The Arrowhead Plant is one of my favorite common indoor houseplants. It takes a little bit more effort to care for them, especially very large plants, but this vining plant with dense foliage can really fill out a designated space and add a flair of floral beauty to your home. It is very easy to care for this plant, but it demands frequent watering, which may be an issue for the more laid-back indoor gardener. Still, it’s a great plant to add to your home collection, and one of my favorites to have around. Let’s dive in and talk about how to grow the Arrowhead Plant.
Growing an Arrowhead Plant
The Arrowhead Plant is a step up in difficulty from a common succulent, which needs very little care. There are a lot of ways to go wrong with this plant, but knowing a little bit about it will help ensure a happy, healthy houseplant.
- Latin name: Syngonium podophyllum
- Other names: nephthytis, arrowhead vine, American evergreen, five fingers
- Native to: Central and South America, Mexico to Ecuador
- Invasiveness: Yes
- Tenderness: Perennial
- Sun: Bright, indirect light
- Water: Frequent watering
- Soil: Well drained, neutral to acidic
- Hardiness zone: 10-12
- Plant height: 3-6 feet tall
- Bloom period: 3 days during summer, rarely flowers
- Container friendly: Yes
- Fertilizer: 10-10-10
- Toxicity: Toxic to humans, cats, and dogs
- Pest resistant: No
The Arrowhead Plant (Syngonium podophyllum) goes by a few names, including nephthytis, arrowhead vine, American evergreen, and five fingers. It is a vining type plant native to areas stretching from Mexico to Ecuador. Outside of its native range, particularly in growing zones 10-12, it is considered invasive and should not be planted outdoors. In its native range, it is a hardy perennial that will keep growing year after year.
When kept as a houseplant, which is advisable, the Arrowhead Plant benefits from bright, indirect light, frequent watering, well drained soil, and the occasional balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer, heavily diluted, during its growing period from Spring to Fall.
These vining houseplants rarely flower when kept as a houseplant. When they do, their flowering cycle is brief. They produce flowers for just 3 days during the summer, at which time the flowers die off. The Arrowhead Plant is kept for its foliage more so than its flowers. It is considered toxic to pets, like cats and dogs, and is not known to be pest resistant.
This plant is a thirsty one, especially as it grows larger and larger. It will want frequent watering but it does not do well if left in soaking wet, non-drained soil. Your arrowhead plant needs soil that drains well, as it can fall victim to root rot and other diseases associated with soggy, sopping wet dirt. Younger plants don’t require quite so much water, but your older plants will soak up quite a bit. If the soil feels dry, give it a good watering.
In the wild, Arrowhead Plants get their start on the canopy floor, slowly growing toward the treetops and gaining more sunlight as it does. When kept indoors as a houseplant, it doesn’t appreciate a lot of direct sunlight. Your best bet for this plant is bright, indirect light as opposed to direct, beaming sunlight.
Your Arrowhead Plant will do best in well draining soil that ranges from neutral to just slightly acidic. A standard indoor plant potting soil should do the trick. Allow for proper drainage, as improperly drained soil can cause diseases like root rot.
During your plant’s growing season, which stretches from Spring to Fall, you can provide a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer, a bit more heavily diluted than you would most other plants. Fertilizer is not needed during the Winter, when your plant is not actively growing.
Arrowhead Plants are considered to be invasive outside of their normal range, from Mexico to Ecuador. They are perennial plants and can be planted outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10, 11, and 12, but it is strongly advised that you do not plant these vines outdoors. If you must, please keep it in a container and watch it very closely for unwanted spread. As with any plant outside of its native range, please do your research, check with local gardening groups, and plant with extreme care.
All parts of the Arrowhead Plant are toxic to humans, cats, and dogs, so it’s best to keep the plant in an area where curious pets and children can’t reach. If you suspect that your pet has gotten into your Arrowhead Plant, keep an eye out for the symptoms of poisoning, which include vomiting, oral pain that often causes your pet to paw obsessively at their mouth, a decreased appetite, and vomiting. If your pet exhibits any of these signs after exposure to your plant, see an emergency vet. In humans, consumption of the arrowhead plant results in severe mouth pain. It can also cause a burning sensation on the skin if exposed to its sap as well as potential eye damage.
Growing an Arrowhead Plant in containers
Arrowhead plants are an extremely common indoor houseplant and does just fine planted in containers. There’s no hard and fast rule about container size. If you maintain a small plant, you’ll only need a small pot. If you let it grow to its maximum size, you’ll want to provide it more soil in which to grow. Keep an eye on your plant. If it seems like it isn’t thriving or its growth is stunted, it’s probably about ready to be potted in a larger container.
Some argue that the Arrowhead Plant is actually pest resistant, but this isn’t quite true. This plant is usually grown indoors, which can be a barrier to pests gaining access to the plant, but it is quite susceptible to mealy bugs and aphids. Mealy bugs are the most common problem associated with the plant, as the dense foliage gives them lots of places to hide. The Arrowhead Plant is also prone to root rot and is not resistant to common infections.
Propagating an Arrowhead Plant
Propagating an arrowhead plant is so incredibly easy and addictive. If you aren’t careful, you’ll wind up with a house full of these plants – and probably giving some away to friends and family. You can create new plants by taking a cutting and allowing it to root in clean water. Simply take a cutting of your desired length, snip just below a leaf node, and place in a container of water. In a short while, you’ll see roots begin to form. Once a good amount of roots have developed, you can plant your Arrowhead Plant cutting in a well draining potting soil.
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