Among the members of the huge indoor Aroideae family, Syngonium is the only plant that has not been boasted in the last decade. This Syngonium seems to have been forgotten. It may be because of the rather capricious nature of the syngonium, or its similarity to many large-leaved houseplants. But no other houseplant possesses such variability. the long petioles on which syngonium’s bushy leaves rest bend, forming bizarre contours that add to the unique charm of this twisted vine. You will learn how to grow Syngonium plants in the ThumbGarden article.
DESCRIPTION OF SYNGONIUM PLANT
As its relatives increasingly dominate the shelves of florists and the pages of glossy magazines, Syngonium has lost its former glory. And it is totally undeserved. It is one of the best indoor vines, with its variegated foliage and selection of different colored varieties, its visual elegance, and surprising longevity.
It requires conditions that not everyone can recreate, but if you already have a moisture-loving crop in your collection, Syngonium is one of the best candidates. Syngonium rarely elicits immediate admiration, but it’s still hard to call it dull.
In nature, Syngoniums are truly an American variety. They occur in abundance in rainforests around the globe but have the greatest diversity in South and Central America.
The family Amanitae has many spectacular vines, and Syngonium is one of the more obscure but unconventional plants. It is one of the largest epiphytic indoor lianas. Starting at 15-24 inches (40-60 cm), Syngoniums resemble giant fuzzy or tangled leaves sitting on very long petioles with slender stems barely visible underneath the petiole.
As they age, Syngoniums transform into rather large plants that can exceed 80 inches (2 m) in height. The shoots are thin, unbranched, flexible, airy roots that are barely visible when young and become an important part of the appearance when mature. They grow from the internodes, often almost merging with the petiole, and are only visible up close.
Syngonium is one of the fastest-growing vines. Under comfortable conditions, they can grow up to 31 inches (80 cm) long per year, remaining compact only for the first few years. In addition, the older the syngoniums are, the faster they grow.
Under indoor conditions, vines are most often limited to 40-60 inches (1-1.5 m) when formed. The slender internodes accentuate the beauty of the long petiole and give the plant a visual lightness. Petioles can be up to half a meter long. The petioles are slender, flexible, and often dark in color, making them no less decorative than green plants. They bend and create a lacy, tangled appearance, which allows this Syngonium to remain airy and graceful regardless of size.
TWO TYPES OF LEAVES ON ONE VINE
One of the unique features of the twisted and evasive Syngonium is that there are two types of leaves and a distinct change in appearance as it ages. Young plants have simple leaves, but as they age, Syngonium begins to produce very different, palmate, complex leaves.
The oval lance-shaped leaves of young shrubs are shaped almost like an arrowhead. They are red when they open but soon lose their bright hue. But the younger, lighter-colored leaves, up to 6 inches (15 cm) long, transform quickly.
Older leaves split into wacky lobes, conquering the rugged “finger” plates, growing larger and larger, decorating themselves with flawless lobes. The lighter-colored veins in the darker petioles only emphasize the unusual nature of the plant, folding into beautiful patterns.
The stripes along the veins are asymmetrical and irregular, resembling drops and splashes, and can be warm cream, silver, lettuce, or white.
Syngonium flowers look a little strange on such a vine. Enjoying them in room form is a rare treat. Meanwhile, the exotic green “calla lilies” look very attractive.
The thick rods are hidden under a 4 inch (10 cm) long veil, the inside of which is painted in a bright red color that is unexpectedly expressive compared to the light green exterior color.
TYPES AND VARIETIES OF INDOOR SYNGONIUM PLANTS
One variety of Syngonium is mainly grown as a house plant: Syngonium podophyllum (Arrowhead plant). It is one of those flexible vines with long petioles that change shape to split-finger as it ages.
There are many interesting varieties of this plant with more colorful leaves. “Neon Pink” leaves constantly change hue and repaint until only pink streaks remain on the older leaves.
The variety Aron Brown is almost chocolate. The orange and brown shades on the young leaves of this variety of Syngonium slowly watercolor into a classic dark green. The “Pixie” variety is known more for its smaller leaf size than for its brighter vein pattern.
Among other Syngonium species, Syngonium auritum is a fast-growing vine with thickened shoots and many aerial roots, rarely seen in indoor cultivation. The glossy leaves, up to 13.7 inches (35 cm) long, are beautifully oval-lanceolate in shape, becoming lanceolate with time, and have long half-meter-long stems.
An even rarer species, Syngonium angustatum, did not get its species name by accident. It is an equally large but more elegant vine with slightly shorter petioles and lance-shaped ternary leaves that are strongly pointed even when young. The light veins are very bright and the aerial roots that grow between the nodes are more prominent than in other species.
GROWING CONDITIONS OF SYNGONIUM INDOORS
Syngonium is typically heat and humidity-loving plants that prefer stable growing conditions and do not like change. They will do well in living rooms and offices only if properly cared for, but finding a suitable location is not difficult.
Syngonium is one of the poisonous houseplants and should be handled with special care when pruning and replanting. But they’re also on another list; the best air-purifying plants.
Syngonium in living walls and as separators do very well as a green filter. It is thought that only Spathiphyllum can compete with Sigonium in terms of its ability to absorb formaldehyde.
Lighting and placement
The light-loving Syngoniums do not welcome either strong shade or direct sunlight. They grow well in diffused light, including at a distance from windows. The lack of natural light cannot be compensated for by artificial supplemental lighting, but they offer more horticultural possibilities than most vines. The beauty of the pattern of light can be seen in a bright enough place, and the color of the leaves can be used to judge the comfort of the light.
In winter, it is best to move Syngoniums closer to a window or a room with more light to increase Syngoniums’ light. Some, but not all, of the extra light is acceptable for them. If winter conditions are not corrected, the leaves will begin to shrivel and may lose their characteristic veining altogether. Syngonium is particularly affected by seasonal changes in light.
The best location for Syngonium in the house remains an east or west-facing windowsill, within 40 inches (1 m) inward.
An ornamental deciduous vine with a very long petiole and remarkable flexibility may not be a fashionable beauty today, but it has a unique use.
Syngonium, grow well in rooms with high natural humidity. They are suitable for landscaping in moist bathrooms and kitchens, but in the latter, they should be placed where temperature fluctuations are minimal.
This plant can be used for screens and dividers, guided along with flat or shaped supports, and grown on trellises. Although it is a large vine, Syngonium is also not afraid to grow freely, does not break when hung from high places, and can create waterfalls and green cascades of any kind.
It is one of the most versatile plants in every sense of the word and can form any shape and adapt to any base and task.
Syngonium is often included in complex green walls and screen compositions and for good reason. They are not afraid of their neighbors and other vines and can be used to create complex terraces and waterfalls. Combinations with Rhododendron, Ficus, Ivy, and Wisteria are considered particularly effective.
Temperature control and ventilation
Syngonium is well adapted to room temperature. They like heat so much that they cannot tolerate cold temperatures up to 59 °F (15°C), even in winter. It is one of the vines that prefer uniform temperatures throughout the year; 64-77 °F (18-25°C).
When placing Syngonium, choose a place with stable conditions to prevent drafts and sudden changes. Syngonium likes to dry out, but only if there are no temperature fluctuations. This plant does not tolerate proximity to heating, air conditioning, or ventilation systems.
Syngonium prefers a stable environment and it is best not to bring them into the fresh air unless you can provide them with a sheltered environment.
HOW TO CARE FOR SYNGONIUM PLANTS AT HOME
The main challenge for lovers of these flexible vines remains the maintenance of a comfortable humidity level. If not properly cared for, Syngoniums can easily lose their decorative foliage. Careful observation and protection from any extremes are the main recipes for success. Corrective care is easy, as Syngoniums signal quickly when they are uncomfortable.
Watering and air humidity
Syngonium is equally afraid of over-watering and dryness. Water gently, allowing the substrate to dry out in the middle, but not completely.
Watering should not be too much. In summer, it is best to water frequently with a small amount of water. During the dormant period, water more sparingly and add a 2-3 day pause, but even at this time of year, drought is unacceptable for Syngonium.
In summer, Syngonium should be watered approximately every 2-3 days; in winter, once a week is sufficient. Before each watering, check that the substrate has dried out in the fall and winter. The water should be drained from the tray within 5 minutes at the latest after watering.
Syngonium should only be watered with soft or slightly acidic water; they do not tolerate cold water and are extremely sensitive to water quality.
The moisture-loving nature of Syngoniums is not surprisingly considered the most challenging aspect of their cultivation. Syngonium can only retain decorative foliage when the humidity is above 50%. Even as low as 45% can affect the ornamental nature and color of the leaf tips.
You can maintain optimal humidity for this vine by spraying. When choosing a sprayer, make sure no water droplets appear on the plant’s greenery. If you do not take other measures to increase the humidity in the air, spray daily. But it is much easier to use a more stable environment – install humidifiers or moistened moss trays around the plants.
Hygiene is a must for this plant. Syngonium does not like humidity and showers are best avoided (undesirable due to their brittle nature at maturity and growing on poles), but wiping the leaves is a must. Dust the leaves of Syngonium with a damp soft sponge or cloth.
Fertilizer and fertilizer composition
For Syngonium, feeding needs to be done very carefully. The nutrient content of the soil should be stable, but over-fertilization should be avoided. Fertilize every 2 weeks, halving the manufacturer’s recommended amount in the spring and fall, and maintaining the standard amount in the summer.
Fertilize at this frequency during the growing season, gradually stop fertilizing in the winter, and limit applications to once in January. In the spring, nutrition can also be gradually restored. If plants are repotted, do not fertilize until 4-5 weeks after repotting.
For this vine, it is best to use a special embroidery fertilizer or ornamental leaf mixture. Syngonium are sensitive to excess calcium and prefer nitrogen-rich fertilizers. You can fertilize with organic fertilizers in the summer, but do not change the main fertilizer too often in every 3 applications.
Foliar fertilizers should not be applied to this plant. Long-lasting fertilizers most often result in impaired growth because the substrate is unevenly saturated with nutrients. the only type of fertilizer acceptable to Syngoniums is in liquid form.
Trimming and shaping Syngonium
This vine does not need to be pruned in the traditional sense. However, unbranched shoots can become too long and without stimulation, new shoots will not grow. Shorten the shoots by pinching or removing the top ones as needed.
Young Syngonium stays compact; as they get older, they need support. Sling them as they grow and install supports during transplanting. If plants are growing on walls, trellises, and screens, they should be tied regularly. Syngonium shoots are easily traumatized, and it is best to use soft sisal or other natural materials for support.
Syngonium is a very long-lived plant. However, they are often replaced with younger specimens because not everyone is happy with the dramatic change in appearance and leaf shape or the dramatic increase in length and size.
For those who use young Syngonium is a non-demanding substitute for whole arrow-leaved caladiums, it is best to grow a new generation of arrow-leaved caladiums from cuttings that will root easily if the plant loses its usual appearance.
Transplants, containers, and substrates
Repotting is always done on an as-needed basis. Young Syngoniums may require several container changes during the year, and adult vines should only be transplanted when the substrate assigned is fully mastered and the roots have emerged in the drainage holes.
Syngonium that has room to grow always prefers to replace the top substrate rather than transplant uselessly.
Repotting can be done at any time, even in summer, as long as the plants can be given proper care and conditions. Of course, it should be done in February or March, if possible, before active growth starts, but after the first signs of growth appear.
The choice of containers for Syngonium is very important. They do not tolerate uneven substrate moisture, nor do they have long roots, and should not be planted in pots that are too deep or too bulky. Equal width and depth are best; consider plant stability and the use of heavy-duty drainage materials when choosing the width of the container.
This vine grows only in acidic substrates. When choosing soil, it is best to use a special mix for beetles. Syngonium prefers a fairly coarse soil with a predominance of leafy soil. Even if the substrate is purchased, it is best to supplement it with coarse sand or perlite to prevent compaction. Another ideal addition is peat moss or crushed bark.
Transplant Syngonium by transplanting, protecting the roots from unwanted contact, and removing only the loose soil. The process itself is not difficult, but it is worth paying more attention to the care of the plant after replacing the container.
Syngonium should be left in “mild” conditions for 2-3 weeks, avoiding direct sunlight and high temperatures, and paying special attention to humidity levels. During the acclimation period, water more carefully. It is better to dry out the substrate slightly than to keep the plants in a wetter environment.
Pests and problems of growing Syngonium
This vine is almost flawless under normal care and average humidity. However, if Syngonium suffers from contamination and is grown in a dry environment, pests can spread rapidly.
Aphids, thrips, and thistles love this plant and are difficult to control even with powerful insecticides. The best strategy is to isolate Syngoniums immediately, correct the conditions and start control as early as possible during the infestation stage.
Syngonium usually indicates their own lack of care. Uncomfortable light can change the color of the leaves, and inadequate or excessive fertilization can cause the leaves to turn pale or yellow. Any spots or dry spots on the leaves will only appear when humidity is low. And if the humidity is too high, water droplets will appear on the leaves, sometimes signaling heavy rain, sometimes as a thank you for the right conditions. This signal is more of a positive one. And it does not require any action.
Syngonium plant propagation
Syngonium does not divide into species and does not grow from seed. However, it is one of the easiest plants to cut. When rooted on any node of the substrate, sand, or even water, the plant will actively produce numerous roots.
Both apical cuttings and stem cuttings are suitable for Hoppers. The main thing is to leave at least 2 internodes and to make sure that the growing points are positioned in relation to the cuttings. standard cuttings of Syngonium are about 6 inches (15 cm) long.
Treatment with special rooting preparations can speed up the process by almost 2 times. For rooting, a temperature of 68-77 °F (20-25°C) and stable humidity are sufficient; it is not necessary to keep the plugs in a hood.
Transplant the plugs immediately into individual containers, taking care to choose compact pots. Pruning at the sixth leaf stage will stimulate rooting and allow immediate establishment. Young monocotyledons are very sensitive to humidity.