The popular arrowhead plant (Syngonium podophyllum) is appreciated for its bushy shape. It’s normal for your plant to end up looking a bit sparse after a while, though, but don’t despair. Pruning time is the perfect opportunity for propagating arrowhead plant!
Keep reading to learn how to take a cutting from your arrowhead plant to propagate in water or soil.
Pruning and propagating arrowhead plants
Since arrowhead plants are vining plants, regular pruning is recommended if you want to keep your plants looking nice, healthy and bushy. In addition to being prone to becoming sparse, arrowhead plants tend to flop: their leaves can get so heavy that the stems droop over.
Luckily, all you have to do is pinch off new growth or lower leaves to reshape your plants whenever you see fit. If you prune your plants two or three times a year, it won’t be that much of a chore as a whole.
Fortunately, while you’re tending to your plants to get some bounce back into them, it’s the perfect time for propagating arrowhead plant using stem cuttings as well! Clippings thrown away are clippings wasted.
Did you know? You can opt to keep your arrowhead plant growing by itself or encourage climbing by using a moss pole.
Propagating arrowhead plants | Water method
The best time for arrowhead plant propagation is during the spring and summer. This is when houseplants are generally busy directing energy towards new growth, meaning your cutting is much more likely to take. Of course, if you live in a warm climate, you may be able to propagate as late as fall.
Many houseplants can be propagated using the water method, which tends to be less work initially and more successful overall. Plus, many houseplant enthusiasts simply love watching the roots slowly grow right before their very eyes!
When propagating arrowhead plant using the water method, here are the steps:
- Take a sharp, clean knife or scissors and cut off one or more stem cuttings from the mother plant. You’ll want to make sure that your cuttings have at least two or three nodes (bumps on the stem that leaves and roots can grow from). Try to also include at least two or so leaves at the top.
- Pinch or strip away any leaves near the bottom of the cutting, leaving the healthy leaves at the top.
- Place the stem cuttings into a container or vase of water and let sit in bright, indirect light. A warm spot is ideal, though you should avoid direct sunlight!
- Change the water out once or twice a week. Give the container a scrub if there’s any algae growth.
If all goes well, you should start to see new roots growing from the nodes in about a week or two.
Once the roots have grown a couple of inches, you can remove the cuttings to repot them or give them away as gifts!
Did you know? Commercial growers tend to use much more sophisticated methods to propagate their Syngoniums. They can clone whole new plants from a single cell, for example!Zhang, Chen & Henny, 2006.
Propagating arrowhead plants | Soil method
If you’d rather dive in and get your hands dirty, the soil method is another easy way for propagating arrowhead plant. It saves you the extra step of having to pot up your cuttings at a later stage.
When it comes to propagating Syngonium using the soil method, the steps are pretty much the same. Instead of putting your prepped stem cuttings into water, though, you stick them into soil instead.
Be sure to to use a well-draining soil mix to keep things light and airy. These are aroids, after all! A useful basic mix would be to combine equal parts potting soil, sphagnum moss and orchid bark. Don’t forget to always use a planter with drainage, like a standard plastic nursery pot.
After you plant your cuttings, move your pots into bright, indirect sunlight and sparingly water the plants enough that the soil is moist but not soggy.
The downside to this method is that you won’t be able to see the roots growing. But, on the plus side, these new plants will be easier to give away since they’ll already be potted up and ready to go!
Tip: If you have some rooting hormone on hand, dip your cuttings in there before potting them up. The hormone stimulates the formation of new roots and can really help increase the chances of success.
Propagating arrowhead plants | Division method
You can also propagate arrowhead plants using the division method, which requires removing the plants and cutting through the root system.
This is not the most popular choice because older plants are often so thick and twisted that it’s just more work than it’s worth, especially when it’s so much easier to propagate with stem cuttings.
If you’re repotting your Syngonium anyway and find that it’s getting a bit too large, division can be a handy solution, though! Just take a sterilized knife and divide the clump into pieces. All you have to do is pot these up and resume watering as usual, since they’ll already have their root systems ready to go.
Arrowhead plant care
Now that you have some new arrowhead plants, you no doubt want to do what you can to help them survive and thrive.
Here are some general care tips on arrowhead plant care.
Tip: Don’t have an arrowhead plant yet? You can buy a Syngonium online.
Arrowhead plants prefer bright, indirect sunlight, just like most tropical houseplants. Depending on the variety, the light demand may be more or less. For example, variegated varieties need more light exposure or they will lose their beautiful patterns and colors and revert back to a plain green.
The variegated varieties are best suited for moderate to high light while dark-green varieties can do well in low light settings.
Arrowhead plants naturally occur in tropical jungle habitats in Latin America, so they like things toasty. If you’re feeling nice and comfortable in your home, it’s likely your plants are, too. Be sure to keep your Syngonium away from any drafts since they don’t like chills.
When it comes to humidity, arrowhead plants thrive best at higher levels. If your home isn’t overly humid, you can help create a humid microclimate using pebble trays or a humidifier. Moving your plants into rooms with higher air moisture, like bathrooms, can also help.
When it comes to choosing a soil, anything that’s both rich and well-draining will do. As mentioned in the section on soil propagation, you can easily make you own aroid soil.
A basic mixture of potting soil, sphagnum moss and orchid bark works perfectly. Some also like to add charcoal, perlite and other additives.
Arrowhead plants are pretty forgiving when it comes to watering and can often be left to dry between waterings. You may only need to water a couple of times a week during the growing season, although it’s good to still check often, just in case.
You can easily check by poking through the surface of the soil. If it’s damp, you don’t need to water right away. If it’s dry, you can thoroughly soak the soil, letting it all completely drain through the bottom of the pot. Then you’re good to go again!
Like most houseplants, arrowhead plants enjoy a little boost during the growing season.
During spring and summer, you can use a general houseplant fertilizer once a month. Be sure to dilute the fertilizer to half or quarter strength.
Are arrowhead plants toxic to cats and dogs?
According to the ASPCA, arrowhead plants are toxic to cats and dogs if ingested and the sap can cause irritation through contact.
This also applies to you, by the way, so be careful when handling this species for propagation and repotting.
Tip: Looking for more in-depth information on caring for an arrowhead plant? Head over to the full guide on Syngonium podophyllum care.
Photos © Maryana Volkova and © sweetlaniko on Adobe Stock.