the size of the pot yours is currently in. I generally like the pot to be proportionate to the size of the plant. My Arrowhead Plant was in a 6″ grow pot & I moved it into an 8″ grow pot. The new grow pot has lots of good sized drain holes on the bottom of it so that’ll ensures the excess water flows right out.
The gorgeous foliage of my Arrowhead Plant close up. Like the roots, it grows very dense.
The mix to use
Arrowhead Plants like a fertile mix (remember, in nature they grow under trees with lots of rich organic matter falling onto them from above) but of course it needs to drain well.
This is the mix I use & these plant seem to love it.
My organic blend has quite a few components because I have a lot of houseplants as well as container plants. I do a lot of repotting & planting & always have a lot of these ingredients on hand. Plus, I have a garage to store them all in.
If you’re an urban dweller like I was for 20 years & don’t have storage space for a lot of bags, I’ll give you an alternative mix down below.
1/2 Potting Soil
I’m partial to Ocean Forest because of its high-quality ingredients. It’s a soilless mix (which houseplants need) & is enriched with lots of good stuff but also drains well.
1/4 Coco Coir
A few handfuls of coco coir. I use a locally produced brand which is a mixture of coco fiber & coco chips. This environmentally friendly alternative to peat moss is pH neutral, increases nutrient holding capacity & improves aeration.
1/4 Charcoal & Pumice
Charcoal improves the drainage & absorbs impurities & odors. Pumice or perlite up the ante on the drainage factor too. Both of these are optional but I always have them on hand.
I also mixed in 3 or 4 handfuls of compost as I was planting as well as a 1/4″ topping of worm compost. This is my favorite amendment, which I use sparingly because it’s rich. I’m currently using Worm Gold Plus. Here’s why I like it so much.
You can read how I feed my houseplants with worm compost & compost here: //www.joyusgarden.com/compost-for-houseplants/
Another Mix Option for You
If you live in an apartment & don’t have a lot of room to store all of the above, then here’s a more simple mix. Buy your potting soil in a smaller bag like 1 cubic foot. Make sure it’s formulated for houseplants (it’ll say so on the bag) & preferably organic. Buy a brick coco coir & follow the easy instructions on how to hydrate it. This is very light & takes up little room. Pick up a small bag of perlite or pumice & use it in a ratio of 3 parts ps: 2 cc: 1 p or p.
Steps to repotting Arrowhead plants:
You can see this in the video above but here are the cliff notes on what I did:
1.) Use a coffee filter.
Put a coffee filter in the bottom of the 8″ grow pot to cover the drain holes. 1 layer of newspaper works fine for this too. I do this because I don’t want the mix to run out with the 1st few waterings.
2.) Turn the plant.
Turn the plant on its side & press the grow pot on all sides. Gently pull the root ball out of its pot.
3.) Massage the roots.
Massage the roots gently to loosen the root ball & separate the roots. This way the roots can easier grow into the new mix.
4.) Apply the mix.
Fill the bottom of the pot with mix so the root ball rests just below the top of the pot.
Fill in all around the sides with more mix.
Top with a 1/4″ layer of worm compost.
Care after repotting:
Move your Nephthytis to a bright location (out of direct sun) & water it thoroughly soon after the repotting. When the mix is bone dry, this can take a few waterings to really get it wet.
How often should you repot an Arrowhead plant?
My Arrowhead Plant will be set for 2 years. This is a good rule of thumb if you’re going up a pot size like 4″ to 6″, 6″ to 8″, etc. You can check the bottom of the pot & see how many roots are poking out.
Roots from my plant were coming out the drain holes so I wanted to get the repotting done as soon as the weather warmed.
A couple more tips:
Water your Arrowhead Plant a couple of days before. You don’t want to repot a stressed plant.
The roots of this plant grow dense & tight. Gently massage the root ball when repotting so the roots can “go free”.
Although this plant can go slightly potbound, it’ll uptake water easier when the roots have room to grow. Plus, the roots, just like the leaves & stems, need to breathe.
This is the very popular “White Butterfly” Arrowhead Plant spotted at Green Things Nursery here in Tucson.
I grew this plant when I lived in Santa Barbara but that coastal Southern California climate is nearly ideal for houseplants. Tucson, in the Sonoran Desert, is where I now live and some houseplants don’t do as well here. I’ve had this plant for 4 months now and want to grow it for 7-8 more months before doing a care post for you.
An Arrowhead Plant prefers humid conditions and the desert is far from it. If it grows in the desert, it should grow in your home just fine!
I have my Arrowhead Plant growing on the floor because I’ve run out of tabletop space for houseplants. I love looking down on its beautiful foliage and plan on getting a small plant stand for it soon. It’s considered to be toxic for pets but my 2 kitties pay no attention whatsoever to my ever growing population of indoor greenery.
If you’ve had your Nepthytis for a while, take a look at the bottom of the pot. If the roots are showing and the pot feels heavy, then it’s time for repotting. It’ll grow even thicker, denser and more beautiful than before!
Botanical Name: Syngonium podophyllum
Arrowhead Plant is a member of the Araceae family — along with the philodendron — and is just as easy to care for. Give it bright light and lightly moist soil, and you’ll find that it’s otherwise low-maintenance.
Commercial growers have made big improvements to this beautiful foliage plant in recent years, giving it a better resistance to disease. And that’s not all. Today’s plants offer more leaf colors with heavy variegation and a compact growth habit, adding to its appeal.
As a young plant, its leaves start out heart-shaped, then gradually become arrowhead shaped as it matures. S. podophyllum dark-green leaves have silvery white or cream variegation, making this a decorative and popular house plant.
There are many named varieties. Choose a plant based on the color and size you want. Among the most popular are ‘Butterfly’ that features deep-green leaves with creamy white veins…’Pixie’ is a compact cultivar with small leaves…’Imperial White’ is stunning with green leaves marbled with white. Some newer cultivars are flushed with pink.
Display arrowhead plant alongside a group of other foliage plants or add it to a dish garden. Small plants mix well with compact peace lilies and English ivy because they require similar care.
Syngonium Podophyllum Plants for Sale
Young plants form clusters of upright stems, with climbing stems developing later. Use a moss stick to support older stems, giving aerial roots something to hold onto.
Pruning tip: To keep arrowhead plant bushy and full, prune out the older, climbing stems as they grow. Cut them back in early summer and you can propagate the stem tip cuttings.
Dropped or shriveled leaves? Arrowheads are always growing new leaves, but may drop them if the plant gets too dry. Cut off dry, shriveled leaves and aim to keep the potting mix lightly moist at all times.
Brown, shriveled leaves could indicate chemical damage. Arrowhead plant’s thin, delicate leaves are sensitive to leafshine products, pesticides and pollutants. If leaves are dusty, clean them with a fine spray of room-temperature water. Before using any pesticide, read the label to be sure it is safe to use on this plant.
Repot in spring every couple years, or when the plant becomes root-bound. Use a container with drainage holes. If you want to dress up a plain pot, slip it into a cachepot. I put pebbles in the bottom of cachepots to hold the inside pot above the drainage water. As the water evaporates, it adds humidity to the air around your arrowhead plant — and it will love the humidity.
Is arrowhead plant poisonous? Yes. Syngonium podophyllum has sap that contains calcium oxalate crystals and is toxic to pets and people and can cause skin irritation. I recommend wearing gloves when handling this plant or washing hands thoroughly afterward.
Arrowhead Plant Care Tips
Origin: South America
Height: Newer compact varieties grow to 2 ft (60 cm), some varieties climb to 4 ft (1.2 m) or more.
Light: Bright light, but no direct sun. Syngonium podophyllum can tolerate low light, but the leaves may lose their variegation. Turn pot in front of window regularly for even growth.
Water: Keep the potting mix moist in summer, allowing the surface to dry out before watering again. Water less often in winter, letting the top half of the potting mix dry out.
Humidity: Try to maintain 40-50% relative humidity around your plant. Brown leaf tips can be caused by dry air. Take a look at these easy ways to increase the humidity for your tropical plants.
Temperature: Warm room temperatures (65-80°F/18-27°C).
Soil: Peat-moss based potting mix with added perlite and/or vermiculite for good drainage, such as African violet mix.
Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks from spring through fall with a balanced house plant fertilizer diluted to half the normal strength. In winter, feed monthly.
Propagation: Take 3-4 in (7.5-10 cm) stem tip cuttings early in summer. For best results, dip the cut end in rooting hormone powder then stand the cutting in a pot of perlite or a half-half mix of vermiculite and peat moss. Keep the cuttings out of sunlight and maintain the humidity around them by covering the pot with a plastic bag. Cuttings should root in about a month.
- Houseplants A-Z
Arrowhead Plant Care: Growing Arrowhead Plants
The arrowhead plant goes by numerous names, including arrowhead vine, American evergreen, five fingers, and nephthytis. Although it may be grown outdoors in some regions, the arrowhead plant (Syngonium podophyllum) is typically grown as a houseplant.
The arrowhead plant can be grown alone or in a mixed planting for additional interest. As the plant ages, however, it will begin to vine; therefore, it may be a good idea to grow the arrowhead plant in a hanging basket. Likewise, the plant can be trained on a pole or trellis for support.
Arrowhead Plant Care
Overall, arrowhead plant care is quite easy. The arrowhead plant should be allowed to dry out between waterings. Although the plant enjoys some moisture, it should not be kept too wet, which may lead to root rot.
It prefers temperatures between 60 and 75 F. (16 and 24 C.) but can tolerate a wider range, if necessary. Proper arrowhead plant care requires humid conditions, especially during dry winter months. Mist the plant daily or place its container on a tray filled with pebbles and water to increase humidity for optimal growth. The arrowhead plant can be fertilized monthly with a balanced fertilizer.
The leaves change shape as the plant matures, beginning as an arrowhead shape, and then changing into three to five finger-like sections. Leaves are generally green in color but there are many varieties that include variegated leaves of differing shades. The heavily variegated varieties require bright, filtered light. Average light is the norm for solid green varieties or those with less variegation. Keep them away from direct sunlight, as this will cause the arrowhead plant to burn or bleach. The arrowhead plant will tolerate low light levels on occasion.
Arrowhead Plant Root Structure
The arrowhead plant root structure is quite extensive, spreading and growing to the point of becoming invasive in the wild. Even within a contained environment, because of the arrowhead plant root structure, the plant should be repotted every second spring. This plant can also be propagated through division, cuttings (which can be rooted easily in water), and air layering. Gloves should be worn when working with the arrowhead plant, as its sap can be irritating to sensitive individuals.
If the arrowhead-shaped foliage is preferred, simply cut off the climbing stems as they develop. The plant will take on a bushier appearance, with less climbing, and the leaves will remain more arrow-shaped.
Really, with a little diligence, arrowhead plant care is simple. Taking proper care of your arrowhead plant (Syngonium podophyllum) will bring you many rewards.