Arrowhead plants make excellent houseplants because they are easy to care for, come in various colors, and tolerate common household conditions.
However, one thing they do not tolerate is the wrong soil condition, leading to many different problems.
Generally, the Arrowhead plant thrives in chunky, organic potting mix with soil, orchid bark, and perlite that stays slightly acidic (5.5-6.5) and moist without being too soggy. Moreover, they prefer mild plant food once every month.
Common problems include compact soil, stunted growth, lousy odor, yellowing, and fungal infestation.
Therefore, you should be awry about the choice of soil and chemical nutrients you provide to avoid a sick-looking plant.
Read on to find out how to prepare the best soil mix and apply fertilizer without damaging them.
Table of Contents
- What Kind of Soil does Arrowhead Plant Prefer?
- Factors to Consider for Appropriate Arrowhead Soil
- Prepping the Soil/Potting Mix for Arrowhead
- Best Soil Mix for Arrowhead Plant: For Sale
- Signs of Wrong Potting Mix for Arrowhead Plant
- Does Arrowhead Plant Need Fertilizers?
What Kind of Soil does Arrowhead Plant Prefer?
The Arrowhead plant, also known as Syngonium Podophyllum, is native to tropical forests of South America.
The tropical forestland boasts well-draining yet poor quality soil (Ultisols, Oxisols, Andisols, Spodosols, and Alfisols), but plants like Arrowhead seem to thrive in it.
It is only because the soil has a highly nutritious top layer of decomposed material that provides most of the nutrients.
Therefore, your Arrowhead plant at home would require similar porous and well-draining soil to thrive.
Regarding lack of nutrients, fertilizing plays a crucial role in providing required nutrients for the plant’s healthy growth.
Here is a table describing the optimal soil condition for all varieties of Arrowhead plants.
|Soil Type||Loose, porous, and well-draining soil
(fast-draining soil works well when watering is regular)
|Soil Material||Regular potting soil with organic materials such as peat moss, perlite, pumice, composted bark, pine bark, rice hulls, etc.|
|Soil pH Level||Slightly Acidic (5.5-6.5)|
|Soil Compaction||Slight or None
(Excess fertilization and under-watering will cause compaction)
|Soil Drainage||1-2 inches per hour|
|Texture||Loamy, dark, and less compact|
|Water Retention Capability||Over 40%|
|Soil Temperature||60°F to 85°F in spring and summer
Nothing less than 55°F in fall and winter
|Supplementary Nutrients||The proportional amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium with micronutrients like iron, nickel, calcium, sulfur, and Copper-Boron.|
|Soil Toxicity||Pesticide and fertilizer salts like Aluminum, Lead, and Chromated copper arsenate will lead to soil toxicity|
|Soil Change||Every 12-24 months|
According to Science Direct, a plant with poor water retentaining soil quality has a slow root growth.
Factors to Consider for Appropriate Arrowhead Soil
Here are a few serious factors you should consider when choosing Arrowhead soil.
It may seem overwhelming at first, but you will get used to it as you continue the plant care.
1. Soil Moisture
Soil moisture plays a vital role in ensuring a healthy plant because soggy soil will lead to fungal infection, and dry soil will choke the plant roots.
Like any tropical houseplant, Arrowhead suffers from high soil moisture because its roots will drown in excess water.
Similarly, its roots will fail to absorb nutrients and water when the soil dries up, usually 80-90%.
Therefore, the key is to provide a well-draining soil that absorbs adequate moisture and helps supply the maximum amount of nutrients to the roots.
Moreover, a regular watering schedule will prevent the soil from compacting.
2. Drainage Capacity of Soil
Drainage ability is another crucial factor for Arrowhead plant soil.
A less draining soil means the plant is sitting in too much water, while fast-draining soil indicates a drier potting medium.
The plant will tolerate fast-draining soil compared to less draining until you ensure to regularly water it.
Experts advise that tropical houseplants will thrive in soil with ideal drainage of around 1-2 inches per hour.
However, it will depend on whether the plant is grown indoors or outdoor and the size and material of the pot.
Always choose free-draining soil for the Arrowhead plant to avoid decreased aeration and quick soil compaction.
Note: Choose a clay or terracotta pot that allows good drainage. Otherwise, pick pots with multiple drainage holes when choosing plastic or terracotta pot.
3. Nutrients and Organic Matters
It is essential to talk about Arrowhead plant nutrition because the standard soil mix fails to provide the required nutrients to the plant.
Although the soil condition is correct, it will still lack essential macro and micronutrients for healthy plant growth.
Therefore, you should maintain adequate nutrients in the soil to keep it healthy. Moreover, nutrients in the soil will prevent it from quickly drying out.
Here is the list of nutrients required by Arrowhead plants.
|Macronutrients (Primary nutrients)||Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium.|
|Micronutrients (Minor nutrients)||Iron, Boron, Chlorine, Copper, Zinc, etc.|
|Secondary Nutrients (Secondary nutrients)||Calcium, Magnesium, Sulphur, etc.|
Provide a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10 or 20-20-20) once a month every spring and summer to boost the number of nutrients in the soil.
On the other hand, organic matters will help retain soil quality and drainage.
Alternatively, you can top it off with compost to provide organic nutrients and healthy microorganisms to the soil.
4. Soil Compact and Aeration
Indeed, houseplant soil should be slightly compact before being watered again, but it does not mean you should let it dry out completely.
Soil compactness and aeration quality of the soil will determine whether your Arrowhead plant will thrive or fail to bloom.
You should naturally choose potting materials that boost aeration, including perlite, pumice, pine barks, and charcoal, to help the roots obtain more oxygen and necessary nutrients.
According to BMC, soil aeration also negates the negative effect of Sodium Chloride (Salt).
Good soil aeration enhances root development, while slight soil compaction will support root growth.
Therefore, waiting for the top 2-inches of soil or 75% of topsoil to dry out between watering will support root growth.
5. Balanced Soil Temperature
A balanced soil temperature indicates that your Arrowhead plant is growing in a suitable condition.
Generally, the soil temperature should stay between 65 to 85°F at all times to support the photosynthesis process.
Your Arrowhead plant will thrive in a soil temperature of around 70°F (21°C) during the day.
However, ensure the temperature does not dwindle and goes below 55°F at night.
When the weather gets cooler, usually in late fall and winter, you should move your plant to a warm location inside the house.
Pro Tip: Insulating the soil with mulch or adding a heating mat underneath will help compensate for lost soil temperature.
6. Correct Soil pH
Tropical plants thrive in acidic soil conditions because slight acidity will quickly break down the nutrients available to the plant roots.
Arrowhead plants will thrive in slightly acidic soil ranging from 5.5 to 6.5 pH levels, which helps break down nutrients for the plant roots and boost their nutrient uptake.
On the other hand, the alkaline soil will release excess sodium that will slow down plant growth.
Therefore, prepare an ideal potting mix that retains less pH.
Otherwise, introduce crushed sulfur and ammonium-based nitrogen into the soil to naturally decrease the pH level.
However, keep in mind the toxicity of low pH levels on the plant, including Aluminum and manganese toxicity and lack of calcium, which will drastically hinder the root, stems, and foliage development.
Prepping the Soil/Potting Mix for Arrowhead
Arrowhead plant requires a general aroid mix that contains an equal part of regular potting mix, perlite, and orchid bark.
This type of soil is considered best for Syngonium plants as it allows well-drainage and aeration. They like to stay in slightly moist soil with air pockets.
However, the correct balance is necessary to avoid soggy or dry soil.
Here is a list of potting mix items ideal for Arrowhead plants.
|Coconut Coir||1. Does not alter soil pH
2. Holds moisture in soil
3. Makes soil porous and light
|Potting Soil||1. To retain moisture and nutrients
2. To hold other elements in place
3. To provide anchorage for the roots
|Peat Moss||1. Retains soil moisture
2. Holds Nutrients
3. Enhances Soil Aeration
|Perlite||1. Makes soil light and porous.
2. Improves drainage
3. Helps retain Water
|Compost/Worm Casting||1. Encourages healthy microbial growth
3. Nutrient packed
|Orchid Bark||1. It keeps the medium light
2. It prevents soil compaction
3. It circulates air in the soil
Here are some favorite homemade recipes for preparing the ideal Arrowhead potting mix.
- 30% Potting soil
- 20% Peat
- 40% Orchid bark
- 10% Perlite or Pumice
- Some shredded sphagnum moss
- A handful of horticultural charcoal
- 25% Coco coir
- The exact amount of Orchid bark
- 25% Perlite or Pumice
- 5% horticultural charcoal
- 10% Worm castings
- 35-45% peat moss
- Equal amount of humus and perlite
- A handful of horticultural charcoal
Adding bark, perlite, or pumice helps create air pockets, increasing the oxygen supply to the roots.
Consider using the above-given recipe to prepare the ideal potting mix, as the lack of these materials will likely cause slowed growth.
Best Soil Mix for Arrowhead Plant: For Sale
Alternatively, you can purchase a commercial potting mix for your Arrowhead plant.
However, the market is flooded with different types of potting mixes that claim to be the best.
Here are a few commercial potting mix options for your Arrowhead plant.
|Noot Organic Indoor Plant Soilless Potting Mix||1. All-purpose mix for aroid plants|
2. Contains 10-15-12 NPK fertilizer beforehand
3. Safe for pets and children
|Miracle-Gro Potting Mix||1. It contains processed peat, coir, and compost|
2. Provides the fast-draining ability
3. Applicable for all flowering plants
|Espoma Organic Potting Soil Mix||1. A rich blend of sphagnum peat moss, humus, and perlite|
2. Supplemented with earthworm casting, alfalfa, and kelp meal
|All Natural Orchid Potting Mix||1. An all-purpose blend containing charcoal, sponge rock, pine bark, and coconut chips|
2. Promotes good aeration and drainage
|Burpee Organic Mix||1. Formulated with coconut coir|
2. Ensure vibrant blossom
3. OMRI listed for organic use
Signs of Wrong Potting Mix for Arrowhead Plant
The problems with the Arrowhead plant are quite graphic regarding inappropriate growing conditions.
Generally, poor soil conditions will invite many issues that must be dealt with promptly.
Some of the common signs of wrong potting mix include the following.
|Soil Compaction||1. Overfertilization and drought will lead to soil compaction.
2. The soil microorganisms will die, leading to a sterile potting medium.
3. Root, stem, and leaves dry due to transpiration and turn brownish.
|Low Water Infiltration||1. Compact soil has fewer pores to pass water, leading to low infiltration.
2. It leads to water restriction (less than 0.06 inches per hour).
3. It is indicated by browning leaf tips and edges.
|Waterlogged||1. Water saturation will drown the roots.
2. It will lead to root rot and stem decay.
3. Yellowing and browning of leaves.
4. Slow growth, mushy stems, and deformed leaves.
|Soil Contamination||1. Fungal infestation, fertilizer salts, and pesticides will lead to soil contamination.
2. Discolored soil and unusual odor.
3. Stunted growth, followed by slow death.
|Bad Odor in Soil||1. It indicates inadequate drainage or a lack of oxygen.
2. Waterlogged, low water infiltration, and sterile soil condition.
3. It will invite root rot.
|Mold and Pests Infestation||1. Excess humidity and wet conditions will invite mold and pests.
2. Leaf discoloration, yellowing, brown patches, and holes.
3. Mushy stems and roots.
|Yellowing or Drooping Leaves||1. It indicates inadequate aeration due to waterlogged or compact soil.
2. The foliage will begin to droop and turn yellow.
3. The yellowing will gradually invite leaf browning and decay.
Find out why your Arrowhead plant is limping and drooping.
Does Arrowhead Plant Need Fertilizers?
Your Arrowhead plant will witness a slowed growth when you fail to provide essential nutrients.
As the potting mix lacks essential macro and micronutrients, you should resort to fertilizer your plant with appropriate plant food.
In general, the Arrowhead plant requires fertilizing once or twice a month with a balanced fertilizer.
The following nutrients are more vital for Arrowhead growth and healthy foliage.
|Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium||1. It boosts water regulation, boosts immunity, and encourages root growth.
2. It helps induce vertical growth, green vegetation, cell growth, and protein synthesis.
|Iron, Nickel, Copper-Boron, Zinc, Chlorine, and Manganese||1. It helps induce quicker and bushier growth.
2. It maintains healthy root conditions and soil microorganisms.
|Calcium, Sulphur, and Magnesium||1. Trace elements help to maintain the plant’s immune system.
2. It boosts metabolism and helps retain nutrients.
However, do not forget to dilute the solution to half strength for monthly feeding and 1/4 strength for fortnightly feeding.
Excess fertilization will give tell-tale signs such as yellowing and browning leaves, light-colored or sterile soil, compaction, and stunted plant growth.
Best Arrowhead Plant Fertilizers to Use
The market is flooded with various synthetic fertilizers; however, excessive use of synthetic fertilizers will degrade the soil quality over time due to salt buildup.
Therefore, you should resort to organic fertilizer to maintain the soil quality over a long period.
Here is the list of organic liquid fertilizers appropriate for the Arrowhead plant.
|Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food||1. All-purpose plant food with a balanced NPK ratio.|
2. Entirely safe for the plant.
3. Water-soluble property prevents root burn and works instantly
|J R Peters 52024 Jacks Classic No.1.5||1. All-purpose plant food with a 20-20-20 NPK ratio.|
2. It contains NPK with potash, phosphate, boron, and copper.
3. It provides rapid leaf expansion and green color.
|Espoma Company Organic Indoor Plant Food||1. Best indoor plant food with a 2-2-2 NPK ratio.|
2. Completely safe to use around kids and pets.
3. It prevents the risk of root burn
Alternatively, you can choose slow-release fertilizer once every three months to prevent the risk of over-fertilizing the plant.
Choose Osmocote Smart-release plant food with eleven essential nutrients.
Find out more about 10 Best Fertilizer for Indoor Herbs.
How to Apply the Fertilizer?
- Mix the liquid concentrate in a jar or can of water at a 1:1 ratio.
- Sprinkle over the soil at some distance away from the plant root.
- Water the plant to help the nutrients spread across the pot.
- In the case of slow-release fertilizer, spread the pellets around the plant and water thoroughly afterward.
A healthy potting medium ensures the healthy growth of the plant, ensuring lush, green spearheaded leaves.
The Arrowhead plant will do well without excessive and expensive care.
All you need to do is ensure to follow the regular care guide, use the correct potting mix, and change the soil every 1-2 years.
Follow this guide to check your Arrowhead plant soil and nutritional requirements!
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