Also known as arrowhead plant Syngonium plant is usually grown as houseplant. As the plant grows it begins to vine, therefore, it’s recommended to grow them in hanging baskets.
This easy to grow plant can beautify your gardening space, but if you notice Syngonium plant leaves are turning yellow, then it indicates something is missing from its growth requirement.
You don’t have to panic all the time; it can be a part of natural process. Lower leaves of most houseplants turn yellow and drop off with time.
If you notice new leaves are turning yellow, then it can be a matter of concern.
Overwatering is one of the common causes why arrowhead plant leaves turn yellow. Apart from it, underwatering, insufficient sunlight, low levels of nutrients, pests and aging can be the reason behind discoloured foliage.
Arrowhead is native to South America and prefers well-drained soil. Like most houseplants, this American evergreen plant doesn’t prefer to sit in soggy soil.
Though it is easy to grow Syngonium plant indoors, there are few essential growing requirements that a new gardener must know for a healthy and vibrant houseplant.
Water, Soil and Light Requirements of Syngonium Plant
- Water 1 inch per week or when you notice the top soil is dry.
- Potting soil should be well-drained. Add perlite, sand, worm castings and garden soil to make your own arrowhead potting soil.
- Arrowhead can grow in low light, but growth will be slow. Bright indirect sunlight is optimal for healthy growth of Syngonium.
- Fertilize once in a month, during spring and summer.
- Maintain humid and warm environment.
- Ideal temperature should be 60-85F.
These plants come in shades of green and pink; depending on the variety you’ve chosen.
Arrowhead or Syngonium plant can be grown anywhere in your home, just ensure to get medium light or bright light.
Without required light exposure, arrowhead plant leaves turn yellow or sometimes brown.
As mentioned, Syngonium prefers moist and well-drained soil. Water the arrowhead plant generously once in a week.
(Read my article on how to often to water arrowhead plant at home?)
As a rule of thumb, most gardeners recommend inserting index finger to check the moisture level of the potting soil.
Use pot made of terracotta or clay vessel, this is to ensure the extra moisture is absorbed by these pots.
Arrowhead prefers warm humid conditions to thrive. Ideal temperature to grow this plant ranges between 60-85F.
These plants don’t need too much fertilizing. Use a balanced liquid fertilizer once in a month. You can reduce or skip fertilizing in winter, as the plant goes dormant stage.
Why My Syngonium Plant Leaves are Turning Yellow?
Yellow foliage doesn’t beautify your garden. But, what turns these green leaves to yellow or brown in some cases?
Plant leaves gets its color from chlorophyll, a pigment which is used in photosynthesis. Without sufficient sunlight arrowhead plant won’t be able to produce chlorophyll, thus turning leaves yellow.
University of Maryland holds overwatering to be the number of reason why most houseplants leaves are turning yellow.
Let’s now dwell and see all the possible factors causing chlorosis (yellowing of lead tissues) in Syngonium.
#1 Watering Issue (Overwatering and underwatering)
Maintaining adequate moisture is an important aspect of growing successful and healthy arrowhead.
Most indoor plants are susceptible to overwatering.
Excess water makes it tough for plant to get nutrients from the soil and eventually stem won’t be able to hold leaves resulting in floppy foliage.
When roots fail to uptake essential nutrients due to root rot, leaves start to turn yellow.
Yellow leaves, stunted growth and root rot are common signs of overwatering arrowhead plant.
Tip: Water arrowhead plant only when the top soil is dry by 50 percent.
Similarly, underwatering also causes yellow foliage.
When you don’t give adequate amount of water to your Syngonium plant, its leaves start wilting and drooping.
Leaving them unnoticed will eventually dry leaves by turning them yellow.
Your indoor plants go underwatered mostly when you’re on an unplanned vacation.
Prepare a self-watering system to keep the arrowhead plant soil moist.
Tip: To revive, start watering underwatered Syngonium generously. Allot few days to ensure the growing medium is getting good soak.
Note: Overwatering is very common and in most causes it is the culprit behind chlorosis of your arrowhead plant. Avoid it by letting the potting soil to dry between watering.
#2 Insufficient Sunlight
Arrowhead plant can grow in low light, but if you continue to keep the plant in shade it may result in chlorosis.
Sunlight is essential for chlorophyll. Without which your plant leaves won’t be able to produce its food.
If you notice arrowhead leaves are turning yellow, then shift the plant to a location that gets bright indirect sunlight.
Within few days, arrowhead leaves start to turn greener.
Note: You can grow this American evergreen in low lightening conditions too, but the growth will be slowed.
Syngonium need sunlight, but it is sensitive towards extreme temperature.
When your plant gets too much sunlight directly, it may experience sunburn leaves.
You’ll notice yellow patches on the leaves and it keeps on increasing every single day.
Use a shade cloth to protect the arrowhead plant from extreme sunlight.
You can cut off burnt leaves after relocating the plant.
#4 Low levels of nutrients
Arrowhead plant needs balanced nutrients for ideal growth.
Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are known to encourage root growth, cell formation and boost vertical plant growth.
Apart from this iron, nickel, copper, zinc and chlorine helps to induce bushier plant growth.
When potting soil lack these nutrients, plant is prone to pests attack and eventually results in common problems like yellowing of leaves and stunted growth.
Tip: Use balanced liquid fertilizer once in a month to encourage optimal growth.
#5 Natural Yellowing
If you notice yellow leaves once or twice in few months, then you don’t have to be concerned, as this can be a natural process.
With time, arrowhead plant shed older leaves to shift its focus on new emerging leaves. Initially, older leaves turn yellow and then drop off from the plant.
#6 Dry Air – maintain humidity
Dry air pulls off the moisture from the plant leaves, resulting leaf wilting and yellowing.
Arrowhead plant is native to warm and humid environment. Misting leaves with water can increase humidity for short term.
For optimal humidity relocate the plant near bathroom or use humidifier.
A stressed arrowhead plants are susceptible to pest infestations.
Scale, mealybugs, aphids, thrips, whitefly and spider mite infestations are common among this indoor plant.
If you left them unnoticed, these pests will multiply rapidly and spread throughout the plant.
Tip: Use organic pesticide like neem oil to get rid of these pesticides.
How to prevent yellowing of Syngonium plant leaves?
You don’t have to be an expert in gardening to grow Syngonium plant.
If you’re able to provide essential requirements of this houseplant then you can successfully prevent chlorosis.
Let’s start with the common cause of yellow foliage:
- To avoid overwatering, you must choose best potting soil that drains well and is fertile enough to give initial boost for plant growth.
- A common tip most gardeners hear is to water the houseplant when the growing soil is dry by 50 percent. You can check it by inserting your finger.
- Container in which you’re growing arrowhead should have drainage hole, else plant roots would sit in water pool.
- Medium lightening or bright indirect sunlight will be enough for this indoor plant. Keep the plant pot towards east facing window to ensure it gets bright morning sunlight.
- In summer and when the sunrays are extreme you should move the plant to shade.
- Apart from adding compost in the potting soil, you should use liquid fertilizer to enrich plant soil. But, don’t over-fertilize Syngonium plant.
- Avoid dry air, use humidifier to maintain humidity level.
- Sudden change in temperature results in plant shock and discolored foliage. Avoid placing arrowhead besides cold drafts or beside fire-woods.
- Regularly, inspect the plant for pest infestation. Use neem oil to get rid of common pests from arrowhead plant.
- As the plant grows, pot or container in which you’re growing arrowhead may results in root bound. Repot the plant to bigger container after every 2 years.
- Indoor plants are meant to add aesthetic appeal to your space; you must regularly remove dust accumulated on the green foliage.
Importance of choosing best growing soil
Growing soil is responsible to uptake nutrients along with water. It also holds the plant from wind and strengthens its root system.
Potting soil that fails to drain excess water often results in overwatering and root rot.
Arrowhead plant needs soil that retains moisture, so that roots will have enough time to uptake water molecules to plant.
In case, if your growing medium isn’t good enough to retain moisture, it results in underwatering your arrowhead plant.
To avoid such common Syngonium plant problems, you’re advised to use proper well-drained potting soil mixed with equal parts of garden soil, perlite, compost and sand.
Should I prune yellow leaves off Syngonium?
Yes, you can remove old yellow leaves from arrowhead plant.
Pruning promotes growth and in case of this houseplant it makes the plant bushier avoiding vine.
However, if your houseplant has more yellow leaves, then you should stay away from cutting them. As the plant needs leaves for the photosynthesis process.
Overwatering is the number one reason why your Syngonium plant leaves are turning yellow.
In case, you’re sure it isn’t the cause. Check if your plant is getting enough sunlight and nutrients.
Drooping and wilting of leaves is a sign of underwatering. Diagnose the plant to identify the root cause and fix it.
Khaja Moinuddin, a computer science graduate, finds joy in gardening and homesteading. Join him on this blog as he shares his experiences in homesteading, gardening, and composting