Syngonium podophyllum, also known as the arrowhead plant or Nephthytis, is a creeping plant related to Philodendron. It’s much appreciated for its easy care and large leaves that can vary from bright green to a lovely blotchy mix.
This plant is pretty easy to grow in your own home. Keep reading for everything you need to know about arrowhead plant care!
|Name(s) (common, scientific)||Arrowhead plant, arrowhead vine, nephthytis, goosefoot, African evergreen, American evergreen, Syngonium podophyllum|
|Water||When lightly dry|
|Soil type||Aroid soil|
Arrowhead plant care care
Naturally found in Latin America, Syngonium is a creeping epiphyte. The plant is known for growing in a bushy fashion at first and then starting to send out longer runners. It’s mostly appreciated for its lush foliage, though it can also grow white flowers if you’re lucky.
As it naturally grows on trees, this species will appreciate being allowed to creep up a moss pole or totem. It hasn’t evolved to be able to withstand a lot of direct light, as the higher tree canopies would block out most of the sun’s rays in the wild.
Did you know? There is an impressive range of arrowhead plant cultivars out there. Syngonium podophyllum has been selectively cultivated for all sorts of variegation types, leaf shapes and even color. Take the green and pink splashed ‘Confetti’, the pale pink ‘Infra-Red’ or the splotched ‘Mojito’.Source: Google Patents.
Arrowhead plant care: Location & temperature
Because it’s naturally shaded by taller trees and other foliage, the arrowhead plant doesn’t require direct sunlight.
In fact, you can keep your Syngonium in relatively low light conditions unless you have a lighter colored cultivar. These may revert back to a darker color, so if you want to maintain the creamy white foliage be sure to place your plant in a spot with plenty of indirect sunlight.
Temperature-wise, Syngonium is a real houseplant. It’s naturally found in tropical jungle areas and doesn’t appreciate temperatures dropping below 15 °C/59 °F. As such, although it can be kept outdoors in some regions, it’ll usually do best inside your house.
A stable temperature is appreciated. As such, keep your Syngonium podophyllum away from heaters, A/C units and drafty windows!
Did you know? The arrowhead plant is sometimes still referred to as Nephthytis, even though that’s an entirely different, African genus of plants. The confusion stems from naming issues when the plants were discovered.
Arrowhead plant care: Planting
Syngonium is not a complicated plant potting-wise. Just be sure to keep in mind that although it loves humidity, constantly wet soil can lead to root rot. Good drainage is quite important.
- Because the arrowhead plant is an aroid, it’ll appreciate a light soil mixture that retains moisture but also lets excess water escape easily to prevent rot. Try mixing equal parts potting soil, sphagnum moss and fine orchid bark for a happy arrowhead plant.
- Be sure to use a well-draining planter, such as a normal clay pot with a drainage hole. Because Syngonium is naturally a creeping plant that can form rather long vines, a hanging plant basket is also a great option.
- If you don’t want to use a hanging basket, a plant totem may be a good solution to keep the plant from growing all over the place.
- Syngonium can be repotted every two years or so. Be careful while handling this plant as it’s toxic and can cause skin irritation. Always wear gloves!
Arrowhead plant care: watering
A proper watering schedule is a very important part of arrowhead plant care. These tropicals love moisture, so proper watering and humidity are key.
- Syngonium loves receiving plenty of water but doesn’t appreciate constantly wet soil. Keep it lightly moist during the summer months and let it dry out a good bit more during winter when it’s not actively growing.
- Syngonium won’t suffer too much if humidity is low, but it does prefer a bit of extra moisture in the air especially if humidity is particularly low in your home.
- Using a humidifier can help keep this plant happy if it appears to be struggling with overly dry air.
Propagating arrowhead plant
If you’d like to multiply your Syngonium, you’re in luck. Propagating arrowhead plant is super easy! As these are vining plants, you can easily take stem cuttings, especially from mature specimens.
To take an arrowhead plant cutting, just use a clean knife or shears to cut as many stem cuttings as you’d like. Just make sure they have a few nodes and ideally some leaves each. You can then pop these in a vase of water or pot them up directly in the same soil type you used for the mother plant.
If you’re repotting your arrowhead plant anyway, you can also opt for division. If you take the plant out of the soil, you’ll often find that in reality there are multiple. This especially applies to older plants that might have produced offsets. You can separate these from the mother pant and pot them up separately. Because they already have an established root system, they should usually continue growing just fine.
Tip: Looking for more detailed info? Have a look at the full guide to arrowhead plant propagation.
Arrowhead plant care: fertilizer
As with all houseplants, only feed your Syngonium while it’s actively growing during the summer months. Every other week or every month is a good place to start.
A regular balanced fertilizer diluted to half strength should work well, or you can add some worm castings while repotting your plant.
Tip: If you’re not seeing new growth, don’t overfeed to compensate! This can damage the roots and impede growth even more.
As mentioned earlier, there are many different types of Syngonium podophyllum cultivars available today, such as the marbled “White Butterfly”, the more compact “Pixie” and a bunch of different foliage colors.
You should be able to find the more common varieties in most garden/plant stores. You can also buy Syngonium online!
Arrowhead plant in the aquarium
An interesting note for aquarists that may have ended up on this page looking for information on how to care for this new plant is that Syngonium is also sometimes sold as an aquarium plant.
Unfortunately, as the rest of this care guide will have made clear, it’s not an aquatic plant and will quickly start to rot underwater.
Don’t despair, though: you can still grow this plant at the top of your tank with just its roots submerged. It will really appreciate the nutrients present in the aquarium water.
Is Syngonium podophyllum toxic to cats and dogs?
The ASPCA lists Syngonium podophyllum as toxic to both cats and dogs, so keep it out of their reach! It causes irritation in the mouth. You might want to consider going for a pet safe plant instead.
Additionally, the plant is also toxic to you, so handle it with care to prevent a nasty burning sensation caused by calcium oxalate crystals in the foliage.
If you have any more questions about arrowhead plant care or want to share your own experiences with this beautiful creeping houseplant, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.