How To Care For Your Arrowhead Plants
Written by Natalie Anstey
In This Article:
The arrowhead plant, also known as arrowhead vine, five fingers, and the American or African evergreen, is a tropical houseplant native to the rain forests of South and Central America. Named for its distinctively spade-shaped leaves, the arrowhead plant is easy to grow, and you'll find it throughout the Americas, as far west as Hawaii and east through the Caribbean.
|Botanical Name:||Syngonium podophyllum|
|Common Name(s):||Arrowhead plant, arrowhead vine, goosefoot, and American evergreen|
|Plant Type:||Perennial herb|
|Place of Origin:||Mexico South and Central Americas|
|Sun Exposure:||Indirect sun|
|Watering Schedule:||Every 7 days|
|Seasonality (best time to plant):||Spring|
|Toxicity:||Toxic to dogs and cats|
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Arrowhead Plant Care
Arrowhead Plant Soil Requirements
The arrowhead plant's native environment is tropical; the soil drains well, it's rich in organic matter, and it is slightly acidic. So you will need to prepare a similar potting mix for your plant that retains the right amount of moisture, is nutrient-rich to support a healthy plant, and has a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. The addition of compost will provide the desired nutrients and will help keep the moisture level constant. You can improve the aeration of the soil by using perlite and orchid bark. To improve the drainage, add elements such as pumice and sand. You can also add coconut coir to the potting mix. With its neutral pH, the coir will promote soil aeration and moisture retention capacity without altering the soil pH.
For your arrowhead plant to thrive, the soil must have good drainage but retain the right amount of moisture, be well-aerated, and have a slightly acidic pH of 5.5 to 6.5. A regular potting soil won't cover all the properties mentioned above. You'll need a soil mix of perlite, peat moss (1:1 ratio), orchid bark, and some compost. Using a DIY pH test kit, you can easily combine these to get the correct pH level. If you don't want to prepare the soil on your own, then commercially available aroid potting mixes are great.
Arrowhead Plant Light Requirements
Arrowhead plants are relatively hardy and can adapt to a broad range of lighting conditions. Ideally, your arrowhead plant should be in bright, filtered light, but be careful to avoid direct sunlight, as it will bleach or burn the plant's delicate leaves. A diffused light (moderate to bright) is best for this plant.
While the arrowhead plant can adapt to and tolerate low light levels at intervals and within a range, placing your plants in rooms with little light will stunt their growth. And not only will the leaves be fewer and farther apart, but they'll also lose their attractive coloring. So, if you notice the color fading or slow growth, move the plant to a brighter location.
Try supplementing your light with fluorescent or LED lighting if natural light isn't available in your home or office. LED grow lights can offer similar light waves and intensity, plus the appropriate amount of blue and red light needed to stimulate vegetative growth.
You'll want to remember to keep your arrowhead plant about 18-24 inches away from any artificial lighting to protect the leaves from burning. And when setting the intensity level on your grow light, be sure to factor in your home's indoor temperature.
Arrowhead Plant Water Requirements
Your arrowhead plant has a moderate drought tolerance and will do better with regular watering. You'll see healthy color and growth with regular watering, but you don't need to worry about missing a watering or two.
Time your watering to allow the soil to dry out halfway. Increased lighting may dry the soil out faster, so keep an eye on it. You don't want the soil to dry out too much, nor will you want to over-water your plants. All you need to do to check the moisture level is stick your finger one inch into the soil. If it's dry, then water your plant.
In spring and summer, you'll probably need to water your plants about one to two times per week. But in the winter, you'll only need to water once every few weeks.
Rule of (Green) Thumb: Overwatering your plant can lead to root rot. Wait until the top one inch of soil is dry before watering.
Arrowhead Plant Temperature Requirements
An arrowhead plant is well-suited for a comfortable home temperature of 65℉ to 75℉. As mentioned earlier, this plant is native to the tropics and is sensitive to temperatures less than 50℉. Just as with lighting that is too low, temperatures that are too low will stunt your plant's growth and even kill it. For optimum conditions, maintain your indoor temperature between 60℉ to 85℉.
Arrowhead Plant Humidity Requirements
Arrowhead plants can easily tolerate the average indoor humidity levels but the more humid, the better. These plants are at home in the tropics, so be sure to keep the plant as far as possible from the drying effects of vents and heating systems.
How to Increase Humidity for Your Arrowhead Plant?
1. Spray the plant with mist - Yes, creating a humid environment for an arrowhead plant is this easy. Just mist the foliage with water 2-3 times weekly. Make sure to use room temperature water, and your plant will be super happy.
2. Create a stone/pebble tray - You can keep the plant pot or container on a stone-filled tray, and the tray will catch all the misting water to keep the environment humid for the Arrowhead plant.
Arrowhead Plant Fertilizer
Don't worry about fertilizing if your arrowhead plants look beautiful and healthy.
However, in the summer (during the growing season), you might want to fertilize your plants monthly. You can use any all-purpose liquid houseplant blend and dilute the mix to half strength. Apply the fertilizer on a watering day and water well.
Arrowhead Plant Repotting
Generally, the arrowhead plant grows slowly, and there will be no need to re-pot the plant for a few years. Once the plant finally outgrows the current pot, you can either re-pot the plant into a larger container or gently split off a section of the plant and reuse the same pot after adding some fresh soil.
Arrowhead Plant Propagation
Arrowhead plants, with their attractive colors and climbing vines, add natural charm to the indoors. And this green beauty is one of the easiest to propagate. During the spring and summer, take cuttings from your plant and start them off in either water or soil.
Planting your Arrowhead Cuttings
Cut a 6 to 12-inch section of the stem with roots attached, and place the cutting into a half-filled glass of water. After a few weeks, you'll see new root growth, and after another month to six weeks, the cutting will be ready to plant in the potting soil mix you prepared.
Or, instead of waiting for your cutting to sprout roots in water, you can plant the cutting in a potting soil mix. First, place your cutting in a 2-inch hole in the soil, then cover and water well. Place your pot in a well-lit area, watering just enough that the soil stays moist.
Planting your Arrowhead Cuttings
The arrowhead plant has a natural resistance to most pests. However, here is a short list of those to watch for:
Spider mites are tiny, fly-like, white bugs that you might find flying around your plants. They're associated with low-humidity environments and will stunt the growth of your plants. To eliminate these pests, you can spray insecticidal soap on the plant.
Rule of (Green) Thumb: Regular misting will increase the humidity in your room, making it less appealing to spider mites.
Mealybugs are another pest found in areas of low humidity. These insects suck the sap from your arrowhead plant, depriving it of essential nutrients and eventually overwhelming your plant. You'll want to take action quickly if you notice yellowing leaves or a white cottony substance on the leaves and stem. Use insecticidal soap and increase the humidity by misting regularly.
Arrowhead Plant Toxicity
Unfortunately, if ingested, all parts of the arrowhead plant are toxic and poisonous to humans, cats, and dogs. Symptoms include difficulty swallowing, drooling, and vomiting. And the milky sap from broken stems can cause skin irritation. Do not worry it is not fatal you can call the vet or your doctor for guidance.
Rule of (Green) Thumb: Keep your arrowhead plant out of the reach of children and pets!
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