How to Water Syngoniums

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Syngoniums are one of those plants that will happily plod along with the bare minimum.

No light?

Not a problem.

Leave me without water for two months?

I won’t die.

Overwater me?

I’ll give you a LOT more grace than most plants.

But they’re also very quick to look, er, awful if you don’t treat them well.

So here’s a guide on how to water them so that they look full and perky.

**Disclaimer that all the correct watering in world will still lead to small, leggy growth if you don't give your Syngonium enough light - mine is THRIVING in a south-facing window that's shaded by other plants**
trailing syngonium/arrowhead vine

How often should you water Syngoniums?

I like to have one watering session per week.

Now, my Syngonium doesn’t need watering every week. It’s usually a case of watering it twice in two weeks, then leaving it a week, repeat.

I check whether it needs watering by using a moisture meter.

A LOT of people claim they're inaccurate, but I've never had an issue with mine IF I make sure to also check the soil if I think it still looks wet. 

Sometimes the soil can be so chunky that there's not enough contact between the probe and the soil and there's an inaccurate reading. 

I tend to use a slightly denser mix, such as a terrarium mix, with a bit of leca mixed in. Not only does it retain moisture well, but it gives a pretty accurate reading on the meter.

syngonium pink splash

Is it the perfect soil mix for Syngonium? Probably not. They’d prefer to have a SUPER aerated mix that I water everyday, but I can’t be arsed don’t have the time so a denser mix works really, really well for both of us.

Ideally, you shouldn’t wait for Syngonium to droop before you water them.

They take AGES to perk up and it can cause issues like brown patches on the leaves.

However, if you've let your Syngonium get so dry that it's drooped, don't be surprised if it takes AGES to perk up again. 

Peace lilies have nothing on Syngoniums when it comes to droop drama.

I like to bottom water (more on that later) when my Syngonium droops and it STILL can take it until the next day to perk up again.

What type of water is best for Syngoniums?

Tap water varies a LOT depending on how yours is treated so I can’t really attest to how good your Syngonium will fare if you water it with tap water.

My Syngoniums are perfectly happy with tap water, and don’t show any signs of mineral overdose in the leaves.

I have quite hard water, so I sometimes get mineral deposits on the leaves, but I can scrape them off without it leaving a mark so I don’t think it really matters.

My general rule of thumb is that if you can drink your water, your plants will probably be fine.

And I don't mean 'if you can drink it and it won't kill you' I mean more along the lines of 'you can drink it happily without needing a filter'. 

For example, the water in London is perfectly drinkable, but it's so hard you probably wouldn't want to.

Filtered water is great, but I don’t tend to advise using distilled water unless you’re pretty good at remembering to fertilise your plants with a full spectrum fertiliser (one with all the macro and micronutrients).

syngonium ice frost

Should I bottom water Syngonium?

I tend to top water my Syngonium the majority of the time, just because…that’s how I (currently) water the majority of my plants. But if you’d prefer to bottom water them, they’re perfectly happy with that.

As long as you thoroughly dampen the soil until water runs through the drainage holes, the plant won’t much care which end the water came from.

However, as I mentioned before if you’ve let the soil get so dry that your Syngonium is drooping, Id recommend that you bottom water.

When soil gets suuuper dry, it can become hydrophobic, and if you top water, the water can just slip between the cracks in the soil and out of the bottom, without actually permeating the soil. Bottom watering rehydrates the soil and allows it to retain water again.

syngonium mottled

Do Syngonium like to be wet?

Not particularly.

Syngonium can tolerate a *bit* of overwatering but if you overwater for too long, you’ll end up with root rot.

I like to water my Syngonium, let the soil dry out until it reads about a 2 on the moisture meter, and then thoroughly water it again. As I said, it usually takes about a week, but this varies a LOT depending on how sunny it is, how warm it is, whether it’s under a grow light, and the humidity levels.

In winter, I might only water once a month.

Can you grow Syngonium in water?

Yes, I’m currently growing a Syngonium Trileaf Wonder in water. Excuse the algae:

syngonium trileaf wonder in water

This is an old cutting I took from a thrips-infested mother plant that didn’t make it. I kept it in the aquarium over the winter and put it in this vase over summer so I could increase the light.

As you can see, it has two active growth points producing two leaves, but it’s also just produced this one:

I change the water weekly to keep oxygen levels up, and I add in nutrient water every, say, three weeks. It’ll sit in the nutrient water for a week and then I’ll dump it out and refill the vae with fresh tapwater.

Ooo, I’ve just noticed a fourth growth point at the bottom of the photo – although it could be an aerial root, I suppose.

I grew this from a cutting, so it rooted in the water like this:

However, you can wash off all the soil on the roots and put it in water.

If you go this route, I recommend you change the water every day. You’re basically requiring the plant to grow a whole new set of water roots (soil roots can’t absorb oxygen from water very well) so treat it like you’re rooting a cutting.

Adding nutrient water can help, and changing the water every day really helps too.

Final thoughts

Syngoniums are great plants for beginners because they’re very forgiving of both under and over-watering BUT they’re also pretty easy to water, er, ‘properly’.

Basically, just water then when the soil is pretty much dry, and you can’t go wrong!

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Caroline Cocker

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

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