6 Ways to Make A Bushy Syngonium

This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.

Syngoniums aren’t naturally bushy BUT it’s pretty easy to make them look bushy.

In the wild, Syngoniums grow on one long vine, that will climb up a tree, attaching to the trunk with its aerial roots.

If they can't find a tree, the vines root in the ground, under the ground is one big Syngonium rug.

There are several things you can do to make your syngonium bushier. They fall into two categories:

  1. Putting multiple plants together and
  2. Making your Syngonium vine more compact

However, there are a few different ways you can achieve both of these things. Try one, or try them all.

Chop and prop

Syngoniums propagate really easily in water. Just take a cutting with a node, and stick the node in water.

Change the water every day (or as often as you can) and in a month or two your cutting will have long enough roots for you to plant it back in with the mother plant and make the plant look fuller.

This is a great option for people who want their Syngonium to trail.

Trailing plants naturally have longer internodal spacing, so a couple of vines can look quite sad - you need a cascade rather than a trickle.
trailing syngonium/arrowhead vine

Plant multiple plants together in one pot

Create a Syngonium as bushy as you like by buying half a dozen (or as many as you like) plants and putting them together in one pot.

This can be really effective, and you can add a bit of interest by adding a few different varieties of Syngonium.

As far as I’m aware, the majority of Syngonium species require pretty similar care.

Sure, some are pickier than others, but as long as you cater for your most demanding variety, they'll be fine. 

They don't require different conditions, it's just that some are more tolerant of less-than-perfect conditions than others.

Layer it

Soil layering (not to be confused with ar layering)vining plants is super simple. Just lay the vine over the pot so that a node is in contact with the soil, and over time that node will root and produce another growth point.

You can chop it at this point, but I tend to just leave them attached to the mother plant.

When I bought my Syngonium mottled it was one long vine, with a handful of teeny leaves. The new growth points I got from layering it produced substantially bigger leaves.

syngonium mottled
the new growth at the bottom is from layered nodes

I actually keep an eye out for etiolated vining plants in garden centres because I’ve gotten a few bargains this way.

No one wants to buy the unaesthetically pleasing plants, but they’re usually pretty easy to sort out.

In the wild, Syngoniums layer themselves on the ground until they're a freaking carpet, so it's a pretty natural way of getting a bushy Syngonium, even though it kind of feels like cheating.

Ok, so that was how to cheat your way to a bushy Syngonium by having multiple plants in one pot, but is it possible to get a bushy Syngonium without having multiple plants?

Give it more light

Snygoniums are a great option if you don’t have great light, but they’ll grow best in long hours of bright, indirect light.

If you keep your Syngonium in low light, then the vines will stretch towards the light, so the length of stem between each leaf will be longer than if it was kept in brighter light.

By shortening this internodal space, your Syngonium will be more compact and look fuller and bushier.

You can either move your plant closer to a window, or put it under grow lights.

In my experience, Syngoniums are wasted in full sun - there will be other plants that would appreciate it more, like Ficus, Monstera deliciosa, and succulents. 

You can acclimate them, but they’ll grow just as well a few feet away from a window.

Simiarly, they don’t need to be directly under a grow light – they can be next to it and still benefit from the extra energy.

Cut it right back

This isn’t foolproof. If your Syngonium is, you know, fine, then cutting each vine back may just result in each vine producing a new growth point after it’s cut.

However, if your Syngonium has been growing particularly well or quickly, then cutting the vine back can result in it producing two growth points.

This happens because the plant has a tonne of roots so it can sustain multiple growth points, but you also need the external factors like light and humidity to be great too.

The more you cut it back, the more likely it will be to produce multiple growth points, but obvs if you cut it back to a single node you’re only going to get one growth point (unless you’re incredibly lucky)

It doesn't matter how far you cut it back. 

Just chop off a couple of nodes if you like, or cut it back right to the soil - as long as there's at least one node it can regrow. 

Don't panic about pruning your Syngonium to death.

Rotate it

If you already have a pretty compact Syngonium but it’s growing to one side, then try rotating it once a week (or every time you water).

Leaves tend to grow to face the sun, so regularly rotating plants can stop one side looking a bit bare, and give it the illusion of being fuller.

This is a bit hit or miss. Some people swear by it, others say it doesn't make a difference. 

I've found that it can stop the stem leaning, but leaves face whichever direction they like.

Remember that growing a Syngonium like this is at odds with how it would grow in the wild (trees don’t tend to move much) so different plants respond differently.

mature Syngonium podophyllum

Should you stake up Syngoniums?

I like to stake up Syngoniums because they’re natural climbers, and replicating a plant’s natural environment is a great way to ensure the leaves keep sizing up.

Syngoniums start to produce bigger, more mature leaves when they’re grown vertically, and the bigger leaves can cover a lot of the stem and give the appearance of a fuller plant.

I’m terrible at remembering to water moss poles, so I like to grow my Syngoniums up a Kratiste pole. The aerial roots attach themselves and there’s no watering to do!

syngonium mottled

She doesn’t look incredibly full yet, but once a few more vines start growing up, it’ll fill up in no time.

Final thoughts

Syngoniums aren’t naturally bushy plants, so you usually need to cheat a bit to get the desired results. That being said, with the proper conditions and the occasional trim, they can bush up (as it were) quite happily and look lush and full.

Caroline Cocker

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

Leave a comment