NASA CLEAN AIR PLANT #19
Available for sale at our store located at 3856 Fort Henry Drive, Kingsport, TN 37663.
Arrowhead plant goes by a variety of names, including syngonium and nephthytis, is an excellent houseplant for low light (no matter what you call it!). Popular for more than a hundred years, arrowhead plant has withstood the test of time because it's both attractive and easy to grow.
The Arrowhead is an excellent, easy to care for plant that originated in the rain forests of Mexico to Ecuador. In nature, it is a woody, vining plant that can grow 30-40 ft (9-12 meters) long as it clings to the trunks of trees, climbing up to the sky as it reaches for the light. Syngonium podophyllum is the most popular variety grown as a houseplant and is in the Araceae family.
Originally grown as a plant with solid green leaves, today some of the new arrowhead plant cultivars and hybrids have leaves that are almost white (White Butterfly Nepthytis), green & white (“Albo Variegata), various shades of pink (Syngonium “Pink Allusion”), and burgundy (Syngonium “Strawberry). How much light each variety requires in order to grow well depends upon the color of its leaves. An arrowhead plant with solid, dark green leaves needs less light than a White Butterfly variety that has white leaves with a touch of lime green. No matter what type you select, the leaves of an Arrowhead plant always have a spade-like shape that resembles an “arrowhead”.
Young arrowhead plants are bushy and usually pretty full, making them attractive indoor plant choices for coffee tables, side tables, and other surfaces. The arrowhead plant can be grown alone or in a mixed planting for additional interest. As the plant ages, however, it will begin to vine; making them a gorgeous option for growing in a hanging basket. Likewise, the plant can be trained on a pole or trellis for support.
Light - The leaf color of an arrowhead plant determines how much light the plant needs. An arrowhead plant with solid green leaves can grow in low to medium light. New arrowhead plant varieties with white, pink, burgundy, and lime green in the leaves require medium to bright, indirect light.
Arrowhead plant can suffer from sunburn -- white, bleached areas on the leaves -- in direct sun.
Temperature - When considering placement for these plants, this is one houseplant that needs to be at the heart of your home because it demands warmth, even in cold months. Arrowhead houseplants grow well in 60°-70°F. Avoid placing an arrowhead plant near heating vents, air conditioners, cold drafts, and fireplaces. This plant likes humidity and will get way too dry in low humidity!
Water - The Arrowhead enjoys some moisture,however it should not be kept too wet, which may lead to root rot. Water an arrowhead plant well, and then allow the top 50% of the soil to dry out before watering again. This plant has a similar trait to the Peace Lily in that it will droop quite a bit when it's thirsty. It's less forgiving than it's cousin though, so if you spot the drooping, give it a drink as soon as you notice it happening. I just love plants that ask for a drink!
In winter, be careful to allow your Arrowhead to dry out just a bit more as it will be growing much slower with the limited daylight hours.
Humidity - An arrowhead plant prefers high humidity, but still grows well in basic household humidity. Proper arrowhead plant care requires humid conditions, especially during dry winter months. Mist the plant daily or place its container on a tray filled with pebbles and water to increase humidity for optimal growth.
Soil - An arrowhead plant likes a rich, organic soil that drains quickly. An African Violet soil is a good choice.
Fertilizer - Fertilize an arrowhead plant every two weeks in the spring and summer with a balanced plant feed diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength. Feed an arrowhead plant monthly in the fall and winter.
Re-pot - The arrowhead plant root structure is quite extensive, spreading and growing to the point of becoming invasive in the wild. Even within a contained environment, because of the arrowhead plant root structure, the plant should be repotted every second spring.
Wait until the roots of an arrowhead plant have filled the existing pot before moving the plant to the next size pot (and nothing larger). There must always be drip holes in the bottom of any container used for an arrowhead plant.
Maintenance - Aggressively prune the stem tips and the long vines of an arrowhead plant keep the plant full and bushy.
Pests - Plant pests such as scale and Mealy Bugs can infest an arrowhead plant; but it is spider mites that do the most damage.Spider mites suck the color out of the leaves and ruin the plants appearance. If a Arrowhead becomes infected, spray with 91% Isopropyl Alcohol mixed with water (2 parts Alcohol, 1 part water) or an insecticidal soap at 1/2 the recommended strength.
Bacterial root rot, due to over-watering and and bacterial Leaf Spot Disease due to the high humidity an arrowhead plant prefers are the main diseases that affect the plant.
Propagation - Propagating a Arrowhead is easy peasy. You can root cuttings in water, or straight into potting compost. Both methods have a good success rate - providing you cut the right part of the plant.
To get started you want a new growth shoot that either has one or two leaves already, (or the formation of one). They don't have to be brand new growths, as it works with mature shoots too, but we personally have always had better luck with the newer ones.
Follow the growth shoot downwards several inches until you reach a pair of "nodes", these are a set of two small protruding bumps (one on each side of the stem). The cut needs to be made just a few centimeters below the nodes because this is where the new roots will come from.
If you're rooting using water, it's just a case of dropping the cutting in and keeping the water topped up. A few weeks later you will hopefully start to see new roots. Wait until you have a network of roots before carefully potting up in a free draining compost mix.
If you have opted to plant the cuttings straight into compost, then it's a good idea to dip the cut ends into a rooting hormone first. Put the cutting(s) towards the edge of the pot rather than in the very center, keep the soil moist and place it somewhere warm.
Potential Problems - Brown leaf tips and crunchy leaves could be a sign of too low humidity. If your variegation on the leaves start to change, its a good bet the lighting is wrong! Adjust the light and the color should return. Remember the more variegation, the more light!
Special Notes - Arrowhead plants are considered poisonous and are toxic to dogs, cats, and children. Ranked as NASA Clean Air Plant #19 for its ability to remove formaldehyde and other chemical toxins from an indoor environment.