Syngonium (Arrowhead Plants): Care, Propagation & Problems
When I first became interested in house plants, I did not like Syngoniums very much. Until I was gifted my first Syngonium (Mojito), I really started to understand why collectors love this indoor plant.
Syngoniums are such fast growers and come in a massive array of sizes, shapes, and colors. They can either climb or trail and are also known as Arrowhead plants due to the shape of the leaves.
But be warned – when you buy your Syngonium, it will be an adorable, compact plant that will quickly want to grow in all different directions. You will soon get used to pruning your Syngonium and won’t even feel compelled to keep the chops for propagation!
All About Syngonium (Arrowhead Plants)
Syngoniums are native to Mexico, Central and South America, and areas of the Caribbean. They come in a large variety of different types, and some of my favorites are Mojito, Batik, and Tricolor.
Syngoniums are easy to care for and great for beginners. They are low-light tolerant and don’t need as much water as other indoor plants. They are commonly found growing in shaded areas in gardens around my country and are suited for both indoor and outdoor growing.
Syngonium love to climb but can also trail. If you choose to have it trail, the internodal spaces will get larger, and the leaves most likely won’t get as big as they can (up to 15cm in length).
Syngoniums can add an interesting element to your houseplant collection due to their shape and variety of striking colors!
How To Care For Syngoniums (Arrowhead Plants)
|Light||Bright – medium, indirect light|
|Watering||When the top 3cm-5cm of soil is dry|
|Soil mix||Aroid potting mix or well-draining soil|
|Pot||Plastic with drainage holes|
|Temperature||16 – 27 °C|
|Humidity||40-70%, can withstand lower.|
|Repotting||Every 2 years|
|Pests||It can be susceptible to mealybug and spider mites if the plant is unhealthy.|
|Propagation||Plant division or cuttings|
|Fertilization||Once every two months (spring/summer) or yearly with a slow-release fertilizer|
Lighting & Placement
Syngoniums are low-light tolerant and can grow in pretty much any spot in your house – except for areas with harsh sunlight. Direct sunlight can burn the leaves and make your plant less attractive.
If they are grown in medium to bright, indirect light, your foliage will be a lot larger and have very bright coloring. I also recommend rotating the plant every now and then to get fuller foliage!
Syngoniums can grow like weeds if left to their own devices in your garden.
Syngoniums prefer to climb. They look nicer and become fuller when allowed to climb. Consider adding a stake, moss pole, or trellis to your Syngoniums when repotting it.
If you don’t have the space for a climbing plant, they can also be grown in hanging baskets, but the plant may produce leafless nodes (runners) and much smaller leaves if grown this way.
Where you choose to keep your plant will determine its watering needs.
If you keep your plant in an area with low light, try to keep the soil on the dryer side – this helps to avoid root rot and mold!
I learned that the hard way with my Syngonium Thee Kings. It was covered in the mold for ages before I even noticed due to how dark the spot was that I kept the plant in!
If you have your plant in a sunny area, try to water it more frequently as the water will evaporate more quickly.
I water my Syngoniums when they tell me they need watering, which is about once every 10 days in summer, and once every 2 weeks in winter.
The best way to know if your Syngonium needs water is if the leaves start looking droopy or if the top 3cm of soil is dry. Use a simple finger test to determine the dryness of the soil.
When watering, make sure that the plant is watered all the way through, and remove any excess water from the drip tray or decorative pot to avoid root rot.
Soil & Potting
For my Syngoniums (and most of my other indoor plants), I use a chunky Aroid mix consisting of bark, pumice/volcanic rock, coco chips, perlite, and coco coir.
I plant them into clear plastic pots if I am worried about the root system, as you can check on the roots. My hardier Syngoniums are planted in regular nursery pots placed inside decorative pots to make them more aesthetic!
If you decide to have your Syngonium climb up a moss pole, go with a slightly larger pot to accommodate the pole and place it into a ceramic pot for stability.
My Airoid Potting Mix Recipe:
- 25% Pumice/Volcanic rock
- 25% Small bark chips
- 25% Coco chips
- 20% Perlite
- 5% Coco coir
FURTHER READING: Make Your Own Soil Mix For Aroids (4 Effective DIY Recipes)
Temperature & Humidity
Since Syngoniums can grow outdoors, they can survive lower temperatures (15-26℃) and lower humidity (40-70%) than most other Aroids.
I keep most of my indoor plants at 60-80% humidity and 19-23℃. Most of my syngoniums are extremely happy (except for one I murdered in my high-humidity grow tent because of root rot!).
If you live in an area that can get pretty cold, I suggest getting a humidifier or a heater to keep those temperatures up!
Don’t panic if the growth of your Syngonium slows down in winter, this is completely normal, and it will be back to its fast growth rate when spring starts.
Syngoniums are not very heavy feeders but can benefit from a boost of nutrients every few months. This will help it develop larger leaves and a healthier root system.
Be careful of over-fertilizing as this can result in burning the plant’s roots.
I love using slow-release fertilizer for most of my plants because I have too many to stick to a fertilizing schedule. Another option is a liquid fertilizer which can be added to your water once every two months in summer/spring.
If you have access to a fish tank, using the water from your water changes can add a great boost of nutrients!
Growth rate & Repotting:
Syngoniums grow extremely quickly, but contrary to what you would think, they don’t need to be repotted often.
They usually put out a new leaf at least once a month and can grow up to 7cm in length in a month! If your plant has babies attached to its base, it may take a bit longer to grow.
If you’re looking for height instead of fullness on your Syngonium, I would advise removing the babies as soon as they have their own root system. If you choose to leave them on, they will grow into new long shoots like the mother plant and add fullness to the plants’ overall look.
When it comes to repotting, I recommend doing so every 2 years to give the plant some fresh soil and more room to grow. Only repot your plant in summer to avoid causing it too much distress during its slow-growing period.
When choosing a new pot for your Syngonium, go with one that is only 2.5cm bigger than the previous pot to avoid root rot and “transplant shock”.
How To Propagate Syngonium (Arrowhead Plant)
Syngoniums are so easy to propagate. They are awesome plants for plat-swaps and giving to your friends and family. Propagating should be done in summer/spring. There are two ways to propagate Syngoniums: stem cuttings and plant division.
- Choose the healthiest stem with a few leaves on it.
- Take a sterile blade and cut the stem below the node. You can take multiple cuttings from one plant.
- You can dip the stem into cinnamon powder to prevent root rot and infection or let the stem “wound” dry out for a few hours before planting.
- You can then place the cutting into a glass of water or a pot with sphagnum moss. If you choose to propagate in water, I recommend changing the water weekly. Make sure that they get good, indirect, bright light, and check on the stems for signs of rotting.
Syngoniums can produce off-shoots along the stem and baby plants at the base of the mother plant, especially when cuttings are taken from the top of the mother plant.
If you are looking to propagate and have either off-shoots of baby plants, you can remove them, provided they have some healthy root growth. You can then plant them straight into a new pot and grow an entirely new plant!
Common Problems When Growing Syngonium (Arrowhead Plant)
Yellowing leaves are a common problem when growing Syngoniums, but it is also difficult to determine the cause.
The first thing to rule out is natural aging. If it’s just a few leaves at the bottom of your plants that are yellowing, this is most likely just because they are old and are dying off.
One of the other causes could be watering issues. Syngoniums are quite resilient to under-watering, but this is one of the main causes of yellowing leaves.
Over-watering looks more like soft, wilting leaves that go yellow and die.
Too much light can also affect your leaves by burning them and turning them yellow. Keep an eye on the amount of sun your plant is getting and adjust it if you think the yellowing could be caused by sunburn.
Because Syngoniums aren’t heavy feeders, over-fertilizing can also result in yellowing leaves. The best way to avoid this is to use a slow-release fertilizer (like Osmocote) or make sure you only fertilize twice per month with liquid fertilizer during the summer months.
Brown spots can form on your leaves due to bacterial or fungal infections. The most common cause of this is watering your syngoniums on their leaves or from exposure to rainwater. The best way to treat an infection is with a fungicide spray.
Spider mites, scale, and mealybugs are the most common pests on your Syngoniums. They are all pretty easy to treat if you catch them early – so make sure that you inspect your plants while watering them.
Tiny red or white mites will appear in the crevices of your stems and under your leaves if your plant has spider mites. This is easy to treat by spraying the entire plant with an insecticide high in Bifenthrin.
The first sign of scale is a sticky substance on your leaves and stem, which can be scraped off with a knife and treated with the same insecticide.
Mealy bugs look like little fluffy spots and can be quite hard to spot because they like hiding in the petioles of your plants. It’s best to use a neem oil spray as it suffocates them and gets rid of them quicker.
Popular Syngonium Varieties
Syngonium Albo is a variegated plant that is great for beginners because it is easy to care for and not too expensive. They have beautiful dark green foliage with white patches of different intensities. Because they are a variegated plant, they need more sunlight than other varieties to keep their variegation strong.
Read more about Syngonium Albo Care here.
Syngonium Tri-Color is a lovely Syngonium as it has three colors – a dark green base with pink and pale green patches. This is a rare plant and is highly sought after by collectors. It prefers bright, indirect light, so avoid low-light areas when growing this plant.
FURTHER READING: 18 Pink Syngonium Varieties: From Milky to Neon to Plum
Syngonium Batik is one of my favorite Syngoniums and has the most beautiful bright green-yellow veining. It is a stand-out plant in any collection and almost reminds me of an X-ray of a Syngonium leaf. If your Batik starts to lose its bright veining, consider finding a more sunny spot for it.
Syngonium Three Kings
Syngonium Three Kings looks similar to Syngonium Albos, but the light part of the leaves is more of a mint color. They almost look marbled. I prefer the look of the younger leaves, so I keep my three kings well-pruned.
Syngonium Mojito has beautifully mottled leaves that are a very pale green with big flecks of dark green. Each leaf comes out with a completely different coloring, and it can add great texture to your plant collection.
There are also quite a few rare varieties of Syngoniums, including Syngonium Scrambled Eggs, Syngonium Gray Ghost, and Syngonium Pink Spot.