Syngonium Albo: Care, Propagation & Common Problems
A friend of mine was emigrating to Germany and unfortunately had to part with her collection of indoor plants. In the mix, there was a beautiful Syngonium Albo, which had put out a few full moon leaves and had strong variegation along the stem. I knew I had to adopt the plant!
It has had its ups and downs in my care and ended up losing its variegation completely. I was so upset and made it my mission to get the variegation back. It recently put out its second leaf on the mother plant since my attempt to get the variegation back. Luckily, that new leaf is showing variegation again.
This care guide will show you how to properly care for your Syngonium Albo and get that beautiful variegation back – if your plant happens to suffer the same fate that mine did.
All About Syngonium Albo
The Syngonium Albo (also known as the Variegated Arrowhead plant) is a subtropical climbing plant native to South America. It is known for having striking bright white variegation against the deep green leaves, which adds something different to any plant owner’s collection.
It is a great beginner plant for growers new to collecting variegated plants. Because Syngoniums are extremely fast growers and propagated easily by stem cuttings and plant division, it is not as expensive as other variegated plants on the market.
Syngoniums are a big favorite of mine because they come in many different varieties and put out new leaves at least once a month. They also grow extremely well outdoors in shaded areas and can climb up trees or crawl along the ground in nature. The leaves can reach up to 15cm in length, and the plant can grow very large if given the right growing conditions.
My largest Syngonium has reached the ceiling of our studio!
Another great thing you can do with Syngoniums is plant a few different varieties into one pot, making for a visually attractive mixed pot.
How To Care For Syngonium Albo
Lighting & Placement
Given the right conditions, Syngoniums can grow like weeds and even become invasive in your garden! My uncle has one that he has to constantly prune because it has taken over a wall of his house.
Indoors, they are also fairly easy to take care of – but keep in mind that Syngonium Albos do have unstable variegation. They can revert to a solid green plant if not given adequate light.
If it’s in a room with only windows facing the sunrise, it may only get good-quality light in the morning. Find a spot that stays bright and sunny throughout the day near a window.
Keep in mind that Syngoniums prefer to climb, so consider adding a dowel rod or a moss pole for climbing. They also do well as a trailing plant. The leaves may get smaller with leafless nodes (runners) if grown as trailers. Still, it is possible if you only have a space suitable for this option.
Avoid harsh sunlight as it can burn the leaves, especially the white variegation part, which can make your plant unattractive.
The lighting and placement of your plant can also impact the watering.
- If your plant is in a darker area, try to keep the soil on the drier side to avoid mold and root rot.
- If you have it in a sunny spot, as I would recommend, you need to water it more frequently.
I water my Syngonium Albo about once a week in spring/summer, and about once every 10-12 days in winter/autumn. The best way to know if your plant needs water is check the top 3cm of soil with your finger. If it is dry, you know it is time to water!
Make sure your plant is watered all the way through, and drain off any excess water from the drip tray to avoid root rot.
If you have access to a fish tank, I highly recommend watering with fish tank water during your water changes. It adds an extra boost of nutrients, and your plant will thank you!
Soil & Potting
For my Syngoiums, I use a chunky Ariod mix with some extra coco coir in it. My recipe contains bark, pumice or volcanic rock, coco chips, perlite, and coco coir.
I plant my Syngoniums in a clear plastic pot with drainage holes as it helps me to keep an eye on the roots. I place my clear plastic pots into decorative ceramic pots for a prettier aesthetic.
Still, if you do this, you need to ensure you drain the plant well before putting it back into the decorative pot. Any excess water can cause root rot!
If you choose to put your Syngonium Albo onto a moss pole, I recommend using a slightly bigger pot and placing it into a heavy ceramic pot to stop your plant from falling over.
My soil recipe for my Syngonium Albo is:
- 25% Pumice/Volcanic rock
- 25% Small bark chips
- 25% Coco chips
- 20% Perlite
- 5% Coco coir
Temperature & Humidity
As mentioned before, Syngoniums are capable of growing outdoors, so they can survive temperatures between 15-26℃ and a humidity range of 40-70%.
I try to keep most of my indoor plants at around 60-70% humidity and 19-23℃. My Syngonium Albo is happy in this environment.
If you live in a slightly colder area or your winters get quite cold, I recommend investing in a humidifier and a heater to keep your indoor plants happy. While growth does naturally slow down during winter, I have lost plants to the cold before, so I find it better to be prepared!
Fertilizing your Syngonium Albo will help it develop big, beautiful leaves and a healthy root system. Syngoniums are not necessarily heavy feeders, so if you use a liquid fertilizer, you only need to fertilize it about once a month during spring and summer.
Over-fertilizing can result in burning your plant’s roots, so less is sometimes more. I prefer using a slow-release fertilizer in my soil mix as I have too many plants to stick to a fertilizing schedule!
On top of my slow-release fertilizer, I also water my plants with water from my fish tanks for an extra burst of nutrients now and then. If you have access to a fish tank, I highly recommend doing the same.
Growth rate & Repotting
Syngoniums are very fast growers, but Albos can take a little longer as it is a variegated plant.
They put out a new leaf and grow about 5-7cm per month from the main stem and side shoots. And if your plant has babies near the base, these do take slightly longer to grow while they are establishing their own root system.
I recommend repotting your Syngonium Albo about once a year to give it fresh soil and slightly more space. When choosing a bigger pot, go with one that is only 2.5cm bigger than its current pot to avoid root rot.
Propagating Syngoniums is super easy! There are two main ways to propagate Syngoniums – cuttings and plant division. I recommend propagating in spring/summer as the plant most actively grows during those seasons.
- Choose a healthy stem with leaves on it.
- Cut it just below the node with a sterile blade. You can choose to make multiple cuttings from one plant.
- Then, you can let your stem “wound” dry out for a few hours.
- Place your cuttings either in a glass of water (change the water weekly) or you can place them in sphagnum moss. Ensure that they get good indirect bright lighting and monitor them for root rot.
- Once your plant has a couple of healthy roots, you can transfer it into a new pot.
Syngonium can produce small baby plants at the base of the mother plant. If you have one or more of these on your plant, wait for them to have some root growth before removing them from the mother plant and planting them into a new pot.
Pro tips: Taking a top cutting off your mother plant will result in the mother plant creating these off-shoots at the base of the plant.
Loss of Variegation
Variegated plants need longer periods of bright, indirect light to photosynthesize because they have less chlorophyll than non-variegated plants.
Syngonium Albo’s also have unstable variegation, which means that they can lose their variegation if they are not getting enough sunlight.
My Sungonium Albo recently lost its variegation. I checked that it was getting enough light, and I let it put out a couple of leaves before taking action, just to make sure. I could see that the top stem was completely green, and after 4 new leaves had come out completely green, I decided it was time.
I cut the main stem just below the last variegated leaf and then chopped the cutting into pieces below each node. I decided that even if none of the cuttings had variegation, I would still like to have a solid green Syngonium for my garden.
The cutting which still had some variegation on it has put out leaves with lots of beautiful variegation on them.
Still, all the other cuttings are completely green and growing quite slowly.
Making the top cutting on my mother plant has also resulted in it putting out 3 new shoots, two of which have strong variegation!
So, I think it’s safe to say that I successfully got the variegation back and now have some extra Syngonium Albos to swap at our next plant swap.
The cause of yellowing leaves is always tricky to determine because it could be due to too much water or too little water, too much light, too much fertilizer, or not enough fertilizer.
Typically, Syngoiums are quite resilient when it comes to under-watering. However, I have found that this is the main cause of yellowing leaves. If you see that your old leaves are yellowing and dying off, it can be a sign to increase how often you water your Syngonium. The initial signs of over-watering are soft, wilting leaves which, if left untreated, will result in your leaves yellowing and dying off.
Too much light can result in the leaves of your Syngonium burning and yellowing. While variegated plants need higher indirect light for longer periods to produce enough chlorophyll, they are still susceptible to sunburn, so keep an eye on the amount and type of sun your plant receives.
Over- or under-fertilizing your plant can also result in yellowing leaves. I recommend using a slow-release fertilizer to reduce the risk of either issue. Osmocote has been the best brand I have used thus far, and it is affordable!
The most common pests of the Syngonium Albo are spider mites, mealy bugs, and scale. Luckily these pests are fairly easy to treat if you catch them before they cause too much damage.
I check my plants every time I water them for early detection. Check under the leaves and in the space between the stems and petioles of your plant for tiny red or white mites with webs. These are easy to manage with an insecticide high in Bifenthrin by spraying the whole plant every second day for a week.
You can detect mealybug by little white fluffy buys, usually under the leaves and in any crevices of the plant, and these can be treated the same way as mealybug.
The first sign of scale is a sticky substance on your leaves – I scrape them off with a knife and spray the plant with the same insecticide I use for the mealy bug.
Common & Related Questions
Is Syngonium Albo rare?
Syngonium Albo is considered a rare plant, but it is becoming much easier to source because it is easy to propagate. They are common cuttings at plant swaps.
Can Syngonium Albo lose variegation?
The Syngonium Albo can lose its variegation, but it is fairly easy to get it back by making cuttings and adjusting the light.
Is Syngonium Albo easy to care for?
The Syngonium Albo is a relatively easy plant to care for once it is in perfect growing conditions.
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