10 Ways to Take Care of Syngonium podophyllum

Syngonium podophyllum commonly called American evergreen, African evergreen, Whitefly, ,Goosefoot, nephthytis, arrowleaf, arrowhead plant.

These plants originated from tropical Mexico, Belize,Costa Rica,Panama,West Indies, Central and South America. This was introduced in many parts of the tropical, sub-tropical and even temperate countries as an indoor plant. Some cultivar had escape cultivation and have been considered invasive plant species in many parts of the world.


Syngonium cling on a ficus tree

Syngonium are hemiepiphytes in their natural range and spends part of its life cycle as an epiphyte clinging on trees, poles even on walls.


Syngonium flowers

The genus comes from the Greek words which refers to the fused ovaries of female flowers. In Belize and parts of its natural range, arrowhead vines roots and bark are used in traditional medicine for treatment of wounds.

plant are poisonous and can cause severe mouth pain if eaten due to oxalic acid. Purely grown for ornamental purposes.

This use to be commonly sold in many garden centers throughout the country for just few bucks. Due to the increasing demand of the African evergreen plants, Plant centers ,dealers and online sites sells this between Php 100 to Php 300 depending on the size and variety. This is also popular plant grown in dish garden and terrariums.


Syngonium podophyllum growing on a ficus 

10 Ways to Take Care of Syngonium podophyllum

10.) Synognium and allies are related to Araceae family, Same family as Caladiums, Alocasia, Colocasia, Xanthosoma.

9.) For those living in temperate and sub-tropical climates, This plant prefers indoor temperatures of between 15 C to 18 degrees Celsius during winter time and between 18 to 32 degrees Celsius during summer time.


Syngonium young leaves grown by the author

8.)Feng Shui practitioners consider Syngonium podyphyllum and allies which had a distinctive leaf as lucky plant to grow. Leaves changes from arrow shaped to a five lobed form as it matures. The five lobed shape represents the five elements; water, fire, earth, wood and metal thus provides the perfect balance of Yin Yang as the new leaves are shiny and the older ones are matted with patterns.

This also symbolize re-birth and reborn into another being. One can put this plant in entrance or main windows in homes or business establishments.

7.) Syngonium plants are not just decorative, they have the ability to cleanse the air you, breathe, act as anti-pollutants and can tolerate low light levels.

6.) These are propagated by cuttings rooted over water. Another way to propagate the plant is via air layering or seeds.

5.) Syngonium preferred in bright filtered light. It should never be subjected to direct sunlight, as that would scorch the leaves.

4.) Keep the soil moist during the growing period which occurs mostly in the rainy season. Allow the plant to dry out slightly between watering. Fertilization can be done during its active growth like applying any water soluble fertilizer brand at 1/2 to 1/4 the strength. Organic mixture can also be applied directly into the potting mixture.


Adding Naturamin which can help the crop or ornamental plant to overcome stress like (sprouting, drought, pests and diseases). Try to dilute 3 grams per liter for matured plants. Once to twice a week spray in leaves and in parts of the plant. This comes in 100 grams and 1 kilo package. This is not just good for ornamental plants, but also for orchids, ferns, fruit trees, cacti, palms and vegetables.

Naturamin is distributed by Harbest Agricultural Business Company based in Pasig. The company also have satellite offices in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.


Syngonium growing on a dead tree stump on partial shade

3.) This can be grown in partial shade – For those who have gardens, this can be grown in decorative containers or in terracotta pots with loose and rich soil. Avoid growing this plant in plots and in garden type setting, because this can spread and cover the ground in no time. This can be invasive and can spread in moist places.

2.) Regular pruning during rainy season which also coincide with their growing season will encourage new growths.

1.) There were 36 species with at least a dozen known cultivar varieties grown for indoor plant or horticultural trade.

Sources, References, Bibliography

Personal Interview: Growers and backyard propagators

Royal Horticultural Society of London

Madulid, Domingo; Winner, National Book Award, Science, 1995. Revised Edition, 2000 with 388 pages. Syngonium podophyllum, Araceae pages 99 to 100, Bookmark, Makati, A Pictorial Cyclopedia of Philippine Ornamental Plants.

Screening of the topical anti-inflammatory activity of some Central American plants / S Sosa et al / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Vol 81, Issue 2, July 2002, Pages 211-215/ doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(02)00080-6

Hernandez, J. (2007). In Hawaiian rainforests: exotic aroid ecologies. Aroideana 30: 91-97.

Govaerts, R. & Frodin, D.G. (2002). World Checklist and Bibliography of Araceae (and Acoraceae): 1-560. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

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