Riding on election stress, I finally got my poorly manicured paws on a plant that’s been chilling at the bottom of my wish list: a syngonium podophyllum or arrowhead plant (or nephthytis triphylla)! I’ve seen this species at grocery stores and nurseries for under $15 but always felt inclined to buy something else instead. So finally, come Election Day, I stress bought it along with a garden mum and dieffenbachia!
About a year ago, my mom picked up a pot from Trader Joe’s with high hopes. Unfortunately, the plant quickly wizened up in our hot, dry home. I’m hoping my new syngonium will fare better in cold weather this time around with a little help from a tray of wet pebbles. We’ll have to wait and see — my arrowhead still doesn’t have a permanent home yet as I decide whether or not to stick it inside a macrame hanger or stick it inside a cachepot. Since it’s bushy and has well-established roots, I have hope for it yet.
Identifying Your Arrowhead Plant
Here’s a little bit of a deep dive into the arrowhead plant. Hailing from Latin America, the syngonium has glossy, leathery leaves shaped like arrowheads, very similar in appearance to trailing philodendron. Since it vines (between three to six feet), you can train it to trail downwards or climb up a pole. The leaves are typically green with splashes of white and pink. Mine, a syngonium podophyllum butterfly candy, is fairly standard — green with pinkish veins.
Caring for Your Arrowhead Plant
The syngonium plant doesn’t require any excessive care requirements, especially not the standard kind you’ll find in your grocery stores. Here are a few tips that I’ve pulled together for myself and my curious plant pals!
- Soil: The plant prefers some moisture retention around its roots, so a peat moss soil mix without too much perlite should be sufficient. While you want well-draining soil, you don’t want too much water to leave your plant.
- Watering: According to Reader’s Digest Success With House Plants, you should water your plant when the top half-inch of the pot is dry, but let it dry out more (though not completely) during the winter. The syngonium also likes humidity, so if you live in a dry home, be sure to turn on a humidifier or leave your plant in a tray of pebbles in water.
- Temperature: It thrives at regular room temperature above 60 F. If it’s too cold or hot for you, it’s too much for the plant!
- Sunlight: Since the foliage is thinner, I wouldn’t leave it in direct sunlight — medium to bright indirect lighting should be sufficient, and you’d probably even get away with low light conditions if your plant isn’t deeply variegated.
- Feeding: As it’s winter, I won’t be fertilizing, but the arrowhead plant does like fertilizer every two weeks in the growing season.
- Toxicity: Arrowhead plants are poisonous, so keep them away from pets and young children. Also handle them with care, since their sap can irritate the skin.
With all of these tips in mind, I hope that both you, my dear reader, and I thrive on our syngonium journeys!