10 Reasons Your Syngonium Is Drooping

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Syngoniums (often referred to as Arrowhead vine) are an awesome plant for beginners, but they do have a tendency towards the dramatic.

If you let them dry out to the point that they droop, it can take, like, a day for them to stand up again. Even peace lilies don’t hold grudges for that long.

However, there are a few other things that can cause your Syngonium to droop.

One of the problems with Syngoniums frequently being designated easy-care plants is that people think they can put up with any amount of abuse. 

They’re easy to care for, but you also need some degree of knowledge. Low light, for example, is decidedly NOT the same as dark.

They also won’t thank you for underwatering them.

Or overwatering them.

Or sticking them in a cold room.

You might be thinking ‘are those not the same article?’ and they do overlap but the beginner guide is a whistle stop tour of all things to do with Syngonium, like propagation and toxicity, and the care guide is just…an in-depth care guide.

But get the basics right, and Syngonium are chill plants. 

If yours is drooping and you've no idea why, check out these 10 reasons why your Syngonium might be drooping:
  • It needs watering
  • It’s been overwatered
  • It’s too hot
  • It’s too cold
  • It has pests
  • It’s sat in a draught
  • It needs support
  • It needs higher humidity
  • It’s leggy and needs more light
  • It’s been over fertilised

1 – It needs watering

The most likely reason that your Syngonium is dropping is simply that it’s thirsty.

Water within a plant’s cells creates turgor pressure and helps keep it upright. As the plant uses up water for vital functions, the pressure reduces and the plant can no longer keep itself upright.

Syngonium droop pretty dramatically when they're thirsty, and it can take them several hours (often overnight) for them to fully right themselves, so don't panic if they don't regain their composure straight away.

When you water your Syngonium, be thorough. Saturate the top of the soil and keep pouring the water until it’s dripping out of the drainage holes.

Don’t worry about adding too much water in one go and overwatering. We’ll cover overwatering in the next section but suffice it to say, it’s unlikely to happen in one session.

Water quality isn’t too much of an issue with Syngoniums.

They’re pretty happy with tap water (if you can drink it, it’s likely your Syngonium can too) in general, though some of the more delicate-leaved varieties may exhibit brown edges on the leaves if there are too many minerals in the water.

Brown leaf edges in Syngonium are, however, more likely to be a humidity or pest issue, so cover those bases first.

If you’re using tap water, be sure to bring it up to room temperature first.

I actually don’t do this.

In summer I just use cold water straight from the tap. It’s not freezing cold, so I like to think they like the coolness. I have no science to back this up other than…I would enjoy a cool drink in hot weather!

In winter I usually add a bit of warm water so that the water is tepid.

It can be tempting to wait until your Syngonium is drooping to water, and it likely won't do any long term harm to your plant. 

It can, however, inhibit growth, so it's better to keep an eye on the soil and water it when it's dry.

There are loads of ways to monitor this, but I like a moisture meter – I would water a Syngonium at around the 2/3 mark. You can also use your finger or judge how wet the soil is by the weight of the pot.

2 – It’s been overwatered

Overwatering can also cause your Syngonium to droop.

I know it’s confusing – I have an article here on how to tell whether you’re under or over-watering.

Overwatering, as I said before, isn’t what happens when you give a plant too much water in one go.

It’s what happens when you water your plant too often.

If the soil stays wet for too long, it gets more compacted and muddy. 

Over time the amount of oxygen held in the soil is diminished. 

The bacteria that cause root rot thrive in these conditions, and root rot will set in. 

The roots will become mushy and die, and your plant won't be able to sustain its leaves.

To save your plant from root rot you need to remove all the mushy roots, dry out the soil, and, er, promise never to do it again.

If your Syngonium has no roots at all, then you may need to chop and prop. I have various articles on propagating here, but you just need to take cuttings (with a node) and put them in some water to re-root them.

syngonium pink splash

3 – It’s too hot

Hot weather can make Syngoniums droopy. This is a defensive stance they take to stop too much moisture from being lost to transpiration.

Curling their leaves and drooping reduces the amount of leaf surface area that’s exposed to the sun, so there’s less chance of burning and losing excess water.

Sometimes you can't do anything about this. 

It's hot. 

The plant's hot. 

You're hot. 

If you're in the UK, there's no air con to offer relief, you just have to wait until it's over.

However, if there’s somewhere cooler and shadier, consider moving your plant there (and you. And your pets).

It’s also important to keep the soil hydrated and the humidity high (if you can bear it). This will stop the plant from losing excess moisture and will help it bounce back when it gets cooler.

syngonium albo

4 – It’s too cold

Syngoniums also droop when it’s cold. Again, it’s a way of protecting themselves, again, there’s not a lot you can do about it.

You can buy heat mats but if you’re not interested in stuff like that all you can do is move it to the warmest spot and be sure to keep it adequately hydrated (not too much, not too little – I tend to water less thoroughly in winter because water in the soil keeps the plant cooler).

syngonium mottled

5 – It has pests

Drooping caused by pests is one of the later signs of an infestation so take it as a sign that you’re not checking your plants often enough.

Every time you water check the underside of the leaves (particularly the part where it meets the petiole) for any movement, and thoroughly investigate your plant when you see any discolouration on the leaves - pests are only one possible cause but they're WAY easier to get rid of when there's only a few.

There are LOADS of ways to get rid of pests. I’m cheap so I just spray them down a couple of times a week with castile soap and it works really well. A more organic option is to get some predatory bugs.

6 – It’s sat in a draught

Some plants don’t like draughts and will droop if they’re sat in them.

I have Syngonium tri-leaf wonder that’s happy as a clam ANYWHERE, and a pink splash that has to live in my terrarium because she hates an inconsistent environment. Some Syngoniums are pickier than others – they’re not universally easy care.

There are very few plants that will thrive in a draught though, so if you have a droopy plant next to a regularly opened door, consider moving it.

7 – It needs support

Remember turgor pressure? Well, as Syngoniums get bigger, the turgor pressure diminishes as we get further from the roots. The plant is too heavy to hold itself up.

Syngoniums are climbers by nature and grow aerial roots that attach to a host tree to enable them to do so.

If you don’t want a climber, you can chop your plant back to a height that it can support itself, propagate the bits you chopped off and either have another plant or plant them back in with the original for a bushier look.

Your other option is to provide it with support, usually in the form of a moss pole.

syngonium aerial roots attaching to kratiste pole

8 – It needs higher humidity

Humidity requirements vary across the Syngonium species. Some have very thin, delicate leaves that would prefer higher humidity (around 60%), whereas others have thicker leaves that are happy with 40% humidity.

I have an article on why humidity is important here, but humidity basically keeps the amount of water in the leaves balanced and stops them from drooping. Plants with thicker leaves are better at retaining moisture in their leaves, hence requiring lower humidity.

9 – It’s leggy and needs more light

Syngoniums are typically sold as low-light plants, but they do best in bright/indirect to medium light. Mine thrive a few feet away from a south-facing window, protected by other plants.

If your Syngonium isn't getting enough light, the petiole (the bit that attaches the stem to the leaf) will grow long and thin towards the nearest light source. 

The stem will also become elongated and spindly.

Because the stem is now weaker (because it’s long and thin, rather than short and thick) the leaves will weigh heavily on the petioles and stem and cause the plant to droop.

More light is the only solution, so either move it closer to a window or get a grow light.

10 – It’s been over fertilised

Overfertilising isn’t actually that easy to do, so worry too much about it. I add nutrient water every time I water and my plants are thriving BUT you need to make sure they have everything they need – plenty of light, decent humidity, and don’t let them dry out too much.

Overfertilising is pretty difficult to diagnose, but it’s also the least likely reason your Syngonium is drooping, so make sure you eliminate the other possible causes first.

If your plant is looking super unhealthy, I always recommend that you stop fertilising anyway, because something is making your plant unhappy and you need to figure that out.

If fertilising is something you struggle with, and you can’t work it out, add some worm castings to your soil instead, because they provide nutrition but won’t damage your plant.

Final thoughts

Syngoniums are pretty predisposed to being droopy, so don’t panic. Chances are it’s just thirsty. I would also recommend checking the light it’s in. Arrowheads are often sold as low-light plants, but low light is NOT the same as dark.

Caroline Cocker

Caroline is the founder and writer (and plant keeper) of Planet Houseplant

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