If your prized Arrowhead plant (Syngonium podophyllum) doesn’t look quite right, with drooping leaves and an unhealthy appearance, this article can help. I’m going to help you find out why your Arrowhead plant is drooping, and what you can do to get your plant thriving again.
The most common causes for your Arrowhead plant drooping are overwatering and underwatering. Other possible causes include low humidity levels, insufficient lighting, fertilizer issues, or temperature stress. It is crucial to correctly identify the problem in order to fix your plant.
Generally, an Arrowhead plant (Syngonium podophyllum) is easy to care for, but if you notice your Arrowhead plant’s leaves are drooping, there is almost certainly a problem with it. Take some time to examine your plant and you should be able to pinpoint what the issue is. This piece will go through the potential causes of Arrowhead leaves drooping and give you some useful solutions to find the issue and correct it.
Is Your Arrowhead Plant Drooping Due To Underwatering?
If the leaves are drooping the first thing to do is check the soil’s moisture level and make sure that you aren’t under-watering your plant. It’s all too easy to forget to water your houseplants from time to time, and drooping and wilting foliage is often the result.
Thankfully, this is one of the easiest causes to identify, and your plant should recover when normal watering is resumed. Look for the following signs that your Arrowhead plant is being underwatered;
- The first thing you should do is examine the soil to see how dry it is. Poke your finger into the soil, and if more than the top inch (2.5cm) of soil feels dry, then underwatering may be the cause of your Arrowhead plant drooping.
- Lift the pot to see how light it feels – dry soil will feel much lighter than wet soil.
- Feel the soil through the bottom drainage holes to see if the soil feels dry right to the bottom.
- Look for other symptoms of underwatering, including dry, brown, crispy leaf edges and tips.
- Bear in mind that your Arrowhead plant will need more water when it is actively growing, or in warmer conditions. The soil will likely dry out faster in spring and summer than it will in winter, making underwatering more likely.
Without water, the roots will dry out and it won’t transport moisture to its stems or leaves, resulting in wilting leaves and the entire Arrowhead plant drooping.
Most Arrowhead plants will recover once a normal watering regime is resumed. Check your plant every few days and water once the top inch of soil feels dry. Any foliage that has turned brown and crispy will not recover, but a healthy plant will soon produce lots of new, healthy leaves. Wait until the plant is growing strongly again before pruning off damaged foliage.
Could You Be Over-Watering?
Over-watering is an equally common cause of an Arrowhead plant drooping but can have much more serious consequences for your plant. If you overwater your plant you’re in danger of drowning it.
Overwatering doesn’t just mean watering too often. Any factor that causes the soil to be waterlogged or poorly aerated for a prolonged time will result in the same outcome – root rot and a very sick or dying Arrowhead plant.
There are several symptoms that you can examine to see if this is the cause of your Arrowhead’s droopy leaves:
- Wet soil. If the soil doesn’t dry out and still feels wet 10 or more days after you’ve watered it then overwatering is the likely cause of your Arrowhead plant wilting.
- Generalized leaf yellowing, often starting with the bottom leaves first is a common cause.
- If there’s a bad smell coming from your Arrowhead plant, and the soil is soggy, the water has likely rotted your leaves. Smell the base of the plant to see if this is the case. You’ll need to deal with your plant quickly to stop it from dying.
- Check your pot and make sure it’s draining properly; you should always pot your Arrowhead plant in something with drainage holes.
How To Water Your Arrowhead Plant Properly To Prevent It Drooping
- Make sure your plant is potting in a pot with drainage holes and the potting soil is well-draining. Read my guide to houseplant soil for more information.
- Avoid watering on a schedule, but monitor the dryness of the soil over time, to decide when to water.
- Water your plant thoroughly from the top. It is generally better to avoid getting the foliage wet if possible.
- Wet the soil fully. If water pools on the surface, stop for a minute to let the water sink in.
- Continue watering until water runs freely from the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
- Let all excess water drain from the pot, before putting your plant back in its normal place.
- If you water your plants while they are on a drip tray or in an outer decorative pot, don’t forget to drain the excess water after a few minutes. Arrowhead Plants hate sitting in soggy soil or having a pool of water at the bottom of the pot. This can lead to root rot.
- If the soil dries out within just a few days, this may be a sign your plant needs a bigger pot. If the soil is usually still very wet after 10 days, it is at risk of root rot.
- The size of pot, type of soil, pot drainage, plant water requirements and environmental conditions can all greatly impact how you water your Arrowhead plant. Read my guide to watering houseplants to learn more.
Other Reasons Why Your Arrowhead Plant Is Drooping
Arrowhead plants (Syngonium podophyllum) come from hot and humid South and Central America so they’re classed as tropical houseplants. Your Arrowhead plant is happiest in a humid environment. Low humidity can result in your Arrowhead plant drooping, particularly if accompanied by reduced watering.
If humidity levels in your home are <30% and all other aspects of care seem to be ok, you should increase the humidity level for your plant. I use this digital hygrometer/thermometer to monitor the humidity and temperature around my houseplants. It’s a really handy and inexpensive gadget that helps greatly to keep your houseplants thriving.
You can improve humidity levels in a number of ways.
- Group your plants together – The increased transpiration will increase local humidity for all your plants.
- Place your Arrowhead Plant on a humidity tray. As the water evaporates, it increases humidity levels in the immediate vicinity of the plant. Take care to ensure the base of the pot is not sitting in water.
- Use a humidifier to quickly and easily boost humidity levels considerably. Misting is generally ineffective.
- Avoid misting your Arrowhead plant, as this is not very effective for increasing humidity levels and can increase the risk of disease developing.
As a best practice tip, avoid placing your Arrowhead houseplant in a very dry room; keep it away from central heating or vents.
Remember to keep your Arrowhead plant at its preferred temperature of 60°F to 85°F (15°C to 29°C). If your room drops to below 10 ºC (50 ºF), it can result in your Arrowhead plant drooping due to temperature stress.
Drafty windows can sometimes cause problems in winter, even if the rest of your house feels warm. If I suspect a temperature problem, I place my digital thermometer beside the plant for a few days. This records the minimum and maximum temperatures, so I get a good idea if there is a problem.
Fertilizer Problems Causing Drooping
You’re more likely to run into problems with over-fertilizing than underfertilizing, so take care not to overdo it. Too much fertilizer can damage the roots, preventing them from working properly and resulting in your Arrowhead plant drooping.
Look for white crusting on the soil surface as a sign of fertilizer accumulation. Think about how often you have been fertilizing your Arrowhead plant, what you have been using and how strong it is.
To fix an overfertilized Arrowhead plant, flush the soil with water. Take your plant to the sink and run water through the soil for 5 minutes or more. This will help to flush excess fertilizer salts out of the soil. I normally do this for all my houseplants a few times a year as a precautionary measure.
In the spring and summer, your Arrowhead plant will benefit from fertilizer every month. While your Arrowhead doesn’t require lots of feeding, this will help it to grow healthily and keep those leaves perky.
An all-purpose, balanced houseplant fertilizer, applied monthly through the growing season will work well. I normally dilute any all-purpose fertilizer to half the recommended concentration to reduce the risk of overfertilizing. There are loads of options when it comes to fertilizing your houseplants, and I go into more detail about all of this here.
Occasionally, if an Arrowhead plant has not been repotted or fertilized for several years, it can droop due to under-fertilizing. Look for small, lightly colored, yellowing leaves, sparse, leggy growth. Usually, an under-fertilized Arrowhead plant will respond brilliantly to an application of fertilizer, springing back to life and producing new growth within weeks.
Is Your Arrowhead Plant Drooping Due To Poor Lighting?
Arrowhead plants aren’t overly sensitive to light and can tolerate moderately low-light areas. However, your Arrowhead plant will grow much more strongly and produce healthier growth in an area where it gets plenty of bright, indirect light.
An Arrowhead plant left in a dark corner or a room with minimal light will start to look straggly, with sparse growth. Initially, the leaves will turn darker green as they try to absorb as much of the available light. Later on, the leaves will start yellowing and the whole plant can droop and look very sad indeed.
The solution is to move your Arrowhead to a well-lit area. Bright light, without much if any direct sunlight is the best option. Read my article to learn exactly what I mean when I say bright, indirect light, and how to position your houseplants just right.
Is Your Arrowhead Plant Still Drooping? Consider if it Needs Re-Potting
Sometimes, overcrowding in a pot could result in an unhappy, droopy Arrowhead Plant but don’t be tempted to repot your Arrowhead unless it is necessary because generally, they are slow growers. You should only need to repot your Arrowhead houseplant every few years.
You’ll know when it outgrows its pot because it will look too big, have roots growing out of the pot’s drainage holes, and need watered very frequently. Read my guide to repotting root bound plants for a step by step guide to repotting your Arrowhead plant properly.
If your arrowhead plant is drooping, first check for a watering problem. You should water your Arrowhead plant when the top inch (2.5cm) dries out. Underwatering will cause your Arrowhead plant to struggle, but overwatering can be deadly.
If watering problems aren’t the cause of your Arrowhead plant drooping, carefully examine your plant for signs of other care problems. Fixing your plant will be easy if you take the time to correctly identify the problem.
If you’d like to become a houseplant expert, and learn the skills you need to keep your houseplants thriving and free from problems, check out my book, Houseplants Made Easy.