This is one of those indoor plant varieties we’re pretty sure you’ve seen in a couple of houses, even without knowing its name. There is a simplicity and elegance to the Syngonium that makes it a perfect houseplant for any home style.
But you may not know this plant as the Syngonium podophyllum, it comes with other popular names like the goosefoot, nephthytis, African evergreen, American evergreen, or the arrowhead vine, and arrowhead plant. Personally, I know this plant as an arrowhead plant because of the strikingly cool arrow-shaped leaves.
If the Syngonium podophyllum has yet to cross your radar, today is your lucky day! This houseplant is one of the easier plants to grow indoors. Yes, it’s easy to grow, but it does require some level of attention, pruning, and maintenance.
If left to its own devices, the plant is a climbing vine that can easily overwhelm your home! If that’s the kind of vibe you want, then the arrowhead vine or Syngonium podophyllum is the one for you.
But, if you have curious pets and more curious children, it’s best to keep your houseplants pruned and compact in your pot as a tabletop plant. Syngonium podophyllum is a slightly poisonous plant that can cause itchy skin or inflammation. (It’s best we get this information out of the way, don’t you think?)
Why grow the Nephthytis indoors?
So why would anyone want to bring the goosefoot plant into their homes, you ask? Besides the attractive foliage of the hardy evergreen Syngonium podophyllum and the fact that they are easy to grow, there are a couple of benefits and reasons to consider.
First, the Syngonium podophyllum, a semi-tropical plant native to Mexico, constantly ranks in the top houseplants that clean the air. It is an anti-pollutant that cleans the air we breathe, reducing indoor air pollution often released by the chemicals from items in our homes.
The arrowhead plant can absorb air pollutants into their leaves, and the toxins go to the roots where they are processed and turned into nutrients for the Syngonium plant.
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The second reason you should grow the Syngonium podophyllum is that this houseplant is easy to grow. There is also little to no record of pests or disease problems for these houseplants! For plant-lovers out there who are prone to forgetting and neglecting their tropical houseplants, the Nephthytis could be the plant for you.
If Syngonium care and maintenance aren’t a problem for you, perhaps this third reason will convince you to grow Syngonium: the plant’s foliage is varied and diverse! The leaves are so beautiful and you get a treat as you witness the foliage change in shape from juvenile to mature. There are also plenty of variegated species to choose from.
The White Butterfly Syngonium is one of the most popular of the species, specifically because its washed-out white appearance makes it a perfect statement piece in any corner of the home.
The “Imperial White” and “Emerald Gem” Syngonium also possess striking foliage. If the white variegation isn’t your thing, there are also pink Syngonium species that are definitely attractive and gorgeous. Keep a lookout for the “Pink Syngonium” and the “Neon Robusta” species. The foliage is a splatter of pink and lime green colors.
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Indeed, all the classic and modern varieties of the Syngonium podophyllum are attractive and bring color and joy to your home. Add to that, most of these varieties require the same minimal care and attention. So if you’re already growing one or two arrowhead plants and they’re surviving, it’s a safe bet any other Syngonium podophyllum will do!
Another benefit and reason for you to grow the Arrowhead plant are for its versatility in style. You can allow it to be a climbing plant and grow as a vine. In fact, that is why some refer to the Syngonium as an arrowhead vine!
If you want your plant to have a more compact and bushy aesthetic, what you can do is start pruning during the summer. This will encourage new growth. The Syngonium podophyllum should not be particularly expensive! And if else, ask your friends for a cutting – the arrowhead plant is easy to propagate.
And if none of these benefits are selling it to you, you can always enjoy the plant for its appearance. The Arrowhead plant is one houseplant that changes over time, you often start with arrow-shaped leaves that when mature are a different shape entirely (often lobed in shape). So if you’re one who can’t commit to one look and style, consider the Syngonium podophyllum.
The Ultimate Arrowhead Plant Care Guide
No matter what you call it, Arrowhead plant, arrowhead vine, nephthytis, or Syngonium, this houseplant will give you a lot for a little attention. If grown as a bushy indoor plant, you can display it on side tables or coffee tables, or actually, any corner of the room! How and why? Check out the requirements below!
Some houseplants will take the energy and joy out of your plant-loving days because they demand too much. Some even require full sunlight!
But the Syngonium podophyllum does well in medium light to low light, no bright direct sunlight! Yes, you read that right, you can grow your arrowhead plant indoors without fear that it will struggle to survive.
No matter how tempting the pot may look, if it doesn’t have a good drainage hole, it’s a pass. Soil that holds any extra moisture will always lead to root rot, a problem that’s hard for many plants to bounce back from.
Use a rich potting mix that easily drains and aerates your Syngonium podophyllum.
Nothing too complicated in this department as well! While the Syngonium podophyllum arrowhead plant is notably thirsty, all you need to remember is to water well and wait.
If your nephthytis houseplant is in a smaller potting container, give plenty of water. Younger plants do not need to be frequently watered as well.
Take a cue from its fellow indoor plant the Peace Lily. Intermediate gardeners know that it’s time to water this houseplant when the leaves droop a bit. So when you find your Syngonium podophyllum drooping, it’s time to hydrate.
The rule of thumb is to water thoroughly and wait. That’s it.
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The best way to care for your indoor plant is to give it care and attention that is closest to its native environment. The Syngonium podophyllum is a tropical plant, and of course, these are the plants that need a good level of humidity to survive.
If you notice any brown leaf crisping on your arrowhead plant, dry air is the most likely culprit. You’ll need to address this problem immediately so it doesn’t hurt the rest of your indoor plant.
The good news is, there are modern and easy solutions to ensure the best humid conditions for your Syngonium plants. Whether it’s grouping plants together, placing them near pebbles with water, or getting yourself a trusty and accessible plant humidifier to get the job done.
The arrowhead plant needs good feeding especially when they are already established.
In the winter, you will find that your Syngonium plants will rest for a short while, but it’s not impossible for new leaves to emerge during this season.
During the growing season, take a complete liquid fertilizer and feed your Syngonium with 1/2 strength. You can also choose to feed your Syngonium a slow-release fertilizer or compost during the spring.
Winter will test your Syngonium plant! So better place your arrowhead plant where there is heat, at the center of your home. Anything below 16 degrees Celsius is not advised!
If you check the roots of your climbing or hanging plants, you will discover that these types of plants do not grow as dense underground. This is why you do not need to pot your Syngonium arrowhead plant in a big pot, any small container will do.
Repotting needs to be done only after a few years when you want more growth from your climbing Syngonium, or when you notice they need to be watered more frequently. Repot in the spring with a healthy compost mix.
If you’re an intermediate or expert gardener, you can skip this part because propagating the Syngonium is a walk in the park for you. No, it doesn’t even require that level of effort.
To propagate the Nephthytis, you can let your cuttings root in water or plant them straight into potting compost. This plant can easily develop new growth with either method.
The key to success is to cut the right part of the Nephthytis, that is, a few centimeters below the small dark growth nodes.
If you plant to get new roots from water propagation, simply put your cuttings in water. Once you see a network of roots, you can carefully plant them in well-draining soil.
If you’re planting your cutting straight to compost, remember to dip the ends first with a rooting hormone to help it grow. Place the cuttings near the end of your pot rather than the center. Ensure your soil is moist and it gets indirect sun and warmth, and low light.
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Frequently Asked Questions:
How do you care for a Syngonium plant?
The Syngonium podophyllum is easy to grow, it can withstand a bit of neglect, and is quite forgiving.
To care for Syngonium, you need to avoid direct sun. Place your plants where it gets low light to medium light exposure. Water your plants thoroughly and then wait when the soil is dry before you water again. Ensure the room is warm and the air is humid. For a compact and healthy mature plant, feed once or twice every month to get new leaves and growth.
How do I keep the arrow-head shape of my white butterfly Syngonium?
If you prefer the juvenile form of the foliage and want a more compact plant, do not grow your Syngonium nephthytis as a climber. Instead, cut off the growth and practice pruning. Your leaves will grow arrow-shaped instead of mature lobed leaves.
Does Syngonium need sunlight?
Yes, your Syngonium or Nephthytis will need some form of the sun. All plants need the sun in one way or another, they need it to grow and nourish themselves. But plants vary in the level of sun exposure they can handle. While some plants are better grown outdoors because they need direct sun, while others are better off grown indoors because they can only handle bright, indirect light. Syngonium plants are the kind that is better grown with low light.
How often do you water Syngonium?
The rule for the Syngonium Nephthytis plants is to water well and wait. That means a thorough watering that does not necessarily follow a strict watering schedule. It is better to wait for the plant to completely dry, slightly drooping, and then water. This way, you are protecting the plant from moist soil that can lead to root rot.
Is Syngonium slow-growing?
Yes, Syngonium is a slow-growing plant. Some varieties like the Bold Allusion Nephthytis are notoriously slow-growers that are best for small spaces. The beauty of these plants is you can keep them in smaller pots and smaller spaces. You can enjoy those distinctly shaped leaves when they are young plants and then when they mature, you feel like you have a different type of plant entirely!