Syngonium podophyllum, or the arrowhead plant, is also known as arrowhead vine and American evergreen. While it can be invasive and fast-spreading outdoors, it’s a beautiful and easygoing houseplant that would make a great addition to your collection!
This vining plant is native to the tropics of Central and South America and comes in several different colors such as dark green, light green, and even pink and red! Most varieties are variegated with two or more colors. The young plant starts off as little sprouts with smaller leaves, but the plant will vine and even climb as it gets older. (But you can easily trim it back to keep it bushy, if you like.)
The leaves of the young plant are arrow-shaped, which is where the plant gets its nickname, but as the plant grows, the newer leaves will be lobed with 3-5 sections.
Overall, this plant is lovely, easy to care for, and can add a nice pop of color and foliage to your space whether you grow it as a small bush, a hanging plant, or on a trellis.
Arrowhead Plant Care Guide
Arrowhead plant care is pretty straightforward, which makes it an easy plant for beginners!
Let the top half to two-thirds of your arrowhead plant’s soil dry out between waterings. You can test this by poking your finger in the soil to see if it’s dry to the touch or by using a moisture meter. (When your meter reads 2-3, it’s time to water your arrowhead plant!)
We highly recommend using a moisture meter because it can give you a much better idea of what’s going on deep inside the pot than the finger test. After all, depending on how well-aerated your soil is, it’s totally possible for the top half of the soil to be completely dry while the root ball is still wet!
(We like this meter because it also measures light levels and soil pH.)
Plan on watering your arrowhead plant every 10-14 days. You’ll probably find that the soil will dry out faster in the warmer months and slower in the cooler ones.
Once you determine it’s time to water, slowly add water to the top of the soil until it starts to run out the bottom of the pot. Empty the drainage tray immediately or place the pot in the sink or tub to give it time to drain.
Soil and Potting
Plant your arrowhead plant in a light, fast-draining soil like cactus mix with some extra perlite or vermiculite thrown in. (This will help keep it aerated and promote good drainage.)
Your pot should have drainage holes so the roots won’t stay wet for too long. This is crucial for keeping your arrowhead plant healthy! You can grow an arrowhead plant as a tabletop or shelf plant, in a hanging basket, or even train it to climb a trellis or other houseplant support.
We don’t recommend letting your arrowhead plant climb your walls or furniture, though, as they can strip paint and ruin surfaces!
This plant thrives in medium to bright light. It’s fairly forgiving, so if you don’t have the perfect lighting conditions, it will probably stay healthy enough, though it may not grow as quickly. (Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.)
If you can, provide plenty of bright, indirect sunlight from an east-facing window or filtered light from a south- or west-facing window. Even a north-facing window or placing it a little deeper in a room with a window can work!
Just be sure to keep your plant out of direct sunlight, because full sun can scorch the delicate leaves. It’s also important to keep in mind that brightly colored or variegated arrowhead plants will need brighter light in order to maintain their coloring.
If you want a brightly colored plant, make sure it has a prime window spot or a grow light to provide enough light.
Temperature & Humidity
This is a tropical plant, so make sure to maintain fairly tropical conditions to keep your arrowhead plant happy!
Keep temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and humidity at at least 40%. Your plant might do well in a bright, steamy bathroom, or you can place the pot on a pebble tray. (You can find these at garden centers or make your own with a shallow tray, water, and pebbles. Easy!) Placing your arrowhead plant near other plants can also increase ambient humidity through respiration. Humidifiers and misting are also good options for increasing humidity around your houseplants.
Be sure to keep your plant well away from drafts, heating and air-conditioning vents, heaters, and fireplaces—these can freeze or scorch your plant’s leaves, or at least dry them out. Not good!
Fertilize your arrowhead plant at least once per month from early spring to mid-fall. If your plant seems to grow in fits and starts year-round instead of during a specific season, you can keep fertilizing year-round.
Use a gentle, balanced liquid fertilizer, and be sure to follow the directions on the bottle. Err on the light side if you aren’t sure how much or how often to feed your plant.
We highly recommend Indoor Plant Food because it’s gentle enough to use with every watering, so you won’t have to remember a schedule. It takes all the guesswork out of fertilizing! It’s also great for most houseplants, so you can simply add some to your watering can when you water all your plants. (Just don’t use it on succulents.) It’s the easiest way to keep your plants nourished!
Pruning your arrowhead plant is an important part of keeping it healthy and controlling its size. Make sure to remove any dried-out or damaged leaves so the plant can put more energy into healthy new growth.
This is also great for shaping your plant. If you prefer a bushier plant to a vining one, simply cut off the vining sections as they grow. This will also prevent the plant from developing the lobed leaves and instead keep growing arrowhead-shaped leaves. The arrowhead plant can stay bushy and reach a height of about 15 inches before it starts to climb or cascade out of its pot.
The arrowhead plant’s sap can be irritating if it gets on your skin, so we suggest wearing gloves when you prune. Make sure to use clean, sterilized tools as well to prevent spreading bacteria or fungus around the plant. A sharp knife or shears are also a good idea so you can get a clean cut instead of crushing the stems.
This plant is toxic to pets and humans and will cause irritation to the mouth, throat, and stomach if ingested. Keep your arrowhead plant away from pets and children or choose a different plant altogether.
Arrowhead Plant Propagation
The arrowhead plant is easy to propagate with separation or cuttings!
To separate, simply unpot the plant and massage the root ball to get as much of the dirt out as possible. Then gently untangle the roots to separate the plant into two or more smaller plants. You can also use a sharp, clean knife to cut the root ball apart if necessary. Pot each new plant into its own pot (make sure the pot has drainage holes!) and you’re good to go! Avoid fertilizing for about two months after separation to avoid burning the roots.
To propagate with cuttings, find a healthy section of vine that has some young growth and at least one node. This will look like a little brown bump on the vine or stem opposite from a leaf. Use sharp shears or a knife to cut below the node so that the node is included in the cutting. (Again, it’s best to wear gloves for this.)
Place your cutting in a clear glass container full of clean water, making sure the cut section is submerged but the leaves aren’t touching the water. You can also mix a little Propagation Promoter into the water or dip the cut end in rooting hormone to encourage root growth. Put the container in a bright place. Within a few weeks, you should see new roots beginning to form. Once those baby roots are at least an inch long, you can plant the cutting in soil and treat it like a mature plant.
If you have trouble keeping your cuttings upright in their container or medium, you should try these easy-to-use node holders! This handy propagation tool is a simple way to keep root cuttings healthy and in place while they take root, which gives those roots more room to grow without the added pressure of supporting the plant’s weight. This plant node support also helps your cuttings root faster!
If you’re pruning your plant to control its size and shape, this is a great way to use those cuttings! You can make more baby arrowhead plants to expand your collection or give away as gifts to your planty friends!
Arrowhead Plant Problems
While arrowhead plants are pretty hardy and easy to care for, they can occasionally develop health problems. View these issues as signals from your plant that something’s not right.
Arrowhead Plant Leaves Turning Yellow
Yellowing leaves is one of the most common issues you might see on your arrowhead plant, and it can have a lot of different causes.
Watering issues are the most common culprit; both over- and underwatering can cause yellowing. To determine which it might be, check the soil with your finger or a moisture meter. If the soil is still wet a week after you watered, your plant might be overwatered. This is probably an issue with drainage and possibly insufficient light rather than actually watering your plant too much.
If the soil is bone-dry, your plant might need a drink!
Also, the placement of the yellow leaves matters. If the yellow leaves seem to be concentrated around the base of the plant and on older leaves, overwatering is a more likely problem. If leaves are yellowing all over the plant and even curling or developing crispy brown spots, your plant is probably thirsty.
The other most common cause of yellowing leaves is nutrient deficiency. If your plant is getting enough light and doesn’t seem to be over- or underwatered, think about the last time you fertilized or repotted. If it’s been a while, your plant might need nutrients!
Arrowhead Leaves Curling
Your plant’s leaves may curl if the plant is underwatered or if humidity is too low. First check the soil. If it’s bone-dry, water your plant! If the soil seems to be okay, try increasing humidity. Mist your plant each day, move it to a steamy bathroom, place it next to other plants, or set up a humidity tray or humidifier.
And, of course, make sure the plant isn’t near any vents that might be drying out the leaves with blasts of dry air!
Arrowhead Leaves Turning Brown
Like yellowing, browning leaves can have many causes. But you can use the process of elimination and look closely at the spots themselves to determine the cause.
If the spots are dark brown, soft, and/or accompanied by soft or squishy stems, your plant is probably severely overwatered and may have already developed root rot. If this is the case, act fast, because root rot can quickly kill your plant!
Unpot the plant and get as much of the old soil out of the roots as possible. Trim any mushy, smelly, or dark roots. Repot the plant in fresh soil and a clean pot and place it in a bright place. Go easy on the watering for a while, but when you do water, use our Root Supplement to help the roots heal. Avoid fertilizing for a month after treatment.
If the brown spots are light brown and crispy, your plant might be too dry. If the soil is dry, give the plant a good, thorough watering and remove the dead leaves.
Types of Arrowhead Plants
Arrowhead plants come in many different, beautiful varieties. Here are some of our favorites to add to your indoor jungle!
The young leaves of this lovely variety start out light green, but as the plant matures, it will start producing dusky pink leaves. This variety also goes by the names Strawberry Cream, Pink Allusion, Neon Robusta, Berry Allusion, and more. Care for this variety is virtually the same as that for a green arrowhead plant, but it may need a little more light to maintain its characteristic rosy color.
White Butterfly Arrowhead
This gorgeous, easy-to-find variety sports heart-shaped leaves that are mostly light green, cream, or silvery, with dark-green edges. As the plant gets older, new leaves emerge with a more butterfly-like shape before becoming lobed as the plant continues to mature.
Emerald Gem Arrowhead
This beautiful, highly variegated variety is known for its large, deep-green and cream leaves. This variety might require more light to maintain its dramatic variegation than some other cultivars, but it will reward you with the most stunning marbled foliage. Otherwise, its care requirements are largely the same as any arrowhead plant variety.
Pixie Arrowhead Plant
This variety boasts leaves with similar green and silver coloring to the white butterfly variety, but this plant is much more compact with smaller leaves. Care for this mini-arrowhead plant as you would any other green variety.
This stunning variety comes with the characteristic arrow-shaped leaves that are mostly deep green, but with striking coppery-red veining. Maria Allusion is sure to stand out in any space with its ruffled leaves and unusual coloring!
Unlike other arrowhead plant varieties that are known for their arrow- or heart-shaped leaves, this variety grows long, slim, lance-shaped leaves that are emerald green with silvery, light-green veining. Try adding this funky shape to your plant collection for some variation!
Give Arrowheads a Try!
Arrowhead plants are beautiful, easy to care for, and come in so many different, colorful varieties. If you’re new to caring for plants, this is a fairly easy one to start with, and it will reward you with lots of beautiful leaves that will add a pop of life and color to your space!