If you're looking for a dramatic, easy-care plant that grows well in medium to low light, arrowhead plant is worth considering. Also known as arrowhead vine, goosefoot, American evergreen, or African evergreen, these tropical houseplants are fun and interesting to grow.
What Is Arrowhead Plant?
Arrowhead plant (Syngonium podophyllum) has perhaps one of the most interesting growth patterns of any houseplant. The leaves change quite dramatically as they age.
They start off in an arrowhead shape (sometimes in a different color from the rest of the plant, depending on variety) and eventually grow, morphing into a larger leaf with three to five lobes, which is likely where it gets its "goosefoot" nickname.
The leaves of arrowhead plant are usually a shade of medium to dark green, but they can also appear in shades of pink, yellow, and cream. The plant generally has a bushy growth pattern, but over time, the plant can start vining.
It's important to note that arrowhead plant is toxic to children and pets, causing both mouth irritation and stomach upset.
Arrowhead Plant Care
Arrowhead plants aren't picky or prone to many problems. The most important thing to keep in mind is proper watering.
Arrowhead plants prefer it when the soil is kept evenly moist. This sometimes means watering them twice or even three times per week in very hot or dry weather.
Let the top inch or so of potting soil dry out, and then water well, making sure any excess water drains from the pot. While arrowhead plants do love moisture, if the soil is kept too soggy, eventually the roots will rot.
Arrowhead plant prefers medium light and will grow quite well in low light as well. It won't grow as quickly, and the leaves will tend to stay green rather than any other colors. In low light, any variegation will eventually recede as well.
They should be kept away from bright, direct light, since the leaves are prone to scorching and bleaching.
Arrowhead plant grows best with regular fertilizing in spring, summer, and fall. Feed monthly with a balanced houseplant fertilizer.
It doesn't need to be fed during the winter. The cooler temps and lower general lighting result in slower growth at this time of year.
Be sure that the soil is already damp when you feed. Plants in general take up nutrients better when the soil is moist, and feeding is less efficient if you're trying to feed a dry, stressed plant.
Temperature and Humidity
Arrowhead plant is a tropical plant, so it definitely prefers warm temperatures and humid conditions.
Temperatures below 40 degrees will stress the plant, and it should be kept out of any areas with cold drafts.
While arrowhead plant will do fine with regular indoor humidity, it really prefers and will grow better with more humidity. There are three easy ways to achieve this.
- Mist it regularly.
- Place a humidifier nearby.
- Put a tray of pebbles and water under or near the plant to increase the humidity.
Any of these options will provide your arrowhead plant with ample humidity.
Pruning and Training
Over time, arrowhead stems can grow long and start trailing (which is why people sometimes call this plant "arrowhead vine.") If you enjoy trailing plants, you can let it keep trailing and grow it in a hanging basket, or you can train it up a small trellis or moss pole.
If you want your arrowhead plant to stay compact and bushy, prune off any trailing growth by trimming just below a leaf.
These cuttings can be rooted, and you'll have new plants.
Arrowhead plant is a vigorous grower. It will probably need repotting every other year.
To repot, carefully remove it from its existing pot, and place it into a pot that's one size up from the one the plant is currently in. Fill around the sides, making sure you're planting your arrowhead plant at the same depth it was growing in its old pot.
Any good, well-draining potting mix will work for arrowhead plants.
Arrowhead Plant Problems and Pests
Arrowhead plant is actually pretty resistant to most pests and diseases. However, if any of your existing plants have spider mites, aphids, or mealybugs, they might infest your arrowhead plant as well.
In those cases, insecticidal soap or a wipe with rubbing alcohol will help take care of the problem.
Arrowhead Plant Propagation
There are three ways to propagate arrowhead plants, and all of them are fairly easy.
- Division: When repotting your arrowhead plant, you'll see that the plant actually grows in small clumps of foliage. You can cut one of these off, pot it up, and you have an additional plant.
- Cuttings: Cut off a stem that has at least two leaves attached, cutting just below a leaf node. You can place the cutting in water to root it (which happens quite easily) or stick it into a pot with potting soil and keep it well watered.
- Layering: For this method, you bend one of the trailing stems into a smaller pot of soil next to the main pot. Use a pin to hold a leaf node down in the smaller pot. The plant will root at that node, and when it does, you can snip that part of the stem off of the mother plant, and you have a new plant with very little impact on the mother plant.
Stunning Foliage, Easy Care
Whether you call it arrowhead plant, goosefoot, or by another name entirely, arrowhead plant is definitely one worth growing.