Syngonium - Arrowheads


Syngonium podophyllum



Contents

  1. Top Tips
  2. Location, Water, Humidity & Fertilisation
  3. Common Issues
  4. Origins, Temperature, Propagation, Repotting & Toxicity.

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Top Tips & Info

  • Care Difficulty - Easy
  • Bright indirect light is best, avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun, especially in the spring and summer. A location that is too dark will cause the variegations (foliar patterns) to weaken, leaving you with just a green plant.
  • Keep the soil evenly moist, allowing the top third to dry out in between hydrations. Avoid promoting droughts due to the heightened chance of yellowing leaves and weakened growth.
  • Provide a good level of humidity by misting the foliage weekly or creating a pebble tray.
  • Supplement every two to four weeks using a houseplant fertiliser, depending on the season.
  • In spring, repot every three years with houseplant compost. Water the plant 24hrs beforehand, to reduce the risk of damaging the root hairs. (Transplant Shock).




Location & Light - 🔸🔸

A brightly lit spot away from the direct sunlight is best for quality growth. A sunny position that's too sharp will cause a 'washed out' appearance, along with spindly growth and a general decline in health. Locations that are too dark will cause the variegations to shallow, as well as an increased chance of mould developing on the soil. The amount of light and current season of the year will directly govern the frequencies of waters per month. Specimens placed in darker areas must be kept on the drier side to life, whereas brighter locations will require more soil moisture to lubricate photosynthesis.


Water - 🔸🔸

Although shortlived droughts won't necessarily hurt a Syngonium, consistent irrigations are mandatory for healthy growth. Allow the top third of the soil to dry in between waterings, or a few inches for specimens that are too large to lift. Never allow standing water to accumulate beneath its pot as root rot is a common issue among gardeners. Under-watering symptoms include stunted growth, crispy brown patches forming on the leaves, and wilting; these issues are commonly due to either too much light/heat or forgetfulness. Over-watering symptoms include yellowing lower leaves, leaf blotches in brown, yellow or black, wilting or rotting stems and roots.


Humidity - 🔸🔸🔸

A generous level of humidity should be at the forefront of a happy Syngonium. You can either mist the foliage weekly or introduce a pebble tray to reduce the risk of browning leaf tips. Specimens that are situated in moist environments are more likely to produce better quality growth due to the favoured conditions.


Fertilisation - 🔸

Feed fortnightly in the growing periods and monthly for the rest of the year, using a houseplant-labelled fertiliser. Never over-fertilise the plant as a build-up of salts and chemicals can burn the roots, causing stunted growth and yellowing leaves over time.



Syngonium podophyllum


Common Issues with Syngonium

Too low humidity may cause browning leaf tips with yellow halos. Although this won't kill the plant, increase humidity to prevent new growth adopting these symptoms. Either mist weekly while the heaters are on, or create a humidity tray to present a better growing condition.

Dust the leaves regularly. A build-up of dust particles can clog up the plant's pores, causing lowered light capturing-efficiency. Wipe and hose-down the topsides of the leaves once a month to keep the levels down.

Root rot is a common issue, with typical symptoms including rapidly yellowed lower leaves, stunted growth and stem collapse. Take the plant out of the pot and inspect its root system; if it's yellow and firm, you're good to go, but if it's brown and mushy, action must be taken quickly. More information about addressing root rot can be found on this link.

Spider mite are minute chlorophyll sucking pests that can wreak havoc if left to manifest. Areas of attack are the under-leafs, the cubbyholes between the stem & petiole and along the midrib (central column of leaf). For more information on how to identify and address this issue, click here.

A loss of variegations is caused by too little light. Although Syngoniums can be used in semi-dark locations, it'll come at a cost of the variegations. If you're not entirely bothered about this, simply skip this step. Move the plant into a brighter location to allow the variegations to re-develop on the new growth. Alternatively, extreme variegations that hinder the plant's green appearance is caused by too much sunlight.



Syngonium podophyllum


Origins

Syngonium is a genus of around thirty-four species, all ranging within tropical America. The most popular and widespread species, the S. podophyllum, has natural distributions between Mexico and Brazil. Its scientific name was first penned by Heinrich Schott in the 1830s and comes from the Greek words for 'syn' meaning plus, and the 'gonium' that refers to the the fused ovaries of the female flowers (gonada). 'Podophyllum' is the Latin epithet for 'stout-stalked leaves'. Despite the species being first described in 1759 as Arum auritum, it was placed in its own genus in 1879 after a short spell in the visually-similar African genus, Nephthytis.

The distribution of Syngonium


Temperature

15° - 26°C   (59° - 80°F)
H1b  (Hardiness Zone 12)  - Can be grown outdoors during the summer in a sheltered location with temperatures above 10℃  (50℉),  but is fine to remain indoors, too. If you decide to bring this houseplant outdoors, don't allow it to endure more than an hour of direct sunlight a day as it may result in sun-scorch. Regularly keep an eye out for pests, especially when re-introducing it back indoors.


Spread

As Syngoniums are vines, they can reach up to 1.5m in height and 0.6m in width, with 20cm of new growth per year. The ultimate height will take between 5 - 10 years to achieve. Its foliage will change shape in concordance to the level of maturity; smaller specimens will sport the typical 'Philodendron' leaf, wehereas a matured specimen have palmate growth, largely similar to those of a Fatsia.


Pruning & Maintenance

Remove yellowed or dying leaves and plant debris to encourage better growth and all-round growing conditions. When removing dying flowers or leaves, use clean scissors or shears to reduce the chance of bacterial and fungal diseases, and remember to make clean incisions as too much damage can shock the plant.

Never remove its aerial roots that'll develop along the stem, as it may result in stress and a weakened health.


Propagation

Via Seed, Stem Cuttings or Sucker Separation.


Stem Cuttings (Easy)

  1. Hygiene is the most crucial element of successful propagation. The secateurs must be dirt-free with a fresh (or well stored) batch of compost. As you'll be cutting through vulnerable tissue, using uncleanly equipment will introduce harmful pathogens to the cutting and its mother plant.
  2. For stem cuttings, the best specimens are those located at the leading growths. You should aim for a semi-wooded base, but still juvenile enough to slightly bend with the diameter achieving around 1cm. Never use diseased or weakened growth, as this will likely fail to root. Make the best incision possible to prevent the development of disease and remove the bottom half of the leaves.
  3. Sucker cuttings should be around 10cm (4 inches) in length, with a small root system already attached. You can split the mother and the sucker with your hands by pulling the latter's base downwards until you hear a snap. If there aren't any roots, choose the water propagation method on Step 4, or place it directly into soil if some roots are present. 
  4. Decide on rooting the plantlet via water or soil. The first option tends to have better success, especially if you're a new-time propagator. Remove any rotten debris and replace the water every ten days with lukewarm tap water to prevent shocking the plant. Although collected rainwater is acceptable, the risk of harboured diseases is too high, especially with an open wound. Once the roots surpass 3cm (1.1 inches), you can safely pot them up. For both options, use an aerated soil that has a fluffy texture with some perlite, too. Never use a poorly stored bag of compost as it'll promote larvae or perennial seeds to arise. ukhouseplants would recommend using 'Houseplant Compost' with a 7cm pot that has adequate drainage holes.
  5. Place a 2cm (0.8 inches) layer of soil at the bottom of the pot, and then rest the cutting vertically in the middle - you may have to hold it for support.
  6. Fill the compost around the cutting, making sure that its bottom half is submerged. Do NOT press or compact the soil. Condensing the compost to support the cutting will push the oxygen above the soil line, suffocating the roots until they rot. If it needs support, introduce a cane or something that won't lead to compaction!
  7. Place the potted cutting in a transparent bag or box. Because of the lack of roots, it'll start to lose stored water quickly. A confided environment will lock-in the humidity and reduce the rate of transpiration (water loss through the leaves).
  8. You'll rarely have to water due to the moist air. If the soil compacts itself after the first irrigation, level it out by adding more compost. 
  9. Open the bag every few days for fresh air, but be sure to keep the potting mix evenly moist and NOT soggy - if it looks saturated, leave it! The surrounding humidity in the container will do its job by hydrating the leaves and its stem.
  10. Situate it in a bright, indirect location away from any heat sources (i.e. radiators). Keep the temperature around 18℃ (64℉) as this is the optimum temperature for root development - you can even use a bottom-heat pad to speed-up the process. The roots will develop BEFORE the foliage. You can safely remove the bag or box once new leaves emerge, as, at this point, there'll be a sufficient root system. Introduce a Pebble / Humidity Tray to maintain a good level of atmospheric saturation and to reduce the severity of environmental shock 
  11. Keep the soil moist and maintain a bright, indirect location away from direct sunlight and other heat sources. After around six months, transplant into a slightly bigger pot, keeping in mind transplant shock (where the root hairs are damaged or over-touched). For more information on how to perform the perfect transplant, click here!


Basal Offset Division (Easy) - Your plant will produce several basal offsets that can be separated once they have a sufficient root system, and surpass 8cm in stem length. If possible, water the soil 24hrs before the main event to reduce the risk of transplant shock, when its dry root systems are over-fingered. Take the plant out of its pot and place your fingers close to the nodal junction; soil may have to be removed for better access. Push the chosen offset downwards until you hear a snap. Separate the foliage and its root system away from the mother plant, mentally noting the high risk of damage. Transplant in the appropriate sized pot with a fresh batch of houseplant soil. Maintain evenly moist soil and situate it in a bright, indirect location away from any direct sunlight. After eight weeks, treat it like a normal specimen, following the care tips above!


Flowers

As Syngonium is part of the Araceae family, their blooms are much like a Peace Lily's flower, consisting of a white or green spathe (the spoon-like shell) surrounding a spadix. Blooms can last up to five days and is usually visible during late spring or early summer around 20cm from the soil line, though Syngonium rarely flower due to duration it takes to fully mature.


Repotting

Repot every three years in the spring using Houseplant Compost and the next sized up pot. For matured specimens, introduce more grit to promote a stronger root ball; click on this link for more information on how to perform the perfect transplant. 


Pests & Diseases

Keep an eye out for mealybugs, aphids, spider mite, thrips, whitefly, blackfly, vine weevils & root mealybugs, although Syngonium are generally pest-free. Syngonium are also susceptible to leaf-spot disease, powdery mildew, botrytis & root rot - click here to learn about these issues.


Toxicity

This plant is classified as poisonous, so if small sections are eaten, vomiting, nausea and a loss of appetite may occur. Consumption of large quantities must be dealt with quickly; acquire medical assistance for further information.


Retail Locations

Online Stores.



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