syngonium

Plant profile: how to care for…Syngoniums

Syngoniums are, in my opinion, criminally underrated in the house plant world. They’re one of my favourites. There are so many cool types, and they’re super easy to care for. I’ll post pictures of my collection at the bottom.

You may have them referred to as Arrowhead vines, but I call them Syngoniums because I think it’s a cool word.

Be warned – some varieties (trileaf wonder, I’m looking at you) are extremely overdramatic and droop a lot when they’re thirsty. And then they take a good couple of days to stand up again, by which time you’ll have already arranged its funeral.

Quickfire Syngonium care

  • Light: bright, indirect. will tolerate medium
  • Humidity: 40%, but prefer 60%
  • Temperature: no colder than 16C/60f
  • Watering: water when almost completely dry (moisture metre reads 2)
  • Fertilise: monthly, general-purpose fertiliser
  • Potting medium: general aroid mix
  • Propagation: stem cuttings
  • Pests: mealybugs, thrips, aphids, spider mites, scale
  • Bloom? Yes, but unlikely indoors
  • Toxic? Yes

Where do Syngoniums come from?

Syngoniums are found in Central America, from Mexico to Brazil.

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Where should I put my Syngonium?

Syngoniums aren’t that fussy about where they live. I have a couple out in my hallway, even though it’s pretty chilly. I move them in the dead of winter, but come February, they’re out in the cold.

They seem pretty happy there, but then NOTHING with stop my podophyllum from growing.

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What kind of light do Syngoniums need?

Ideally, bright, indirect light. In my experience, they grow really well under grow lights (check out my resources page for the cheapo ones I use) and do ok in low-medium light.

Although, tbh I think my podophyllum would still shoot out leaves if it was shoved in a suitcase and dropped in the sea. He’s a survivor.

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What level of humidity do Syngoniums need?

They will survive quite happily in 40% humidity, but I’ve noticed that they tend to droop more. Since I’ve kept mine in 60% humidity it droops less and returns to standing much quicker than it dies when it’s in low humidity.

If you don’t mind having a small heart attack every time it droops (they’re hella dramatic), then your normal room humidity should be fine. I’ve never had one get crispy tips (unless I’ve neglected watering it) but they grow much more quickly in higher humidity.

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What temperature do Syngoniums prefer?

They’re tropical plants, so don’t let them get below 16C/60f. They can tolerate pretty high temperatures provided there’s ample humidity and they’re not sat in direct sunlight.

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How to water Syngoniums

You can let Syngoniums dry out almost completely. I like to test mine with a moisture metre and water when it reads two. I’ve accidentally let them get to one before and it was fine.

I use rainwater and bottom water them, but I can’t find any evidence to suggest you can’t use tap water. Tbh, I bottom water most of my plants – I have a water tray on the side and I just leave them in for the day when I notice they’re dry.

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How to fertilise Syngonium

Since Syngoniums grow so quickly, I try to remember to fertilise them every month or so, using a twice-diluted seaweed fertiliser.

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Pests common to Syngonium

One of mine had thrips, another succumbed to aphids, so they definitely get those. Bigger Syngoniums seem to fend off pests quite well – I cleaned my thrips-infested one with neem oil, then just kept wiping any bugs off, and it seems to have shaken them.

Also, keep an eye out for scale (probably including mealybugs) and spider mites. Spider mites typically don’t like moisture and the cold, so adequate humidity can go a long way in preventing them.

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What potting mix do Syngonium need?

A general aroid mix. Mix equal parts house plant potting soil, perlite and orchid bark. Top dress with worm castings for a gentle fertiliser.

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What type of pot do Syngoniums need?

Most of mine are still in their nursery pots, and though the leaves are growing, they don’t seem to be root bound.

If you’re happy to water your plants a lot, Syngonium would probably like to be in terracotta – they’re vining plants, and like to have airflow to their roots. They’d be just as happy in a plastic or ceramic pot though, as long it has adequate drainage.

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How to propagate Syngoniums

You can take cuttings and propagate them in water. Take a cutting just below a set of nodes, pop it in water, and wait.

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Are Syngoniums toxic?

Yes, mildly. Keep them out of reach of kids and pets, and don’t, you know, try one.

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Do Syngoniums flower?

Yes, but they just have spathe flowers that most aroids produce. Nothing extremely exciting or fragrant I’m afraid. If you want cool blooms, go for hoya.

Notes

  • Another aroid, should you be an aroid collector.
  • Sometimes called, for reasons I can’t begin to explain, an African evergreen.
  • Or Goosefoot plant. Fair enough.
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My Syngonium Collection

Please excuse the dust. I’m on my second Neon since this one’s predecessor succumbed to aphids. RIP.

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