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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Syngonium podophyllum - Names & Images

 I would like to introduce a New Series on Indoor Plants
and hope to come up with 10 Best Indoor Plants for Beginners.

I'm guessing that if you had already had hands on other hardy plants and you are ready for a new challenge - these fall in more less as medium level plant to grow and maintenance.

Let me introduce these plants - Syngonium  podophyllum
commonly known as Arrowhead Plant, Arrowhead vine, or Goose foot plant.
I had initially called them as Goose foot plant & labeled them as such in my previous posts.

Here in the Collection:

Syngonium podophyllum "Pink Allusion"

Syngonium podophyllum "White Butterfly"

Syngonium podophyllum "Mango Allusion" (Juvenile version)
Syngonium podophyllum "Mango Allusion" (mature version)

Syngonium podophyllum "Mini Pixie"

Syngonium podophyllum "Cream Allusion"
Syngonium podophyllum "Cream Allusion" (a bold version)
Syngonium podophyllum "Exotic Allusion"

Syngonium podophyllum "Holly"

Syngonium podophyllum "Pink Splash" 

Syngonium podophyllum albo-variegatum “Marble” (not owned it yet)

Even though their similarities are very close with the pothos species, 
philodendron somehow falls more on a high end category on care and maintenance.
The common hardy ones seems to fair well in the harsh tropical outdoor climate.

A common thought by majority of people here often put them in a cup filled with water
with few colored stones or marbles and often take them for granted as they tolerate well in water.
(You might had seen them on the receptionist desk top)

I find the invasive type found in the wild somehow manage to be the alpha in many zone - but not particularly the hybrids - they tend to die easily if proper care is not given.

I wouldn't recommend the newer variegated hybrids for new beginners as they are slightly more pricey and difficult to care for. Here are the few collection of which I had planted together in a combo arrangement as I just love the color tones that goes well with other indoor kinds.

I had hard time trying to find out the various hybrids and cultivars. 

The ones that gave me the headache identifying most of them which appears to be so similar with many different names. I'm just going with my gut feeling and the most basic common names.

Hope I'm right in identifying them.

Here picture top :
Syngonium podophyllum "Pink Allusion"

It appears to have several similar names like neon, and sort of a horrible mental fatigue on verifying which information is actually accurate. I had almost gave up. Well, for consolation - I would consider this as for my own identification and compilation for personal reference.

And so my focus on these plants will be more on the experience in handling them rather than vague base information which is commonly found in most plant websites.

I would strongly recommend that if you decide to have a syngonium plant, 
try your best to get your hands on this particular pink one. 
It's relatively hardy and easy to care for. 

This one requires bright indirect light to give that brilliant pink coloration. 
Too shaded and this will slowly revert to the greener side.

I find generally the juvenile version of this plant is more interesting with almost like a spade shape. Unlike Monstera where the big leaves and its features are highly valued;

These matured ones seemed to produce extra lobes with thick stems and these will revert to a wilder side. I doubt anyone is very interested in growing them in the mature stage as these are grown more on the indoor setting.

As you can note in the picture below:
The bigger the leaf, the lesser the pink coloration. 
I would suggest to keep this plant compact and small, pruning them often in keeping them compact and well rounded.


Here picture top :
Syngonium podophyllum "White Butterfly"

These looks so immaculately white, almost cream like when kept in bright shade. 
Sort of innocence and the foliage display is so unreal, almost plastic like. 

That would last if they are kept in confined space. 
If you let it grow it wildly, the green version will overtake the plant and the wild side sort of morphed into it and the lime coloured 5 lobed monster.

So yeah, Beware of the monster...
Oh! How I wished it was a Monstera.. 
But it's not..

White Butterfly is very stable unlike other varieties, 
so far I never seen these never turn green. 
The green with white splashed colored varieties however has a darker side hidden wild side.

The White Butterfly shines upfront against the backdrop.

Here picture top : (Juvenile version)
Syngonium podophyllum "Mango Allusion"

This one really proved to be a tricky plant. 
It had been constantly morph it's coloration and I often thought that I had totally lost this plant or the other. 

discovering that their juvenile version and the mature version have different coloration.

Even in deep shade, 
it reverts into that army green color scheme. 
The brilliant red sparks diminishes. 

An elusive plant indeed with hidden agenda to conceal more of its secrets. 
I almost thought that this was a "Maria" version.

The matured version reveals the orange sinister, 
showing me her true colours..

I almost cussed "Bloody Arrow Head" thinking
I had totally lost a species as I cannot find that damned "Mango"

Yeah.. They started to play tricks on me.
Have you ever felt cheated and lost,
especially when you thought you placed a potted plant in a certain location, 
very certain that you placed it there but your memory fails and you start thinking that the plant had died and the species lost.

Then eagerly search everywhere hoping that you took a spare cutting and planted it elsewhere, just in case these things might just accidentally happen.

Oh! What a procrastination had caused such a fatal damage. 
The horrible thought of having a confidence that this one won't fail on you.

After all, aren't Syngonium notoriously known for the invasive side in its genes?
But the last thing to expect to find the plant missing and the awakening to a horrible nightmare that the neglected plant died...

Yeah.. Syngoniums, Pothos, Philodendrons and these kinds does that...

Here picture top : (mature version)
Syngonium podophyllum "Mango Allusion"

I wouldn't say I'm lucky as I had lost countless plants in the process like this experience. I learned to accept to garden as it goes by. 

It's not what grows rather experiencing the process of gardening that counts. 
After all, all that grows does have it's life cycle - Nothing last forever..

At the end, 
a gardener learns and grows with the garden and become one in nature with it.

After all,
Seeing the Big Picture makes a huge difference. 
If not, one will fall into an abyss of always in wanting and hoarding with no ends to constantly purchasing plants without restraint.

I guess I had spoken the very heart of the matter in being prudent in having a collection. 

I guess having everything is not possible, 
the wise thing to do is what pleases you the most in what you actually want for a collection. That would be very practical and ideal to consider first before starting the collection in the garden.

Here picture top :
Syngonium podophyllum "Mini Pixie"

This version proves elusive. 
A small plant can be costly and due to its side it can easily get hidden, lost and forgotten.

I had purchased this twice and this one had a slowly died on me. I'm guessing that this mini version is very ideal for terrarium set up with proves to have a very good control protected humidity and very much doubt that this will grow into a huge wild side.

Still, its truly a beautiful plant indeed. 
I would definite grow this one again when I find a good spot for it in my garden,
until then it will be in my KIV list.

Here picture top :
Syngonium podophyllum "Cream Allusion"

This one is recently introduced in the market few years ago.
The foliage is very much lime to cream colored with pink veins at midrib.

Very much earlier, I took this for granted as these features can be easily missed. The strong feature that makes this outstanding is the cream/lime green foliage that makes all the difference in the dark green background.

It might look like the leaf had passed it's prime but it's not.

I believe this the strong version of the "Cream Allusion" side. 
The leaves are very evident with the green features, sort of showing of her colors..
"Get it?"

I had hard time researching for this ID.
My closest guess:
This could be either, Syngonium podophyllum "Exotic", "Pearl", "Holly" or "Silver"

Until I can a proper confirmation of their true identity.
I'm calling this Syngonium podophyllum "Exotic Allusion" for now.

The foliage appeared to be more oval shaped without the usual spade shape.

This is another No ID plant, searching for the ID was so frustrating.
As some random names like "Holly", "Silver" and "Ribbon" showed up.

The challenge of searching for names seemed to be increasing difficult as I notice the vendors seemed to name them based on their wimps and fancies.. 
and there goes their specific true names out of the window.
Until I can a proper confirmation of their true identity.
I'm calling this Syngonium podophyllum "Holly" for now.

Here picture top :
Syngonium podophyllum "Pink Splash"

These are what I found sold in a high priced nursery of which I dare not ask or even want to know. Regardless, I was curious on what was available in the market currently.

Here picture top :
Syngonium podophyllum albo-variegatum “Marble”

I believe these are sold at cut throat prices. 
These white variegation are considered very rare and expensive.

However, these are the common ones which is easily available and sold in bulk.
The versions are somehow sold in batches released slowly year after year.

The past versions may not available in the market anymore,
sort of making things a little bit more interesting.

Normally the nurseries that sells them focus on one or two versions only
and may not supply them any longer once they had exhausted their stock.

There is another thing about an error of calling this plant as "Nephthytis".
Actually this ones are not nephthytis which is totally a different plant genus that is not related to Syngonium species. 

Regardless, some vendor still use this name to sell their plants using this ID.

How to Care for Syngonium:
Very similar needs equivalent to pothos, philodendron and it's kind.
There are no "only one way" to care and grow them.
I handle mine more in a heavy watering regime - like an aquatic zone and these had acclimated in my zone and conditions.

Some say not to drown them in water,
others water them in intervals as letting them to dry out before the next watering
(keeping them more on the drier side)
What I can suggest to you is to experiment and observe what works best for you.

But there are some exceptions that need to be observed such as:

1) They don't do well with conventional fertilizers.
One of my botanist friend mentioned to me that they produce their own nitrogen and therefore anything extra can be fatal for these kind of species. I would suggest to use the high quality foliage fertilizer with half strength dilution and observe and see how the plant behaves. If it doesn't suffer any burns and shows a robust growth then that dosage is ideal for them.

2) These are very much epiphytes - and so they prepare some sort of trailing, hanging, dangling and tangling. Their roots don't go deep, so deep pots are quite unnecessary.
An ideal pot or garden space would be one with a totem for it to cling on.
Unless it's the large variety, the common ones falls in this category.

3) I don't expect them to survive if they start to rot and turn yellow but pruning them before the rot spreading to other healthy plant is a very important.
Somehow - I find that it can be infected with bacteria (rot) which can be infectious.

4) Most of these hybrids are very sensitive to pest attack,
especially scale insect and mealy bug and these are often hidden in between the node (leaf and stalk)
And worst - they are not easy to eradicate and need a long process of pesticide regime.
- and so, take good care to check the plant before purchase before introducing them into your garden.
5) The Main Key Element:
Bright Indirect Light, Fast Draining Medium & Well Balanced Watering Regime.
This dictates the success of growth & maintenance of this particular genus.

The Best Reasons Why You Should Grow Sygnoniums:

1) Absorbs Toxins from the Living Space:
According to NASA study,
this plant is capable of purifying air by removing some toxin element
such as formaldehyde,benzene, xylene and toluene from indoor environment.

It's also very effective to grow these in a carpark / lift lobby areas as the air can be damp and stale.
The best plant to grow as it also serve to purify toxins like carbon monoxide which is quite fatal for us.

2) Absorbs Odors from the Living Space
Ideal for damp and no or less air movement space or room.

3) Extremely Care-Free Maintenance Plant
This plant can tolerate both low light & bright light areas.
Also you can neglect on the watering regime. It can also tolerate infrequent watering.

This plant is more on the wet side. It can thrive very well in wet environment.

How to Propagate Syngonium:

Unlike most plants, this one rarely form seeds.
The best practical way to propagate them is through stem cuttings. The only setback is that this one is considered more sensitive and so more care is required as the cutting do not succumb to stem rot.

1) Always (I mean the Emphasis) Sterile the Tools before using them.
You can either wash them first soap and soak the cutting tool (scissors or knife) with alcohol or heat up on fire.
Again, do not immediately use a hot burning scissors, wait for it to cool down.
 (I almost forgot and was about to cut a plant - almost cooked it in the process)

2) Rooting in Water.
To change the water often on daily basis if you are rooting the cutting in water. This will keep the water fresh from harboring bacteria that might cause further damage in stem or root rot.

3) Gentle on the New Roots
Keep the medium ready, Put in the plant first and pour in the medium and compress gently. I had seen people roughly force the cutting into a hardened potted medium and the stem snaps in that process.

Do share with me your thoughts and experience with your sygnoniums in comment box below:
Why you find them special and gives you that joyful, fulfilling garden experience.


Unknown said...

Dear James, I enjoyed reading your advice on caring for syngoniums. Since the MCO i have become the owner of plants inside my home including the syngonium. Thank you for your insights on the plant. Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

James David said...

Hi, You are most welcome.
Glad you enjoyed my garden endeavors.

Axiao said...

Wow, you have a lot of syngoniums, and you are based in Malaysia too.

I was searching for syngonium pictures to match with my collection and bump to your page.
very Informative!

Just started my planting journey and I particularly like syngoniums.
Easy to care, and the colors are beautiful.

If you have instagram, my IG handle is shiaoplants.
I'm compiling my syngoniums colelction.

Anonymous said...

D. Michigan USA

great article/blog. I had been looking for good illustrations of syngonium varieties and this helped so much! I collected them 25 years ago when there were far fewer kinds available and it looks like I am getting the "itch' to collect them again. thanks for all the great information!

James David said...

Hi Axiao,

Glad you liked my blog and the research I had put in there. All the best in your plant collection.

Hello D. Michigan USA,
Yes I believe so in those days there were fewer hybrids to begin with. As for now -there are so many hybrids and their prices are just above the roof.
Good luck in your collection

Anonymous said...

Hello! Thanks for such an informative post. Just one thing though, the one you guessed as syngonium holly is actually called syngonium ribbon, I have a couple of those, the one in the photo seems to have a lot of new leaves as they are so pale, older leaves have a much darker green margin.

James David said...

Indeed - I'm not sure as some similar names like "Holly", "Silver" and "Ribbon" showed up.
Thanks for your input and suggestion.

About Me

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Tropical Garden, Batu Caves, Malaysia
My Malaysian Tropical Garden mainly focused on unique and colorful plants ranging from rare to common plants all around the tropical belt across the world. Ideal for inspiration for challenging areas in the garden space - indoor gardening, balcony gardening and small green spaces especially for ariods, bromeliads, begonias, edibles, cascading & vertical garden plants, succulents & cacti, orchids, together with both shade and sun loving plants.

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