The Pink Syngonium (Syngonium Podophyllum) is a popular indoor plant. Prized for its attractive, patterned foliage and easy to care for nature, these plants are an essential part of the houseplant collection.
The Pink Syngonium is an adaptable houseplant, suitable for a range of indoor growing positions. Many cultivars are also ideal for low or medium light positions. In addition to the popular pink cultivars you can also find green, white and mixed varieties.
As well as its attractive foliage, these plants are also increasingly popular for their air purifying abilities. If you want to learn more about Pink Syngonium this detailed guide will take you through everything that you need to know.
What is Pink Syngonium?
Part of the Araceae plant family, the Pink Syngonium, also known as the Arrowhead plant, is native to a number of South American countries such as Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia and Brazil.
A couple of varieties are also considered native to some Caribbean islands. In their native areas the plants can be found growing in rural and urban areas as well as forests, swamps and thickets. The Arrowhead plant is most widespread in the area of South America which stretches from Mexico to Brazil.
In addition to being a popular houseplant the plants are also widespread in parts of Asia, Africa, Australia, Micronesia and Oceania. Initially introduced as ornamental ground cover in some areas the plants are now so widespread that they are considered invasive.
Whilst many types of Syngonium plant have an attractive, vining habit, some, if correctly anchored to a support such as a tree, can become epiphytes when their stems break.
Also known as the Arrowhead Vine, Nephthytis or Goosefoot plant, these are vining specimens that can reach a height of 30 to 60 ft in the wild. When grown as a container or houseplant their growth is more compact. Arrowhead plants typically reach a height of 2 to 6 ft and spread over 2 ft wide.
Arrowhead plant is identified by its large leaves and vining growth habit.
Whilst mature specimens can be large, young or immature types are compact plants. As the name Arrowhead plant suggests, as the Pink Syngonium grows it spreads in all directions. Regular pruning helps to keep the spread of the plants in check.
As the Arrowhead plant grows and matures the leaves change shape. Typically mature leaves have more lobes than younger, immature foliage. Popular for its attractive foliage, plants growing outside can flower and fruit. This is rare for indoor specimens.
Pink Syngonium Varieties
There are several types of Pink Syngonium currently available. In addition to the Pink cultivars, there are over 46 different types of Syngonium plant. Many develop in a range of colors.
Neon Robusta, popular for its iridescent pink leaves with a green underside, the variegated Strawberry Ice and Pink Perfection Syngonium are amongst the largest cultivars currently available. However, they are still suitable for indoor cultivation.
Pink Flecked and Red Heart are compact types that do nor require regular pruning or trimming. Other popular compact types include Julia Allusion with its coppery-pink flushed light green leaves and Pink Allusion. This attractive cultivar has light green leaves which are marked with dark green borders and pink veins.
Other popular varieties include:
- White Butterfly, which has green-white leaves with dark green borders,
- Exotic Allusion produces light green foliage with cream flushes,
- Berry Allusion is another light green variety with cream and pink hues,
- Painted Arrow is identified by its cream-green leaves that are decorated with light green splatters,
- Strawberry Cream is popular for its new pink growth.
Where to Place your Arrowhead Plant
Finding a favorable place for your Pink Syngonium encourages lots of healthy growth to emerge. It also helps to prevent diseases and problems from developing and reduces the amount of maintenance you need to do.
Ideal for planting in a pot, you can also showcase your Arrowhead plant in a living wall or hanging basket. This helps to showcase the beauty of the vines. Alternatively, you can prune the plants so that they develop into a more compact, bush-like shape.
Hardy in USDA Zones 10 to12, because of the plant’s humidity requirements Arrowhead plants are best cultivated as indoor specimens.
How Much Light do Arrowhead Plants Need?
The plants are best placed in a medium to bright, indirect light position. The exact amount of light your Arrowhead plant requires depends on the variety. Some varieties require more light than others.
Usually, dark colored types, such as green syngoniums require less light than the more colorful varieties including pink, red and white variegated cultivars.
If the plant receives too little light, the leaf color fades. The colorful leaves of Pink Syngonium plants that do not receive enough light fade to green. The foliage may also seem sparse and growth can become stunted. Should your plant exhibit any of these signs, move it to a lighter position immediately.
If your chosen growing position doesn’t receive enough natural light, grow lights can be used.
Too little light can cause the color of the leaves to fade.
Temperature and Humidity Levels
The ideal temperature for your Arrowhead plant ranges between 66 to 85 ℉. Most cultivars can survive regular exposure to temperatures down to 60 ℉. Prolonged exposure to temperatures below 50 ℉ can be fatal.
Avoid placing your Pink Syngonium in an area of your house that experiences extremes or regular fluctuations in temperature. This can stress the plant causing leaf drop or stunted growth. Keep the plants away from radiators during the winter months and drafty windows in the summer.
The Pink Syngonium plants’ love of humidity means that many people struggle to cultivate the plants outside. While a humidity level of 40 to 50% is ideal, over 60% is preferred. This makes the plant a great addition to a steamy bathroom.
To maintain humidity levels mist the foliage with a Plant Mister filled with distilled water once a week. Try not to get the stem of the plant too wet when misting. This can cause disease to form.
An easy way to maintain humidity levels is to place the Arrowhead plant on a humidity tray. The Humidi-Grow Indoor Plant Stand has a built-in tray which elevates your plant meaning that it doesn’t stand in water for a prolonged period.
What Type of Soil?
The Arrowhead plant prefers a medium acidic soil. A soil pH measuring 5.5 to 6.5 is ideal.
As well as being fresh and rich in nutrients the potting medium should also be well draining. A blend of potting soil, peat moss and perlite perfectly mimics the plants natural habitat. Peat moss is particularly beneficial because it works to retain moisture whilst providing minerals and nutrients.
Plant in well draining soil.
How to Plant and Repot Pink Syngonium
It is recommended that you repot your Arrowhead plant once every 2 years to promote continued growth. You should also repot the plants as soon after purchase as possible. Plants with a vigorous growth habit may require repotting every year.
Every time that you repot your Arrowhead plant, transfer it to a slightly bigger pot. This gives the roots more room to grow into. For example, if the plant is presently sitting in a 6 inch pot, repot it into an 8 inch pot.
Regularly repotting your plants also gives you a chance to check for any signs of root disease.
In the years that you don’t repot your Arrowhead plant remove the old topsoil from around the plant and apply a fresh layer.
2 to 4 days before repotting your Arrowhead plant, water the soil well. This helps to reduce the amount of stress that the plant will feel during the repotting process.
To repot your Pink Syngonium remove the plant gently from its pot. Do not tug or pull the plant too harshly. If it is sitting in a plastic pot you can cut the pot away from the plant.
You can also run a butter knife all the way around the edge of the pot to loosen the soil before squeezing. This should be enough to allow you to gently remove the Arrowhead plant from its pot.
When handling the Arrowhead plant, be careful not to damage its roots.
Remove any excess soil from around the roots and gently untangle any that are entwined.
The new pot can be made from any material you want. While plastic plants are great, terra cotta, concrete resin, ceramic and fiberglass containers can also be used. Bear in mind when selecting the pot, that the material it is made from will affect how often you need to water the plant.
Unsightly plastic pots can be hidden in larger, decorative pots.
Cover the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot with a Pot Hole Mesh. This stops soil from escaping or clogging up the drainage holes when watering.
Fill the pot about halfway up with a fresh, well draining potting soil mix. Position the Arrowhead plant in the center of the pot.
When in the new pot, the top of your Pink Syngonium root system should sit just below the rim of the pot.
When you are happy with the position of the plant, add more potting soil, filling the pot. Gently firm the soil down and water well.
How to Care for Pink Syngonium
Once potted up and placed in a favorable position, Pink Syngonium care is largely straightforward.
Pink Syngonium vines can be supported with a trellis. Alternatively, plant in a hanging basket and allow the vines to trail attractively down towards the ground.
Wipe the leaves regularly with a clean cloth. Regularly wiping foliage helps to keep the leaves clean and free of dust. Leaves covered in dust struggle to photosynthesise. A regular wipe of the foliage with a cloth also removes any pests that are lurking on the leaves.
When to Water
Correctly watering your Pink Syngonium is vital. It can also be difficult. Arrowhead plants do not like too much or too little water. Moderation is key.
Young plants require less water than more mature specimens. You also need to adjust your watering routine during the winter months, watering the plants less frequently to prevent wet soil and root rot from developing.
In general you should water your Pink Syngonium plants once a week. In warmer climates growers may need to water the plants more frequently.
The easiest way to know when to water your plants is to look at the soil. After watering, allow the top layer of soil to dry out before watering again. You can also use a soil moisture sensor to monitor when your plants require watering.
Underwatering is better than overwatering the Arrowhead plant. The plants are mildly drought resistant and are capable of surviving for a few days without water. Allowing the soil to dry out too much however, can cause the leaves to shrivel up and turn brown.
Overwatering the plants can waterlog the soil, preventing oxygen from reaching the roots. Too much water in the soil can also cause bacterial diseases to develop.
When watering your Arrowhead plant do not use water straight from the tap. This can contain harmful chemicals that, if allowed to build up in the soil, may harm the plant. Instead allow the tap water to stand for a few hours or use filtered water.
You can also harvest your own rainwater to use on your plants. This is a great, environmentally friendly way to keep your plant collection hydrated.
When to Fertilize
A regular dose of fertilizer promotes healthy growth. You can feed your Pink Syngonium plants with a general purpose houseplant fertilizer. Dilute the fertilizer and apply once a month during the growing season.
Alternatively, a liquid fertilizer can be watered evenly into the soil around the plant once every two weeks.
Fertilize your Arrowhead plant regularly during the spring and summer growing season. Do not fertilize the plant during the late fall and winter months when it is dormant.
How to Prune
Regularly prune or trim mature plants during the spring and early summer months when they are actively growing.
Do not prune young, immature plants. Pruning too soon can stunt growth. Instead wait until the plants are mature before pruning.
While the Arrowhead plant is a low maintenance specimen, light, regular pruning helps to keep the new growth under control. It also makes for a more attractive, bushier and stronger specimen.
Use clean, sharp scissors to prune away excess leaves, keeping the plant compact. When pruning, always make the incision below a leaf node.
If you want to keep the plants juvenile foliage, prune away any climbing vines as they emerge. Preventing vines from forming encourages the plant to develop a bushy growth habit.
Pruned, healthy specimens can be propagated to create new Pink Syngonium plants.
How to Propagate Pink Syngonium
The Arrowhead plant is easily propagated by taking and rooting cuttings.
To make a cutting use a sharp garden scissors to remove a section of healthy stem from the plant. The cutting should be 6 to 12 inches in length and have at least one leaf. Make your incision below a node. It is from the node that roots emerge.
After preparing the cutting, place it in a small vase or jar filled with fresh water. Roots should emerge in 10 to 15 days. During this period change the water in the jar regularly.
Once roots emerge, remove the cutting from the water and plant in a small pot filled with a fresh potting soil. Keep the soil evenly moist. New leaves emerge in 4 to 5 weeks.
Dividing the Arrowhead Plant
Some varieties of Arrowhead plant, particularly older types produce lots of stems. These types are also suitable for division.
To divide the mature Pink Syngonium remove the plant from its pot and brush away any remaining earth. This enables you to inspect the root system.
With your hands or a sharp knife separate the stems into 2 or 3 even sections. Each stem section should have leaves and roots.
Plant each section in pots filled with an appropriate soil mix and water well with a watering can.
Common Pink Syngonium Problems
Cared for correctly, these are low maintenance plants. Should a problem occur it is often easily corrected as long as it is spotted early enough.
Leaf curl can be a sign of one of many different issues including underwatering, a lack of humidity or too little light. A lack of fertilizer can also cause leaves to curl as can temperature fluctuation around the plant.
Finally, leaf curl can also be an indication that the roots are compacted and the plant is in need of repotting.
Identifying why the leaves of your Pink Syngonium plant are curling is not a quick process. Take the time to observe the plant, working your way through the potential problems until you identify a cure.
Overwatering your Pink Syngonium can cause the leaves to brown or yellow. If you find it difficult to work out how much water to give your plant, a soil moisture sensor is a useful investment.
If not amended quickly enough, overwatering can also cause the leaves to blacken, roots to rot and, in the worst cases, death. Repot the plant in fresh soil if it becomes too wet.
Too little water can cause the leaves to droop or wilt.
Foliage turning brown or scorching is an indication that the plant is sitting in too much direct light. The afternoon sun can be particularly intense and damaging to plants.
Yellowing leaves is often an indication of low magnesium or nitrogen levels in the soil. A dose of fertilizer can correct small issues. As can repotting the plant into fresh soil. If the problem persists, use a soil test kit to check what other nutrients your potting medium is lacking.
The growth rate of your Arrowhead plant either slowing or ceasing can be a sign that it is rootbound. If the roots have no more room to expand into, above soil development will also cease.
If you have recently repotted your Pink Syngonium, the lack of growth could be a sign of lack of nutrients such as phosphorus in the soil. Conduct a soil test before working in any necessary amendments.
Blight is an unsightly issue.
One of the most severe issues that can affect the Pink Syngonium plant is bacterial blight or stem rot. Caused by the Erwinia bacteria, check the stem and plant for signs of infection. Once the stem is affected the plant cannot be saved. Instead you will need to destroy the plant. Do not place it on the compost pile.
The easiest way to prevent bacterial blight from developing is to water only the soil around the plant. Try to keep the plant’s foliage and stem as dry as possible.
Watering early in the morning gives any plants of the part that do become wet lots of time to dry out before the cool evening temperatures arrive. Wet plants and cool temperatures are a breeding ground for disease.
Pink foliage turning green is often a sign of over fertilization. Cease fertilizing as soon as you notice the leaf color fading to see if the issue corrects itself. Exposure to too little light can also cause foliage color to fade.
A healthy Pink Syngonium is resistant to most pests. Infestations are usually an indication of another issue affecting the health of the plant. Spider mites and mealybugs are the most common pests that affect the plant. If allowed to remain on the plant, they can suck the sap from your Arrowhead plant causing it to wilt and die.
Should an infestation develop, treat the leaves with a homemade insecticidal soap. Dead or dying leaves should be cut from the plant to prevent the infestation from spreading.
Aphids can also sometimes target the foliage. Again a treatment of insecticidal soap can be used to treat infestations.
Warning. All parts of the Pink Syngonium plant contain poisonous properties. The plants can, if ingested, be highly toxic to humans, cats, dogs and horses. Symptoms of poisoning include irritation, swelling, drooling, difficulty in swallowing and vomiting. Keep your plants out of reach of small children and curious animals.
The sap of the plant can also irritate sensitive skin. Wear work gloves when handling to protect your hands.
An attractive, low maintenance houseplant, the Pink Syngonium is a colorful addition to any plant collection.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.