Syngonium: plant care, species & propagation of syngonium
The Syngonium plant is a real eye-catcher with its climbing shoots. We will introduce you to the most beautiful Syngonium species and varieties and give our top tips on care.
Syngonium is known for its striking arrow-like foliage, the shape of which can change depending on how the plant grows and is cared for. This makes it incredibly versatile. There are many different species and varieties of this tropical plant available, and we are here to help you find the right plant for your green space and give it the right care.
Syngonium: flower, origins und characteristics
Syngonium is a genus of the Arum family (Aracea). It originates from Central and South America, where it grows mainly in tropical and subtropical forests. The evergreen Syngonium can grow up to 20 meters long in some cases and forms long shoots that either creep over the ground or climb trees. When kept as a houseplant, Syngonium can grow up to two meters in length. Its foliage is green, reddish, white, or even multicolored, depending on the variety. What shape the leaves take on depends on the age of the shoots and the variety. You will find that shoots in adult plants form differently shaped leaves: they can be oval or elliptical, arrow-shaped or even split or deeply indented leaves. Syngonium podophyllum is the most common houseplant variety and is also known as the arrowhead plant.
The syngonium flower is rather unspectacular and, as with all arum plants, cob shaped. As a houseplant, Syngonium does not usually flower. As is typical to the arum family, the syngonium is also poisonous.
Tip: Many arum plants, including Syngonium, use thermogenesis to attract beetles for pollination. In this process, the flower bulb warms by up to 12 °C above the ambient temperature. The plant also produces a strong, for us rather unappetizing odor, to imitate a food source for pollinators.
The most beautiful Syngonium species and varieties
Syngonium varieties differ mainly in terms of leaf color, but growth characteristics can also vary from type to type. General care and location requirements are the same for most of the varieties. However, varieties with lighter leaves do require more light, so keep that in mind when deciding on where to place your Syngonium. Here is a brief introduction to some of our favourite species and varieties.
- Syngonium podophyllum ‘Albo Variegata’: This is a variety of the species Syngonium podophyllum, which differs from the true species with its white variegated leaves. Although not botanically correct, it is often referred to as “Syngonium variegata” or “Syngonium albo variegata”. The leaf colour change can reach right down the middle.
- Syngonium podophyllum ‘Arrow’: This classic Syngonium is named after its arrow-shaped leaves. The green leaves have white veins and grow on long shoots that can climb or trail from a hanging basket.
- Syngonium podophyllum ‘Pixie’: This variety also has green-white leaves, but remains smaller than the true species, reaching about 30cm in size. The ‘Pixie’ can grow short and bushy or climbing.
- Syngonium podophyllum ‘Pink’: As the name suggests, this variety of Syngonium develops pink leaves. A similar variety is Syngonium podophyllum ‘Pink Splash’, whose leaves are not completely pink, but look as if they were splashed with pink paint.
- Syngonium podophyllum ‘Trileaf Wonder’: The name says it all. The shiny dark green leaves of the Syngonium ‘Trileaf wonder’ are not arrow-shaped, but divided into three parts, with two small leaves arising on the left and right at the base of the leaf and a large leaf in the middle.
- Syngonium wendlandii: This is not a variety, but a separate species of Syngonium. Its leaves are slightly more elongated than those of Syngonium podophyllum and dark green in color. The central vein of the leaves stands out white from the rest of the leaf.
Mistaking Syngonium for Philodendron:
It is easy to confuse the two plant species Syngonium and Philodendron. And no wonder! They are both members of the arum family and look very similar. The most distinguishing features can be found on the leaves:
- Leaf form: Syngonium has arrow-shaped leaves, Philodendron heart-shaped (but depending on the variety, it may be more difficult to tell the difference).
- Leaf veins: Syngonium leaf veins run into each other before reaching the leaf edges, in Philodendron they run individually to the leaf edges.
Planting Syngonium: location and soil
Syngonium prefers a bright location, but out of direct sunlight. It is also important to choose a location based on the variety’s leaf colouration and light requirements. Syngonium varieties with light-coloured leaves or a high proportion of white colouration need more light to be able to create energy through photosynthesis. Full green varieties have more chlorophyll, so can thrive in a less bright area.
Keep the temperature for Syngonium between 15 and 20°C and do not let it drop below 15°C. Any warmer, is also not ideal for the Syngonium. In these conditions, make sure to keep a sufficiently high humidity for your Syngonium. Even at ideal temperatures, spray the plant with lime-free water to increase the humidity and ensure luscious and healthy growth.
Syngonium is not particularly demanding when it comes to soil. However, high permeability is important to prevent waterlogging. To ensure good water drainage, place a drainage layer of broken clay, stones or expanded clay on the bottom of the pot. Then plant the Syngonium in high-quality soil, such as our Plantura Organic All Purpose Compost. As Syngonium prefers a slightly acidic environment, our soil with a pH of 6.1 to 6.9 is ideal. The clay minerals it contains store water well and release it when dry. The production from natural raw materials and without peat protects the environment. For even better permeability, an additional 30% of crushed expanded clay or pine bark can be mixed in.
Repot your Syngonium plants into fresh soil at the beginning of spring roughly every 2 to 3 years. Choose a pot that is slightly larger in diameter than the old one. This will give the roots more space to develop and support above-ground growth too.
- Perfect for all your house, garden & balcony plants
- For strong & healthy plants as well as an active soil life
- Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition
Syngonium care: top tips
Syngonium is not particularly difficult to care for; it just has a few demands when it comes to watering.
Water the Syngonium plant about once a week using lime-free water at room temperature: rainwater is ideal. Never allow the root ball to dry out completely. Water when the soil surface is no longer moist. You should remove run-off water in the saucer so that the plant does not get wet feet. In winter, you can water less, because the Syngonium grows more slowly with the lower levels of light. Still, do not let the soil dry out completely.
Only fertilise during the main growing season from spring to autumn. Use a liquid green plant fertiliser, such as our Plantura Liquid Houseplant Food, which is perfectly suited to the needs of foliage ornamentals and contains microorganisms to promote healthy root growth. Our fertiliser is produced in a resource-saving way with animal-free ingredients. Use the plant food about every three weeks at half the normal concentration.
- Perfect for a wide variety of houseplants & foliage plants
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Syngonium plants tolerate pruning well. Do this in the spring when the shoots have become too long by simply cutting the shoots at the desired length with a sharp knife. You can then grow new Syngonium plants from these cuttings. Make sure to wear gloves for this job, as Syngonium is poisonous.
Syngonium also forms aerial roots, which should not be cut under any circumstances. Instead, you can take the rooted shoots and place them in the pot on top of the soil, where the roots can grow into the soil.
Tip: Heavy pruning will result in a bushy growth and maintain the young leaf shape. For a mature plant with changed leaf shape and long shoots, prune rarely or not at all.
To propagate Syngonium, use cuttings from healthy, larger plants. The best time to take Syngonium cuttings is spring or even the first months of summer. Use a knife to cut off shoots about 10 cm long below a thickened area on the shoot, the leaf node. Roots are usually already established here, which can then subsequently sprout. Remove the lowest leaves and put the cutting into soil. For this, we recommend using our Plantura Organic Herb & Seedling Compost, which is specially made for growing young plants. Its low nutrient content encourages the plants to develop more and stronger roots. Our organic compost is made from natural raw materials and contains no peat, making it very environmentally friendly.
After planting, place the small Syngonium cuttings in a bright place with temperatures between 22 and 25°C. Put a plastic bag over the pots to increase the humidity. Rooting should start after four to eight weeks. Then it is time repot your Syngonium in a more nutrient-rich soil.
Is Syngonium poisonous?
As is typical for arum plants, Syngonium is poisonous. Syngonium plants are particularly poisonous to pets – the leaves should not be consumed. So, ensure that you place the plant in a safe place and wear gloves when repotting and pruning your syngonium. Do not allow secreted sap to come into contact with skin or eyes, as it can cause itchy and burning sensations.
Pothos (Epipremnum) is also a climbing ornamental plant that is fairly low-maintenance. Find out more in our article on pothos care tips.