Ultimate Arrowhead Plant Guide

3 Sep 2022

The arrowhead plant is a tropical aroid native to Mexico and South America.

Versatile in its aesthetic, it loves to trail, creep, float, or just be buried in a good old pot, offering a range of opportunities for where to put it.

Key Features and Characteristics

The arrowhead plant’s scientific name is Syngonium podophyllum, genus Syngonium and is part of the Araceae family, as with the Calla lily and dumb cane.

This popular houseplant gets its name from the arrow shape of its leaves, which change into 3 to 5 sections as the plant matures. Due to how they change shape, they are sometimes referred to as five fingers and American evergreen.

Fun Fact: Before this houseplant became a member of the Syngonium genus, it belonged in the Nephthytis genus. People still commonly refer to the plant as Nephthytis.

Arrowhead Plant Varieties

Here are 11 of the most popular varieties you will find:

  • Holly: the leaves on this variant are white with green veins and margins.
  • Maria allusion: this beautiful ariod is shaded with a lovely copper color.
  • Painted arrow: this Syngonium podophyllum is creamy green and spotty.
  • Bold allusion: this variety has cream and green leaves with pink veins.
  • Berry allusion: this rapidly growing variant includes shades of pink, cream, and pale green.
  • White butterfly: this white arrowhead vine is pale green and edged in dark green.
  • Cream allusion: this is a smaller variant with creamy green and pink leaves.
  • Strawberry cream: when grown in the right light, this pale beauty will grow baby pink leaves.
  • Pink allusion: this light green ariod is lined with pink veins and edged in dark green.
  • Julia allusion: the leaves on this vine are light green and pink.
  • Exotic allusion: this vine displays light green, cream, and white.

Fun fact: The Syngonium podophyllum looks very similar to Caladium plants. What sets them apart is that the arrowhead vine’s leaves sprout from their roots.

How Big Do They Get?

Given the proper treatment and attention, these beautiful vines can grow to 3-6 feet (91.4-182.9cm) high and 1-2 feet (30.4-60.9cm) wide.

How Fast Do They Grow?

Syngonium podophyllums grow fairly aggressively at around 13-15 inches (33-38cm) annually. As with many indoor plants, their growth slows in the wintertime somewhat; sometimes, their development might stop altogether.

How Long Do They Live?

Given the right conditions and care, your Syngonium podophyllum should give you around 10 years of luscious life.

Toxicity Information

Below is the toxicity detail of this ariod.

Are They Toxic to Cats and Dogs?

Syngonium podophyllums are highly toxic to cats and dogs if ingested due to the calcium oxalate crystals found in their leaves and stems.

Contact your vet immediately if you suspect your cat or dog has ingested part of an arrowhead plant.

Symptoms they may experience are:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Oral irritation and pawing at the mouth
  • Increased heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing

Are They Poisonous to Humans?

The Syngonium podophyllum is considered toxic, and it is recommended that you either wash your hands when handling it or wear a pair of gloves.

Arrowhead Plant Care

Like the philodendron, the Syngonium podophyllum is relatively easy to care for and will thrive under the right conditions.

This article below details the methods and steps to follow regarding watering, soil type, fertilizer, pruning, and more.

Fun fact: Arrowhead vines can be grouped to grow together with English ivy, snake plants, peace lilies, and pothos, making a beautiful collection of mixed plants.

How Often to Water It

Water your Syngonium podophyllum twice a week during the spring and summer. This frequency can be brought down to once a week during winter as your aroid enters its dormant period.

Allow the top third of the pot’s soil to dry between waterings.

Drainage Guidelines

Arrowhead vines require excellent drainage. Root rot, decay, and disease are the reality indoor gardeners face when they allow their plants to sit in waterlogged soil, and Syngonium podophyllum is no exception.

Drainage holes can assist with draining the excess water from the pot, allowing the soil to dry at the right pace.


Regular pruning will result in a very happy Syngonium podophyllum, keeping it bushy and bright instead of sparse and floppy.  It is recommended that you prune it two to three times a year.

The simple pruning technique of pinching off leaves that are lower down on the houseplant, or the new leaves at the top, will help you to reshape the plant to your liking.

When and How to Repot It

For a Syngonium podophyllum to reach its full growth potential, it should be repotted once a year during the spring or summertime or at least 2 months before the cold weather sets in.

Here are the steps to repot your arrowhead:

  1. Water the houseplant 3 days before repotting it to avoid transplant shock.
  2. Tip the pot onto its side and gently loosen the rootball from the pot. These aroids have robust root systems, so this may be challenging.
  3. Choose a new pot 2 inches (5cm) wider than the last pot. Arrowhead vines enjoy a relatively tight space for their rootball, but there needs to be enough space for them not to become waterlogged.
  4. Suitable drainage holes and stones as a layer are essential for this plant.
  5. Fill the pot with potting soil and replant the aroid so it sits at the same level as before.
  6. Top with extra soil.

Fun fact: once your houseplant has reached maturity, consider trailing it up a pole or moss stick for added interest. Monstera will do the same!

Environmental Considerations

There are a few simple considerations that you can make to ensure your aroid has an environment in which it can thrive.

Light Requirements

Setup your Syngonium podophyllum with bright indirect light that is diffused. Any direct or harsh sunlight may burn the delicate leaves and vines. The colorful variations can handle stronger light than the darker green versions, which prefer shadier spots.

Best Soil

Traditional potting mix is perfectly acceptable for Syngonium podophyllum. A neutral to acidic and fertile soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7 is the optimal environment for the plant.

Consider a mix of the following, should you wish to create your own potting mix that is packed with everything a happy arrowhead houseplant needs:

  • Potting soil
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Orchid bark
  • Charcoal
  • Perlite


Feed your Syngonium podophyllum once a month with a liquid fertilizer during the warmer months of spring and summer. During winter, fertilizer feeding can be paused until the following spring.

Pot Size and Type

Choose terracotta or any clay-based pot with suitable drainage holes 1-2 inches (2.5 to 5cm) bigger than the previous pot. Interestingly, choosing a pot that is too big can lead to overwatering; therefore, getting the size right is essential to the plant’s health.

Plastic pots are not ideal for the plant to sit in long-term as they don’t allow the soil and plant to breathe as well as a pot made from a natural material such as unglazed terracotta.

Temperature Range

The optimal temperature range for arrowhead plants is 60 and 70°F (16 and 21°C). This plant originates in a tropical environment and enjoys a warm indoor home.

These tropical houseplants will enjoy a warm sunroom, greenhouse room, or anywhere with enough light and warmth to grow into a lush and lovely plant pet.

Humidity Level

Syngonium podophyllums enjoy humidity levels of around 50%. This houseplant will thrive in a steamy and warm room like a bathroom or kitchen; alternatively, place a layer of moist bedrocks below the pot.

A portable humidifier can offer a lovely moisture boost to your aroid’s environment; as an alternative, mist the air around your plant daily with room temperature water.

Can They Live Outside?

Arrowhead plants can live in USDA hardiness zones 10 through 12, making them versatile for most areas.

Light, air temperature, and humidity levels will all play a part in how well the plant does outdoors.

Do They Flower?

It is very unusual and unlikely that an arrowhead plant will bloom indoors; if it does, you will be gifted with a lovely little white blossom.

How to Grow It

Detailed below are the three key ways to create new arrowhead babies.

So long as you provide a lovely warm home for your Syngonium podophyllum babies, you should be able to multiply these beautiful plants with ease.

Cutting and Dividing

How to Create the Cuttings

Here are the simple steps to create cuttings from Syngonium podophyllum:

  1. Select a vine stem with healthy leaves, preferably with aerial roots attached or at least 2 or 3 nodes located along the section you’d like to cut.
  2. Using a pair of clean, sharp scissors, cut a plant section to include a node and at least 1 or two leaves.
  3. Pull off any leaves at the bottom of the cutting; there should only be leaves at the top section.

How to Create the Divisions

Here are the simple steps to divide your Syngonium podophyllum:

  1. To limit the chance of division shock, water the plant 2-3 days before dividing it.
  2. Gently remove the plant from its current pot or location.
  3. Carefully divide the clump of roots with your hands or by cutting it with sanitized scissors or tools.
  4. Note that these houseplants, especially when older, have complicated root systems; therefore, this process may take time.
  5. Always wash your hands or use gloves when handling these plants.

Arrowhead Plant Propagation

Arrowheads can be propagated in land, air, and water during the warmer months. Read on to pick your method of choice.

Propagation in Water

Arrowhead houseplants thrive in a body of water, making water propagation an easy choice.

Propagation should ideally be done in the warmer months. Here are the basic steps to this propagation method.

  1. Cuttings can be submerged in a container full of fresh room temperature water, chlorine free if possible.
  2. Place it in a warm area with indirect light.
  3. The water should be changed twice a week to give the plant enough water.

Nodes should appear around the 1- to 2-week mark.

Propagation Through Air Layering

Here are the simple steps to air layering your pretty Syngonium podophyllum:

  1. Select a healthy plant node.
  2. Bundle up the node in a layer of damp moss and wrap it in plastic.
  3. Spray your node lightly with water every day.
  4. The new roots will take between 2 and 4 months to shoot.

Propagation in Soil

This is a simple way of propagating these plants and skips the need to sprout roots in water first.

  1. Choose a light and well-draining potting soil for your aroid, and fill your pot with soil, ensuring you add drainage stones above the drainage holes.
  2. Plant your cutting or division.
  3. Place in bright but filtered light in a warm spot.
  4. Keep the soil moist but not too wet.
  5. Roots should begin to develop within 10 to 15 days.

The only downside of this method is that you won’t be able to enjoy watching the little roots grow, as with water propagation.

How to Revive It

Below is a list of the issues you might face with your arrowhead baby. Fortunately, most of these issues are quick and easy to resolve, so reviving your arrowhead shouldn’t give you too much trouble.

Each issue listed below offers a basic remedy to assist you with your indoor gardening challenges regarding this particular houseplant.

Leaf Tips Are Turning Brown

If you notice this happening, it should prompt you to create a more humid environment for your aroid, as dry air is likely the cause. This remedy can be achieved by moving your plant to a different area, such as a steamy bathroom. Alternatively, you could use a humidifier to mist the air around your plant.

Leaves Are Wilting

This is a sign that your houseplant needs more water.

Growth Has Stopped

Your Syngonium podophyllum may require extra feeding with nutrients. Double-check that they are receiving adequate light and water as well. Slowed growth during the cold seasons is normal, but you should observe rapid growth during the summer.

After Thoughts

Arrowhead vines are a wonderfully versatile choice for indoor gardeners, with their ability to trail or be pruned into pretty bushy potted houseplants. With an exciting variety of colors and patterns to choose from, these back-on-trend beauties have something to offer every taste.

Follow a few simple rules, like keeping these plants watered and positioned in a light and humid environment, and you will be able to enjoy their lush aesthetic for years to come.

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