No plant collection is complete without the much-loved arrowhead plant. With its elegant heart—or arrow—shaped leaves and colorful variegation, this vigorous, low-maintenance houseplant can thrive in a variety of light conditions, making it great for lower-light spots your other plants won’t grow.
Native to the tropical jungles of South America, arrowhead plants can be kept bushy and compact or allowed to climb up high or trail down low. Compact varieties of this humidity-loving plant can also be grown in terrariums.
- Botanical Name: Syngonium podophyllum
- Common Name: Arrowhead plant, arrowhead vine, goosefoot, American evergreen, nephthytis
- Plant Type: Evergreen perennial vine
- Mature Size: 3 to 6 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide
- Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
- Soil Type: Well-draining soil that holds moisture
- Soil pH: 5.5 - 6.5
- Toxicity: Toxic
Arrowhead Plant Care
Similar to its cousin the philodendron, arrowhead plants are pretty easygoing plants that require basic care. Water your plant deeply when the soil begins to dry out and be sure to check the soil before watering, as the plant will need less water during its winter dormant season than it will during the growing season in spring and summer.
Feed your arrowhead plant with houseplant fertilizer diluted to half-strength every two weeks during the growing season. Stop fertilizing in the fall and winter when the plant goes dormant and stops putting out new growth.
Because they’re natural climbers, arrowhead plants can be trained to climb a trellis, moss pole, or other support. You can also keep the plant in a hanging basket and allow the elegant vines to trail down.
While young arrowhead plants tend to have a bushy, upright growth habit, the stems will begin to droop as the leaves grow larger. To maintain that bushy look, keep the plant pinched or pruned back to the size you prefer during the summer growing season.
Best Growing Conditions for Arrowhead Plant
While it can tolerate lower light conditions, a spot with bright, indirect light is ideal for your arrowhead plant. A north or east-facing window is ideal, or you can keep the plant a few feet away from a south or west-facing window, which will get stronger light.
Keep the plant out of the direct sun, which can discolor the leaves and damage the plant. Arrowhead plant prefers temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees.
Arrowhead Plant Varieties
Arrowhead plants range from standard green-to-cream variegated cultivars like ‘Imperial White,’ while ‘White Butterfly’ ranges from almost white through pale yellow and green. For a more compact growth habit, look for cultivar ‘Pixie,’ which retains a bushy shape.
Cultivars with more splashes of white or cream against darker shades, like Syngonium podophyllum albo-variegatum are highly sought after. The cultivar Syngonium 'Neon Robusta' has beautiful pale pink leaves with thin veining in darker pink that really pop against their bright green stems.
How to Propagate Arrowhead Plant
Arrowhead plants are easy to propagate from stem cuttings, especially during the spring and summer growing seasons. You’ll need a pair of clean gardening shears or pruners, clear glass or jar, and a healthy mother plant.
- Examine the mother plant for a healthy stem with a few leaves growing from it. Ideally, the stem will have two or three nodes or aerial roots—little bumps along the stem from which leaves and roots grow.
- Cut the stem on the diagonal just below a node. Trim away the bottom few leaves if needed.
- Place the cutting in a glass or jar and add water so that the bottom two or three nodes are submerged. Keep the cutting in a warm place with bright, indirect light but out of direct sunlight. Change the water weekly.
- After two weeks or so, you should see roots growing from the stem. This process will happen more slowly in winter. When the roots are one to two inches long, the cutting is ready to pot up and care for as usual.
Common Growing Problems
Yellowing leaves in arrowhead plants are typically a sign of overwatering or underwatering—check the soil to identify the cause, then water less or more often as appropriate. A plant with long, leggy stems typically needs more light, while brown spots on the leaves are typically a sign of too much sun. Move your plant closer or further from the light source as needed.
Dry, crispy edges or tips on your arrowhead plant’s leaves are a sign that your space is too dry for the plant. Run a humidifier nearby or try grouping your plant together with several other plants to create a more humid microclimate.
Potting and Repotting Arrowhead Plant
Use a standard well-draining, peat-based potting mix for your arrowhead plant. Generally, you’ll only need to repot every two years or so. To maintain the plant at its current size, simply repot with fresh soil in the same size pot at the two-year mark.
Is Arrowhead Plant Toxic?
All parts of the arrowhead plant are mildly toxic to pets like dogs and cats. Choose a spot well out of reach of any furry friends for this plant. According to the ASPCA, signs of poisoning in pets may include oral pain or irritation, swelling of the mouth, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
If you think your pet may have swallowed any portion of your arrowhead plant, call your veterinarian’s office or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) immediately.