How to Grow and Care for the Arrowhead Plant

Arrowhead Plant

Quick Overview

Plant Type: Vine
Family: Araceae
Sun Exposure: Partial shade
Watering: Regularly
Colors: Green
Size: 3–6 ft. tall, 1–2 ft. wide
Hardiness Zones: 10–12
Soil Type: Fertile mix, moist but well-drained
Soil pH: Neutral to acidic
Propagation: From stem cuttings
Toxicity: Toxic to dogs and cats

Arrowhead plants have grown in popularity over the past few years. They are attractive plants native to the tropical rainforests in Central and South America, where they thrive in natural humidity. 

Arrowhead plants (Syngonium podophyllum) are generally easy to care for. They get their name from their arrowhead-shaped leaves, which most often come in various shades of green. Though there are also purple, pink, silver varieties, to name just a few. Arrowhead plants love humid temperatures, ideally between 60-75 degrees F, and they prefer medium sunlight. Water your arrowhead plant regularly, but don’t overwater, as it can be susceptible to root rot. Make sure the soil is dry between waterings. Because they grow relatively fast, be sure to re-pot your arrowhead plants every two years in the spring. 

Keep reading to learn more tools to help your keep your arrowhead lush and healthy. 

Arrowhead Plant

About Arrowhead Plant

Arrowhead plants are attractive and easy-going plants that can grow to be 3-6 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide. 

Arrowhead plants can vine and change shape as they mature, and because of this, they are also known as arrowhead vine, American evergreen, five fingers, and nephthytis. They are closely related to the philodendron and thrive in similar living conditions. 

Arrowheads are only viable outdoors in USDA zones 10-12. And, because of this, they typically function best as house plants in most areas of the United States. 

They are known for their arrowhead-shaped leaves, from which they get their name. As arrowhead plants mature, their leaves can change shape from their classic arrowhead shape to 3-5 “fingered” sections.They also begin to vine as they mature. These vines can be trained on a pole or trellis. Or, you can plant your arrowhead plant in a hanging basket so the vines can begin to hang down as the plant matures. 

Arrowhead Plant

Arrowhead Plant General Care

Watering Arrowhead Plant

Arrowhead plants love humidity, but they do not like wet soil.

Water your plant regularly, but be sure to allow the soil to dry out between watering. If the soil is too wet, it can lead to root rot for the plant. If your plant begins to droop, that means that it needs water. 

When you water, water your plant thoroughly, allowing the water to flow through the drainage hole at the bottom. 

As days become longer or if the plant is moved somewhere where it receives more light, be sure to increase your watering. Conversely, water your arrowhead plant less during the winter. 

If you’re not sure whether or not to water your plant, you can consider purchasing a moisture meter. This tool can help you gauge how moist your plant’s soil is, helping you determine if it needs water.

Temperature

Arrowhead plants prefer temperatures between 60-75 degrees. But they can handle colder and warmer if necessary. 

Ideally, they prefer humid conditions that mirror the tropical rainforests of their native lands. For this reason, they can be perfect additions to a greenhouse or sunroom where the heat and humidity will support their growth. If you live in a dry area, you can try to mist the plant regularly, though this will only mimic a humid environment for a short time. You can also place it on a container with pebbles and water to increase its humidity. Or, consider buying a small humidifier for the room where your plant is located. 

Consider keeping your arrowhead plant somewhere in your home that receives plenty of moisture. Rooms like your bathroom or laundry room would be ideal. 

Arrowhead Plant

Soil & Fertilizer

Plant your arrowhead plant in a well-draining, traditional soil-based potting mix. 

As mentioned above, arrowhead plants do not like to be too wet. If they are kept too wet, they can be prone to root rot. Because of this, you might consider planting it in a terracotta pot or a clay pot, which will absorb extra moisture from the soil. 

Fertilize your arrowhead plant monthly during the spring, summer, and fall. When you fertilize, use a balanced liquid fertilizer. 

You do not need to fertilize your arrowhead plant in the winter when the plant will naturally slow its growth. 

Light

Medium to bright light is best for your arrowhead plant. Thought, it can tolerate lower light if needed. 

A rule of thumb with arrowheads, as with most plants, is the darker the natural foliage, the more shade they can handle. Arrowhead plants do not like direct sunlight, which can bleach and burn the leaves. 

If you live in an area with low light and your plant appears to need more, you can always invest in a grow lamp. These are relatively inexpensive and can simulate the sunshine that your plant needs. 

Arrowhead Plant

Arrowhead Plant Leaves

The leaves of young arrowhead plants are shaped, as their name suggests, like arrowheads. And, as they grow, their leaves can change shapes into 3-5 fingered leaves. Most arrowheads have leaves that come in various shades of green. However, some varieties include many other different colors. Their leaves can come in white, cream, pink, purple, and silver.  

The arrowhead rarely flowers, but when it does, it can produce a green/white flower that develops into brown or red berries. This is most commonly seen when the arrowhead is grown in nature and when it has matured. It does not bloom very often as a house plant. If you prune your arrowhead plant, it definitely will not flower. 

If you notice that your plant’s leaves are dusty or dirty, you can clean them. To do this, give it a quick rinse or wipe it down to clean the foliage. Plants breathe through their leaves, so it is helpful to keep them clean. It also makes the plant look better! 

Arrowhead Plant Root Structure

The root structure of the arrowhead plant is large and can be invasive when the plants grow in the wild. 

It is important to re-pot your arrowhead plant every two years during the spring to avoid the plant becoming root-bound. If you want your plant to grow faster, you can try repotting it every year. 

Be sure to wear gloves when working with the arrowhead plant. The sap from the plant can be irritating to some. 

Propagating Arrowhead Plant

Arrowhead plants can be propagated through division, cuttings, and air layering. 

  • Division: You can divide your arrowhead plant into separate plants using sharp, pruning shears to cut through the root system. Be aware the arrowhead plants have an extensive root system. Because of this, arrowhead plant division might be more challenging as the plant matures. 
  • Cuttings: Place a cutting into a glass of water that is 2-3 nodes deep. Roots will form within a couple of weeks. Allow the roots to strengthen for about a month before planting in soil. Be sure to change the water regularly during this time. 
  • Air Layering: To propagate your plant by air layering, find a node on your plant and wrap it in moist moss with plastic wrap. Moisten with a spray bottle. It can take weeks to months for roots to develop from your wrapping. After they do, cut the rooted stem from the rest of the plant and plant it in the soil. 

Most often, gardeners choose to propagate the arrowhead plant through cuttings. This method is highly effective and fairly simple to execute. 

Most newly propagated plants will grow quickly. To help ensure ideal environments for your new plant, consider covering the entire pot with a plastic bag to increase humidity. Place it out of direct sunlight for about a month as your plants’ roots establish themselves in the soil. 

Pruning

If you want to encourage your plant to keep its arrowhead-shaped leaves, cut off new stems as they grow. This will discourage the plant from producing vines and climbing. 

You can prune your arrowhead plant anytime you like by cutting off the leaves. This pruning can be done to get cuttings from your plant or just to shape it. 

Pruning also encourages new growth in your plant and can make the plant bushier. 

Common Issues

The arrowhead plant is generally not very fussy, but there are some things to watch out for in your plant to ensure it’s properly cared for.

  • Pale or yellowed leaves: This occurs in your plant when it is receiving excessive light. But it can also be a sign of improper watering. Take note of your light and watering habits and adjust as needed. 
  • Brown leaves: This means that your plant needs water. Arrowhead plants are pretty resilient. Water your plant as soon as you notice brown leaves, and your plant should easily bounce back. 
  • Brown leaf tips: This occurs when the air is too dry. Mist your leaves or move to a room where there is more humidity. 
  • Wilted leaves: This also means your plant needs water. Again, water your plant as soon as you notice brown leaves, and your plant should easily bounce back. 
  • Lack of growth: If a plant lacks adequate nutrients, light, or proper watering techniques, it can respond by slowed growth. If you noticed this in your arrowhead plant during the growing months, do a careful check of your plant’s needs to ensure you’re properly caring for it. 
Syngonium podophyllum

Arrowhead Plant Pests & Diseases

Arrowheads are not susceptible to pests. 

However, if the plants are near to another plant that is infected with spider mites, aphids, or mealybugs, the pests can spread to arrowhead plants. 

Pests can also occur if your arrowhead plant’s soil is too damp. 

They can also attract these pests when put outside. If you ever move your plant indoors from the outside, be sure to inspect it closely before doing so to ensure you are not bringing in any unwanted pests. 

If you do see spider mites or aphids around your arrowhead, treat the soil with neem oil or any other natural deterrent you would use on your other plants. 

Mealybugs can be identified by white, cotton-like accumulations on the nodes or underside of your plant’s leaves. If you notice this, rinse your plant off with a hose or in your sink.

As with all pests, be sure to take action as soon as you see them because they multiply quickly! 

Toxicity

The sap of the arrowhead plant is non-lethal, but it can cause skin irritation and mouth burning if ingested. 

For this reason, it is best to keep it out of reach of children and pets. 

Houseplants that Pair Well with the Arrowhead Plant

Arrowheads grow well on their own, but they can also make a beautiful addition to a group of other plants or a dish garden. They grow well with other plants, which is ideal for mixed pot planting. 

  • Philodendron. Philodendrons are related to arrowhead plants. They both are from the family Araceae and, because of this, they thrive in very similar conditions. Philodendron can also be grown in hanging plants or kept in a regular pot.
  • English Ivy. English Ivy also requires similar conditions to those of the arrowhead plant. Pair together for two beautiful vining plants.
  • Pothos. Pothos is a relative of the arrowhead plant, as well. Climbing pothos can pair well with a vining arrowhead plant. They are also highly durable and will do well with the little maintenance that the arrowhead requires. 
  • Peace Lily. The white flowers of the peace lily contrast nicely against the green foliage of arrowhead plants. In fact, the flowers of the arrowhead plant (when it does flower) are compared to those of the peace lily. Like arrowhead plants, peace lilies are also simple to care for. 
  • Sansevieria. Sansevieria, or snake plants, also provide an interesting texture against arrowhead plants vines. Their upright stalks provide a contrast to the arrowhead-shaped leaves and vines of your arrowhead plant. Snake plants are also easy to care for, so they will also be low maintenance. 

Other Arrowhead Plants

Because there are so many colorful varieties of arrowhead plants, you can pair them together to create a bright, colorful group of plants! 

Final Thoughts 

Arrowhead plants are attractive, easy to care for plants. They can be trained to vine up a trellis or post. Or, they can also be pruned to stay bushy. They boast lovely leaves that are common in many shades of green, but that can also be found in pink, silver, cream, and purple colors. 

Keep your arrowhead plant well-watered, in medium light, and encourage humid conditions. All this will keep your arrowhead plant happy, healthy, and thriving. 

We’d love to hear about your experiences growing and caring for arrowhead plants. Share your stories or drop any questions in the comments below!