The syngonium or arrowhead vine (syngonium podophyluum) is an easy-care, pest-resistant tropical houseplant with heart-shaped leaves. It is distantly related to the philodendron and has similar care needs: partial shade, minimal watering and very little maintenance otherwise. This makes it ideal for indoor gardener beginners who have some experience cultivating the very easiest species and want to move onto something slightly more challenging.
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Technically, the syngonium is a vining species. Young plants start off with vertical stems but as they mature and grow longer, they will begin to trail. In the wild, its long stems twine around surrounding trees. However, some syngonium varieties has been selectively bred for more compact growth. All syngonium varieties retain the pliable stems that are characteristic of vining plants however which means that they can be trained easily along moss poles, trellises, or nylon fishing lines. Syngonium can also be grown in water instead of soil.
Temperatures should be in the range of 61 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperatures go above 65 degrees Fahrenheit, you will need to give it extra humidity in the range of 60-80%.
Like most other tropical plants, syngonium needs bright but indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight will kill the plant. If you are placing it in a South-facing window make sure there is something blocking the direct path of the sunlight. This could be another taller plant, a tree, or a net curtain. East and west-facing windows are best for achieving bright indirect lighting.
The syngonium enjoys soil that is slightly moist but not soggy. Only water your syngonium when the top one inch of the soil is dry. Test soil moisture with your finger before watering.
Water your syngonium by holding the soil under running water until the water is running through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Hold under the tap for about 30 seconds. This makes sure that the soil and entire root system is hydrated. Then, set the pot on a dry surface and wait for any excess moisture to drip away.
You should cut back significantly on watering in the fall and winter. This is when over-watering becomes a risk. The soil will dry out much less frequently thanks to cooler temperatures and lack of active plant growth.
You will not need to adjust your watering regime during fall and winter if you live in a tropical or subtropical climate (USDA hardiness zones 8 and above). The warmer weather in these climates mean that the plant will grow year-round.
Use a nitrogen fertilizer for your syngonium. Scroll to 'What are nitrogen-rich fertilizers?' hereto find out what nitrogen fertilizer is.
Dilute the fertilizer to half the strength of manufacturer's instructions. Apply every three weeks during spring and summer while the plant is growing and then once per month in the fall and winter.
Snip a 6-8 inch cutting with a sharp knife or scissors just below a stem node. Stem nodes look like raised, pale rings or notches that segment the stem every couple of inches.
Cut the leaves on your new cutting in half so that the plant does not lose too much moisture before its root system develops. Plant the cuttings in a rooting medium. You can make a rooting medium by mixing one part perlite, one part coarse horticultural sand, and one part soil. Or you can simply plant the cutting into moist sphagnum moss. To maximise the chances of your cuttings
Getting the soil right is key to keeping your Syngonium alive. This plant is prone to root rot fwhicih happens when there is too much moisture in the soil. Use a multi-purpose houseplant potting mix mixed with some inorganic material like perlite for extra drainage.
Repot your syngonium either every year or when it doubles in size - whichever happens first. You should always repot in early spring. The new pot should only be slightly wider in diameter than the current pot. Because Syngonium is prone to root rot, it is best to use terracotta pots which remove excess moisture well, unlike plastic pots.
The most exciting part of syngonium cultivation is seeing all the varieties that are out there. Syngonium come in different leaf shapes, growth habits, and colors. Here are some of them:
This variety is blushed dark pink to red in the middle of its leaves. The colors will deepen when placed in brighter light but remember to keep it out of direct sunlight.
This is a stunning variety with dusty pink and green variegated leaves. The rare pink shade makes this a must-have for collectors of unusual plants or anyone wanting evergreen color in their home. The pink will become more vibrant when placed in brighter light but remember to keep it out of direct sunlight.
A tiny and compact variety for miniature pots. Its green and white variegated leaves are the size of fingernails. It only reaches about 3 inches in height but mature plants produce long stems that can trail up supports. Its size makes it perfect fo terrariums.
Syngonium white butterfly
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A popular variety with fine white variegation along the leaf veins. Leaf edges are a darker green.